The ClubPlanet Interview: Junior J

The ClubPlanet Interview: Junior J

by DJ Ron Slomowicz
01.17.2017

Spinnin is the breeding ground for the next generation of DJ talent.   Martin Garrix, Oliver Heldens, Trobi, TV Noise, and Dante Klein come to mind.  One to watch is rising Irish talent Junior J.  His debut record “Keep It Comin,” sampling the C&C Music Factory, exploded in clubs and on the radio around the world.  The follow up “I Need to Know” proved he wasn’t just a one hit wonder.  With several new tracks lined up for 2017, you should stay tuned to his We Are House podcasts for a taste of whats to come from Junior J.

RS: So what does the J stand for?
Junior J: My real name is Jay, so Junior J just rhymes, it’s a random thing that kind of just stuck.

RS: When you made “Keep It Comin,” did you have any idea that it would be so big?
Junior J: Not really, it was just another track and another day in the studio working with some different parts of music. It just became a successful track for me and it was great, I’m going to try and keep doing that with all my tracks.

RS: Great, I love it. “Keep It Comin” was by C+C Music Factory and came out in 1992, I am kind of guessing that was before you were born?
Junior J: Yes, it was two years before I was born.

RS: So how did you discover it?
Junior J: It has just been a song that I have always loved the vocal, Deborah Cooper is amazing and I am a really big fan of hers. I have always loved the soul/house stuff so I was working on a bootleg of it with no real plans to release it but it all gelled together really well. I sent it to Joorn here and they all loved it, so it came together like that.

RS: If you were to do another ‘90s cover, what song would you do?
Junior J: I would probably do another one by Deborah. I know that “A Deeper Love “has been done a few times but it’s always a great vocal and her voice is so powerful.

RS: For the record, did you actually use her vocal?
Junior J: Parts of it, the original is from a vinyl so you could hear all the clips and fuzziness in the background so we used parts of it and the rest we got replayed.

RS: And maybe for the next one you will actually get Deborah in the studio with you.
Junior J: Yeah, we reached out to her to clear things with her management and she loved it. I don’t know if she is still singing, I think she is retired, but I could ask her to come out of retirement.

RS: Bring her over to Ireland and get her drunk, she’ll love it.
Junior J: Fly her over and give her a Guinness and she will be fine.

RS: Who is that singing on “I Need To Know”?
Junior J: It’s just a sample from a sample pack, it was just another club track that I wanted to make. “Keep It Comin” had done quite well commercially and on radio play and I just wanted to make a club track since I have always been a club DJ. It was just another club track on Spinnin’.

RS: What are you working on right now?
Junior J: We have a lot coming, I don’t think I can say what my next single is but it’s probably going to be the biggest one, we are just working on the release date.

RS: You’re just teasing us, I love it. So, you posted a picture of your dad after a show, what does he perform?
Junior J: He is a promoter, he used to be a DJ years ago and has done Essential Mixes on Radio 1 and used to tour with Paul Van Dyk. He did a classical show with the all-star orchestra in Northern Ireland last weekend and it sold out 5,000 people. He is the one that motivates me and keeps me going, so it’s nice.

RS: What is the best advice he gave you as a DJ?
Junior J: Keep your feet on the ground and stay humble, don’t get too carried away and always remember where you came from and treat people how you want to be treated. That kind of respectful advice.

RS: Love that. Is there a collab coming with Anton Powers?
Junior J: No, there is a couple of collabs coming but not one with Anton. We are just good friends and we hook up and play together sometimes, maybe one day but not yet.

RS: You post a lot about Lush, what is that?
Junior J: That is my home club and the club that my dad runs. It is where I first learned how to DJ and play in front of crowds. It’s like 10 minutes from me and it’s where everything began for me. It’s one of the best clubs in the UK, we bring a lot of Spinnin’ artists there and Calvin Harris, Hardwell and Afrojack have played there.

RS: Keeping it real and keeping it close to home. Your home town Coleraine is known for cheddar cheese, so aside from there, where in the world do you find the best pasta with cheese?
Junior J: It has to be Italy, pasta and cheese is always great in Rome, isn’t it? To be honest the cheese isn’t really that nice in my home town, it’s famous for it but I’m not a big fan of it for some reason. Maybe I shouldn’t say that, oh well.

RS: How different is the Irish club scene from the British club scene?
Junior J: It’s a lot different. I would say the British club scene is a wider variety of music varying from techno to big room to drum and bass. I think that since Ireland isn’t that big and there is only a handful of good clubs, they kind of all stick to the same thing but it’s good. The Irish people are crazy so the parties are really good but from a musical point of view it’s a little bit behind, but we are getting there.

RS: Back in the day I think they called it scouse house?
Junior J: Yeah, that was a thing that came from Britain and kind of came down, it was a thing back in the day. I don’t know if it’s so much of a thing anymore, maybe more in the UK than Ireland but scouse house was a funny expression.

RS: Now for the serious questions, why do DJs wear black?
Junior J: I don’t know, I think that black is a cool color and you look cool in all black. Also, we get sweaty when we perform so it keeps us looking half decent when we are on stage and in front of a camera I suppose.

RS: If you were a furry what animal would you be?
Junior J: A kangaroo because I am nice and bouncy and energetic and everyone loves kangaroos!

RS: How could you not love a kangaroo? An Irish joey! When they make the movie of your life what actor will place you?
Junior J: Mark Wahlberg because we have the same chest and he’s a cool guy.

RS: Just like you! What would you like to say to all of your fans out there?
Junior J: Thanks for supporting me and buying my tracks, playing my tracks, and coming to see me at my shows, it means a lot. I hope that I can grow bigger and bigger over the years working with Spinnin’ I hope we can create a real solid fan base and that I give them good music and they give me good parties.


Interview conducted October 2016.

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