"I’m Letting Pieces of Juno Go": Juno Discusses Her Latest Album, Inspiration, & Climate Change
When encountering the artistry of Juno Sandbæk-Jensen, known as Pieces of Juno, the world seems to pause, immersing itself in her musical creativity. In 'Atlantis,' Juno embodies ancient Greek mythology through sound, blending it with pressing contemporary issues, including concerns about climate change.
Concluding her musical journey under the name Pieces of Juno, Juno sends the listener through modern chaos, where humanity teeters on the brink of self-destruction. 'Atlantis' for her is a philosophical contemplation: if time were limited, how would she fill her moments? An exploration of the human inner world in an era of change. In this interview with Indie Boulevard, we delve into the thoughts of Juno Sandbæk-Jensen and her final farewell under the pseudonym Pieces of Juno. We peel back the layers of this captivating sound the singer-songwriter creates, learn more about the album, and what Juno plans to pursue next.
Hello Juno, it's a pleasure to see you here, on Indie Boulevard. The concept of 'Atlantis' in your latest album intertwines with themes of climate changes. Also, In "Atlantis," you explore the idea of humanity on the brink of self-extinction. How does your creative process navigate the tension between the harsh realities of our world and the transformative power of art?
Hi. Thank you, the pleasure is all mine. It might not be navigation, as the only way around is through. Faced with powerlessness and apathy, art becomes a place of activity and transcendence for me. And it keeps me busy.
Your albums often evoke cinematic experiences, and 'Atlantis' is described as perhaps your most moving record. How do you approach creating a sonic space that resonates emotionally with listeners?
I don’t think about the listeners until very late in the process. I need to be led by something that intrigues me enough to be able to finish a record. It’s a long way from sketching out ideas to realizing them in a recording and when I pick melodies or choose a specific palette of sounds, I need it to be something that is sensuous and thrilling. Like the scent of a mysterious stranger brushing past you on the street, something to want to go after.
The Pieces of Juno project has spanned various genres, from club-friendly bangers to acoustic art-pop. How do you decide on the sonic palette for each project, and what influences your genre-bending approach?
It’s all about curiosity and never settling, and also learning the craft and developing an aesthetic. Even though it’s far apart in genre and sound, subtle things reveal that it stems from the same creator, don’t you think? It takes time and practice to learn a craft, and a lot of my work from the earlier days were stepping stones to where I ended up sonically. I love discovering new ideas, new sounds, and I dread repeating myself.
The intersection of Greek mythology and climate change in 'Atlantis' is intriguing. How does mythology, both ancient and contemporary, inspire and inform your storytelling within your music?
I think it subconsciously informs all my work. It’s an endless source of inspiration, and humanity’s best asset; the way we use stories to evoke empathy and understanding, to release trauma and to heal.
Can you describe the process of recording 'Atlantis'? Were there any particular highlights or unique moments during this process?
I started writing the first songs for Atlantis after I visited a mysterious island in the north of Norway. A creative outburst followed after my trip, and I kept that place in mind when diving in deeper. Even though the initial songs were discarded, I feel the island has an overarching presence and it later developed into a short film. One of my highlights from the sessions in my studio was with harpist Aseta Koloeva. We had never met, so stakes were high. I’m glad I took the risk, she was the missing piece that glued the album together.
Could you talk about the creation process behind the cover art of your new album?
The artwork is made by Ingrid Torvund, a dear friend of mine. I met her by coincidence after I discovered her art in a bookshop, and our friendship was gradually built through my incessant fangirling.
Could you share your impressions of your recent concert, which, as I understand, took place in a museum. How did it impact the atmosphere and interaction with the audience?
I guess I was never satisfied in the typical club or rock venue. A physical space has a tremendous impact on the performance and audience. I love blending art forms, and galleries are a more suitable place for experiments. I also believe it makes the audience more receptive and attuned. This specific venue was also like coming home to someone, it was very intimate. A very special evening.
How do you perceive the connection between your latest album 'Atlantis' and the previous four albums? Are there common themes or an evolution of concept that ties them together?
The previous four albums was about self-knowledge as a tool to overcome mental health struggles, triggered by a close friend’s suicide. Atlantis on the other hand, is not searching inward but outward, to build connection to nature and people, and find acceptance in the things we can’t change.
How do you assess the gap between the value of contemporary artworks in the eyes of experts versus how they're perceived by the general public? Should art be accessible to a wide audience?
Art should be accessible to everyone at all times. The debacle of art as commerce makes me want to go on an excruciating boring rampage about everything that is wrong in our capitalist patriarchy and I don’t want to bore you ;)
What projects or ideas lie ahead for you in the future? Is there something you're currently working on or dreaming of bringing to life?
To let something new flourish, the old must wither and die, so I’m letting Pieces of Juno go. I want to make films, and I have a dream of making a feature laced with imagery, storytelling, music and poetry. I have several ideas that I’m refining, time will tell.