Chris DeLine

Cedar Rapids, IA

Junip “Always” (Influenza)

Published in Blog, Culture Bully. Tags: , .

Largely unknown as a group stateside, Junip began in the late-’90s as a collaborative effort from Tobias Winterkorn (organ, synth), Elias Araya (drums) and José González (vocals & guitar). As the three members continued on with their separate paths however, the reality of recording a full length release became a casualty of their own unique journeys; Araya spent time travelling Europe to study art, Winterkorn dedicated himself to teaching, and González recorded and released the remarkably successful Veneer which has since sold a million copies worldwide. Understandable, then, that with everything going on the band wouldn’t record a proper recording until 2005′s Black Refuge EP.

It wasn’t until after the release and subsequent touring behind González’s 2007 album In Our Nature that the band reconvened with the goal of producing their long-overdue full-length debut. Last month the group’s decade-long project finally culminated with the release of Fields via Mute Records. As to be expected the album was met with open arms from fans and critics alike; the New York Daily News‘ Jim Farber described the group’s sound as “sweet, sensual and inward-looking” and Pop Matters‘ Matthew Fiander concluded that Fields is not only “another solid entry in Jose González’s discography” but a “fitting next step” for the musician.

Similar to the vocalist’s solo-material, the band gracefully floats through soft-spoken airy rock with “Always,” a song which González recently described as “groovy.” In this edition of Influenza, Tobias Winterkorn explains the process of crafting the single: developing it, re-shaping it, expanding the song into a music video, and lastly, performing “Always” live.

We recorded a version of “Always” half way through making Fields that we were quite satisfied with. When we played the track to our co-producer Don Alsterberg he thought that we should make another version, groovier with more of an up-tempo. For at least a week we were slaves under his oppression while we recorded. But it was worth every minute. The second version of “Always” turned out much better than the first. I don’t think the music that we make is necessarily hit music, but “Always” has the potential to be a single. It felt quite natural to put out “Always” as our first single.

And once you have chosen your single, you need a music video. Andreas Nilsson made our first video about five years ago, it was perfect. He always makes perfect videos. We asked him and a couple of days later we received a short manuscript that said: “We are going to go to Finland during the World Championship for air-guitar and we are going to have a magician and a former world champion in air-guitar to teach you how to play without instruments!” The idea was fantastic. We are lousy actors so we felt very anxious and scared. But we did it.

To play “Always” live is really hard for us, we don’t know why. It’s a mystery. It doesn’t turn out as good as we want it to be live. We tried moving it around… to have it in the first half of the set, in the middle, almost as a last song and as an encore. But nothing fits. Almost every time after the show we think it sounded quite bad. Except when we play it quiet and unplugged, then it sounds great. Strange, maybe. Maybe not.

[This post was first published by Culture Bully.]