Midnight Juggernauts - Nice Jugs
Author: Carlisle Rogers
Friday, 10 August 2007
A modern-day Electric Light Orchestra, the Midnight Juggernauts have finally released their debut LP after a slew of teasingly terse EPs and singles.
Its title, Dystopia, belies the album’s inherent optimism – inherent because you can’t really be sardonic with funky synthesizer lines humming along in the background like the aural equivalent of telegraph wire humping the top of your window frame in a car going down a road through a psychedelic desert.
“A lot of people got to know us as an indie-dance band with Shadows and 45 and Rising, says Vincent Juggernaut, contrasting the new album with the band’s previous output. “Those tracks were for the dance floor. We love making that type of music, but we were thinking for an album we wanted to have something with different styles and different moods. It’s not all dance floor friendly; there are some variations in tempos and feelings we are trying to convey. There is different terrain covered across the album. I think that may surprise people, that there are a lot of tracks on there with acoustic guitar. For the album, we wanted it to be more permanent, with a feeling like a classic album with more traditional tunes in place. And now we’re working on getting some remixes for all the tracks so they can still be played in clubs.”
Touring around Australia now after a week supporting the Bloc Party on their national tour and then playing Splendour in the Grass in front of an adoring crowd, Vincent says having three guys in the band (since he and Andy picked up full time drummer Daniel Stricker) has allowed them to diversify their sound considerably on stage. “We started as a two piece, very dance sounding with a sampler and guitars and keyboards. Now that we are a three-piece with drums there, we are loosening up the set a bit and trying out other jamming sessions where we don’t always know what may happen or whether it will work or not. We still try to make it like a party. We’re happy for the audience to jump around and go crazy during our set. We also want to have different parts of the set that aren’t all four to the floor. We have some acoustic guitar in the new live set.
“This is definitely the biggest tour that we’ve ever done,” he continues. “This last week with our album being released, we’ve been flying to a different city for the last six days, back and forth. It can get monotonous, it would be easier if we had our own private jet. It’s tricky to be writing when you’re travelling so much. Ideally, we’d like to be writing in the studio, but we love playing shows. When you’re on stage it’s an amazing experience playing these songs live and getting that crowd response. With the album out, it’s exciting times to see how all these new songs work.”
Vincent and Andy had known Daniel for three days, mainly as a fill-in drummer when the two piece travelled to Sydney. But Vincent says as the band became more of a fixture on Australia’s music scene, they needed something a little more stable. “He was an amazing drummer and had drummed with some other great bands. At some point we realised that Midnight Juggernauts were growing too fast and had to get a permanent third member in place. We asked him if he was interested and he was. He brings a lot of energy to the band and he has a lot of great ideas.
“We are all involved in writing, too. Normally one person will come up with an idea themselves and develop that. We all started in more traditional guitar rock bands. When we write tunes it normally begins on guitars. When that is developed we will bring it to the other members of the band and work on it some more. I guess most songs are different. We all have similar tastes and we work well together. At the beginning it was just Andy and I, the two of us were Midnight Juggernauts. Bringing in the third member we weren’t sure how that would change things but it has been an easy transition. We all write together and tour together without fighting.”
Releasing the album on their own label, Siberia, Vincent says the guys have no intentions of letting go of their independent status anytime soon, at least not in Oz. “I’m happy to stay independent in Australia. It was never our intention to be competing against Australian Idol contestants, or moving onto this other level where we have to be playing shopping malls. We are happy just to keep playing to people who are really into the music and know what they like rather than being fed something on TV.
“Overseas is another story,” he adds. “We just came back from overseas last month and had lots of meetings and lots of offers from various labels, lots of major labels as well. It was interesting. We realised that it could turn into some kind of monster if we’re not careful. It’s new territory for us, but we want to be sure and confident with whatever we may get ourselves into. They’re talking about three album deals, but that could be another ten years at least. I’m just being cautious with all these contracts now and getting lawyers to look over them.”
MIDNIGHT JUGGERNAUTS ON TOUR
Catch the Midnight Jugernauts on the following dates:
Friday 24 August – The Metro, Sydney
Saturday 25 August – The Metro, Sydney
Thursday 30 August – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle