Interview tar tar is a raw and tasty look at the tbt local profile interview before edits.
Lakeland-based duo Joon casts a wide, silky net for the wide range of sounds they come up. While maintaining a keen focus on keyboards and synths, they reinforce the cleverness and prettiness with timeless, heartfelt rock.
Definitely one of Florida’s best.
1. Is it just you two? Please provide me the current complete lineup — first and last names and corresponding instruments played.
John – Yes, it’s just us. Our lineup is:
Shayne Soderstrom (Vocals, Guitars, Synths, Programming, Drum Machine)
John Crayon (Vocals, Guitars, Synths, Various Keyboards)
2. I noticed several influences but you guys offer a timeless pop sound that’s not too derivative of any one decade. How do you go about balancing things out to achieve uniqueness?
Shayne – Well we really try to focus on melodies first. Typically, everything will fall into place around that. We’re both a bit obsessed with the 60s and 70s, so using modern instrumentation helps to keep things from sounding too dated.
3. Does your live show include all of the same instrumentation as your recordings? If not, how do you pare it down?
John – For the most part, our performances use the same instrumentation. Obviously our recordings involve a lot of overdubbing, but in performance we do our best to fill out the sound with harmonized guitar work and waaay too much echo. Shayne also programs a few little things into the drum machine (the bass line on “Crocodile Fears,” for instance) but most of our performance is absolutely live.
This surprises people sometimes. A guy at our last show didn’t believe we actually played all of the synths and guitars onstage. Apparently we’re decent mimes.
4. Tell us a little about the Go Fidelity collective. Are any Tampa bands involved?Shayne – Go Fidelity was an honest-to-goodness try at getting bands to interactively help each other succeed. I suppose it’s too idealist of a concept to have actually worked. When it started, we tried to get the ball rolling by trying to do what we can to help all the bands we liked in the area. If nothing else, we offered help. Not to say that we were in it to reap benefits, but none of the young bands ever really got into the position to be able to do much to help each other. I’ll blame it on all of Lakeland’s venues dying off at an inopportune time. It was a Polk County thing, but it sort of fell flat on its face, so we never had the chance to expand. There are bands all across Florida who’ve been very helpful to us in one way or another, and we try to return that, so the spirit of Go Fi lives on, I suppose. Of those bands, a couple are in the Tampa area (Tre Bien!, Win Win Winter, Grey Matter, Inertia, etc). Tampa bands seem to be good people.
5. John, how would you compare the music you make with Joon with what you did with Crayons? You may have told me before, but is Crayon your real last name? (sorry!)
John – Crayons was much more of a Rock and Roll band, so joining Joon was definitely a change for me. In Joon, the focus is more on creating a particular atmosphere, rather than engaging the audience in a raucous performance. Crayons was a great band, but it was a very different animal than Joon.
I get letters addressed to John Crayon. As far as I’m concerned, it is my name.
6. Being located between Tampa and Orlando is a good thing, right? Do you favor one scene over another or enjoy double-dipping?
John – We enjoy double-dipping. I don’t think we’d have it any other way, actually. Lakeland is a great city. Now if only our venues would stay open…
7. Where does the name Joon come from and why the title Uncanny Valley?
Shayne – I won’t waste too much of your time explaining how we got our name. An old member of the band named us Joon after my original name (Bastard Sons of Time and Space) didn’t go over too well. He just liked it, I wasn’t against it, so that was it. We found out later that it was Korean for “ready”, or something like that, so we sort of liked how that worked out. We’re definitely ready. For what, who knows?
The Uncanny Valley was a theory that was released in a book by the same name by a Japanese roboticist in 1970. It basically says that when something is synthetic, people will respond positively to its human traits, and more so the more human traits it has, until it reaches the point of being eerily ALMOST human. At that point, the unnatural things stand out more than the human traits do, so when you graph out the response, there’s a sudden drop right there. that’s called the uncanny valley. I found that the concept applies to more than just robots or computer animated people. people will respond to electronic music if you add just the right bits of organic sounds. I used the uncanny valley as sort of a guide when recording the record. One song was originally very much a rock song, but it just wasn’t coming across right. I made it a bit more “cartoony,” if you will… made the sounds more obviously synthetic and let the voice balance out the organic. It ended up being one of my favorite tracks on the record.
8. You do stuff together outside practice and gigs? Do you have a favorite spot to eat or hang out, if so?
Shayne – We live together, so we do hang out by default, I suppose. Seriously, though, we used to hang out even before we were in a band or lived together. All of that stuff just sort of happened that way. We’ve always been friends, and I think I can honestly say we have a unique respect for each other that enables us to do what we do. Being a band with two members comes with its own stresses, but because of our friendship and respect for one another, we’ve never had big fights or anything. I think we could sometimes, but we have to go home together, you know? haha I hope that answers your question somewhat.
9. Please tell me about a song you close the set with or a special crowd-pleaser of some sort (if not, a personal favorite you’d like to talk about).
Shayne – Our set kind of blends together here and there, but there is one song that I really enjoy playing. I originally didn’t think we were going to be able to perform it live when we were recording it, but we just practiced it until we figured it out. It’s like a two minute pop song with a 3 minute jam session tagged onto the end of it. Best of both worlds, if you ask me.
10. Briefly, tell me about any jobs, school, wives, girlfriends, children, pets — obligations outside the band.
John – I’m currently getting my Master’s degree in American Studies at USF. Shayne is getting married in August and going back to school to be a teacher. We have a cat at the house, Leila, that we found in a stump.
11. If your music were to score a cartoon adventure, what would it be?