Critically lauded Canadian duo

Stealing an interview with the Junior Boys is not an easy task. A fleeting visit to the UK from Canada has resulted in a stampede of eager music journos banging on the door of their record label, Domino, in an attempt to catch a word with the band amongst the PR melee. “Our intention isn’t to be pop stars,” insists Matt Didemus, Junior Boys’ noise making machine, “we are very grateful that we can just put out music.” Intentionally or not, they must be starting to feel like pop stars.

“Particularly in North America, it was hard when we were doing that to get a lot of interest in electronic stuff,” says Matt.

Set up in or around 1999 by Jeremy Greenspan and his since departed, but brilliantly named colleague, Johnny Dark, Matt initially worked with Junior Boys in a small capacity, helping to mix a few of the early tracks. When Johnny left for a job in computer games, Matt started to work with his former schoolmate Jeremy as a proper fully fledged Junior Boy. The result was 2004’s ‘Last Exit’ LP, a Timbaland influenced brand of electronica that many critics applauded but much of the public didn’t get. Whether the public wasn’t ready for ‘Last Exit, or whether the musical climate simply didn’t allow Junior Boys to flourish is a matter open to debate. “Particularly in North America, it was hard when we were doing that to get a lot of interest in electronic stuff,” says Matt. “I think a lot of people when they first initially heard it, before we signed, didn’t really get it.”

And to be fair, in a world of post-punk guitars and funky electroclash, “getting” the Junior Boys isn’t always an easy task. Nor was it easy for a record company to take a gamble to start with. With no particularly radio-friendly choruses, I ask whether the music made by Junior Boys has ever been something record companies would freely back. “We try to do pop songs,” stresses Matt, “but they’re still deeply entrenched in what we grew up listening to, stuff like Techno and House and more avant-garde electronic stuff.” I foolishly suggest to Matt that however good the new album is, there isn’t a single that is going to take them to the top of the charts. “Well, hopefully something will do okay,” comes the indignant reply and I sense it is time to move on.

The new album, ‘So This Is Goodbye’, is still uniquely Junior Boys, but the latest record has definitely moved away from the debut sound. Matt agrees. “With the first record, there were more intricate beats and intricate programming. With the second one, I think it is much more stepped down, not necessarily minimal, but, you know, it has a sort of rhythmic simplicity about it.” It is simple in a Kraftwerk, robotic kind of way, but there’s a twist. Amongst the bleeps and beats you can hear the vocals of Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet floating over Japan-style melodies and keyboards that evoke images of outer space. It is a record you float away with at 2am in the morning amongst images of electronic new-romantic Germans. And although this sounds scary and strange for a record made by two Canadians, it works perfectly.

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