TVD Package Deal: José González and Tobias Winterkorn of Junip

I had the pleasure of sitting down with José González and Tobias Winterkorn of Junip before they played Black Cat Saturday night (6/18). We talked about expectations, family, oldies, touring, and a new record!

I was able to attend and review your last show at Black Cat, although your album had already come out. What more can we expect this time around—working on new stuff?

JG: Yeah, we added some songs that we didn’t play on that last tour, so one song from the In Every Direction EP, and also we’re playing older songs we weren’t playing before.

So you’re recycling; are you excited about that or just trying to mix it up?

JG: We’re excited, this set is better than back then.

TW: Yeah it’s good.

Wait, wait, what was wrong with the old set? Are you already tiring of the old?

JG: Haha, it’s just getting better, it’s going from good to better. It’s fun to change it up.

TW: We’ve been playing a lot of shows with those songs, but no, I’m not bored with them. It really helped when we put in the new song though from In Every Direction; it helped me find  a new energy. It’s a really good song, and playing it live is really fun.

(To Tobias) Is it you focused? Haha.

TW: No, it isn’t. Not at all. I have a solo, almost like a solo, so maybe…

JG: Yeah, I like it too, and I sing less than usual.

Photo Credit: Jon Bergmann

What was the big idea with the video contest, what role did you play in its inception, and are you really, as a band, going to personally choose the winner?

JG: It came from the label actually. Because so many people have cameras they can use, it was partly economical and partly fun. We don’t have money left to pay any director, so…

Have you all scheduled a time to sit down and review everything? Will the label prescreen for you?

TW: No, we haven’t heard anything about that. I hope we don’t get two hundred all at once.

Yeah, you get fifty boxes of old VHS tapes in the mail.

JG: We will spend some time at home just watching, and on tour. They are sent to the label first, so someone will look at them and send them on.

I am sure you will receive a lot of silly ridiculous stuff; hopefully you will still get a chance to see some of that. Your LP Fields was released last year. Prior to its release, how did you predict this album would be received? Did you expect it to be as successful?

JG: We were making an album that wasn’t really meant for radio, we were making music for us. We would have been happy if it were played on the radio, but we were aware there were not enough refrains or catchy hooks. I think the level we’re at now to me is something I was expecting sort of, and hoping for, but yeah, as I said, personally I wasn’t really sure if it was going to work out.

Do you pull up next to someone tapping their hands on the steering wheel listening to one of your songs and think “We’ve made it! Everything’s going according to plan!” ?

JG: Yeah, I don’t know. In a car no, haha, I’m trying to figure out a funny situation now…


No, you don’t have to come up with one, don’t worry. What are you guys listening to these days? What are you into?

TW: Right now, same stuff I’ve listened to for fifteen to twenty years, haha. Whoa, I’ve been listening to Dungen’s new album, I like it a lot. But I cannot listen to an entire album at one time; I get restless and start to hate the band. I listen to two or three songs.

So you need someone to make a mixtape for you.

TW: Yeah.

So, you listen mostly to the stuff you liked when you were fifteen? I think that is normal.

TW: I think so too, but, also, of course, I listen to stuff that is “new to me.” I am stuck in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s.

Yeah, I mean… those are good years.

TW: Sometimes I’m ashamed of it, I want to be more progressive…

So you take all your records and hide them under your bed?

TW: No, haha, I want to listen to more new music. I try to listen to My Morning Jacket, and Fleet Foxes, nothing against them, but I listened to a song or two and got restless.

You should pick up J. Tillman’s Vacilando Territory Blues, he’s the drummer of Fleet Foxes and has an amazing voice. It’s really good.

JG: Okay, we’ll check it out, we met him when we had a day off in Texas. We were doing the same cities, so we met the whole band.

TW: Might I add something, regarding Fleet Foxes? I was speaking to the drummer, and he said, “I like this song,” and I listened to that one, and I liked it so, I sometimes need some guidance, some direction… Enough of that…

JG: I’ve been finding some really nice songs from Soundway Records and STRUT. These guys do compilations with music from Africa and Latin America, yeah really amazing music. A lot of that, new music: Dungen and another Swedish artist Goran Kajfes, another great band Little Dragon.

TW: Yeah Little Dragon is great, I listened to it for over a year, and they produced our album too.

Cover to cover?

TW: Um no—four songs.

That’s a stretch; it’s more than three, they must be good!

Both: Yeah they’re really, really good.

So, José, will you finish your PhD in Biochemistry?

JG: Ah, no. It would be interesting, but too much work.

What else do people need to know about you guys in general? I loved your last show, I don’t care if you think it is old as shit. That’s fine, it wasn’t even a year ago, and I enjoyed it.

JG: Haha, no no, it isn’t old as shit!

TW: I think this is better though.

JG: We changed the set up on stage, I think it’s a bit different.

JG: Oh yeah! We are going to work on a second album in autumn.

Not another five years?

JG: No, not another five years. Not even two or three years.

Are you going to do another longer, more intense tour to promote it?

JG: No, hopefully not.

[Tobias laughs.]

Last one was too long?

JG: It’s good to promote your music, but to be asked as a family, it’s good to be home more than half of the time. We just need to write some hits, some radio songs.

TW: If I could take my family, I could travel half of the year, maybe play the big cities. Do two weeks away then three weeks at home.

JG: This is the second to last show, apart from San Francisco…

Excited to wrap it up in the US?

JG: Yeah, not to be [ha-ha], it’s nice to feel like we’re going home to write more music.

Is that your favorite part, or do you prefer live?

JG: They are both nice when they’re going well. When we have a crappy song and five people in the crowd, it’s not so fun.

Where did that happen?

TW: Spokane.

JG: Yeah.

So you won’t be going back there?

JG: Eh, it was a Sunday, and the venue wasn’t perfect.

[Tobias snickers again.]

Well it’s good that you guys don’t get your feelings hurt. No throwing in the towel.

JG: No. No way.


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