Monday, October 08, 2007

Interview: Midnight Juggernauts

It’s been a long time coming, but Melbourne band Midnight Juggernauts have finally released their debut album, Dystopia, and it’s been making waves amongst critics and listeners alike. Nobodymove! spoke with Andy Juggernaut about the band's new album, the rise of iTunes, and their own record label, ‘Siberia’.

Nobodymove!: While more and more new albums – especially ‘dance’ albums – seem to be just a collection of singles, Dystopia is an album that is really ‘an album’, with a beginning, middle and end.

Andy Juggernaut: It was important to us…to make a proper album that you listen to; [an album’s] like a journey. We spent a lot of time with the tracklisting, trying to have something that flows and goes through different types of styles, emotions, and it’s something we placed a lot of emphasis on – making sure it wasn’t just a collection of songs, and something you’d want to sit at home and listen to, rather than just out at a club.

NM: People who’ve seen you live in the past would associate your sound with music you dance to, yet you’ve included some tracks there that are a little more down-tempo. Had you been writing much music in that style over the years?

AJ: We’d never played that style live, and while we’d worked on little things in demos, it was stuff that was never going to happen until we started working on the album…The thing about an album is you get that opportunity to experiment more. While our last EP [Shadows] boosted us a lot, it was very dance-oriented. They were very quick tracks, and we got a couple of singles out of it…but with the album, you do get the chance to try out different things, and with tracks like ‘Dystopia’ and ‘Aurora’, you don’t have to worry about everything being a single, and you have the opportunity to experiment.

NM: The album’s been a long time in the making for you. Was it difficult to choose what made the album, given you had years of ideas to work with?

AJ: We had a lot of tracks we wrote in the lead up, and there was some hard decisions as to what tracks we left off, but in the end, we went with the songs that went best together – it was important that the tracks worked together as an album. [Recording the album] was an organic process, and in some ways it ended up different to what we thought it was going to be beforehand, because when we got into the studio environment, and had the studio at our disposal, we came out with this. We’re really happy with it, as it represents what we did at that time. Our next record is going to be very different, and we’ll probably always be like that.

NM: Given the music industry is going through some dramatic changes, with power shifting from labels, and online retailers like iTunes becoming how people receive their music, releasing an album seems to have become a very different process. How did the band deal with all this?

AJ: iTunes have been great for us, as we’ve been playing the game of singles, and bonus tracks with [online purchased] singles, but I’d be really sad if the actual album died, because it’s a very different experience when you have a full album – you can listen to it from start to finish…sometimes songs don’t quite make sense unless listened to in context.
Things like blogs and song downloads are the way things are going, and record labels are accordingly trying to change how they sell music; record sales are going down as a result, and now they want all sorts of things that create revenue, like merchandise, and pieces of tour money, which is something that was unheard of before. While downloading will continue, hopefully the album never dies…you just have to think of creative ways to get people to buy them. I’ve always been interested in the actual artwork of the album, so we spent a lot of time with our artwork, wanting to make something we really liked and would want to buy ourselves.

NM: For the release of Dystopia, you did it through the band’s label ‘Siberia’. How did the decision to form your own label come about, and has it work out for you?

AJ: Having our own label afforded us a lot more freedom. It was never something we set out to do, but each time the possibility of signing has come up, we’ve thought it may be better if we did it ourselves, if we had a good grasp of where we wanted to take the band, and how we wanted to do things… that’s why we stayed independent. On our last EP, the label was more or less a stamp, but with this album, it has been functioning a lot more like a label, so there’s been a lot more work associated with all the press, and everything that comes with releasing an album – the extra work at times can be stressful, but is ultimately rewarding, because we do have the freedom to make the decisions and do what we want, and we’re not having to answer to anybody, which is great. At a time like this – we were really busy, and spent a lot of time overseas, while there was a lot of stuff that needed to be done back here to promote the album, and we had to constantly approve or disapprove things – it was good to know we’re doing it ourselves, and we own our music. Maybe one day, we can put other artists out on the label.

1 comment:

Tim said...

Pretty cool getting an interview with the band. You're moving up in the world!