Juno Reactor ranks among the all-time greats of electronic music as essential innovators. From the early days of the Goa scene to scoring Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions, performing their stunning live shows around the world at major music festivals: Glastonbury, Fuji Rock, The Glade, Boom, Ozora, Burning Man and many more.
How important is it to keep original and be re-inventing yourself in the electronic scene?
I haven’t a clue! But I think what is important is that you yourself find it exciting to go and spend days, weeks, years in the studio and love what you come up with. That way other people might like it, and if they don’t at least you do.
What have been the challenges for you along the way?
Music has never been a problem; it has always been the business end that has been challenging for me. From useless managers to under-developed labels and dodgy promoters.
I could write a book about these people, as useless as they have been. There have been some very funny stories and great times… such as having my hotel room robbed by a knife-wielding Russian female junkie; while I was taking a last-min download on the toilet, she took everything that was in my bag. Okay, that’s not funny, but what was brilliant was having to stay in Perm for another week and finding the underbelly of life there. I can blame my useless manager of the time for that, but that is a longer story.
I always thought I was abandoned at birth by a travelling circus. The smell of a new day in a new town – performing whether upside down in a tree as a kid, or glamming it up on stage, instinct brought me here.
What was Goa like in the early days – is there still a scene there now?
Juno Reactor are regarded as pioneers of this sound from the early 90s, but I never went there. My principal JR DJ (Mike Maguire) lived out there six months at a time, while I stayed in the studio in the UK. He would take the tracks to India and play them at the parties, so all I know personally are the stories he told me.
I went much later and toured India three times. I love Mumbai more than Goa; it feels more real to me and more interesting… more stories to draw on.
What are the influences that you draw on?
It can be anything. I was in a taxi in India with one of Bollywood’s top male singers. I asked him to sing me a song, and he sang an amazing Punjabi folk song. I recorded it on my ZOOM H4n and took it back to the hotel and wrote Invisible.
What were the highlights of the last 12 months?
Being asked to play on the Great Wall of China – performing with the full live band. Coming to Oz will be up there for the next 12 months as I have not been for ages. I am very excited to be going toall these places in Australia as I have only been to Melbourne three times and, as much as I love Melbourne, it would be great to see beyond it.
What should we expect for your show at the Byron Brewery?
Full-on vibe; that is all we can give. A lot of passion inside and outside the music!
Juno Reactor play the Byron Brewery on Saturday from 4pm.