A professional wrestler, a children’s book author and the head of a non-profit organisation walk into a bar…. There’s a great punchline to that out there somewhere, but we’ll have to leave that to the neologists. The in-real-life result of this meeting of personalities is South Wales trio Junior, a pop punk band with more on their minds than girls, skateboards and pizza. “We all liked the idea of a concept album, and building our own little world that’s explained and explored through each of the songs,” says guitarist / vocalist Matt Attard of Junior’s forthcoming mini-album. Whilst the band’s conceptual ‘JuniorLand’ carries an aesthetic straight out of Pleasantville via a Don Draper ad campaign, its sound is a little more contemporary. In parts reminiscent of Blink 182’s rightfully revered 2003 self-titled album, JuniorLand is highly melodic, swathed in big guitars and layered lead vocals. Here the trio answer the A-Z interview…
A Song Which Made You Want To Make Music:
[Si] Funnily enough, I remember the first song I tried to learn on guitar was Teenage Dirtbag.. so possibly that! Thanks Wheatus! Or in terms of drums, I think it was something like Californication or Can’t Stop by Red Hot Chili Peppers.
[Matt] The first song that made me want to play guitar was Plug In Baby, I remember watching a live video of Muse playing in Paris and Matt Bellamy was going nuts flying about and smashing up his gear. I thought it was the raddest thing I’d ever seen!
Best Album Ever Written:
[Si] I’m almost afraid to say it cuz of the comparisons everyone draws between us, but Blink’s self-titled is still my idea of a masterpiece
[Mark] I’m really reinforcing this whole Blink thing if I say my favourite album is “Take Off Your Pants and Jacket” right?! So instead i’m gonna have to go with Savage Garden – Self Entitled, because who doesn’t love Savage Garden?!
[Matt] Can’t beat Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band for how high it set the song writing bar. That was the first Beatles album that my dad played me that really got me into them.
Craziest Moment You’ve Experienced In The Band:
[Si] Mark’s wrestling career has led to some pretty wild things happening. Getting our first ever tour featured in the Mirror was pretty surreal!
[Matt] On our last tour, we played Scunthorpe and we had no idea what to expect. Turns out the venue was massive and had huge projections of our faces on the walls and a mental light show. It was definitely felt like a spinal tap moment for me, I was Just waiting for stone henge to descend from the ceiling.
Deepest Lyrics One Of Your Songs Features:
[Si] For me, it’s probably “I refuse to follow the steps of such a miserable man” from Breaking Kayfabe. The guys put that out before I joined Junior and when I first heard it I was like “woah, these guys have got something”
Easiest Song You Wrote:
[Si] I’d say ‘That Pretty Dress’ came together quite easily! It was a collaborative effort that we all contributed to, and the bits just fell together in a single evening really!
[Mark] “If I had the Time, I’d tell you I’m not sorry” was a really fast and fun one to write!
Favourite Show You’ve Ever Played:
[Mark] Cardiff – ‘Bye for now, Mandrews’ show was my favourite. All the feels and we played some songs we’ve never played live anywhere else.
[Si] We did a Blink-182 covers set (I know, I know.. the endless comparisons to Blink..) but that was super fun and silly, and actually got pretty emotional, cuz some friends of ours did a Busted covers set (It was sort of the best thing ever) and it was their last show they played together.. It was beautiful.
Guest You’d Most Like To Feature On A Record:
[Mark] I mean, if we’re talking about anyone EVER, i’m going with a Craig David or a Ginger Spice.
[Si] Jason Aalon Butler from letlive. has the most versatile voice I’ve heard in ages, so that would be pretty sweet. Or one of the dudes from Modern Baseball.
[Matt] Billie Joe Armstrong. The man has written so many iconic songs and you can spot his voice a mile away. That would be incredible.
Happiest Moment In You’ve Experienced In The Band:
[Si] Getting the final mixes for Juniorland was pretty cool, or just in general the 4 days we spent recording it, staying in a hotel in Sheffield together was super fun.
[Mark] After our first gig was definitely a high point!
[Matt] Having a cocktail named after us has been a career high for me. It doesn’t get more rockstar than that.
Interesting Fact About One Of Your Members:
[Si] We’re all pretty interesting! Mark’s a pro-wrestler who fights bad guys for a living, I run a non-profit organisation, and Matt wrote/illustrated a children’s book
[Mark] Matt hates the beach. I’m not even shitting you. What’s up with that?!
[Matt] Sand gets in everything! And I hate swimming, so the beach is a no go for me.
Jokes You Have In The Band:
[Si] Mark. But I’d also say that for our first photoshoot we found this cheap inflatable flamingo and thought it was really funny so used it for the shoot, and inflatable flamingos have now kinda become our gimmick at everything we do. Which is hilarious.
[Matt] Mark’s Bass. It’s pink and used to have ‘I love Van Halen’ on it but now it just says ‘I Love Van’. Ironically, that’s actually a little better.
[Mark] Matt also hates Van Halen?! I felt the need to protest with my bass. Definitely an in joke that confuses anyone watching us live.
