Make us your home page

Married musicians focus on new sound of the '80s



Jonka What do you get when you combine two New Yorkers -- one a kindergarten teacher, the other the grandson of a blind subway musician? Oddly enough, you an electro-pop duo that reminds me of They Might Be Giants with a dash of Oingo Boingo.

The Brooklyn band Jonka is actually a married couple, Jonathan Neufeld (the grandson) and Annika Kaye (the teacher), both 31 years old. The duo just released their debut album Slow and Steady Wins the Race on iTunes and Their music is definitely very upbeat and addictive. In other words, it's very '80s. [ Listen to it here on their MySpace page.]

The pair recently fielded some questions from Stuck in the '80s about their band. Here are some highlights.

SIT80s: When I think of husband-wife music teams of the '80s, I think of bands like Timbuk3, ABBA and Fleetwood Mac. Very acrimonious. Do you ever worry about the pressure the band has on the marriage?

Jon: You know it's something to consider. There is a lot of push and pull in a marriage and with a band. If you are able to keep your perspective on the process and the enjoyment of both relationships, the marriage of the two can be seamless and productive.

Annika: Our romantic relationship developed way before our musical relationship. The further we grew in our relationship the better the music became. We've been together for eight years and just celebrated our first anniversary. Some of these songs were written on our honeymoon!

Jon: The steps towards our musical collaboration were organic and took time. The same can be said for our marriage.

Annika: By the way, my mom is Swedish and we listened to SO MUCH ABBA when I was growing up. They taught me a lot about singing a catchy and powerful harmony. Also, the first time Jon ever heard me sing my brains out was to a Fleetwood Mac song. He was like "woah."

SIT80s: What '80s bands were you both big fans of back in the good ole days? And which ones do you still listen to today?

Jon: We were impressionable kids during the '80s. You know, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Michael Jackson, George Michael, Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, Bangles, Prince, U2, Phil Collins, Bruce Springsteen, etc. But we also listened to our parents' music which included Paul Simon, The Beatles, ABBA, Billy Joel, Elton John, etc.

SIT80s: What bands most influenced your music style?

Jon: We've been really impressed to find performers such as La Roux and Ladyhawke who are bringing electro-pop and retro-'80s back onto the scene. We're going to be a part of that scene in the not-too-distant future.

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:53pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours