Juno Reactor performing live at Earthcore in December 2008.
|Origin||London, United Kingdom|
|Labels||Metropolis, NovaMute, Inter-Modo, Blue Room Released|
Juno Reactor are a musical and performing act known for the cinematic fusion of electronic, orchestral and global music. Central to the project is Ben Watkins, and his collaborations with a constantly changing ensemble of musicians from across the world, including percussionist Mabi Thobejane from South Africa along with countrymen Amampondo, Eduardo Niebla, Steve Stevens, Greg Ellis, Taz Alexander, Ghetto Priest, Sugizo and recently Yasmin Levy. They are also famous for collaborating with composer Don Davis for the musical score of the film The Matrix as well as other films.
Originally Juno Reactor was formed as an art project in 1990; Ben Watkins wanted to collaborate with other artists to produce and be involved in exciting projects that were not commercially driven. He wanted to create experimental music/non musical soundtracks that would work with installations, art pieces and film projects.
In 1993, Juno Reactor released their first single, "Laughing Gas", on the NovaMute label. This was soon followed by their debut album, Transmissions. This release is considered to be one of the first albums in the goa trance genre. Later, the band released Luciana on Alex Paterson's (The Orb) Inter-Modo label. Juno Reactor left NovaMute and Inter-Modo in 1995 and signed to UK's Blue Room Released label to release the "Guardian Angel" single. Their album Beyond the Infinite was released in 1996.
The 1997 release on Wax Trax! Records/TVT Records, Bible of Dreams, was Juno Reactor's fourth album. It had a sound much different from the previous albums and moved away from the traditional dance beats by implementing tribal influences. Watkins collaborated with Amampondo, a traditional South African percussion act, on the single Conga Fury. Ben Watkins and Amampondo went on a five week tour of the U.S., doing the opening for Moby. In 1998 Juno Reactor played a stunning live set with Amampondo at Glastonbury Festival. In 1999, he appeared on the album Anima Animus by Siouxsie's second group, The Creatures.
Watkins released the fifth Juno Reactor album, Shango in 2000. It was the first of his albums on Metropolis Records. The first track from the album, Pistolero, was done in a collaboration with guitarist Steve Stevens (Billy Idol). The song opened up an entirely new direction for Juno Reactor. This same track was also featured during the trailer for the movie Once Upon a Time in Mexico, as well as the film itself. In the fall of 2002, Juno Reactor released a new single titled Hotaka. It was recorded in a Japanese studio overlooking Mt. Fuji. Hotaka once again featured Steve Stevens on guitar, and included traditional Taiko drummers, Gocoo. In 2003, the Odyssey 1992–2002 album was released as a compilation of the best Juno Reactor tracks of the past decade.
The sixth Juno Reactor album, Labyrinth, was released in October 2004, and featured Watkins' work from the Matrix films. The new album once again cemented the tribal influences present in their music through tracks like Conquistador II.
In 2006 Ben Watkins was hired to compose an orchestral score for Brave Story (a Japanese feature anime). Sony Japan released the soundtrack in July. Recorded in Slovakia with the Bratislava Radio Symphony Orchestra and choir, it shows a new versatile and unexpected side of Ben Watkins and Juno Reactor.
Juno Reactor's new album, Gods & Monsters, was released in March 2008, and features the introduction of Ghetto Priest and Sugizo into the Juno Reactor fold along with Eduardo Niebla, Xavier Morel, and Yasmin Levy. In an interview with Side-Line Magazine Watkins talks about the recording process of the album. In 2009, Reactor toured with drummer Budgie of the seminal band Siouxsie & the Banshees.
Their remix of Traci Lords' song Control as an instrumental was featured on the soundtrack for the Mortal Kombat movie. It was famously used in the much anticipated fight between Liu Kang and Reptile. They returned for the sequel Mortal Kombat Annihilation with tracks like Conga Fury. Later, the group, in collaboration with Don Davis, had a number of tracks featured on the soundtracks for the Matrix series of films and video games (most notably the famous freeway chase scene in The Matrix Reloaded, which featured Mona Lisa Overdrive, as well as the Animatrix, which featured the tracks Masters Of The Universe on the short Kid's Story, and Conga Fury (Animatrix Remix) on Final Flight of the Osiris). Their single Guardian Angel was featured as the opening theme of the anime series Texhnolyze. Guardian Angel was also featured in the movie Drive starring Mark Dacascos and Kadeem Hardison. Other Juno Reactor tracks appear on movies such as Eraser, Virtuosity, Lost In Space, the Romeo + Juliet trailer, the 1999 film Beowulf and even Once Upon a Time in Mexico. Juno Reactor soundtracks have also been played during baseball, basketball, and gridiron football games, the Japanese Grand Prix, and appear on the PlayStation game Jet Moto 3 and also PlayStation 2's Frequency, as well as the Xbox game Mad Dash Racing. Juno Reactor also scored the entirety of the Mark of Kri game.
Juno Reactor also has a song in the game Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix 4. Masters of the Universe from the Shango album, was shortly heard during the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) movie trailer. The trailer for Secuestro Express includes an excerpt from the song War Dogs off of the Labyrinth album. Also from the album Labyrinth, the song Mutant Message is featured in the Legion trailer.