Patience is a virtue, and the members of Swedish trio Junip should understand that better than most. Drummer Elias Araya, guitarist-vocalist Jose Gonzalez and keyboardist Tobias Winterkorn formed the band in the late ’90s, but it took more than a decade for them to release their first album.
As Winterkorn puts it, “a lot of stuff came up” during the ’00s — including Gonzalez’s breakout success as a solo act in 2005. While Gonzalez toured to promote two successful albums, the other two-thirds of Junip pursued their own interests: Winterkorn taught high school, and Araya studied art in Finland and Norway. In 2008, the three reunited in Gothenberg, Sweden, and finally began recording songs for 2010’s “Fields,” a debut album full of atmospheric melodies with undertones of soul, jazz and folk.
Ahead of Junip’s show at the Black Cat Saturday, Express talked to Winterkorn about the band’s long-gestating first record.
What was the process like when you finally got together to record?
The three of us just sat down and started jamming together, and we found new sounds quite easily. That was a relief, to notice that we could still do music.
How has Jose Gonzalez’s solo career affected the band?
For starters, when we began touring in 2010, it wasn’t hard to get shows. And a lot of people who came to the shows were just coming to see what Jose is all about.
You met Jose and drummer Elias Araya when the three of you played metal hardcore shows in the ’90s. How did your musical style change so much?
It was more like hardcore music was really unexpected for us to listen to back then because of where we come from: I started out playing saxophone, and Jose played bossa nova and Latino music. And Elias listened to some African music. Then the hardcore scene came, and we all fell for it in some weird way because it was so completely different. But it was really only for a couple of years, and then we got fed up with it.
What does “Junip” mean?
Elias actually saw the word “junip” in an old Swedish dictionary. We just took that word because all the other bands back then had such long names. We thought it was short, and it looks nice when you write it.
» Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW; Sat., 9 p.m., $15-$18; 202-667-7960, Blackcatdc.com. (U St.-Cardozo)
Photos by Jon Bergmann