Link to home page

The Just Joans

Keep on smiling (interview with David Pope)

By • Dec 7th, 2017 • Category: Feature

Cheer up, it might never happen. Salient advice, offered for free to David Pope, singer with The Just Joans, whose new album You Might Be Smiling Now is just their second ‘proper’ long-player in the twelve years they’ve been together.

But the Joans (as they’re not known) have still garnered something of a reputation – admittedly, as well as one for sharp observational songwriting, it’s also for being a glum shower.
“I guess most of my favourite songs growing up were by bands like The Smiths or The Magnetic Fields,” David admits. “Monkey see, monkey do.”

Taking their name from legendary, Leonard Cohen-loving tabloid agony aunt Joan Birnie, David and sister Katie have been the mainstays of the Motherwell group throughout its existence. The band’s output has a Brigadoon-esque quality to it – they emerge once every few years, spit out a record, and then vanish again. “Perhaps “BrigaDOOM” would be a good alternative name for the band,” David laughs. “Though it sounds a bit metal,” he adds.

“I think there’s a few different factors that contribute to the infrequent nature of our output,but mainly we’re incredibly lazy. And when we do get together we would much rather eat crisps and slag each other off than actually record anything new.”

The band have over the years gained some fans beyond their native area, including a regular stint at the Indietracks festival in Derbyshire, where their songs clearly transcend borders.
“I would hope that although our accents are regional, the themes are fairly universal. Lost love, jealousy, bitterness, loneliness and regret know no borders.”
And thicker accents have been mentioned in their strings of favourable reviews. “We’ll take the Proclaimers comparison as a great compliment,” David smiles. ‘Over And Done With’ is a lovely song.

Finally, asked for one piece of advice, it surprisingly doesn’t come from the ‘real’ Just Joan, but from German philosopher Wittgensiein. “I don’t know why we are here, but I’m pretty sure that it is not in order to enjoy ourselves…” Well, despite the downbeat nature of their output, there’s plenty of fun to be had when they play live – and anyway, they’re called ‘agony aunts’ for a reason…

(This article originally appeared in the Motherwell Times)

Comments are closed.