These Boys don’t get lost on the road

By Jordyn Marcellus

From Berlin to Hamilton, Ontario the Junior Boys — Matt Didimus and Jeremy Greenspan — are making music that’s a global pop confection.

The duo is known for its dark, moody, easy-grooving electronic pop with a melancholic edge. With sexy synthesizers that evoke late night discothèques and Greenspan’s Depeche Mode like pleading vocals, their music is enough to make listeners think back to loves lost on the dancefloor.

On their latest album, the Boys split their time recording in two seemingly different places — Hamilton, Ontario and Berlin.

“I sort of travelled back and forth [between Hamilton and Berlin],” says Greenspan. “Matt lives [in Berlin], so we’ve spent a lot of time there. It’s a great city. It’s cheap and artist-friendly.”

While it may seem like an odd comparison to make, Greenspan says that Berlin and Hamilton actually have a lot in common. They’re both creative and artistic hubs, plus dirt cheap to live in. For a musician like Greenspan, the latter is one of the more important.

“I love Hamilton,” laughs Greenspan. “It’s similar to Berlin in the sense that it’s unreasonably cheap. There’s a huge amount of artists that have come into the city and bought up blocks of the city, turning it into a place to do creative stuff.”

After recording the album, the inevitable touring has begun. For the Junior Boys, their tours are usually marked by at least one incredible disaster.

“We usually have one absolute catastrophe go down per tour, but thus far it hasn’t happened,” explains Greenspan, laughing nervously.

For most independent acts, the van is the only way to travel. It’s not the preferred choice, but it’s small and economical. The Junior Boys, though, are tour bus converts. Instead of hanging around in a cramped, smelly van that may not have functioning air conditioning, trying to carve out a space between instruments and merchandise, the Junior Boys travel in relative style on their tour bus.

“We’ve been lucky that we’ve had buses for the last couple tours,” says Greenspan. “It’s hard to go back, especially when you get a little bit older. Now that we’re in the 30s zone, it gets less and less appealing. When you’re 21, touring in a van is fun, but ultimately [busses] keep your band together because you’re not getting into massive, massive fights after being in a van together for six weeks.”

If touring is like a road trip, then you need to keep yourself occupied. “Punch Buggy” leads to bruised arms, “I Spy With My Little Eye” leads to annoyed bus patrons and “20 Questions” just sucks. For the Junior Boys, their North American tour is made easier by TV-on-DVD and separate bunk space.

“We’ve got the second season of 30 Rock going on, plus Matt’s watching some German films to help out with his German,” says Jeremy Greenspan. “It’s still [in the] early days. I got to buy more DVDs. I’m always looking for some Columbo episodes that I don’t have.”

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