The Junction Re-Learns What it Means to Be Independent
I was genuinely happy for The Junction when I heard that they were picked up by a major label a couple years ago. I can still remember seeing them play in the auditorium of my Brampton high school and the first time they were mentioned on mainstream radio. To see their hard work finally pay off was very satisfying.
But a lot can change in two years. The four piece became a trio, their label dropped them mid-tour, and the future of The Junction became dark and uncertain. But there's a light at the tend of the tunnel in the form of their new album, Another Link In The Chain. This meant that it was time I met up with Matt Jameson (bass) and Brent Jackson (guitar, vocals) at Nirvana to talk about this roller coaster their career is on -- and to find out if it's on it's way up... or down.
I wanted to start with the bad and get it out of the way, so I asked Matt about the loss of the label.
"We were on tour...I had sent a couple e-mails to our marketing manager to say 'hey, has anything been done for this tour, are you planning on doing anything for this tour?' and our [band] manager just could not get in touch with anyone at the label. The guy who had pretty much signed us to the label had either been asked to leave or had left. We just weren't getting responses. So, halfway through the [national] tour, when we had finished the Western leg of it, we drove straight from Saskatoon. Thirty-six hours, no showers, straight to Universal. Smelly band gets out of the van and we go in."
It's probably not a good sign when you're walking down the hall and you see your marketing manager spot you and jump behind a filing cabinet.
"If we're spooking people then it's not good. And it's not because we're some crazy, control-freak band. This guy [the marketing manager] just didn't have a spine to say 'hey, I don't have a budget for you -sorry'. I think the conversation would have gone down sooner if they had been more open on their part."
That's when The Junction stopped moving forward and basically stood still.
"We got back and we were fucking freaking out. We had to turn things around. And Brent really grabbed the reigns by coming up with new, raw material."
It was the new music that Brent was creating that gave the other members the necessary strength to keeping investing and believing in the band. Brent went into detail with me.
"I was like, well I could slip into a deep dark depression, scratch my head and ask 'why, why is this happening to me?' But I was like 'fuck that!' So I picked up my guitar and I tried to write some songs that might motivate the other guys in the band to keep being a band."
And the new record is what happened, so I guess it worked.
"This new record is the outcome of that decision [to keep going]. We had a real black or white decision to make. Is our time done? Is it dead in our hearts? Or do we make the chance to keep on going? I never once felt like we were finished. At the end of the last record I was really happy that we had completed all our goals and that we had made it to a major label, but I knew that we could do better; that we hadn't reached our peak."
Another Link In The Chain is very different from their last self-titled disc. It is a calmer, more cohesive album. There is definite sadness within some of the songs, but it is an optimistic record and the production is fantastic. I recommend 'My Love Was There' and 'No Road'. Brent went on.
"You know, when you're a teenager and you're in a band, being signed to a major label is your hope and dream. But then I got there. Now I'm like 'screw that!'. Being independent feels way more natural. Being independent for years before made it more clear to me, because I used to like the days when I felt urgency and like there was something to work for. Investing more time in your band actually has a pay-off. As opposed to being told to sit on your ass and let someone else do everything for you."
The Junction is having their official cd release party Thursday, August 13, at the Horseshoe Tavern. And a tour should be in the works. Well, kind of, according to Matt.
"Right now I'm the tour manager, and I'm not a very good one."
The band is content with letting the album breathe a bit and giving people a chance to appreciate an upcoming tour.
The Junction have received signing offers from various respectable labels, but have decided that this album had to be the result of their hard work and not someone else's.
Photo by David Waldman
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