José Junior has today released his new EP titled ‘Yo No Soy Marinero’. With such a diverse musical and geographical background, its little surprise that this album turned out the way it did. Inspirational for guitarists and motivational for songwriting, José has a memorable sound that is signature at the core and accessible from the base with a set of songs that each stand out on their own yet form a musical bond when pieced together.
Check out our other features with José Junior HERE.
Anglo-Latino singer/songwriter José Junior writes songs that seek to join the Hispanic crooning he was raised on with the strung-out psych rock revival of his teenage years in England.
Born in the US, Junior has spent his entire life connecting the cultural dots that make up his identity, starting from a young age when his Spanish father and Colombian mother decided to relocate the family to London.
“I’ve always felt I was caught somewhere between Anglo and Latin cultures,” he adds. “This duality meant that Spanish, British, and American music was always playing in our house growing up, so singing in both languages felt right to me.”
Being raised on a healthy mix of Motown hits, the romantic balladry of Eydie Gormé Y Los Panchos, and the classical guitar overtures of Joaquín Rodrigo left an imprint on Junior’s eventual brand of “sad dad rock”, their bittersweet melodrama shaping the mood of his songs. But it was the influence of North London’s vibrant indie rock music scene that was the catalyst for him to pick up the guitar.
With height on his side, he would sneak in underage to as many local indie clubs as he could, catching scrappy indie bands like British Sea Power and Babyshambles play live at their peak. Seeing “scruffy weirdos make noise” cemented this idea that anyone could play in a band, which eventually led to his own stints playing guitar in a number of bands (Post Louis, Bad Breeding) before returning to his childhood desire to write “simple love songs”.
Recorded with his childhood friend Ed Nash (Bombay Bicycle Club, Toothless), his upcoming debut Yo No Soy Marinero (a nod to the Ritchie Valens hit ‘La Bamba’) succeeds in keeping its songwriting direct, whilst allowing Junior to let his influences sprawl. Lead single “Forever” leans heavily into the Summer Of Love revivalism of The Brian Jonestown Massacre and Creation Records, while EP highlight “Love Song” honors the lovesick balladry he was raised on while diving into the woozy psychedelia of Mazzy Star.
“I love how guitar bands in the ‘90’s went back to basics and started writing songs like bands from the ‘60s,” Junior concludes. “That DIY culture of American ‘90s music really inspires me, as these artists were building their own musical ecosystem from the ground up. That’s how all the best art gets made.”
Featured image by Alex Bruno.
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