It’s been a long time, but finally The Jung Turks are back. After a lengthy hiatus, the Galway based duo of brothers Edward and James Rooney, return to the stage of the Róisín Dubh to play Strange Brew on Thursday at 9pm.
The Jung Turks first came to attention when they played The Róisín Dubh Battle Of The Bands 2005 and from there on, impressed guitar fans and indie heads with their furious mix of James’ intense percussion work and Edward’s passionate acoustic guitar style, which mixed rock, Latin, classical, and jazz.
However, for the past year, the bothers Rooney have been very quiet, gigging only rarely. That’s set to change when they finally step on stage again this week.
“It’s true we haven’t been overground for much of the past year,” Edward tells me. “We played some shows here and there but not many. We play music every day though, only some of the time it’s to an audience.”
Nonetheless the brothers have been using that time well, writing new material and evolving their sound.
“We have become more open about how we play and have learned to listen to one another much more,” says James. “This way we can follow where the song leads us, for want of a better phrase. I think we have a more open approach now.”
When it comes to drummers, who would James cite as his main influences?
“I wouldn't say influences but more people I would have great admiration for,” says James, “people who push the bar and do it for the love of it like Mike Patton, Terry Bozzio, Bob Dylan, Danny Carey, Alex Grey. The list goes on.”
How would James describe his drum style? “I don’t really have a fixed style of playing,” he says. “Whatever is called for I will do my best to provide. I have a wide palette of sounds to draw on in my current setup and just try to use them as best I can, I like to play.”
As for Edward, who are the guitarists that impress him most?
“I’m impressed by musicians more so than guitar players – people who have found a true voice, regardless of the tools they use to give reality to it,” he replies. “Personally I’m very grateful that people like Bob Dylan, Mike Patton, Mark Lanegan, Polly Harvey, Omar Rodriguez Lopez, Anouar Brahem and others are around at the moment doing what they do.”
Edward’s guitar playing is an eclectic beast, drawing widely on different music genres and world sounds. It is impressive but Edward is - to put it mildly - overly modest when describing his playing. “Did you ever see a monkey, an especially dumb monkey, trying to figure out how to use a can opener?” he asks.
If you go onto www.myspace
com/jungturks, you can hear some of the duo’s music. You will also see a large banner of a painting by the Mexican artist and communist Diego Rivera - in which a picture of 1966-era Dylan has been inserted. Are the Rooneys hinting at a certain political leaning by the use of that image? “Yeah, we’re on a recruitment drive,” laughs Edward.
Edward is equally cryptic when I ask him if the duo will have an EP or album on the way in the New Year? “Yes there will be an album in the New Year,” he says. “We’re just not sure yet which New Year.”
It’s good to see them back so do check them out on Thursday. Support is from Followers Of Otis. Admission is free.