JU­NIOR BOYS

Exclaim! - - FRONT PAGE - BY DANIEL SYLVESTER

FOR JU­NIOR BOYS, BIG BLACK COAT REP­RE­SENTS MANY THINGS: it’s a re­turn to mak­ing mu­sic as a duo af­ter a five-year lay­over; it’s a self-pro­fessed new chap­ter in their mu­si­cal ca­reers; but most im­por­tantly, it’s a love let­ter to the genre of mu­sic they grew up idol­iz­ing.

Af­ter re­leas­ing four al­bums in seven years, vo­cal­ist, multi-in­stru­men­tal­ist and song­writer Jeremy Greenspan views Ju­nior Boys’ first era as “a com­plete sce­nario of the band,” which partly ex­plains their four-and-a-half year hia­tus.

Greenspan ex­plains that Ju­nior Boys’ mu­si­cal sab­bat­i­cal al­lowed the duo (along­side pro­ducer Matt Dide­mus) to re-ex­am­ine their craft — in­clud­ing ditch­ing the songs they had writ­ten for their next al­bum. “The songs we had, they didn’t have much life in them, in part be­cause I didn’t feel that in­vig­o­rated to do any- thing. It was only through work­ing with Jessy Lanza [on her 2013 de­but Pull My Hair Back] and do­ing stuff for my­self [that] gave me a sort of new lease on life that made me want to do more Ju­nior Boys stuff. Be­cause I had other things go­ing on that were do­ing well, I didn’t put all my eggs in one Ju­nior Boys bas­ket, so it made me feel like I could be more ad­ven­tur­ous with it.”

Af­ter their cre­ative purge, Ju­nior Boys de­cided to re­turn to their roots, draw­ing in­flu­ence from the elec­tronic mu­sic scene that emerged from their Hamil­ton home­town in the 1990s. “It’s funny that Hamil­ton had more of a scene for elec­tronic mu­sic 20 years ago, in a way, than it does now,” says Greenspan about his teenage years. “There was a record la­bel called Steel City Records that put out techno tracks that was aligned with Plus8 Records in Wind­sor, with John Ac­qua­viva and Richie Hawtin, so all of those peo­ple would come and play in Hamil­ton. The peo­ple who were young and into it be­came the peo­ple from the Hamil­ton dance scene, like our­selves and Cari­bou, Azari & III and Or­phx.”

The re­sult­ing 11 tracks that make up Big Black Coat stand as some of Ju­nior Boys’ sleek­est, sharpest and least com­pli­cated to date, as the duo al­low icy rhythms and pul­sat­ing beats to drive each track. Greenspan’s vo­cals come off drier and more repet­i­tive, play­ing off like old-school techno sam­ples at times.

“I was do­ing a lot of that, record­ing a lot of the vo­cals in real time,” he ex­plains. “Ev­ery­one’s got this idea that the only way to record vo­cals is in a re­ally per­fect room with a su­per high-end mi­cro­phone. So this time, it was the com­plete op­po­site — vo­cal takes recorded with the speak­ers go­ing. I wasn’t even us­ing head­phones, just that kind of crazi­ness. I wanted the vo­cals and the lyrics to re­flect that feel­ing of the mu­sic. The less you say, the more that can be un­packed.”

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