Junk Drawer will play Other Voices Ballina 2020 at the end of the month. Stevie Lennox from the band recently took the time to talk to TLMT about what he’s listening to, what inspires his music and his thoughts on the event itself.
What’s the last song you listened to on Spotify?
At Last I Am Free by Robert Wyatt. It’s a cover of a Chic song, and I couldn’t believe it when I found out. It’s an amazing, even more subdued reworking of the original.
What’s the last record you bought?
The other night a very good friend gave me a belated, but amazing double Christmas present of the Midnight Cowboy OST (top 5 of all time, easy) & Rubycon by Tangerine Dream. Both were destined to end up on my shelves at some point.
What is influencing your music right now?
It revolves a lot, depending on what we’ve been listening to, reading and watching, but some constants at the moment are Captain Beefheart, Can, Cleaners From Venus, Beak>.
We have a couple of lyricists, but some key influences are David Berman of Silver Jews & Pat McCabe (The Butcher Boy, and currently reading its sequel), as well as Michael Apted’s 7-Up Series (which has followed a group of children since 1964 as they make their way through life). These have been colouring some of the ideas that we’ve been exploring lyrically.
What’s the last song you’ve written/worked on?
We just finished & recorded a song called ‘Tears In Costa’ for the third volume of independent compilation, A Litany of Failures. It’s our most accessible, concise song to date, without losing any of our weirdness. This year’s instalment of the comp is looking like the most exciting yet – can’t wait for people to hear it.
What do you think makes Other Voices events such a special gig for artists to play?
Over the last decade, it’s become such an institution and an arbiter of good taste across genres that every Irish musician hopes to be deemed worthy of a place on its lineup at some point. It feels like a very important step on the way towards real validation as artists. Not only that, but finally we can say “we’re playing Other Voices” to concerned relatives and it puts their fears about our “wee band” to rest for another fortnight.
What other acts would you most recommend people see from the Other Voices Ballina?
The Mary Wallopers will put proud tears in stouts, MurLi, as well as our Northern cohorts Joel Harkin – in all his cathedral-soaked majesty – as well as what’ll no doubt be an phenomenal jazz set from Derry virtuosi Joseph Leighton & David Lyttle.
With 2020 just beginning. What have you got planned for the year ahead?
This is looking like our biggest year to date by a distance. Our debut album, Ready For The House, will be out later in Spring through Art For Blind Records, and we’re planning some UK dates, more shows & festivals across Ireland than we’ve ever done. As mentioned, we’re really excited about the next Litany of Failures, which will come out over summer and is always an incredible showing of solidarity amongst incredibly talented artists unafraid to compromise their vision. We’ll also be continuing to write, but we’ve already recorded some new set ahead of the album’s release. We can’t wait to put it out into the world after all this time.
Other Voices Ballina 2020 will take place on Friday, February 28th and Saturday, February 29th. The FREE Music Trail will take place in venues across Ballina including The Loft, T Breathnach’s, An Sean Sibin, An Bolg Bui, Harrisons, Paddy Macs, Bar Square, An Tarbh 47, The Cot and Cobble, Vincy’s Bar, and Shambles.
*** Registration for the Festival is now open at Eventbrite ***
Photo credit: Billy Woods