Junko is an artist who emerged seemingly from nowhere. The prodigal 17-year-old from regional rural Victoria, making hyper-influenced anti-pop, writes and produces better than a lot of adults established in the scene, and shows no indication of slowing down.
While having been creating and existing as an artistic presence online for quite a few years, Junko took a turn in 2021 with the boppy track SOCIAL LIFE, quickly followed up with the single NO SYMPATHY. However, it wasn’t until March 2022 that Junko began seriously turning heads, with the extremely catchy parted_hair, coproduced by Melbourne’s softend (REYKO!, KEEPSAFE) and mixed and mastered by infamous fellow Aussie AyoTrae. The song gained Junko some rotation on Australian #1 one radio station and national broadcaster, Triple J, as well as Christian Sayers well-known ‘Songs You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner’ Insanity Radio Britain show. This turned Junko from an underground local act into an established artist with somewhat of a cult following, despite only having three songs on major streaming platforms, and being someone of a somewhat withdrawn nature, as opposed to many blossoming internet artists transitioning from being an influencer to pursuing music.
Junko returns, with the third single off his upcoming and increasingly anticipated debut project, an EP titled ILoveGwen*, one Junko attributes to the themes of heartbreak and learning to love again, but with a plot twist. This is explored in his latest release, Backroom, which paints a picture of Junko, as the protagonist, going through a breakup, and coming to the epiphany that these experiences of heartbreak are in fact mutual, and perhaps his fault, as he registers that he is not so innocent as he’s accustomed to think, and that “he may be the bad guy in the story where he painted himself as the hero”.
These kind of concepts and storytelling techniques cement Junko within the anti-pop, indie bedroom pocket he is so comfortable in, and plays into so well. The signature Junko sound of guitar-driven hyperpop production, mellow husky vocals, and samples of phone calls with friends, it’s hard not to be drawn into your own memories of misspent youth and regret as he narrates a perspective of a good-boy-gone-bad in a small town, with too much time and nowhere to go.
Junko sounds like if Brakence sung over an Aries beat, was raised on Looney Tunes cartoons and cereal, and went to high school in a country town where nobody understood him, because he was the coolest person there.
The future for Junko is a very exciting one, and he is looking to be the start of a new breed of independent artists that we didn’t know we needed, but are going to change the game anyway.
Backroom, and its relevant music video, will be available on all streaming platforms August 5.