The Top 50 Albums of Year 2010… #18 JUGGERS “The Crystal Axis”
18. MIDNIGHT JUGGERNAUTS “The Crystal Axis”
To stir things up a bit, I thought I’d pop up my unblogged interview with Juggernauts’ Vincent from earlier this year which I actually think is a really great read. This is the second highest Australian-made album entry in the chart this year and rightfully so. Full of intense movie-soundtrack homages and an obvious love of melding science fiction with electronica, it’s a surprise the Midnight Juggernauts haven’t already completely taken over the world. The songs on Axis are bigger, bolder and stronger than those from their still incredible debut, “Dystopia”, which – for most other artists – would have been an impossible feat. But not Juggers. One of the brightest and most promising Australian acts of our generation.
Hello Vincent how are you?
Ah, I’m okay… a little delirious right now, I just flew in from London actually…
It’s been an interesting trip. I flew in, but my luggage did not.
It will arrive eventually, hopefully (laughs)
What were you guys doing in London?
We’ve been touring through the UK, Europe and South America over the last month or so, just doing a few pre-album release shows, doing press and having meetings. We played lots of live shows, it was really good to go out there again. But then we’ll release the album and go back to those places to do the summer festival circuit, which is around June or July. A lot of traveling!
Living in and out of your suitcase.
If I had a suitcase! (laughs)
Christ, remind me to buy you a suitcase for Christmas Vincent. How’s the new material translating live?
(Laughs) Thanks mate! As for the new material, yeah really well actually, I think this mini-tour has been the first time we’ve been testing out a lot of the new songs, and it’s been getting a really good response. We’re really happy with how the shows have been going, and the reaction we’re getting for the new material. I suppose we have some pretty diverse crowds as well, to those different crowds it responded really well too. In London we played KoKo, a more straight-up rock crowd, and then we played Fabric with a dance crowd, and they all responded really well to the same material.
So how long were you guys recording and writing for on the record?
I supposed we’ve been writing for a long time, we’re actually constantly writing I guess. Given that we were on tour since 2008, we’ve always been writing on our downtime, if it comes into our head we’ll put it down on our computer or the tape recorder, even as a sketch so we can go back to the idea sometime in the future. But the things is, we have hundreds of those sketches, progressions and song structures that we wanted to play with. Last year we ended up going to The Beachhouse and jamming on a couple of these ideas together, fashioned them out into proper songs, so it was probably over a year or so that the album really took shape? But even afterwards, we’re still writing now. I’d be happy to make this into a double or a triple album. I guess it’s one release at a time though, it’s good that we’re starting this whole new chapter now though.
At what point did you think you wanted to completely remove yourself from the sound of the first record?
Well, I mean; I like the first record, but I think with us, we’ll always wanna be evolving and developing. We never wanna be a band that retreads the same ground. Every album for us is hopefully gonna be quite different… that might annoy some people but it might make others happy too! We definitely wanted to have a different approach on this record though.
Do you think there’ll be a few fans of the first album who might not necessarily “get” what they’re hearing on the second?
Oh definitely Adem. Definitely. There’s probably a lot more people in the dance world who may have an idea of what they want us to be. But we’ve never liked having and constraints on Midnight Juggernauts, we’ve always wanted to explore new tangents – and that’s definitely gonna divide our audience. But that’s okay, we’re always going to be challenging ourselves and our listeners, and if people aren’t into that then that’s fine. Hopefully there’s enough people people joining us on this new road though!
I think the really great thing about The Crystal Axis is that it sounds nothing like the first record yet completely sounds like a Midnight Juggernauts album…
Yeah well we hope so. That works for us. As long as there’s some sort of character or personality there that people can identify as Midnight Juggernauts, I think we’d be really happy with that. It’s still coming from the same minds, a human has different moods and emotions going through the day; we’ve got them going throughout our career.
There seems to be a very big love of sci-fi throughout the record, obviously its movies and general culture left an impact on you guys, particularly the stuff from the 70s?
Yeah well I’ve always found that, soundtracks from movies directly appeal to me, they are there to move peoples emotions and evoke ideas of a larger world beyond images on screen. There’s a lot of soundtracks from the 70s that incorporated analogue synthesizers and orchestration, which is really quite inspiring to me, the worlds they were able to create. Those textures and atmospheres is something I’ve always liked.
Dynasty actually reminds me of something that could be lifted off the Rocky Horror Picture show…
(Laughs) That works for me! Very happy with that, thank you!!
My pleasure Vincent. Now, why was there such a lengthy period between the first EP, Dystopia and the Crystal Axis?
Good question actually. We were on the road for a helluva long time though, and it was overseas and it was constant. In 2009 we wanted to get into recording the album, but we spent a lot of time writing music too actually.
Thank you very much Vincent!