Ben Watkins from Juno Reactor with The Mutant Theatre (Stigma show, Agnivo) walking down a street at the Ozora festival in Hungary.
|Origin||London, United Kingdom|
|Labels||Metropolis, NovaMute, Inter-Modo, Blue Room Released|
Juno Reactor is a musical and performing group known for their cinematic fusion of electronic, global influences, and orchestral symphonic approach, collaborating with composer Don Davis and composing for the musical score of The Matrix. Central to the project is Ben Watkins and his collaborations with a constantly changing ensemble of musicians from across the world. This ensemble has included Mabi Thobejane, Amampondo, Steve Stevens, Eduardo Niebla, Greg Ellis, Taz Alexander, Sugizo, Budgie (drummer) and recently Hamsika Iyer and Maggie Hikri.
Juno Reactor was formed as an art project in 1990. Ben Watkins wanted to collaborate with other artists, producing exciting projects that were not commercially driven. He wanted to create experimental music and non-musical soundtracks that would work with installations, art pieces, and film projects.
Juno Reactor released their first single, "Laughing Gas", in 1993 on the NovaMute label. This was soon followed by their debut album, Transmissions. This release was the first artist album in the 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 with the UK label Blue Room Released to release the single "Guardian Angel". Their album Beyond the Infinite was released in 1995.
The 1997 Blue Room Released Bible of Dreams was Juno Reactor's fourth album. It had a much different sound than 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". Watkins and Amampondo went on a five-week tour of the US, doing the opening for Moby. In 1998, Juno Reactor played a live set with Amampondo at Glastonbury Festival. The group collaborated with The Creatures on the track "I'm here...Another Planet" for the Lost in Space (1998) soundtrack. They teamed up with The Creatures again in 1999 on the track "Exterminating Angel", featured on that group's album Anima Animus.
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 a collaboration with Billy Idol's guitarist, Steve Stevens. The track was featured during the trailer for the movie Once Upon a Time in Mexico, as well as in 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" featured Stevens on guitar, and included traditional Taiko drummers Gocoo. In 2003, the album Odyssey 1992–2002 was released as a compilation of the best Juno Reactor tracks of the decade.
The sixth Juno Reactor album, Labyrinth, was released in October 2004, and featured Watkins' work from the Matrix films. The album once again featured the tribal influences present in their music through tracks like "Conquistador II".
In 2006, Watkins was hired to compose an orchestral score for Brave Story, a Japanese anime feature film. Sony Japan released the soundtrack, which was recorded at the Slovak Radio Concert Hall in Slovakia with the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra. The album was written by "Ben Watkins aka Juno Reactor".
Juno Reactor's album Gods & Monsters was released in March 2008, and featured the introduction of Ghetto Priest and Sugizo into the Juno Reactor fold, along with Eduardo Niebla, Xavier Morel, and Yasmin Levy. In 2009, the band toured with drummer Budgie, of the band Siouxsie and the Banshees.
in 2013, Juno Reactor's latest album The Golden Sun of the Great East was released on Metropolis Records.
Juno Reactor & The Mutant Theatre premiered at the Ozora Festival 4 August 2016 “TIME” a unique performance featuring the Juno Reactor live band: Taja Devi (Vocalist) Tal Tula Ben-Ari (Vocals) Nataly Hay (Dancer) Amir Haddad (Ude and Guitars) Ben Watkins (Electronic’s & Guitar) Johann Bley (Drums). Joined by Agnivo and Stigma Show, visual performance groups from Russia, under the banner of The Mutant Theatre.
A new album featuring the tracks from the show, Juno Reactor & The Mutant Theatre, will be released later in the year or early 2017.
Appearances in media
Movies and television
Juno Reactor produced and wrote Traci Lords's American hit "Control". As an instrumental it was featured on the soundtrack to the movie Mortal Kombat. It was used in the fight between Liu Kang and Reptile. The group also appeared on the soundtrack to the sequel, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, with the track "Conga Fury".
