Junodef wrote a song that brings tears to my eyes. Fans of Chelsea Wolfe might want to take a peek at the video (filmed for the Margo’s Living Room series at Hermitage Works Studios). A powerful song that sounds like a missing contribution from the Donnie Darko soundtrack … but what about Junodef? What goes on in their minds? Karin, lead singer and guitarist, was kind enough to give us an insight into her creative process.
So, Karin, this wonderful song of yours sounds at once personal and yet does that magical thing that great songs do: it sounds like it belongs to the audience. What’s the song about?
Karin: Thanks a lot for that! Some days I consider this song purely a love song, other days I see it in a more general way, being about doing what you think is best but still not ending up in a good place. The meaning of the song depends a lot on the day and mood.
Is the duality in your reading of the song unique to this composition, or are there other songs in Junodef’s cannon that you interpret in different ways?
Karin: Although most of the songs I write start out having one meaning, or is meant to deal with a specific subject, it always changes or broadens over time. The more I listen to or play the song, the more I find new ways of interpreting it. I think that’s one of the ways to keep a song interesting and meaningful to you, even after performing it a hundred times.
True, true. Trent Reznor describes The Cure as being monochromatic. The same could be said of Junodef. How important to you is a consistent vibe in a band, and would you ever consider exploring sounds that might challenge the perception of Junodef?
Karin: I think having a consistent vibe is important to us, but since there are two of us writing songs in our particular way that vibe covers quite a large space. I think we have explored new ground recently by going more electronic and collaborating with different spoken-word artists. Working with other art forms is something we’re really interested in.
Would you score a short film? I can’t help but hear the potential for other forms outside of rock when it comes to your music. Pick a director you’d care to work with if given a chance. They can be living or dead.
Karin: I would have to go with Agnès Varda, who recently passed away.
Are there any particular bands you’ve recently played with that you feel an affinity for?
Karin: We played with the Berlin-based band Hope a couple of months back when they came to London. We really like their way of writing music; it’s just so dark and magical!
Sounds like something to check out. Recently caught Skaar at The Seabright Arms being supported by Wahl and Fake Turins. Felt like I was watching a dark musical (the lead singer of Skaar dumped the mic and ran off into the crowd during the song as well). Mesmerising. Where’re you playing next?
Karin: Yeah we’ve played with both Skaar and Wahl, they’re cool! We are going to lay low with London-shows for a bit; we haven’t got any announced gigs for now.
Well, I hope that many a fan old and new will rely on this video to get their fix of all things Junodef. I hope your career burns bright and that you at some point get to support Chelsea Wolfe! Hey, dream big! By the way, I must ask – you guys play barefoot. Any particular reason and do you get asked this question a lot?
Karin: Haha we do get asked that quite a lot yes! Tyra and I have always played barefoot; I think since we started playing together when we were thirteen. It’s just easier to move around. I’m pretty sure I would trip and fall over all the time if I wore shoes.
That’s a longstanding songwriting partnership you have there. Now, my final question: any tips on keeping an ongoing creative relationship healthy, or do you think it’s arrogant to instruct people on their creative process?
Karin: This is a good question. I’ve always been extremely grateful for my friendship with Tyra, and the creativity that’s always been a part of that friendship. I think it’s important to give each other space to try out new things and be aware of not shutting down the others creativity, but try to encourage it, even though it might grow in a different direction to your own. We mostly write our own songs and then arrange them together, to make them fit into the Junodef sound. I think giving ideas a chance, and not always trusting your first instinct about a song if you don’t like it are essential to keep the relationship healthy and fun. No one likes a party pooper.
And that’s a great answer. I think some bands don’t last because the artists involved are only interested in using their bandmates to articulate their own voice, not a shared voice. Perhaps they fear the honesty of setting themselves up as a solo musician? Maybe they fear to face the rejection alone? It’s probably a case by case thing with some overlapping points of revelation. In any case, it was fun chatting to you and filming your wonderful track. Indulging my tears across the camera lens idea is a treasured highlight of the year so far. Stay creative, and keep listening out for inspiration in others!
Karin: Thank you for all of this!