Interview: LE JUNK on the threat to UK venues ahead of his appearance at Balcony Festival

On Saturday Joyzine will once again be joining forces with other UK blogs and promoters to share exclusive performances from a selection of great bands and to raise some money for a good cause with our fifth Balcony Festival.  This time we’re taking donations for The Music Venue Trust’s #saveourvenues campaign, which aims to secure the future of more than 550 independent venues from around the country.

The line-up features False Heads, Scrounge, Clwb Fuzz, Eilis Frawley, Firestations, Hideous Wheel Inventions and East London electro-rock artist LE JUNK, who we caught up with ahead of the release of his new single ‘Rich Romance’ (out on 12th June via Naked Superstar Recordings) to talk about why venues need support during this most unusual of times.

How have you been affected by the lockdown?

During lockdown I’ve luckily still been able to write and make music, but the inability to work with others has been frustrating. I’ve got a hundred ideas flying around in my head that depend on the ability to collaborate – as well as performing live.

Have you been in touch with any local venues? What impact is the lockdown having on them?

Independent venues have sadly been struggling to survive for a long time. Like many small businesses the effects of the pandemic are hitting them hard. The Music Venue Trust has set-up the Save Our Venues campaign in order to raise money to support them throughout the crisis, but it’s still unclear how long this will go on for and when it will be safe for places like these to re-open and operate like they used to. 

Is there a particular venue that you have an affinity with?

I’ve played lots of great venues but the one that keeps me coming back is the Shacklewell Arms. Always a vibe.

What would be the impact on the UK music scene if a significant number of independent venues were to go under due to the lockdown?

After losing so many important music hubs in the last decade, it’s extremely sad to think that more will be forced to close. I have no doubt that artists and music lovers will still always find a way of creating spaces to experience live music though.

Looking ahead, how do you think the experience of live music for bands and fans might be different once the restrictions are eased?

It’s clear that many people don’t necessarily trust the government’s full handling of the situation. Even when restrictions are lifted for things like gatherings and events, many people will still be making their own decision as to whether they think it’s safe to go out or not. I think it’ll be a while until we‘re back to a state of complete normality, both physically and psychologically.

Balcony Festival #5 takes place on Saturday 23rd May from 1pm – get all of the details here
The festival is a collaboration between Joyzine, Louder Than War, Loud Women, Gigslutz, God Is In The TV, The Zine UK, Benumu, Crocroland, Sonic Tonic and Quarantini

LE JUNK‘s new single ‘Rich Romance’ will be released on 12th June via Naked Superstar Records.

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