Even though the calendar might disagree, it sure does feel like summer has come a bit early to Rhode Island. The weather is warm, the sky is blue, there’s a nice breeze and the mood to hit the beach for a day has become the norm. What can make a beach trip even better? How about some funk? On Saturday night at Paddy’s Beach Club right on Misquamicut Beach in Westerly, Enfield, CT act Joon will be bringing that style of music to people’s ears.
I had a talk with guitarist, keyboardist and vocalist Carl DiFederico about how he started the band with vocalist Olivia Gaines, bassist Ryan Guhne, drummer Luc Gendrau and guitarists Nate Corning & Peter Polls, changes in the lineup this year, being influenced by nature and a new album the band is working on.
Rob Duguay: How did Joon originally start?
Carl DiFederico: Joon was birthed when we couldn’t figure out a band name when asked on a live television music competition. We went with Ryan’s last name which is pronounced “June,” but we went with the spelling, “Joon.” Myself and Ryan started writing music together in high school and later linked up with Olivia who was singing in another band at the time who also attended the same high school. We met Luc, who is from East Greenwich, when him and myself went to school at the University of Connecticut. We performed throughout college with multiple different lead guitar players and were constantly changing it up.
As our lead guitar players came and went we searched for a permanent member and that’s when we met Nate. Nate was Luc’s hometown friend, who also recently graduated from the College of Charleston and returned back home to Rhode Island. Nate played drums in Charleston, SC with a band called Moose Kick. As the members in that band all completed college, the band went separate ways which halted their frequent touring. This gave us the opportunity to have Nate as our lead guitar player.
While we were trying Nate out for the lead part, we were also playing with Olivia’s cousin Pete, who has been playing guitar his whole life with influences of Rush, Ozzy Osbourne and many other classic rock artists. We were torn between the two and decided to bring them both on board. The sound each creates complimented each other’s playing very well. Nate with the funky chops, and Pete with the proggy shred.
Unfortunately, Luc decided to leave the band for other aspirations and endeavors in January 2019 so this changed up the lineup once again. Since Nate was originally a drummer at heart, he switched the fill that spot and now we are a five piece band with Pete holding down the lead guitar part.
RD: What has changed with the band sound wise since Luc left?
CD: We’ve dropped back to 2 guitarists, which is myself and Pete. I now play with a Godin A6 Ultra, which has two inputs, one for acoustic guitar and one for electric guitar. I can channel on the electric to play simultaneously with the acoustic filling in the sound of two electric leads and to harmonize lead riffs when needed.
RD: That sounds amazing.
CD: It’s pretty cool to play around with.
RD: Enfield is a bit of a boonie town on the border of Massachusetts. What was it like growing up there?
CD: Enfield was a great place to grow up. No music scene or venues, but a lot of inspiration from the rural areas. We would take our guitars down to the Scantic River and write whatever we were feeling. One of our favorite spots to write and hang was off the beaten path on Bailey Road.
RD: The upcoming show at Paddy’s is going to be directly on a beach. Is this the band’s first time playing in this kind of setting? What are you looking forward to about it?
CD: We have played a few beach shows in the last couple years and played Paddy’s Beach Club last summer. We had a great turn out and the show was crazy high energy. We expect to double if not triple the party this year. We love playing on the beach, how can you not?
RD: It’s been two years since Joon put out their last album Back To Reality. Is there another one in the works?
CD: We’re planning to head back into the studio this summer to lay down some new material and we couldn’t be more pumped to release some funk to our fans.