After the success of his super charming debut EP ‘Too Many Teeth’, out last year, lo-fi alt-popster Trunky Juno is gearing up for another outing.
After the success of his super charming debut EP ‘Too Many Teeth’, out last year, lo-fi alt-popster Trunky Juno is gearing up for another outing that showcases his knack for fun, fuzzy tunes that feel a bit like a cheering, comforting hug. A hug inspired by Pavement, Weezer and the like.
Hello! How’s it going? What are you up to today?
It’s going ok. Today, I’ve been trying to put together a live set for a solo show I’m playing in around two weeks’ time at Bobiks in Newcastle. I don’t want it to be too boring with just acoustic guitar for an hour, so I’m knocking up a few drum loops and synthy pads to spice it up a little bit.
How have you found the past 18 months then, bit of a weird one innit?
It’s been a very weird one, and now I think we’re all a little bit weird. One thing I’ve noticed lately is that it’s incredibly hard to write lyrics when you haven’t really left the house too much in over a year. I feel like I’m writing a concept album about the kitchen sometimes.
It doesn’t feel like the pandemic has slowed you down much on the music front, how did you find putting together your new EP?
The ‘Good Dog’ EP came together pretty easily. The songs had already been written, and most of the production for them was finished before the pandemic, so there isn’t too much of a covid vibe in there. The EP has a pretty cohesive sound, but it’s also a bit of a mixed bag.
What’s this one about, and what were your influences for it? Are ‘Favourite Show’ and ‘Daddy’s Gone For Cigarettes’ on it?
Yes, they’re both on there. I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for anything with a tinge of Americana, country, folk – but not too much, just a little bit. I feel like it’s really starting to take hold and burst out of me like John Hurt in Alien. I think all the usual influences are pretty evident in there though too, the likes of Pavement, The Flaming Lips, Weezer etc.
I feel like this time around the songs are way more “songwritery”. They’re all very much their own little world, or story.
What’s your process like when it comes to sparking new songs?
It’s always different. The best way only happens around once a year, where I’ll sit down with the guitar, and a song pops out, and it’s finished in 10 minutes. The rest of the time, the songs need a little bit more luring out.
Sometimes I stumble across a phrase, or word, that I think sounds like a really good name for a song, like ‘Daddy’s Gone For Cigarettes’.
But I do more creative things too. During lockdown, I had a short phase where I decided that because it will probably never happen, I was just going to write and record a new Neutral Milk Hotel album myself, singing with a really bad Jeff Mangum impression. That one’s just for me.
What is it that draws you to this catchy, lo-fi pop kinda sound? How would you describe it?
I always call myself a Lo-fi Pop Noodler. I think it’s pretty accurate. When I first morphed into Trunky Juno (it was a long process, a goat was sacrificed), I decided pretty early on I wanted to go for that lo-fi bedroom pop sound, simply because it makes everything so much easier. For a start, you don’t need much gear or much money to pay for studio time. Secondly, you don’t need to worry about production too much. Me and David Alexander (aka Summer Heart) have a really good dynamic when it comes to producing these tracks. I tend to not worry too much about the mix or things sounding nice and go more for feel and mood. And then he has a magic pop touch which fixes it all, and a real song comes out of the other end.
Have you always wanted to be a musician? Who was your first ever favourite band or pop star?
Pretty much, yeah. Probably Ricky Martin, with The Backstreet Boys a close second. I think when you’re growing up and first starting to get into music, every band becomes your favourite band at some point, because it’s all new to you. But I guess the ones that have really stuck around for me would be Bob Dylan, The Flaming Lips, and I also really like The Killers (I don’t care what anyone says).
What’s been the highlight of your time as Trunky Juno so far?
I really liked the livestream gig just over a month ago in Manchester at Scruff of the Neck; it felt good to play live, with a band, and feel like real musicians again.
Are you creative in non-musical ways too?
A few months ago, I put a plasticine face on a boiled egg to try and film something with it. It’s in the bin now. I like doing oil paintings which I post on Instagram sometimes, which are pretty bad. But I actually quite like not being good at other creative things and not knowing much about them. I’d love to be able to listen to music and not know what a beat is or what a key is. So I like being able to watch films etc, and appreciate them on a more abstract level.
What do you do for fun?
All the usual things that people do, watching movies, sports, juggling, eating pizza.
I like playing chess. I’ve only been playing for a few years, but I’m into it pretty deep. I like watching pro wrestling.
PlayStation is good too. I have no idea why anyone does anything over Zoom/Skype, when you could be having the same conversation whilst looking over your vast lands with a proud grin in Minecraft. I spent a lot of time last year creating an underground rail network between my homestead, ‘Mel Gibson’ mine, and dirt man monument. I should probably do some kind of MTV cribs tour of my Minecraft world.
What else do you have coming up? There’s a tour, right?
There sure is, it’s in November, and all the dates are over at trunkyjuno.com. We’re going all over the place, London, Newcastle, Brighton, Glasgow, Birmingham, Brighton.
Anything else we should know?
I’ve got loads of new music coming out, a new track called ‘Serial Killer Vibes’, and then the ‘Good Dog’ EP itself.
Taken from the July 2021 edition of Dork, out now. Trunky Juno’s ‘Good Dog’ EP is out 2nd July.