They may call themselves London Cries, but Union Jack will shed no tear if it hears the band play the Viper Room October 13th. The band formerly known as Juke Cartel changed their name after a few too many misunderstandings with its pronunciation, well get to that later. They’re indie-elctro-rock with dance beats and heavy guitars, or with acoustic guitars and piano solos, so don’t try too much to define them. I got to talk with singer Toby Rand and learn more about the bands new name and new direction, and what we can expect from the Viper Room show on the October 13th.
So what do you like about playing the viper room?
I think it’s the best sounding room in LA. It just sounds ridiculously big and the sound guy there Matt he just knows how to make it sound amazing, all the staff are just so friendly we love all of them, we’ve been friends with Dayle Gloria for years and Tom Hoppa. And it feels like a local club which is great because it’s the first club we ever played in in America.
How did the band come together in Melbourne?
Well obviously this band London Cries is a formation of the previous band Juke Cartel and Juke formed in about 2005. I was friends with the bass player Tommy, and Dale I’ve been friends with him since I was, well shit since I was 17 years old. So I’ve known them since we were playing all around Melbourne, and we formed the band after being friends with them for about 7 years. So it was just like a bunch of mates getting together to jam. Since then we’ve had different drummers and different guitarists come and go, I think we’ve had 7 drummers, and we finally got the one that we love, and he’s now married and American girl so we’ve all moved here for the trade, and it’s been a long process but it’s all worked out.
What’s the reason for the change of name?
Last year we had some really good success with our record label we had 2 songs that went on the radio across the country and one of them did really well and then the record label seemed like they didn’t have the structure to promote us in the way that we wanted, and what they wanted to see for us as well. I think we hit a crossroads so we decided to separate ways on their decision which was fine with us. And then we got a lot of feedback from a lot of different avenues saying that our name Juke Cartel was kind of hard to pronounce and sometimes people would think of it as the Jewish Cartel like as in Jew Cartel, which you know it was funny. So we were sitting in the studio recording a new track about 8 months ago and our producer had mentioned to Paul Stanley he was doing a track with Juke Cartel, and Paul Stanley goes, “Jew Cartel?” and even Paul Stanley gave us shit. So we thought it was time to make the change, we just wanted to let go of a lot of baggage and start fresh. And the name London Cries it just really came to us and it just sounds a little bit more real, a little bit more epic, and were pretty happy about it.
I think it’s a good name, just to put my opinion out there, so what is the new direction you want to take with the band?
I guess the old albums we did with Juke Cartel they had like a big rock sound playing homage to the Seattle grunge and then the anthemic-Midwest rock kind of feel, you know the melodic rock, and then with snippets of old school U2, that was the direction we had when we first started in America. Were going for a more energetic electro-rock meets indie, I don’t know its interesting because the music industry has changed so much and I find myself listening to very different bands than I used to, so it’s just the way of the times. Were really enjoying dance beats with heavy guitars and then broken down acoustic with piano based solos. Anything goes now with whatever comes out of the studio were believing in rather than trying to be anything, when you’re young you try to be like other bands, but were literally letting whatever comes out come out without any prejudice if that makes sense.
Yeah I think it makes sense that you would be sort of adapting with the music that’s going on right now?
I don’t know if you know the Sirius XM station called alternative nation but I have that going in my car and its just amazing what alternative is these days compared to what it used to be. Its interesting to see how the singers in 2012 are approaching the vocals, to me its really exciting because the melodies are very interesting and when you have someone like for instance Gotye who’s Australian having a number one hit with a melody that is probably the best melody I’ve heard in ten years, Somebody That I Used To Know. Its just incredible that is now being played on rock radio, its just amazing how the times have changed.
Yeah it’s really interesting the music that’s coming out right now. What can we expect from the upcoming show?
Were going to be in the studio tonight, and we’ve written about 15 new songs and there’s probably 3 or 4 of them we want to add to the set list, so I think our regulars coming down will get a taste of some new stuff that were doing. And were really excited to be playing with Unwritten Law because one of our former drummers was playing in Unwritten Law last year, his name is Eddie Murphy actually , and he gave us a call and said “you wouldn’t believe it I’m playing in Unwritten Law” and we said “that’s fucking awesome,” so we got to meet a couple of the lads and they seemed like really rad dudes. So were just excited just to get on the playing stage and you’ll see a lot of energy honestly I think.
Interview By: Daryn Bergsma