Getting Familiar with The Junior League
The Junior League, also known as the brainchild of Joe Adragna, has been making the musical rounds for the past several years under the moniker. Creating a heavenly brand of Indie-Pop-Rock, The Junior League bring a captivating sound to the table that is equal parts unique and familiar. Currently sharing the brilliant new single, "On/Off," which features the infamous Jay Ferguson of Sloan on keys ,The Junior League take flight with their new release, Also Rans. In the past couple of weeks we had the honor of catching up with Adragna, regarding his plans and future of music for 2016.
What comes first when writing, the music or the lyrics? Why so?
Generally, the music comes first. I think it's easier for me to come up with the music and have a basic idea of what I'd like to sing over it. The lyrics almost always come last. Funny thing is, I'll know what the song is going to be about when I'm doing the music a lot of times---I just don't know how I'm gonna say it!
Also Rans is a delightful record from start to finish. What is the theme and concept behind the record?
There really isn't a theme, although I guess you could say that most of the characters in the songs are losers to some degree. I don't know that I thought about that before I started writing and recording the record, but by the time I did the song "Also Rans" I realized that is what most of the record was about, hence the title.
Your vocals are silky smooth with an incredible Pop-Rock edge to them. What vocalists do you look up to and how did you craft your vocal style?
I grew up listening to lots and lots of 50s and 60s pop music, especially The Beatles and The Monkees. I'm not quite sure I have a vocal style, to be honest. I'm just a product of all the music I've absorbed over the years. I think Evan Dando is a great singer, as is Michael Nesmith.
What kind of instruments do you use on the new record?
I used a 60s era ludwig kit, zildjian cymbals, a Fender Mustang bass, an Epiphone Casino, a Fender Telecaster, a Martin acoustic, an Epiphone Dove acoustic, some cheap acoustics......oh, and a Les Paul Special. I used pro tools keyboard sounds on the stuff I played on, but I know Scott (McCaughey) and Jay (Ferguson) used real keys on the stuff they played on.
Do you record the new album on your own, or did you head to the studio with an outside producer?
I did it on my own at home, mostly. My friends who helped me did their parts at their respective spaces.
You teamed up with Jay Ferguson of Can-Rockers Sloan for the latest single "On/Off." How did the collaboration come together?
I met Jay at a Sloan show years ago. We had a great chat and exchanged emails and became friends. I think Sloan is fantastic, and Jay is a fantastic writer and musician. When I was working on Also Rans, Jay asked me how it was going. I told him about "On/Off" and asked if he'd give it a listen. He did, and then came up with the fab keyboard bits. I was really thrilled--and I appreciated the help! He's a great guy. I was very lucky to have him, Scott, Boz, Deni and JJ help out on the record.
What is the inspiration behind the new single, "On/Off"?
I think people forget words are like fists. People can really do damage with words. I think people can say "Oh, I didn't mean that" but the pain lingers regardless.
With elements of Indie, Pop Rock and Classic Rock, how do you combine those elements to craft your own, unique sound?
Honestly, I don't know. I'm just a big fan of music and I get excited about stuff. If I listen to Paul McCartney play bass, I want to go write something that will give me the excuse to play bass in the style of Paul McCartney, you know what I mean? Or if it's raining outside and I hear "Run To Me" by The Bee Gees, I get all melancholic and want to write some sad pop song, hahahaha. To me, there isn't much difference between those three genres. Wendy and Bonnie, followed by The Who, followed by The Intruders......I should have been around during AM radio!
Where do you see The Junior League as a musician, 10 years from now?
I'd like to still be putting out records, and writing things that people would like to listen to.