Studio Life – Yunger

Felix Junger is a talented multi-instrumentalist. He plays in a number of bands across a range of genres but his latest project is a solo indie-folk record, ‘Of Journeys and Other Longings’, released under the name Yunger. It’s a wistful album, with a sense of wonder and a yearning for travel, for new experiences, for something more. Junger’s folk-guitar underpins his modern, uplifting sound and the end result is a confident, cohesive album full of summer melodies. The singer-songwriter from Austria recorded most of the instruments and mixed the album himself, showcasing his skills on the mandolin, banjo and accordion and allowing him to create rich soundscapes to soundtrack his travels.

Felix, your songs are such interesting narratives, full of engaging details. ‘Pocket Poetry’ is one of your most striking songs. Can you tell us the ‘story’ behind it?

Last summer I spent four weeks traveling through France and I fell in love with this beautiful country. I had just finished my jazz guitar studies in Vienna and this journey was a long-needed pause from my daily life. I met this wonderful person in Strasbourg on the seventh day of my journey and after visiting Paris and the Brittany I came back there to spend the last days before heading back to Austria. The time spent in and around this beautiful city felt like a dream to me. One day we took the train out of the city and spent ‘a sunny Sunday’ in the forests around Strasbourg. And that’s what the song is about. I had this little piece of paper with me and just took some notes on what we did, where we went and what was going on inside my head during the whole time, because I just knew I had to capture these moments in a song and I didn’t want to forget any details.

Back home I already had the chords in mind and I started putting it all together. There’s a lot of different artists that influence my sound and my way of song writing such as Frank Turner, Stu Larsen, Passenger and Beirut just to name a few. But during last summer I listened a lot to Asaf Avidan and I couldn’t get his song ‘Weak’ out of my head. One special thing about this song is, that there’s only two chords during most of the song. The intro’ and verse of ‘Pocket Poetry’ are built around these two chords.
I finished the song in one session. I think I’ve never written a song that fast before. I recorded a simple version, just guitar and vocals, and it immediately felt right. When I finally sat down to record the album version of the song, I added some more instruments like double bass, electric guitar and banjo.

Speaking of which, I recorded the whole album by myself in my bedroom, which feels more like a rehearsal room/studio with a bed in it to me than the other way around. Lukas Mantsch (singer of All Faces Down), one of my closest friends and probably the most important musical companion over the last 15 years produced the album with specific focus on vocals. I mixed the album by myself and got Konstantin Davy, another long-time friend, to master it at Downfall Studio.

Compared to the whole album there’s two main elements that make ‘Pocket Poetry’ special and a little different from the other songs: the electric guitar solo and featuring another singer. All in all, I guess, this ballad is more quiet than the rest of the songs and sounds a little less ‘folky’.

The electric guitar plays quite a big part during the whole song. It adds a kind of dreamy sound to it, which connects the lyrical and the musical level. I wanted to put one guitar solo on the album and after already having said everything I wanted to say in the verses and the chorus I was looking for some ideas for a bridge without vocals. When I finally recorded the song, this part was still empty, but a few days later I came back home quite drunk in the middle of the night and I just took my electric guitar, pressed the recording button and played the solo you’re now hearing on the record.
I went to sleep afterward and when I listened to it again the next day I knew this was it.  This is actually a great example for the benefits of recording your songs by yourself at home. Some things just happen!

As a guitarist I’m part of a few different projects, for instance the post-hardcore band All Faces Down (the song ‘Bus Ride’ is about touring with this band) or the jazz trio ‘Stellaccord’. The singer of this trio is Stella for Strangers . I met her during my studies years ago and immediately fell in love with her voice. Singing a duet with her has been on my mind ever since I started working on my debut album ‘Of Journeys and Other Longings’. When the main parts of ‘Pocket Poetry’ were finished, I thought about turning it into a duet. I invited Stella to join me in the studio and she absolutely nailed it. Having two protagonists describing this dream alike time spent in Strasbourg added so much more emotion to the song.

Regarding the future, I’m currently working on new songs and there’s another tour coming up in November. I think there’s going to be a new record out in the first half of 2020, some kind of live-session-EP. You can stay up to date by following me on social media.

Social media-links:
https://www.facebook.com/yungermusic/
https://www.instagram.com/yungermusic/

Studio-version:

Live version featuring Stella for Strangers:

Read Americana-UK’s review of Yunger’s uplifting debut here:

Yunger “Of Journeys and Other Longings” (Independent, 2019)

Lyrics:

Pocket Poetry

I had a dream a while ago
about a sunny, sunny Sunday spent with you
We woke up in the morning sun, the balcony was calling for some cigarettes and coffee
My eyes too small, the sun too bright, you took my hand to guide me out of the city

Oh how I wished, this dream wouldn’t end
for as long as you were holding my hand
But every dream has got to end sometime
there won’t be any warning signs to see

I had a dream the other night
We spoke to birds while sitting at the riverside
I didn’t understand them, got distracted by your hand on my knee
I don’t remember details, all I know is, I felt fearless with you lying next to me

Oh how I wished, this dream wouldn’t end
for as long as you were holding my hand
But every dream has got to end sometime
there won’t be any warning signs to see

Oh how I wished, this dream wouldn’t end
for as long as you were holding my hand
But every dream has got to end sometime
there won’t be any warning signs to see

Yeah, every dream has got to end sometime
there won’t be any warning signs to see
Yeah, every dream has got to end sometime
I hope, I’ll still be yours and you’ll be mine

 

Author: Andrew Frolish

From up north but now hiding in rural Suffolk. An insomniac music-lover. Love discovering new music to get lost in - country, singer-songwriters, Americana, rock...whatever. Currently enjoying Lukas Nelson, Midland, Jarrod Dickenson.

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