For Fans Of: The OBGMs / Fugazi / Pixies
If Joncro’s ‘Degenerates’ snuck into a 70’s CBGBs inspired playlist, it would sit quite comfortably between Dead Boys and Richard Hell and the Voidoids, camouflaged by frustration and raw DIY aesthetic, but the band don’t go back quite that far. We chat frontman Daniel G. Wilson about their origins, favourite stories from the road and how his Jamaican heritage plays into their sound.
Words: Renette van der Merwe
Tell us a little about yourself. Where the name came from, how long you’ve been going for and anything else new fans would want to know.
We are an Afro-Jamaican fronted experimental noise rock/Dubgaze based out of Mississauga, Ontario. We have been together for five years as of November and have been spreading the gospel of noise ever since. The name Joncro is Jamaican Patois for vulture, specifically the turkey vultures that are native to the Americas. The name was chosen as a celebration of my Jamaican heritage and because it sounds really cool.
Going way back to the beginning, can you recall your very first memory of music?
The first memories I have of music, is listening to my mom’s cassette and cd collection as a kid. She is a giant hippie and is a fan of 60s folk revival music and new age music from around the world. I spent a lot of time living in Jamaica when I was younger and I also grew up hearing various types of Jamaican music on the radio. Harry Belafonte was and still is an all-time favourite of mine. The earliest concrete memory I have of music as kid is singing his song “Brown Skin Girl” while running around our yard.
Who’s on your wishlist of artists that you’d love to collaborate with and/or open for on tour?
Man, if I mentioned every artist we wanna work with we would be here all week lol. In terms of collaborating, I would love to work with Clairmont The Second, Shamir, Devin McKnight, and Toronto screamo royalty Respire. In terms of playing or touring with, The OBGMS, Screaming Females, PUP, and The Dirty Nil would be dream bands to play with. It has been a long-time dream of ours to tour Africa and Latin America, so playing a show with Crystal Axis from Kenya and No Somos Marineros from Mexico would be chill.
You’ve just put out your second EP, The Joncro Mountains. Can you talk about some of the messages you wanted to convey and what were some of the most fun and most challenging parts of recording it?
Our newest record is the most Jamaican-inspired thing we have ever put out. I wanted to make something that encapsulated aspects of Jamaican culture and history that are rarely discussed in Canadian rock and punk. In that way it’s kind of a personal record. I hope that people listening come away with a sense that it’s possible to honour and embrace your heritage and get experimental without losing the ability to rock the fuck out. We were also honoured to have put it on LootBag Records which is one of the most diverse labels in Ontario. In terms of production making it was somewhat difficult as we recorded so much of it separately which was a first for us. We are a band that prides itself on live off the floor style production so doing things remotely has been an adjustment.
“’Degenerates’ is precisely the kind of in-your-face reminder I needed that there is no taking a break when it comes to fighting for the basic human rights for Black lives.”
Speaking of live shows, what’s your favourite story from a show so far?
There are so many, haha. One of the benefits, or curses, of being a loud band is the chaotic energy that often permeates our sets. Highlights include the time we played a show and the drum kit kept falling apart mid set and our friends had to put it back together while Matt kept drumming, Kieran and I had to share a mic and my pedalboard decided to stop working for one song lol. Our favourite show would have to be when we played The Garnet in Peterborough two years ago for Borderless Fest (a cool festival put on by our pal Sara Shahsavari). We were the second to last act on the bill at like 10:00 pm on a Sunday. It was a packed sweaty show and people were screaming the choruses of our songs back at us. People even threw bags of chips at me. The only time I have played a show where I got fed onstage haha. Shout out to PTBO for being one of our favourite cities to play in.
Settle an argument for us (and the rest of the world) pineapple on pizza?
Pineapple on everything but pizza is amazing.
Rising to the challenge, Joncro have put together an electrifying collection of songs that best encapsulates the artists and music that inspire them as a band.
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