By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Southern New England modern rock band Junro seamlessly mix elements of progressive rock, metal and 90’s alternative into one collective entity.
A key asset to their formula are the various musical backgrounds/interests of all members, with combined influences that range from pop-punk and emo to progressive metal and alternative.
Vocalist/Rhythm Guitarist Dave Nelson noted the challenges that can occur within the local scene when they try to embody a sound that’s progressive, yet approachable.
“It seems that there’s a very clear cut between some of the softer rock or indie rock and metal, which we kind of fall right in the middle of, so sometimes we end up on a show where everyone is a lot lighter than us and we’re definitely kind of sort of the sore thumb of being the heavy band or we’re on a show where we’re playing with a bunch of metal bands and we’re kind of a sore thumb because we’re not screaming or doing any of that kind of stuff,” Nelson said.
Besides Nelson, Junro’s current lineup includes Justin Wotus (Lead Guitar), Matt Levesque (Drums) and Dan Roellke (Bass).
2019 has been a big year for the group, as they released their sophomore effort in March called ‘From Hell.’ The seven-track album was recorded in their small Conn. studio. It was mixed by Microwave Guitarist Travis Hill at The Looking Glass Recording. ‘From Hell’ followed up their 2017 debut EP ‘Throwing Stones.’
“It was a fun process,” Nelson said. “The first album was really kind of me getting back into guitar and this album was sort of after all that had happened and kind of getting back into writing music from a non-‘fresh guitar player’ standpoint, so really kind of proud of the way this one came out. For the stuff we came up with, I think that this one definitely feels more cohesive than the first one and we’re really proud of it.”
Musically, their approach for ‘From Hell’ was to address their progressive nature in an interesting way that felt subtle.
“We try to make it so that if anybody’s listening, that they can listen and they’re not interrupted by anything weird, but if there’s anybody, any musicians or people who are kind of bigger fans of the technical stuff listening, they can pick up that there’s some more interesting things going on there,” said Nelson. “I definitely knew that we got better at kind of being more subtle about it on the second record than we did with the first. I think it feels a little bit more mature in that way that we were sort of able to put something together that felt like one big piece as opposed to lots of interesting things kind of jammed together.”
This past July, they opened up for The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus at The Webster Underground in Hartford, Conn. and in late September, released an official music video for their cover of Redbone’s “Come And Get Your Love.” Of course, besides the chance to poke fun at the “Area 51 Raids,” there were references galore to Marvel’s first “Guardians Of The Galaxy” movie, right down to Star-Lord’s maroon leather jacket and the “Awesome” mixtape.
“I’m a huge comic book nerd and obviously, I watch all the Marvel movies, so ‘Come And Get Your Love’ was just kind of one of those songs that I always really dug and kind of saw some potential for it to kind of go with the direction that we play it,” Nelson explained. “We demoed it out and played it out a couple of times and obviously, we get quite a lot of feedback from the sort of older generation on that one and I just thought it would be a fun one to stick on the album.”
Though they’re already at work on their next album, Nelson calls his biggest memory with Junro so far all the fantastic feedback they’ve received from fans on ‘From Hell.’
“We’re getting messages from people on Facebook comments and Instagram comments and stuff from people on how much they love the record,” Nelson shared. “Also, how much they’re streaming it and we see people come out and sing along and stuff and it’s pretty awesome.”