We just got this interview between Jeremy Greenspan of Junior Boys, our guest tomorrow night, and Mister Steve Rogenstein, aka the Art Corp and the man behind 12 Turn 13, into our mail box, just in time to share with you ahead of tomorrow night’s party.
Have a read…
Steve Rogenstein: You’re primarily known for your studio work and live performances, yet the Body Language CD from a couple years ago cast you as a DJ. What was your DJ experience before then?
Jeremy Greenspan: We [Jeremy and Matthew Didemus, his partner in Junior Boys] both started as DJs. Matt and I used to DJ at parties when we were teenagers. We had a radio show, which at first was mainly drum and bass, but fairly quickly turned into garage and house. Then we had a residency at a club in Hamilton [in Ontario, Canada, their hometown] at some point in the late 90s. All that stuff was long long before we had even thought of Junior Boys.
SR: How does DJing compare to live performances for you? Is there something you get to express when you’re DJing that you can’t when you’re playing live?
JG: Not really. DJing for me has always been about playing records — nothing more, nothing less. It can be technical but ultimately just comes down to whether or not people like your taste in music.
SR: It’s been a year since the last Junior Boys full-length, Begone Dull Care. After the buzz dies down from a record release and the touring for the album is over, what do you do?
JG: Usually fall into some type of depression and try to pick up the pieces of my life. Then I start on the next record.
SR: You’ve played live at major outdoor festivals and, to round out the spectrum, are going to DJ in a private loft in Brooklyn. Do you have a preference for one setting over another, whereby a mood is set that coaxes out a more energetic performance?
JG: For DJing I MUCH prefer playing smaller parties. I hate being on a big stage or something like that. A loft party sounds perfect.
SR: What was one of your most memorable performances?
JG: DJing? Recently we played a show in our hometown of Hamilton, where we hadn’t DJed there together for years. And we did it in a small bar, which was packed and super fun—probably my favorite gig in months.
SR: In our age of computers and enhanced technology, what role does analog equipment/instruments play in your music-making process?
JG: We mainly use the computer as a trigger. Almost all of our music is made with hardware, and then we mix it using an analog console and largely analog effects. I just think you can’t really match the real thing, and there’s no point trying to fake it. Plus, all that buzzing is great; it keeps you on your toes.
SR: To what extent have you used technology to create as well as to promote, e.g., podcasts, MySpace, interactive videos with fans, etc.?
JG: I’m terrible at that shit. I have a Twitter account that I use to post my songs of the day, which is pretty fun. But I hate those cooked-up gimmicks for selling records. It makes you feel like you aren’t a musician but an advertising exec.
SR: Sometimes bands tightly control their “brand,” i.e., their visual image, whether that means outfits worn onstage, album cover design, videos. Would you say Junior Boys has a “brand”? If so, describe it.
JG: Haha. No, I don’t think too much about that kinda thing. I take most of my fashion cues from old men with nice sweaters. Obviously we take album art seriously, but we try as much as possible to find artists who are good and then let them do their thing.
SR: When you’re working with others–producers, videographers, illustrators–to what degree is it a collaboration, whereby you express the kernel of your vision and then allow them to filter it through their particular lens vs. taking more of a directive stance, whereby you very deliberately guide their involvement?
JG: It’s important to trust a person’s talents. And to understand your own limitations. I think I’m pretty good at knowing when to let go of something and let someone else take over. I have no great aptitude for visual art, despite being at times obsessed with it.
SR: What’s the “next best thing”?
JG: Air conditioning.
SR: Any chance you’ll play both Front 242 and Frank Sinatra in your set this weekend?
JG: Unlikely. But I’ll find some other way to clear the dancefloor—don’t worry.