Junius Record Guerrilla Style, Get Bumped by Akon and Springsteen
When Junius set out to record their latest opus, ‘The Martyrdom of a Catastrophist,’ they went to one of the finest studios in Hollywood and got busy — guerrilla style. Guitarist Michael Repasch-Nieves told Noisecreep, “We had this amazing opportunity to record the album at Henson Studios, which used to be A&M Records Studios, where some of the most legendary albums in rock music were recorded. We were able to record for free, but we could only use the studio when it was available.”
So how did a band like Junius get to record — for free, mind you — in the same studio that had once been used by such familiar names as the Police and Janet Jackson? “That’s actually a cute little story,” Rapasch-Nieves explained. “We were playing a show in Los Angeles at a pretty seedy club called the Lava Lounge almost five years ago, right up the street from Henson Studios. Tom Syrowski and Gina Brucato, who both work at Henson, had just gotten off work and happened to be walking by while we were playing. Apparently, they were curious about what they heard and came in to watch the rest of our set.”
That’s when Syrowski and Brucato approached the band with the offer. “They mentioned that they worked at this big studio and they’d love to record us sometime. Honestly, we were pretty skeptical, since not a week goes by that some clown isn’t feeding us some story of what they’re gonna do for us, which inevitably goes nowhere. And especially hearing this in Hollywood of all places, we didn’t put much stock into it. But turns out they were legit, and we stayed in touch and became pretty good friends. They work on a lot of major label stuff and wanted to do something for themselves that they were actually into, so it was a perfect opportunity for all of us.”
Having such an opportunity did not come without its disadvantages, like when folks including Bruce Springsteen or Akon decided they needed to record. “Well, yeah, we could only use the studio when it was available, and if some big name person decided at the last minute that they wanted to get some studio time, we’d pretty much have to scurry out of there like cockroaches,” Repasch-Nieves recalled.
“When Akon was there, he literally booked all four rooms of the studio for a couple of weeks and took over the whole place with his entire entourage. So for us, that meant more days of 99-cent burritos from El Pollo Loco, $2 bottles of Trader Joe’s wine, watching movies and more time to obsess over parts of songs while waiting to get back into the studio. Tom and Kevin (Mills), the guys who recorded us, both got asked to work on Springsteen’s last album right in the middle of our recording, so that really cut into our time, since there was no way they could say no to that. I wish I could say we got to hang out with Akon or the Boss, but nothing too crazy really happened,” Repach-Nieves admitted. “Aside from small stuff like running into Chris Cornell in the hallway.”
Not surprisingly, though, having a little less than six degrees of separation from big names was a little odd for the Junius guys. “That entire universe seems kind of foreign to a bunch of broke bearded dudes like us, so we weren’t really the types to try to immerse ourselves in it and try to get all ‘Hollywood.’ I did have a pleasant chat with Aimee Mann one time while taking a break during tracking. Very nice woman. Oh, and we partied pretty hard with Frankie Muniz from ‘Malcolm in the Middle’ a couple times, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.”