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Juno Reactor

Juno Reactor

Although the British Psytrance veteran is touring with a large band, he doesn’t like rehearsing. Maybe it’s his dynamic real-time approach towards music that keeps his sound so vivid even after all these years…

You are producing music since the early 90s. What’s the biggest difference between now and then?

You have to think a little more tactically whereas in the beginning we were just inspired by the music we were hearing at the time, coming out of Belgium, Germany… there was no real scene. As soon as things become stylised I think it becomes dead. Stylised music is dead music, it’s museum pieces, it’s bullshit. In those days it was pretty open, pretty free – just to experiment. There wasn’t so much formulation as nowadays. I’m not so much interested in formulation. There’s a lot of music that sounds a lot like the same thing to me at the moment…

So which is your favourite contemporary band?

My favourite band at the moment is Die Antwoord. I love their visuals, their attitude, the anti-beauty, the roughness of it, I love the beats…

Did they inspire you for the production of The Golden Sun Of The Great East, your album that has been released in April?
Not really, I got a brain like a drain, it comes in and then it immediately goes out the other end. And it sort of filters out the things I want to retain. At the moment I am massively inspired by Indian music. I love Indian playing,  the rhythms, the improvisations. On one of the tracks on the album, I recorded this singer in a taxi in Mumbai. I had a digital recorder with me and I met this famous singer from Bollywood and I said: Come on, sing us a song! And he sang this amazing 5-minute piece. I thought okay, I’m gonna try it on the track that I wrote in the hotel room and it just worked perfectly! The track is called Invisible.

It really worked perfectly, the album gained amazing feedback! What was the most beautiful compliment you received for this work?
I was glad that I could deliver to them what they were looking forward to from Juno Reactor. On the previous albums I did a lot of experimenting with directions. I thought this was a good time to journey back to the beginnings of ideas. So the best compliment I heard is that it hit the spot.

You are touring with a huge band, musicians from literally all around the world: Africa, India, Japan, Israel, Spain… rehearsing must be quite a tough issue.
I don’t really like rehearsing, I think it’s a waste of time. Most musicians can just sit and listen to the tracks and then we get together and we do the sound check… and as the gigs progress we get better. That’s the best way because I like mistakes, I like things to go wrong, I like things to spin out of control. I like people to play too much, to play too little. Just like a piece of rock and start carving, start chopping. That’s the way I like to work, I like to work with people’s natural energy and the forge it into the way I proceed. By the end of the tour you are already good. Rather than going in the rehearsal room and coming out of the rehearsal room like puppets, having your part… I’ve done that so many times and it takes all the life and the imagination and the energy out of it.

Any non-music projects at the moment?
I had this empty space underneath my studio in Brighton where I used to watch films in. One day I thought: I’ll turn it into a video filming room. So I put in a green screen and black room, a white room and curtains. And I have just started filming, I had ideas for tracks from the album, doing a lot of UV, just a lot of crazy stuff. I’m feeling really inspired by video at the moment, I love getting up a 4 in the morning and driving somewhere, finding somewhere. I feel really inspired by editing again.

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