MUSIC - Band is bitten by Glasgow bug

FOR four piece band Junebug, there is a slight identity crisis going on.

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Student band Junebug are having identity crisis
Student band Junebug are having identity crisis

Formed in the north-east in summer last year, the members have since split three ways across the nation.

"I would say we are a Glasgow band," says Owen Rataj, 21, lead guitarist and main songwriter.

"Even though we are from Aberdeen, we started down here and have lived down here. We have had only two Aberdonian gigs, compared to about 50 in Glasgow."

Although they are all from Deeside, Rataj and vocalist Katie Irvine, 20, are adopted Glaswegians.

"I would say we are a Scottish band," says Katie.

With drummer Harry Smith in Edinburgh, and bassist/songwriter Matthew MacDonald in Aberdeen, Scottish is probably the best way to describe the band.

But Katie continues: "Our fanbase is in Glasgow.".

The band's first EP, The Chase, was revealed last Friday with a headline slot at Classic Grand.

And they have twice played King Tut's Wah Wah Hut – first supporting Scottish band the Hazey Janes, and, secondly, as support for bands Electric Guest and Last Dinosaurs.

"The first time we played Tut's was very different from the second," says Katie. "The second time saw us playing with Electric Guest and Last Dinosaurs – one band from America, one from Australia.

"They are at their peak in their home countries. You could see their excitement in being somewhere new and it was so contagious."

Owen adds: "The second gig, I thought it was a huge step up."

More recently Junebug were at the 02 ABC in a supporting slot, a gig they describe as their best to date.

"Everything fitted – the crowd were good, we didn't muck up anything, the sound was brilliant," says Owen.

"I remember stepping back from it and thinking, 'That was good'.

"Then, two weeks later in Edinburgh, we had a very mediocre gig."

It is all part of the trials and tribulations of being in a young band, with so many, particularly student bands like themselves, battling it out for success.

However, Owen and Katie, both students at Glasgow University, have managed to find the balance of student life and crafting music.

Katie says: "I came to uni to study music, and then I swapped course just because I didn't like it.

"I forgot about it until Junebug started, and then I realised the closer I am to graduating, the more I want to be a singer."

Says Owen: "The problem is that nowadays there is a very fine line between being an unfound musician, and unemployed" .

That said, the band may be about to shake the "unfound" label soon, having recorded The Chase at Glasgow record label 45 A-Side Recording Studios.

The band's members draw inspiration from a variety of musicans and bands, which might explain the alternative feel to their music.

Harry Smith credits Feeder and Twinatlantic; while multi-instrumentalist Matthew MacDonald has an array of musical interests, with Bombay Bicycle Club at the forefront.

For Katie and Owen, it's just as varied.

"The one person I listened to growing up was Kate Bush, and I found out her music through my parents," says Katie.

"They have opposing tastes, which was good because I had the punk scene from my dad, and then the softer, kind of folk music and Joni Mitchell from my mum."

Owen says: "For me, the Stereophonics and the Arctic Monkeys. I can pretty much play every one of their albums from start to finish on guitar.

"I forgot about Oasis. I love Oasis."

With The Chase available on iTunes and Amazon, Irvine and Rataj are nervous about how it will go.

Kate, however, is confident: "To have the physical evidence of everything you've put into for just over a year, it is going to be a great feeling."

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