Kicking Off Your Set Is Best With Which Song:
[All] ‘A House That’s Not Quite Home’
Longest Distance You’ve Travelled To Play A Show:
[Si] With Junior, the furthest we’ve been is probably Scunthorpe (which Tinie Tempah never managed). But with other acts, I’ve travelled to Norway just to play a show and then fly back the next day!
[Mark] As of yet we haven’t travelled too far, however that’s all gonna change soon!
Most Inspiring Musician You’ve Ever Experienced:
[Si] Years ago I met these two dudes at a festival called Peter and Paul, who were performing under the name Acoustic Spoken Groove, Peter was a slam poet and Paul was the most insane guitarist I’ve ever heard. They both had an amazing attitude towards life and music, were incredibly humble about their talents, and spent time hanging out with us and visiting us whenever they came back over from the states.
New Band You’d Recommend:
[Si] Our friends from Swindon, As The Sun Sleeps are just the most ridiculously tight live band I’ve watched in ages. Their drummer is the sickest.. I felt a bit worried having to play after those guys!
[Matt] Loads of cool bands are around at the moment, especially in the local scene. Not a new band, but our mates in Falling With Style are incredible. Definitely Check them out.
[Mark] Another local one to us is Peasant’s King. Those guys are insanely talented!
Opening For This Band Would Be Ideal:
[Mark] Backstreet Boys. Actually imagine how incredible that would be?!
[Si] I honestly reckon we could open for someone like McBusted (or just Busted if they’re getting back together.. PLEASE LET THE RUMOURS BE TRUE)
Place You’d Most Like To Tour:
[Si] I really wanna get out to the states. But I also think Japan would be the most incredible experience.
[Mark] I’d love to tour the States. Everywhere out here has a basement…SO many sweet intimate basement shows could happen!
[Matt] I’d love to do Japan, Somewhere that is completely alien to me. I reckon that the completely different environment would be a really awesome place to play. Also, Japanese culture is the best!
Quote That You’d Like To Pass On To Readers:
[Si] “You are enough.”
[Mark] “You shouldn’t take life to seriously. You’ll never get out alive.” – #VanWilderWisdom
Reason For The Title Of Your Recent/Forthcoming Release:
[Si] hahaha, because we’re the most self-indulgent kids you’ll ever meet. But also because we created this entire little world of our own, and wanted to welcome other people into that world too.
[Mark] There’s something hilariously ironic about being self absorbed. Unfortunately we can’t see far enough past our ego to find that humour.
See Us Live At:
The “Michael Tourdan” Tour, this November!
9th – The Scene, Swansea
11th – TBA, Bristol
12th – Warehouse 54, Newport
13th – Riverside, Sheffield
14th – Gerry’s Bar, Scunthorpe
15th – The Retro Bar, Manchester
The Old Days Of Music Were Better Than Those Current, do you agree:
[Si] In a way. I think music has changed to be more of a given now. Back in the day, people would gather round a record player or a wireless and just sit and listen to an album or the radio, as their main entertainment. Nowadays, music’s just everywhere and it’s almost more disposable in that sense.
[Mark] I disagree. Anyone has a good shot at being a musician these days which is great. Whether you write songs in your room or you’re playing stadium tours, there’s so much music out there to enjoy. It’s AWESOME!
[Matt] Periods of music to me are never better, just different. There’s been some incredible, iconic bands in the past and present, and there’s also been so god awful ones (Limp Bizkit). The important thing is that musicians adapt and evolve, that’s the true characteristic of a band that stands the test of time.
[Mark] We have tote bags with cute dogs printed on them
[Si] You should hear some of the ideas that we’ve come up with for Junior merch. I really hope some of them see the light of day. Cuz who DOESN’T love pogs!?
Variations You’d Like To Do On Any Of Your Songs:
[Mark}One day we’ll follow through with our smooth Jazz cover of ‘Undertow’
[Si] I’ve always loved playing drums to funk and jazz, so yeah, I reckon some sort of fusion thing around a Junior record would be fun. But I’d imagine people wouldn’t really dig that..
What Bands Have You Seen Live and Regretted:
[Si] I can only recall two shows that I’ve walked out on – Good Charlotte in Cardiff cuz their set just went on FOREVER and they kept on talking in between every song about pointless stuff, and I’d been on my feet for hours and I just had enough. And Beyonce at V Festival a few years ago, cuz the sound was just SO bad that it was genuinely hard to actually stand and listen to. Shame, cuz Queen B is incredible.
[Mark] I saw Matt play an acoustic set one time…
[Matt] Mark played me tracks he wrote back in 2007 and they definitely should of stayed in 2007. Walked Out of his house and we never spoke again
X-rays or any other treatments needed for band related injuries:
No X Rays, Si had a blister on his hand one time if that counts as an injury? and Mark is concussed most of the time…
You could have written any song in history, which would you pick:
[Mark] “C’est La Vie” by B*Witched
[Si] I wish we’d written one of those pop songs that are so bad that you love them. Like Call Me Maybe or something
[Matt] Any elevator music track. Imagine the royalties!
Zoo animal that best describes the personality of your band:
[Si] Flamingo. Preferably inflatable.
[Matt] Eagle. Because I’m majestic. And Feathered.
Watch Single ‘If I Had The Time, I’d Tell You I’m Not Sorry’:
EP ‘JuniorLand’ was released on October 16th. Get it: