By Phil Pucci
It’s time for the second installment of pre-gaming for Reverb Fest – Eskimo Kisses. This time I will be chatting with mahatma Terrence Richard of Junior Astronomers. What makes this band one of the most beloved in Charlotte? Why is it that when Junior Astronomers have a show, for so many it is without question how they will be spending their night?
First and foremost it’s because they’re simply a very good band. And a very hardworking band. A couple years ago I went through a very intense period of songwriting and found myself at my practice space in NoDa Studios nearly every night. And a few units down, Junior Astronomers were perfecting guitar riffs, landing transitions and honing melodies underneath countermelodies. The quartet’s impassioned emo by way of post-punk is both refreshing and consistent; their 2009 debut EP I Had Plans for Us. masterfully retained the live energy for which they were receiving buzz, and their recent debut full-length Dead Nostalgia finds them further perfecting their craft.
Junior Astronomers are also fan favorites because they are fans themselves too. Some bands play their cards close to their chests or are homebodies that don’t come to any shows except their own. But if you spend enough time wandering the rock & roll clubs of Charlotte like Snug Harbor in Plaza Midwood or Neighborhood Theatre in NoDa, chances are you’ve made acquaintance with Richard (vocals) or Philip Wheeler (guitar). These guys are the embodiment of support and music community. They often post on Facebook or Twitter to let friends and fans know what shows they will be attending that night and encourage their followers to hang out.
And who wouldn’t want to be friends with them? A conversation with Terrence Richard will remind you that he’s in it for the passion for music, his friends and his will to party. So check them out at Neighborhood Theatre for Reverb Fest on January 30, and like Richard told a sellout audience at their recent New Year’s Eve show, “get fucked up.”
CLTure: Hey Terrence. Junior Astronomers have been Queen City favorites for a while now. How long have you been doing shows? What’s the band like now vs. what it was like when it started?
Terrence Richard: I believe we’ve been playing together for about 6 years now. We were a lot younger then we started so it seemed like every show we needed to go off the wall. Now we still have fun but I hope it seems like a more concentrated amount.
CLTure: What’s the drink of choice for when you’re getting amped up to play a show?
T: We all love drinking whiskey, except for Colin who doesn’t drink. As much whiskey as possible!
CLTure: Do you write your lyrics before or after the music is written?
T: It depends on the song. For most of Dead Nostalgia I wrote them afterwards, but this time around we’re trying to write them with the songs so we can make them even more catchy. Sometimes when you’re writing lyrics after [the music], it’s hard to change something if you figure out if they played something different you’d be able to sing something cooler or catchier.
CLTure: You guys played a lot of really cool shows in 2014 in support of your full length Dead Nostalgia. What plans do you have for this year?
T: Our plan is to release more music than we ever had in a year and play more cool shows. We’ve all learned so much from playing music and being in that whole world for so long that we’ve finally got a better plan for us. I feel like a lot of times, especially in rock ‘n’ roll, it seems like you can only get somewhere one way and that’s by touring, putting out a record once a year, and then doing it all over again. We just don’t want to run ourselves down because we have been touring for so long, so we decided to switch things up. With what we have planned this should be a pretty cool year for us!
CLTure: Having played with Diarrhea Planet numerous times in the past, any crazy stories from partying with those guys?
T: I think the craziest thing was just having them play Phil and I’s birthday party and seeing how wild the crowd got. They’ve been one of my favorite bands for so long and watching their crowd grow in Charlotte has been so cool!
Watch the music video “Settle Down”
Listen to Dead Nostalgia by Junior Astronomers