Brampton's spontaneous concourse The Junction are a triad of energy, power and personality. The versatile group returns to Halifax to promote its debut self-titled full-length at Hell's Kitchen on March 16.
"Originally the band name came from a Jamiroquai lyric. We were in grade 9 at the time," says bassist Matt Jameson, calling from Toronto. "It's a total fluke that the name still fits, as far as us having a lot of influences and musical styles, with a name like ours you'd expect a lot versatility."
The Junction formed nearly a decade ago. Drummer Mike Taylor and guitarist Brent Jackson started playing together under the umbrella of an instrumental jazz group in high school. Jameson was added shortly afterwards. The trio embody the multi-dimensional vibe of a jam band, fusing the moody, raw elements of Moneen with the groovy rebound of The Meligrove Band and the lyrical, bouncy qualities of By Divine Right.
"There is usually a chemistry between the rhythm and the melody," says Jameson. "Someone will try something, then someone else will try something else. Jackson will have an idea and bring it to practice. Ideas are always open for debate; a drum beat or a vocal melody might be added or subtracted afterwards."
Jackson takes care of the lyrical portion —the tracks "Remember Love," "Notion of Love" and "I Am Aware and Writing from the Heart," are punchy-pop sound pockets of sentiment inspired by a romantic relationship gone askew.
All 13 songs from the full-length were recorded live off the floor over the span of nine days at Metalworks in Mississauga. The band shares producing credit with Brian Moncraz, engineering professor by day, studio owner by night. Moncraz was turned on to The Junction by a student and invited the band in to produce its 2004 debut EP And with This Comes Tomorrow. Shortly after the independent release MapleMusic picked up the EP, which led to Universal signing the band. After touring with the UK with Bedouin Soundclash, The Junction wanted to capture the essence of its live performance for its major label debut.
"Our album is a lot closer to our live show, it's a lot more raw than our first EP," says Jameson. "We didn't want to make it too perfect, or too clean. As far as translating to our live show, it sounds pretty similar to the record."
On the road Jameson easily juggles playing bass and being road manager/mom. "I'm a mom they don't have to pay," he laughs. "It's a little bit of extra work, but it's all worth it."
Brampton seems to suffer from the same complications as Halifax—Jameson credits his hometown as highly influential, with a strong musical community; however, venues are few and far between. The Junction haven't even been able to organize a date in its own city since the CD's release.
Currently the band is taking life as it comes. "Right now we can't predict the future, we can't tell what's ahead of us," says Jameson. "We're just starting to get picked up on radio. We're just trying to be on the road as much as possible. We really want to take our music outside of Canada. We are all ridiculously poor, but I believe we make positive music and have a positive message, that's always a good thing."
Jameson recalls a show in St. Catharines, Ontario, as one of his fondest gigs, but a show in Brampton—where he spilled a beer on his amp, the guitar cut and everything that could go wrong, did—ranks as his top pick.
"We were touring for our EP, it was so packed in the bar," he recalls. "There was no stage, no room to move around whatsoever. I swung my bass around and knocked over the bottle, the guitar cut and everyone sorta stopped. The crowd just started screaming the chorus "I'm just a simple man' a cappella. It was incredible. It was one of those good mistakes—I mean it cost me $200 to fix, but it was worth it."
The Junction w/Gloryhound and the Skyhawks, March 16 at Hell’s Kitchen, 2037 Gottingen, 10pm, $8.
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