In the fall of 2010 Michael Deakers and Josh Ottum met up for beers and burritos in the small beach town of Leucadia, California. Under the spell of the breezy Pacific Ocean air and memories of an idyllic San Diego upbringing, they headed to Michael’s house and wrote a song called “D.O.P.E.”. They both listened to it 50 times each day for the next week and both recognized they had come across something special. Over the next few months the two musicians feverishly wrote and produced what would become Junior High, their self-titled debut. Junior High celebrates the sounds and emotions that are inextricably linked with the emergence of the synthesizer, the warmth and nostalgia of a pastel-colored windbreaker, sailboats, and the unapologetic lyrical positivity of the 1980′s.
Both Deakers and Ottum grew up in the 80′s with older sisters who directly and indirectly exposed them to the beautiful collision of athletic sentimentality, relentless grooves, and the technological innovations of a digital age. Whitney Houston, The Pointer Sisters, Prince, the St. Elmo’s Fire soundtrack…these are just a few of the cassettes that have been worn out by the members of Junior High. Not content to pretend they’re living in the past, the group’s songs embrace a number of influences from different periods in history. “My Number One” features a Roy Orbison-esque post-chorus; the epic “Shufflin’ The Cards” is reminiscent of Steely Dan and M.I.A.; and the anthemic and undeniably catchy single “PSA” has nods to Michael Jackson and soundtrack composers Harold Faltermeyer and Giorgio Moroder. In an age thick with irony and emotional distance, Junior High is a sincere, catchy, and highly danceable breath of fresh air. This is music made by instinct. And these instincts say, “Pretend you are 13 and you’re alone in your bedroom dancing in front of the mirror!”
Prior to Junior High, both Deakers and Ottum have been active with careers of their own. Deakers’ work as a producer has led to several remix collaborations as well as work for TV and film. Ottum has released two solo albums on Germany’s Tapete Records, completed several tours of the U.S. and Europe, and has had music featured on Mad Men, NPR, MTV. While the bulk of Junior High was created by the two musicians in an uncommonly productive period of writing and recording, the album also features some choice contributions by Los Angeles musicians John Wood (The Black Keys, Sebastian Tellier) and Frank Lenz (Richard Swift, Jesca Hoop). Armed with a double keyboard stand, two guitars, a drummer, and a shiny black keytar, Junior High are playing a few select shows in the Southern California area before embarking on a European tour in the winter of 2012.
Junior High Music’s tracks