Since 2008, Cocoa Beach’s Junior Doctor have been making high-energy pop rock a la Mayday Parade and Cartel. The band worked with the best producers in the modern rock scene to hone the polished sound on their debut Clumsy Words and Pickup Lines. We caught up with frontman/guitarist Mark Hartman to hear about the band’s beginnings, working with famous actresses, and how they’re preparing for a very Warped summer.
MH: Yes, there are two stories of how JrDr started and one is not true at all. So the true story is that we met in a super boring way (introductions through mutual friends) and we stumbled upon the name Junior Doctor, realized that the abbreviation was Jr.Dr., thought it was cool, and that was it. Now when we told people that story, they all seemed extremely unimpressed and it didn’t really spark any ones interest. So we decided to make up a story about us dropping out of med school to pursue a career in music, and everyone seemed to eat it up! So we stuck with it for a while, but as things started to grow, we started to feel more and more uncomfortable with the fact that we were lying to everyone. So we decided it was probably best to go a head and just come clean. I mean imagine if someone at one of our shows started having a heart attack or something, then someone yells out “Those guys are doctors! They can help!” That definitely wouldn’t end very well.
OS: What is the local scene like in Cocoa Beach? Who are some local bands that you think your fans should check out?
MH: The scene in Cocoa Beach is cool. It’s a really laid back attitude and there aren’t really a ton of bands here, but one we have played with may times and are all big fans of is The Starlight Getaway. They have an album called My Dreams and Me and it is awesome!
OS: You enlisted some impressive names for your album Clumsy Words and Bad Pickup Lines. Tell us about some of the people you worked with and what it was like to record with them?
MH: We worked with Matt Goldman, Zack Odom, Kenneth Mount, Todd Write, and Ethan Mentzer. All are so talented and bring very different things to the table creatively. If you listen to our album from front to back, you will notice we have some really fast-paced rock songs, most of which came from our sessions with Goldman; some slick pop songs, coming from our time with Zac and Kenneth; and some softer, more vulnerable ballads from when we worked with Todd and Ethan. It was really cool to work with different producers for different songs because I feel like it has made our album into a very diverse group of songs that has something for just about anyone.
OS: Which song off the record do you think best represents JrDr, and why?
MH: I feel like our song “Perfect Girl” is. I say this because it is a song that, I feel, is a great balance between the melodic hooks of our poppier songs and the energy we bring in our heavier ones.
OS: Your video for “Uh Oh” features Cassie Steele, of Degrassi fame. How did she get involved and what was it like to be on set with her?
MH: Well first of all, it was great working with Cassie. She is so sweet, extremely talented, and was so much fun to hang out with. When we were looking for someone to play the female role in our video, her name came up right away because we are all huge fans of her character, Manny, from Degrassi. So we had our management reach out to hers and, lucky for us, she loved the song and was on board. We have kept in touch and we consider her a good friend. By the way, everyone should check out her new show, L.A. Complex on the CW.
OS: For those who haven’t seen you play live yet, what can we look forward to at Junior Doctor’s Warped Tour?
MH: Well, like I said before, there are many different sides to our music, but Warped Tour is gonna get all of our energy. People can look forward to hearing the fast-paced pop rock side of Junior Doctor. We definitely have a softer side to our music but we feel like The Warped Tour is a place where we can let loose and show off our more energetic live show. We are all pumped about it.
OS: You’re playing 20 dates of Warped Tour this year. What have you been doing to prepare for the shows?
MH: We have been stocking up on merchandise! All new T-shirt designs, free bracelets, copies our our new CD Clumsy Words and Bad Pickup Lines, and more! Anything Junior Doctor that you want will be available at Warped Tour. We are so excited to be a part of the tour, and can’t wait to meet and hang out with everyone!
Check out the video for “Uh Oh,” starring Cassie Steele: