Navigating the music scene with The Junkies


by Jackie Willson

A few weeks ago we got a chance to get to know Toronto’s local talent, The Junkies. With an ongoing residence at CODA and a history of playing at the infamous (and recently closed) Guvernment, it was nice to catch a glimpse of two native artists thriving in their own environment. The Junkies chatted with us about their band dynamics, touring, and their thoughts on the music scene today.

Jackie Willson: So it seems you guys had some technical difficulty on set. What happened?

The Junkies: Yeah, some issues, it all worked out though!

JW: You have over a decade of experience in the music scene on your resume, how did it all begin? 

TJ: Well, we met through a mutual friend and we went to the same high school in Toronto. We lived in the same neighbourhood, North York. We had older siblings and it, you know, evolved into a party scene and here we are. We just connected.

JW: As a duo, do you find it difficult to collaborate your ideas at times or is it like a well oiled machine at this point?  

TJ: Sometimes, you know, it’s normal. It’s like having a sibling, like another brother or sister. You work through it, just like you would with anything else and you compromise. Compromise is a big one.

JW: Do you find that it helps you become a better artist, the fact that you can push each other? 

TJ: I think so. We have a good relationship.

JW: How do you feel about your set here at Electric Island? Do you find the festival at all different from others in the city? 

TJ: It was good, it was very fun. It’s nice to play here, you know, it’s a different vibe. Beside the heat issues from the sun, it was good. It’s different from other festivals, it’s a good vibe.

JW: Has the Toronto music scene changed since you first started? 

TJ: It’s probably a lot easier, but it’s also tougher too. Now it’s easier to put out music, everybody’s doing it, it’s accessible, but it’s tricky too, there’s so many more people doing it. It kind of clouds everything up, there’s a lot more out there. Even when it comes to buying music, to going out and wanting to buy a hundred records a week, now there’s a couple thousand every day. You have to be more picky and spend more time.

JW: Local Music launched in 2010, how is running a label working out for you, five years into it?

TJ: The label is on hold right now to be honest with you. We just honestly don’t have the time to put into it right now and managing our own careers and working on our own music. It is very difficult to run a label and it’s hard and we just don’t have the time to give our 100% devotion to it. We might revisit it in the near future, but for now it is on hold.

JW: Are there any new artists that you are particularly excited about? 

TJ: Mike Dehnert, he has some really cool trip-back techno. Sante is also putting out a lot of good music. There’s so many artists it’s hard, and guys are always changing. You haven’t heard about somebody and all of the sudden the next day, they are huge. They kind of show up on the radar somehow.

JW: You’ve said before that Womb Lounge, in Tokyo, was one of your most memorable shows, do you have a dream venue?

TJ: [laughing] That was a good one! It’s going to be hard to top that one. We just played a really good one in Chili, and that was surprisingly great. You really didn’t know what to expect, the people really party and give 100%. You know, you go to a show and you don’t know what to expect all the time, a new place or city. South America is great.

JW: What is your favourite fan memory so far? 

TJ: We just played in Denver and somebody gave us this record. It’s like a piece of art and has Lauren Hill on it. It was an unexpected gift in a place like Denver. It was pretty cool.

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