Bwani Junction sounds like some kind of absurd traffic system in an exotic country. But it’s not. A four-piece band from Edinburgh, their music is described as a mixture of Vampire Weekend and Two Door Cinema Club. They might be less famous down here in England, but they certainly have a reputation back in Scotland, having been awarded Best Breakthrough Act at the Scottish Alternative Music Awards and receiving a nomination for Scottish Album of the Year. It’s obvious to anyone that this band is going from strength to strength.
The band are fresh from their performances at T in the Park, Isle of Wight, LeeFest and of course their daring set on top of the Forth Bridge in Scotland.
The Edge caught up with [left to right] Jack Fotheringham (Drummer), Fergus Robson (Bassist), Rory Fairweather (Front-man) and Dan Muir (Lead Guitarist) and after their set at home-grown festival, LeeFest for a chat about music, madness, and zombie sex musicals.
So, first things first: how did you guys get together?
Fergus: We met at school and formed there really, and Dan joined in the last two years. We just started playing together and decided to see it we could make a career out of it!
Dan: It’s one of those careers that you don’t really make any money from – It’s not what it sounds like really. I just hand people cables a lot – that’s my job! But it’s awesome.
It’s fair to say that your band name is quite unusual: how did you come up with it?
Jack: My dad came up with it really. Our old teacher told us to name the band after a book. My dad ended up naming loads of books but none of them sounded right. Bwani Junction was the last one he came up with and we thought that would work well!
Dan: It’s a nice little story really!
(the book is actually spelt Bhowani Junction, written by John Masters, for any of you bookworms out there.)
You’re fresh from the stage. How was your set here at Leefest?
Fergus: It started off pretty quiet but then the token hippies got up and started to dance, which was good. We seemed to have the chilled ‘Sunday’ festival crowd today.
Rory: We were like, come on and join in guys! We’re going to stay for a while now and watch BigKIDS. They’re great, and they remixed our single which makes them even better.
Will you be coming back next year?
Rory: We’ll be back next year if we’re invited, definitely.
Dan: As long as we’re not playing Sneaky Pete’s, we’ll definitely be back.
It sounds like you’re going to be busy over the next few months. What do you have lined up for the rest of the summer?
Fergus: Leefest is the second festival out of twelve for us this summer, so we’re pretty busy. We’re doing quite a few Scottish ones, and we’re doing the Boardmaster’s Festival which will be pretty cool.
You’re playing on top of the Forth Bridge on July 1st. That’s going to be pretty high up. Anyone scared of heights?
Fergus: We’re not too bad. Dan’s a little nervous. It’ll look a lot worse once we’re up there. It’s really quite exciting!
Is there anybody who you’d particularly like to play with, or support?
Dan: We’ve always wanted to play with the Mystery Jets and we’re gradually getting closer to them – we like them! And they’re at LeeFest which is cool. So, one step closer!
Jack: Someone ridiculous – like the Arctic Monkeys!
Fergus: Tom Jones!
Rory: We’re playing Hard Rock Calling on the Sunday before Bruce Springsteen. That’s pretty awesome.
Dan: There’s also a festival up north called the Wickerman Festival later in July, and we’re playing a set before the Scissor Sisters and Newton Faulkner which is pretty cool.
On a similar note, who’s the most famous person you’ve ever met?
All: Jimmy Page!
Jack: The nicest person I’ve met is Justin Lee Collins.
Rory: We were in a pub in Soho and we definitely shouldn’t have been allowed in. We were absolutely reeking. We went up to Two Door Cinema Club and really, I can’t remember anything I said. We were falling off our seats, we were an absolute disgrace!
Dan: Our PR lady Ashlea had an absolute nightmare, bless her!
What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t in Bwani Junction?
Fergus: I’d be a Zookeeper!
Jack: Male Escort!
Rory: I’d make my own chutney.
Fergus: Rory makes a mean chutney!
What kind of approach do you take when you write your music?
Fergus: We usually just sit down with a riff and start jamming for a few hours before we finish up a track. It works better that way!
Dan: Much better than one of us sitting down and writing the whole thing before trying to work out what to do with it.
Jack: This new album has been a real collaboration and much more out of the studio.
Rory: We actually wrote a Zombie sex musical the other day called ‘War of the Semen’, which we recorded onto our Dictaphone.
Fergus: We tried to draw on H. G. Wells’ War of the worlds…
Rory: It’s ten minutes long – it’s an opus! Do you want to hear a quote?
“He Jizzled and she sizzled
‘til she melted to the floor
There’s not a zombie on this planet
That’s not a semen hungry whore”
If you hear that, it’ll be under a pseudonym. But watch out for it, it’s bound to be huge.
Rory: We’re recording our second album now which should be out by early 2013.
Jack: Hopefully we’ll be breaking even by then!
Fergus: …And actually living off what we do.
Jack: It’d be great to play at next year’s Glastonbury.
Rory: I’d love to play America in 2014, actually
Dan: …Or playing more in France.
A lot of people reading are keen to make it in the music industry. Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to live the dream and be in a band?
Jack: Don’t expect to be able to live off of it for a while! But if you sit around wondering what it would be like, just get out there and do it.
Dan: It can be soul destroying at times though…
Rory: You have to spend a year playing shitholes of venues before you get onto the good stuff. And don’t rush to sign up to a label. Every industry is bad due to the credit crunch at the moment.
Jack: The record industry is absolutely no different.
Fergus: Make sure you make friends with everyone! You never know who knows who. We know a guy who owns the local club that we usually play at, and it turned out he know the guy who owns a club in London, which is how we got our first big London gig. Very handy.
Rory: And just Rock!
Bwani Junction’s single ‘Two Bridges’ is out now, as well as their album, Fully Cocked.