Junaco is the foundation of Shahana Jaffer and Joey LaRosa. Born in the unincorporated mountain town on the outskirts coastal Northern California, the duo found an escape from musical conventions. Fleeing the rituals of rushing through songs, away from the nonsense of worrying, a budding partnership was found based equally on half-parts progression and melody. Mellow bursts of epiphany and pleas of gentle seduction give way to driving grooves in Junaco’s music, leaving the immediate fan with a delicate, instantly familiar and completely unassailable batch of songs.
Jaffer, a natural talent whose limbs were too long to dance, met a counterpart in LaRosa, a guitarist and percussionist’s dream who from a young age had been told that “musician” wasn’t an achievable career. Though conventionally unlikely on the global scale that a Pakistani songstress would find her way into the creative adventures of a drummer from Indianapolis, they found in their partnership a desire to make music for music’s sake; to write honest songs that meant something true enough for themselves, that someone else might be able to take it and make it true for them, as well.
The forthcoming EP helmed by Omar Yakar (War on Drugs, Perfume Genius) from Boulevard Recording, whose engineering and production prowess brought this young and refreshing outfit’s mountainous incubations to life. The duo initially set out with the intention of nothing but creation and expression and resulted in a stunning collection of tracks detailing the emotions of freedom. Jaffer reveals, “The underlying theme is about coming to terms with experiences and hardships we have faced and finally putting them out there. It’s very healing”.
Leading single ‘Willow’ features warm dark tones, ominous instrumentation and soulful vocals which glide gently atop the jangly guitars. The single emits an accurate and organic feeling through its use of storytelling lyricism and atmospheric soundscapes. Thematically ‘Willow’ is inspired by emotions. “Emotions are often intensified by our surroundings. We rarely separate the two - when we are inspired by a feeling it is all encompassed by the environment we are in. The message of this music is to except those feelings rather than trying to mask them”, confides Jaffer.
Junaco hope to create music that will leave listeners feeling a sense of connection and closeness to. With the aim to remind others of our innate human emotions, Junaco’s debut EP, “Awry,” highlights just how similar we are at our cores. ‘Willow’ is due for release March 2019.
- Mac Hanson, Al Moore