Friday, May 16, 2008

Band of the Week

The Box Social

"Get Going"

That phrase, Get Going, is filled with such urgency, action, energy it makes you want to move. It also implies that you have somewhere to get to, like your life had purpose and you just have to go there. Like it is time to accomplish something, now go... get going! Madison's The Box Social have that same feeling. Their music moves with a purpose, demanding movement, action, dancing, singing, living. Honest pop tones with clever lyrics, Get Going, is fast-paced rock album with out fail.

Formed in 2001, The Box Social, has gone through several changes over the years, but one constant has been the voice of Nick Junkunc. Releasing a couple of CD-R's, they signed with No Karma Records in 2005 and released the Blown to Bits Ep in a limited run of 1,000. Then touring and changing, evolving, recording, in 2007 the released their first official full-length Get Going. In the process Nick has grown as a songwriter and musician.

Recently, Nick was kind enough to answer a few of my questions.

Orange Alert (OA): I read that you took your name from a Simpsons episode. Is that
true? Are you still a Simpson's fan?
Nick Junkunc (NJ): Yes, that's true. A lot of bands seem to get their name from The Simpsons, and I'm not entirely sure how they manage to accidentally come up with all of these rock band monikers. Regardless, it's a show that I've been following since my earliest childhood and something that I am still a big fan of. There have been a lot of sub-par seasons in the last ten years but I think that the show makes up for that with its classic aura and characters that you actually care about. The show has heart, which is a lot more than can be said for some new age garbage like Family Guy.

OA: Having formed in 2001, going through a few line-up changes, and learning the ropes in a great underground scene, do you think the sound of the band today is better then it has ever been? What is one thing you have learned about music in the last seven years?
NJ: I can say without a doubt that the sound of the band today is better than it has ever been. We've finally come to strike a balance between all of our major musical interests and have our body of work still sound like a cohesive grouping of material. Some people may prefer the more hard-edged consistency of the Blown To Bits EP, but I feel that the diversity of the tracks presented on Get Going incorporates all of those elements and then some. We still get heavy and dirty because we still love that kind of music, but I feel that allowing your repertoire to be open to expansion, evolution, and exploration is a more reliable way to lengthen your band's shelf life. It's important to turn your musical roto-tiller every so often to keep things fresh and exciting.

If there's one thing I've learned about music in the last seven years, it's that being in a band isn't all fun and games. On the contrary, it's very rarely the pure clowning that the rock and roll myth would lead you to believe. There's a lot of bullshit to sift through in every aspect of your existence, be it playing shows, booking a tour, recording an album, or even dealing with childish scene politics. It's tough. You have to really enjoy the music you're making in order for it to be worth it at the end of the day. Also, a word of caution to anybody reading this who thinks they may fancy themselves taking a stab at the glamorous indie rock fantasy lifestyle: prepare to be broke.

OA: What is The Box Social live experience like?
NJ: You'd honestly have to ask someone else, because I simply have no idea what the experience is like for an observer. When I'm performing, I'm pretty much completely in my own head space. However, I can tell you that we at least try to make our live shows lighthearted, honest, and full of energy. We also occasionally try to play well.

OA: Your latest album was released by No Karma (the same label that released you debut ep) and Bright Ideas. In fact, this was the first release by Bright Ideas, and I can't find any info on them. What can you tell us about Bright Ideas, and what has your experience been like
with No Karma?
NJ: Bright Ideas is a label founded and run by The Box Social for the purposes of releasing and promoting our own music. Someday it may be fun to expand and incorporate other bands, but for the time being it's just not economically possible. No Karma still does the distribution for us though, so that's why their logo is also on the back of the record. They were the sole label support for the Blown To Bits EP, but they opted not to fund Get Going due to their own financial situation. To make a long story short, we needed to figure out a way to put the record out ourselves - enter Bright Ideas.

Our experience with No Karma was always a positive one. Indie labels these days seem to be little more than a cool kids club or a bush league loan sharking enterprise, rarely taking the time and effort to actually push the bands that they represent. This was never the case with No Karma, which seems to be saying a lot in this day and age.

OA: I love to cover design on Get Going. In your opinion, how important is cover art in this an mp3 era?
NJ: Thank you, I think it's great as well. Anybody looking for anything similar can contact the artist for more information:

Call me old-fashioned, but I always take a lot of pride in the physical product of a finished record. I've always taken a strong liking to album art, so much to the point where it can affect my experience with the music in the most extreme of cases. I also have an art background and will be receiving my BFA in December from UW Madison, so it's something that's very important to me. If someone is going to take the initiative to spend their hard-earned money on our album, I want it to be a quality product that can stand up to any other major label release with an expensive design firm backing them up. I also feel that not too many people put much thought into their artwork these days, so well-designed packaging really stands out. It's always something that I will take very seriously.

OA: What's next for Nick Junkunc and The Box Social?
NJ: For the time being we are focusing on graduating from college and writing our next album (tentatively to be recorded in early 2009). We've been writing a ton of material that will most definitely amount to being a great record. We're all very confident in the new material we've been producing. The plan is to hit the road hard as soon as it is released - we're all very excited for 2009, since it's the first time we will all be able to commit to this band full time.

Bonus Questions:
Coffee? If yes, what is your favorite type of coffee and where is
your favorite coffee spot?
NJ: No coffee for me. Beer, please.

OA: What was the last great book you read?
NJ: Jurassic Park. Sorry, I'm not much of a reader. I'm working on fixing that.

Ginger Ale/Easy Does It/Big It (mp3)/Coming Around/Why Oh Why/Galoshes/KC MO/Hot Damn! (mp3)/Pay Attention/A New Low/Happy Little Mistake

For more information on The Box Social please visit their website.

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