Later, Ben Watkins in collaboration with Don Davis, worked with The Wachowskis for the Matrix series of films and video games. Juno Reactor's music was featured in five sequences from the last two films in the franchise, including the highway chase (Mona Lisa Overdrive) and the Agent Smith fight (Burly Brawl) from The Matrix Reloaded and the subway train chase (The Trainman Cometh), the shootout on the Merovingian's club (Tetsujin) and the end credits (Navras) from The Matrix Revolutions. The Animatrix also featured pre-existing tracks "Masters Of The Universe" (in Kid's Story) and "Conga Fury (Animatrix Remix)" (in Final Flight of the Osiris).
Brave Story also saw Ben Watkins Score his first full orchestra feature, released in Japan where it was the number 1 film for 6 weeks.
Many other tracks have been used in films including those listed below. 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 1999 film Beowulf, and Once Upon a Time in Mexico. Juno Reactor soundtracks have also been played during baseball, basketball, and gridiron football games, and the Japanese Grand Prix.
Ben Watkins also worked on Bunraku released in the fall of 2011.
Their work appears in the PlayStation game Jet Moto 3, PlayStation 2's Frequency, PlayStation 2's Kinetica, and the Xbox game Mad Dash Racing. Juno Reactor also scored the PlayStation 2 game The Mark of Kri.
Juno Reactor also has a song in the game Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix 4. "Masters of the Universe", from the album Shango, was briefly heard during the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider movie trailer. The trailer for Secuestro Express includes an excerpt from the song "War Dogs" from the album Labyrinth. Also from Labyrinth, the song "Mutant Message" is featured in the Legion trailer.
- Transmissions (NovaMute Records 1993)
- Luciana (Inter-Modo 1994) (61-minute track originally recorded for The Missile Project traveling art installation)
- Beyond the Infinite (Blue Room Released 1 October 1995)
- Bible of Dreams (Blue Room Released 1997)
- Shango (Metropolis Records 2000)
- Labyrinth (Metropolis Records, Universal Music 2004)
- Gods & Monsters (Metropolis Records 2008)
- The Golden Sun of the Great East (Metropolis Records, Wakyo Japan April 2013)
Singles and EPs
- Laughing Gas (1993)
- High Energy Protons (1994)
- Guardian Angel (1995)
- Samurai (1995)
- Conga Fury (1996)
- Jungle High (1997)
- God Is God (1997)
- GOD IS GOD!! (Front 242 Mixes) (1997)
- Pistolero (Blue Room Released 2000)
- Nitrogen (2000) - 2 tracks taken from "Shango"
- Masters of the Universe (2001)
- Hotaka (2002)
- The Zwara EP (2003)
- Song to the Siren (2009)
- Fear Not (with Laibach, 2009)
Live recordings and compilation albums
- Odyssey 1992–2002
- Shango Tour 2001 Tokyo (Live in Tokyo) (2002)
- Juno Reactor Live - Audio Visual Experience (2007)
- Inside the Reactor (2012)
- The Golden Sun - Remixed (2015)
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Lost in Space [Original Soundtrack] - Original Soundtrack - Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-07-20.
- Morgan, David (October 2003). "The Creatures". In Buckley, Peter. The Rough Guide to Rock (3 ed.). London: Rough Guides. ISBN 978-1-84353-105-0.
The whole album gleamed with ideas and enthusiasm, with standout track 'Exterminating Angel' gaining extra power from its classy Juno Reactor production.
- "Juno Reactor - IMDb". Retrieved 2012-05-23.
- "Ben Watkins - Brave Story - Original Soundtrack". Discogs. Discogs. Retrieved 2010-11-01.
- JPaterson. "The Mark of Kri (2002) PlayStation 2 credits". MobyGames. MobyGames. Retrieved 2010-11-01.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Juno Reactor.|
- JunoReactor.com - Juno Reactor official website
- Juno Reactor at DMOZ
- Interview with Ben Watkins by Special Radio
- Extensive Juno Reactor discography at Discogs
- Juno Reactor on Last.fm, a social music profiling service