What do you get when you combine a childrens author, the head of a not-for-profit organisation and a professional wrestler? Well you get Welsh pop-punk trio Junior of course! Following on from their 2015 JuniorLand record and 2016’s split EP Junior Fierce with Fierce Morgan, the trio have been busy with their day jobs (including bassist/vocalist Mark Andrews appearance in WWE’s UK Championship earlier this month, where he reached the quarter finals). Monday January 23 saw them headline a Heads Above The Waves charity show in Cardiff. Following the show, we caught up with drummer Si Martin and vocalist/guitarist Matt Attard to chat about the gig, new music and limbo.
-You just played a charity show in Cardiff for Heads Above the Waves, how was that for you?
Si: It was hands down the coolest show of my career so far. The sort that you kinda dream of when you’re first starting a band. People singing along to our songs, jumping & going crazy, and actually reacting when we ask if anyone had heard our record. Plus it was the first live outing for our new single ‘Veronica‘, and we got a real good reaction, so I’m pumped to unleash it on people properly! Plus, on a selfish level, because HATW is my thing, it’s cool that we’re able to bring people together under that banner too & promote positivity & the power of music.
(Check out our review here – Ed.)
-Si, you founded the charity. Can you tell us a bit more about the idea behind it?
Si: Well I’d struggled with self-harm as a teenager, and really, it was music – and specifically pop-punk – that really helped me. Making and playing music was, and still is, a beautifully cathartic thing. So originally HATW was going to be a way of sharing that message that pop-punk saved my life, and that playing drums could really help people. And I guess the main idea around HATW is that it’s okay to not be okay, and that there are more positive and creative ways to deal with what you’re going through, to express yourself, and to keep yourself mentally healthy. We want to get people talking openly about mental health and generally smash the stigma that surrounds it, so everyone can feel able to get the help they deserve.
(Head here for more information on the awesome charity and help out by grabbing some lush merch! – Ed)
-At the show, you played an awesome new track. Does this mean we can expect a new record sometime soon?
Matt: We’re heading in to the studio mid Feb and we think ‘Veronica‘ is gonna be a one off single, but who knows if that might change….
-In February you head out on tour with You Know The Drill. Are you looking forward to it
Si: I’m so stoked for it! I think I’m happiest when I’m on the road to be honest. It’s just this cool little bubble where you eat junk food, have adventures, and make music. That’s the dream, isn’t it? Plus the dudes in You Know The Drill have been awesome so far from messaging online, so I’m excited to meet them, make some new friends, and get to watch their set every night. Cuz their EP is a banger.
-Limbo has become a staple of your live shows, how did the idea come about?
Matt: it came from the shared mentality that a gig should be more than a gig, it should be an event. If you’re a regular gig goer, you end up seeing lots of support acts and bands you didn’t go the show exclusively to see, that unfortunately get forgotten. We wanted to have something that people would go away from the show and remember. Also, we’re all big kids, so anything silly and fun we’re a fan of!
-Do you have any plans for 2017 that you can tell us?
Si: We’ve got some super exciting things happening in 2017 that we can’t actually announce yet. But suffice to say this is gonna be Junior’s year.
-We always end our interviews with some random questions: Would you rather write original music but not be able to play it or play music but not be able to write it?
Si: Well, I already play music that I’m not able to write haha. Both with Junior (Matt’s a freakin’ MACHINE when it comes to writing) and when I play drums for another act called Novo Amor. I wish I could write music like that. But it’s playing live that makes me who I am. So I’ll have to take playing music over writing it.
-What’s your favourite horror movie?
Si: I’m a massive wimp when it comes to spooky films. I really loved ‘Let The Right One In’ – which is technically a horror movie but it didn’t make me sleep with the lights on for a week after, like Paranormal Activity did. Eesh.
-You’re asked to join the circus, what would your act be?
Si: Well I have to juggle all the different aspects of my life (HATW, Junior, DJing, a “real job”) so probably something like juggling. That being said, I’m not doing a very good job of juggling everything at the moment, so I probably wouldn’t last long in the circus.
Make sure you catch Junior on tour with You Know The Drill throughout February (* denotes headline show);
5 – The Globe, Cardiff*
19 – Maguire’s Pizza Bar, Liverpool
20 – Broadcast, Glasgow
21 – Santiago Bar, Leeds
22 – JT Soar – Nottingham
23 – The Sitwell Tavern, Derby
24 – Rise Records, Worcester
26 – The Fiddler’s Elbow, Camden
27 – Stag & Hounds, Bristol
16 – The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham*