Glasgow’s fresh-faced acoustic-rock group Junebug talks to The Jam about who’s the coolest, their transformation as a band and what they think of the ever increasing amount of up and coming musicians using talent shows as a gateway to success.
Junebug are setting up the stage in Nice N’ Sleazy for their gig with Made as Mannequins when we walked in to interview them. The first Junebug to notice us is guitarist and keys-player, Aonghas Maxwell who is one of the group’s newest members. Originally a songwriter and guitarist for The Tremors, he tells us that his music influence has and still does come from The False.
Aonghas: “We sadly broke up, we were about to release an album but the three of them decided to pack it in. And it was when Owen heard me creating a solo EP he asked me to join the group.”
He met Owen Rataj – one of the original members and the group’s guitarist at a Freshers event – they both had two things in common – they liked their drink – as many students do, but it was their mutual adoration of playing the guitar that eventually led to Owen inviting him into the band.
The original members however are all connected to Owen in some kind of way. Bass player, Matthew MacDonald has known Owen since nursery and drummer Harry Smith has been friends with Owen since high school.
Owen: “I’ve known Matt since nursery and here we are 22 years later.”
Aonghas – “And they’re still at nursery…”
Jokes aside although they all seem to have a strong bond, they all live miles away from each other – making it more difficult for them to meet up to practice and create new songs.
Owen: “We are quite spread out so when we do meet up we are so productive, I just say – ‘right guys, we have an afternoon to rehearse this’ and we have never not managed to get it done.”
When asked who the coolest in the group is, they all come to a mutual decision that it’s their drummer, Harry, who they say interviews bands for music blog, Undersong.
With an ever rising number of musicians turning to talents shows to find success, we ask the group would they consider jumping on the bandwagon.
Owen: “We did a couple of things like that but we have had a bad experience with them. We did two or three, one of them in particular though was just wanting the money and didn’t care about us.”
They make clear later on in the interview that they did enjoy competing in the QM battle of the bands contest in 2012, which they say was not only something they enjoyed but they feel it helped increase their fan base and meet other groups.
On whether they would ever compete in the X Factor, it doesn’t look like we’ll see them on there any time soon.
Owen: “Oh god no, absolutely not. I even said to Heather the other day if you ever enter us in to the X Factor you’re in trouble. I just think it’s clearly the wrong attitude to have, you can’t just step up on stage and become famous over night, it just doesn’t work that way.”
Harry: “Yeah the winning acts get like four months support after they’ve won and then they get chucked away. Also, it seems to be that the people who win third place do better – I mean look at One Direction and JLS.”
After half an hour I eventually get to meet Heather Laughland, who recently joined the group as the lead singer. Described as being “bubbly and
smiley” by the boys, I can certainly see why. With her happy go lucky attitude towards life and the positive radiance she manages to fill throughout the room, it is also no wonder that the interview is interrupted many a time by different people wanting to talk to her. But while the interview does go one she talks to me about her new business with her sister and what singer she feels influences her vocals.
Heather: “I like Gabrielle Aplin’s vocals but I want to have an individual style.”
And out with singing in the band she has her own pet grooming business with her sister, which she hopes will kick off as well as the band.
Even after talking to Heather I have no idea what her singing voice will be like. I am told by the rest of the group earlier on that she sounds different from Katie, who was the original singer in the group. When asked in what way different, they can’t explain and I understand why when I hear her. There is a certain fragility to Heather’s voice that floats up to soprano heights. Although sometimes the music can be quite rock and what Owen calls it as ‘Stereophonicsy’ sounding, it still works well with the music.
Her performance of leading song, You and I is the Jam’s favourite and is well worth checking out.
If you like the sound of Junebug and would like to see them play live, keep checking their Facebook page for their upcoming tour dates. You can also listen to all of their music on Soundcloud or better yet you can buy their album – The Chase here.