The 2015 JUNO Awards were held in Hamilton this year which is a pretty big deal considering it’s been 11 years since the award show has been so close to our home in Toronto. Excitement was in the air as the JUNOS commenced, celebrating another memorable year in Canadian music. We had the privilege of being backstage at the JUNOS for a little one-on-one with media, talent and the elated JUNO winners right after they won their awards.
Here are a few highlights from The Arkells, MAGIC!, Kiesza and the host with the most, Jacob Hoggard.
As the host of the JUNOS, were there some jokes that you said “no” to while on live TV?
Jacob Hoggard: Definitely. There were some jokes that were far too risky and sensitive. I still want to be myself, but I also don’t want to be an asshole. It’s fun to poke fun at your friends and I think it was all done in good humour. I also think that there needs to be a sense of “what’s going to happen” because it’s live and we want people to come back and watch the show. So yeah, as far as me caring about what was being said, I really do care. There were some jokes that I didn’t’ even want to say in rehearsals. The reaction could go horribly wrong and there could be a huge backlash of #JacobHoggardBigLoser. I feel like we had fun with this so it was all in good spirit.
What was the bands reaction when they heard that you were going to host by yourself?
Jacob Hoggard: A step forward for one of us is a step forward for all of us. We’re really lucky to be in a band that is supportive of everyone. We’ve probably had some of the most ferocious conflicts as well, but I think that’s what makes us all brothers.
The Arkells posing with their two JUNO awards.
How does it feel winning all of these awards and attending and performing at the JUNOS in your home town?
Max Kerman: It’s too much. We’re very flattered to be recognized.
In terms of song writing, where do your songs come from?
Max Kerman: There are various sorts of outlets where we draw inspiration from. We could be on a really long tour and something happens to one of my friends. I have a bunch of notes on my phone and I jot down a bunch of interesting things that my friends say or whatever comes in mind and bank them for later.
Twice now you’ve beat out pretty big Canadian rockers Nickelback. How does that feel? I also heard that you’re a secret fan?
Max Kerman: Oh yeah! I was on a road trip with my dad to Buffalo and it was the summer of “This Is How You Remind Me” and I really like that song. It’s the perfect road trip song. People ask us sometimes “You won a couple JUNOS, how does that affect you and how do you feel?” and it’s very nice but that’s not why we do it. I don’t want to sound cliché but we write songs because we like them.
How do you feel about your music making such a huge impact?
Kiesza: I was completely shocked because I posted my music on Facebook thinking that only my friends were going to see it. It’s been such an amazing year and so unexpected at the same time. I’m just really grateful; it’s a surreal experience. There is a lot more coming up; I just released my album so there will be a lot more music videos coming out as well. I’m in the middle of my world tour, I’ll be doing a lot of summer festivals and also working on my second album. There are also a few features coming up with other artists so you never know where your music will take you.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to make it in the music industry or perfect their craft?
Kiesza: I’d tell them to take what I do and take it to another level. As an artist, I feel so fortunate to learn from other great musicians who came before me. I believe that anyone can be what they want to be, it just comes down to hard work. I’m never going to stop trying my hardest and progressing at what I do, but I also hope to inspire others to become better. Don’t be afraid to be yourself because that is what people connect with. You learn from other artists because we have all of these tools but you need to make it your own – don’t be afraid of your own voice.
MAGIC! having a bit of fun with their JUNO awards backstage.
Reggae music doesn’t usually do so well on the charts, so have you ever thought of remixing your singles like “Rude” to reflect current music trends?
Nasri: We were never like “dude, reggae is where the money is” because we didn’t write music to get famous or win awards – it’s the type of music we enjoy playing.
You were in LA for a while to pursue your music. Were there common stereotypes about Canadians that you noticed?
Nasri: I think that we’re over the misunderstanding that Canadians live in igloos and have pet penguins but I think a nice stereotype is that Canadians are very friendly. Some are, some aren’t, but I’d say that the majority are and it’s a nice stereotype to have as Canadians. We’re pretty popular in LA right now.
Here’s a short list of the winners from the 2015 JUNO Awards:
SINGLE OF THE YEAR: Magic! – Rude
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: The Weeknd – The Weeknd XO
BREAKTHROUGH ARTIST OF THE YEAR: Kiesza
ROCK ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Arkells – High Noon
FAN CHOICE AWARD: Michael Bublé
POP ALBUM OF THE YEAR: LIGHTS–Little Machines
For a complete list of winners, performances from the show and more behind-the-scenes footage, check out the JUNO awards site.