Interview with José González of Junip

Interview with José González of Junip

Among the many great concerts and fests happening this weekend, the Junip show at Lincoln Hall on Sunday is sure to pull a crowd. Their recent EP, Ropes and Summits garnered an 8.0 over at Pitchfork this week (you can download for free at their site).

A long time project of famed Swede/Argentinian acoustic solo artist, José González, he is joined by drummer Elias Araya and organ/synth player Tobias Winterkorn to form Junip. The band sounds pretty trippy, a bit like Devendra Banhart, but smoother and more accessible.  Their forthcoming and first full length album is due out September 14th.

It's been a busy and exciting week over here at Via Chicago and it's not over yet. I had a chance to get a hold of González after Junip's show at the Bowery Ballroom in NYC to ask a few  questions about the band, their U.S. tour, and what he likes about Chicago...

Via Chicago: How did Junip come to be?

José González: Around '98 me and Elias Araya who had been playing hard core together decided it would be fun to try out my acoustic songs with drums and organ. Tobias Winterkorn was excited to do something else too. He was fed up with hard core music and he joined us to make music with references to 60's and 70's music.

V.C.: It's been 5 years since the release of your first EP-what has changed since then?  Why a full length album now?

J.G.:We've been talking about making an album for 10 years but we've always been a bit slow at writing songs - specially me - so it wasn't until 2008 that I stopped touring and decided to stay home and record until the album was finished. Feels like following a teenage dream.

V.C. How does Junip,as a band approach song-writing?

J.G.: Jam, record, listen, arrange, record, listen, keep interesting stuff, throw away boring stuff, write lyrics and record. then Bang!

V.C.: Is there a musical philosophy you keep in mind? What are you trying to achieve with your songs?

J.G.: Sound is very important to us. We recorded everything on computer but afterward it's transferred to tape and mixed on analog gear with a lot of tubes. We like sound of 60's and 70's music and I hate electric guitars. That's about it.

V.C.: What made you decide to revisit Junip after pursuing a solo career?

J.G: It's been a perfect break from my own music. I've done too many shows without changing my style.

V.C.:Do you think you've found a bigger audience as a result of your success as a solo artist?

J.G.: Yes, but I think we'll find a slightly different audience.

V.C.: How did it go in Boston and New York? Was the reception different compared to your European tour dates?

J.G.: It was great! a lot of people showed up at the shows even though our album isn't out yet. Boston was the first show in the US so we had a lot of technical problems   but when we started the crowd was with us the whole way. I thought the crowd was more receptive here.. but I don't know - it all depends on the venue, day of the week and amount of alcohol in the veins.

V.C.:What are you looking forward to most about playing Chicago? Are there any special cultural things you look forward to when coming to the windy city? Foods you like to eat, stores to go to, museums or clubs to visit, etc?

J.G.:I like Chicago. It's not as crazy as NY or LA. Lots of cool shops. I heard that there's good Ethiopian food there. Injera and stews with berbere!! Perfect for vegetarians.

Catch Junip at Lincoln Hall on Sunday with Sonoi at 8pm.

Filed under: Band Profile

Tags: chicago, jose gonzalez, junip, music

Leave a comment