JONCRO: The WL Interview

Purveyor of: Unpredictable indie-punk tunes that tell a story.

File next to: Kurt Vile, Guided By Voices.

Playing: Wavelength Monthly Music Series, Saturday May 26, 2018 @ Bike Pirates. (All Ages!) Get your tickets here! 

JONCRO is a self-described noise rock/pop trio from Mississauga. Since 2015, their mission statement has been to spread the gospel of noise and some genre-defying grooves wherever they go; be it a bar, concert hall, basement, washroom, festival, or backyard. Wavelength’s Cassandra Popescu caught up with frontman Daniel G. Wilson to talk about inclusive love songs, the ‘Sauga scene, and Daniel’s obsession with pie.

You recently released your single “The Ballad of Dakota Brown,” and called it a “Pansexual love song” that describes “the blind nature of love as an emotion.” What pushed you to write such a personal love song?

The short story is I am a hopeless romantic. The long story is that gender is inconsequential to me when it comes to who I love or am capable of loving and I wanted to write a love song that I could wholeheartedly relate to. There aren’t a lot of songs that are sung from a pansexual perspective. There also aren’t a lot of songs written about people who don’t identify with the gender binary. Love is one of the most beautiful feelings in the world and I believe that everyone should be able to experience it.

Do you find that it is different in any way than the rest of your music?

Yes and no. The most striking difference from the rest of our discography is the ’50s vibe. We have never done that style of instrumental before and it’s kind of out of left field. That being said, most of our fans have probably come to expect the unexpected from us at this point. We have songs that blend everything from spoken word poetry to dub reggae with power-pop, noise-rock, and shoegaze. As a band we pride ourselves on being able to defy conventions and sonic expectations when we can. What’s the point of being a “punk” band if you can’t experiment from time to time? However… I doubt we will release a piano ballad anytime soon… and by “soon” I mean when I learn to play more than reggae on a keyboard.

How would you describe a JONCRO live show to someone who has never seen you before?

A  JONCRO show can be described as a chaotic symphony conducted by a mad Jamaican. All jokes aside, I would describe our live show as an interesting experience. You never know what we have planned (we don’t even know ourselves until we hit the stage haha). We always try to make every show memorable in some way. The only two constants in our sets is that you should probably bring earplugs and that I usually end up shirtless by the end of the set.

Wavelength recently hosted a panel titled “Beyond The Core” to discuss music outside of the downtown Toronto core. Being based in Mississauga, how does the music scene in the ‘burbs differ from the city?

I’m reluctant to call ‘Sauga a suburb since it is the sixth largest city in Canada. I mean we have a bigger population than Boston… and some damn good shawarma restaurants. Overall the music scene is pretty cool. There is a strong sense of community and all the bands are friends with each other. The biggest difference between Toronto and “the ‘burbs” outside of sheer size would be the fact that ‘Sauga has never really had a constant “bar scene” for alternative music. 99.99% of the bars in the city don’t like music that isn’t an older white male playing Eric Clapton covers. Because of this, there is a strong DIY spirit that runs throughout the scene. House shows are a normal occurrence, as are the occasional show where we rent out a hall or community space for a night. All ages shows are pretty much the norm. While some towns have bar scenes that are more open to less conventional music, the strong sense of community and DIY spirit is a near universal factor. Except Orangeville… I have no idea what goes on in Orangeville.

What do you think can be done to keep music scenes vibrant outside of the core?
It depends. Every music scene is different to some degree and has different needs. I think the most universal thing is for people to stop thinking of Toronto as the only place where cool and innovative music lives in Ontario. People have this attitude where Toronto is this island unto itself that’s surrounded by a sea of nothing, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are so many cool bands that are less than an hour’s drive away that could compete with anything the so called “Music City” has to offer. It would be cool if they got more acknowledgement… Also it would be nice If non-Toronto based bands got free pie at shows… I’m just saying.

Lastly, the most important question of all. People who are familiar with you and your shows know that there’s always some type of pie theme. Why is pie better than other desserts?
Pie is one of the most magical things in the universe. Pie is love. Pie is life.  It’s the perfect blend of crunchiness and softness. Other desserts don’t have that right balance of flavours and textures. Pie is also much more portable and can be baked to amazing shapes. The only thing that comes close to pie is Jamaican black cake… and that’s only by a marginal amount.