Interview: Jeremy Greenspan of Junior Boys

by Jack Diablo
Do you like to dance? It’s okay if you don’t. It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the music. Especially when that music is performed by Jeremy Greenspan and Johnny Dark, the Junior Boys. Whereas some forms of dance music rely on repetitive beats and melodies to force your brain into moving those feet, these guys put a little more thought and feeling into it than that. If you’re in the mood to move, Junior Boys will take you where you want to go but if you’re feeling self-conscious or perhaps a bit stiff, it’s perfectly acceptable to simply watch and appreciate. But clap your hands or something, it’s the least you can do.
EU caught up with Jeremy before their upcoming stop at St. Augustine’s Cafe Eleven.
EU: You guys recently recorded a session with Daytrotter and in the write-up they described your sound as dance music that appeals to those who might not be into other dance music. Is this a conscious move or something that occurred purely by accident?
Jeremy Greenspan: I would say that it was by accident I think more. We listened to dance music, I mean that’s what we grew up listening to and that was our roots and everything like that. We just sort of do what we do and hopefully people will get something out of it. We don’t really think too much about what we do or try to please one audience or another.
EU: Do you ever encounter those tough crowds who simply refuse to get down and do you take it personally when it happens?
JG: We don’t really take it too personally. Audiences get out of the music what they put into it. It’s sort of a two-way street, you know? If you just go to a show and don’t engage with the people up on stage, you can’t be surprised if the concert isn’t that good. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that what we want people to do is like lose their minds every time. Sometimes, people react differently but it’s still good, you know? So if people don’t dance it doesn’t mean we won’t like the crowd.
EU: Do you believe that it’s possible and perhaps even appropriate to make a statement with dance music or is it simply escapism that should be treated as such?
JG: No, I don’t. I grew up thinking that dance music was like the most important music that was being made at the moment. Important in every way – socially, politically, all that kinda stuff. To me it was the most interesting music, not just musically speaking but conceptually and all that kind of stuff. I think everything is possible with it.
EU: So what about dance music do you find that makes it so relevant and so important?
JG: First of all, the thing I like about it is the way it is sort of engaged with the times and engaged in the future in a way. It’s based on the fact that, unlike pop music, it’s much more in tune technologically to what’s going on in our world. Also, it has a kind of alternative history to rock music in that dance music comes out of disco which was like the only real music that was ever made, in America at least, that was neither black or white, gay or straight, all these different types of people coming together.
EU: One of your promotional efforts for your previous album was a viewer submitted video contest. Did you come across any interesting or bizarre videos during that campaign?
JG: Yeah, it ended up being more than we ever expected. I thought there’d be like two videos or something like that but ended up being a lot of people putting a lot of effort into it. I actually ended up not really liking the campaign just on the basis that we had to chose one. That’s why we didn’t want to do another one. It became a little too heart-breaking actually. Because some people like really put a lot of effort into it.
EU: Tell me about the special Halloween show and what you have planned during the October shows leading up to it.
JG: (Laughs) Well all the shows are kind of Halloween themed. We just did our first one yesterday in Vancouver and it was essentially like a costume party even though there wasn’t too many people dressed up. It ended up being a girl with like some fake mustache won the grand prize. But I guess as Halloween gets closer and closer, people will probably get more and more into it. Basically we’re just touring in October and it’s in support of a new single that’s coming out called “Bits and Pieces.” It’s just an excuse to like buy a whole bunch of cheesy Halloween shit and throw it all over the stage.
EU: When you create dance music there’s almost an unwritten consent that allows others to remix your music and put their own spin on it. Do you ever come across a remix of your music that you really hate or one that makes you wish you had done that?
JG: I haven’t come across any that I really hate, there’s on that’s really weird. There was one that was going around for a while earlier this year that was like our song with lyrics on top of it, like a mash-up. The mash-up was with a girl singing this song, “Let Me Smell Your Dick.” So that was pretty weird having our song mashed-up with a song called “Let Me Smell Your Dick.” That was about the weirdest. Aside from that, we’ve obviously had a lot of remix submissions and we’ve been fortunate to have the remixes be really terrific to the point where they’re sometimes a little better than our songs.
EU: After this tour, what do you guys have planned?
JG: Taking it easy. But I’m going to be working with Dan Snaith on his new Caribou record. Then we’re doing a couple of remixes and stuff like that and then get cooking on a new Junior Boys record in the winter.
There you have it. Check out Junior Boys at Cafe Eleven on Tuesday, October 27th. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.