INTERVIEW: Bluejuice

By Lucy Smith

It’s the morning after a ruthless Wednesday night out. You’re standing in the wind on the verge of frostbite, waiting for some form of public transport in order to attend that compulsory two-hour lecture. Sound familiar?

Well, never fear! Bluejuice have vowed to “ease the plight of freezing students” by touring university campuses of Australia! Their “Winter Of Our Discotheque” Tour coincides with the release of the band’s fourth single ‘Recession’ off their album Company. Having taken a break from touring for several months, Bluejuice will be performing at the University of Wollongong Unibar on Saturday August 11th. Accompanied by Deep Sea Arcade and the Preachers, it is set to be a fantastic night of copious d-floor shredding.

Radar had a chat with frontman Jake Stone about all things tour-related, remixes and mould-ridden costumes.

So Jake, you’re currently getting ready for the tour – what influenced the decision to tour university campuses?
Well we basically thought we just wanted to go and do a type of tour that we haven’t done recently, and this is that type of tour. We haven’t gone to universities specifically in the last little while, we know there’s a lot of people there who are likely to want to see the band, and so we can pretty much guarantee that if we go it’ll pay off in the sense that we’ll get crowds. It’s us, Deep Sea Arcade – who are fantastic live – and The Preachers, who are just starting out; they’re a good Triple J band. So I know that’ll work and people will want to see it.

And we haven’t played in about two months, which is a long time for this band not really to play, so it just seems like the right time to do it. I mean, we came off the back of doing a lot of festival shows and we’ve been doing those for a while, and they’re all package tours…but this is our own tour where we pay for everything. So we want to make sure that it pays off doing it at all, because we’ve done shows in the last twelve months while the recession has hit and we’ve noticed that, because we’re not a huge huge band, it’s definitely more of a challenge over the last year to get crowds. People don’t really want to spend as much money or come out necessarily in the same way they did two years ago when everyone was just like, “Yeah! There’s gonna be a festival…Let’s just spend all our money on everything!”

And also the type of audience that the band has, they’re definitely going to be at uni, they’re definitely going to be Triple J listeners, and they’re definitely going to be probably congregating around the areas that we’re playing. So it makes sense, just seemed like a logical thing to do.

You’re obviously very energetic performers, whenever I’ve been to one of your shows it’s been wild – what satisfaction do you get when you look out over the crowd and you see people enjoying it just as much as you are?
Oh, it’s great. I mean, you’ve got to qualify whether or not you’re enjoying it at the time – but if you are and they are…it’s incredibly satisfying because it’s an absurd idea to even be getting up at all in a way. With a performance…I guess it’s a collective kind of moment of loss of inhibitions or impulsivity, which is what it feels like you’re encouraging – and that’s a good thing because people need to cut loose a bit. And also I think people need to get to a blind point with their own personality and feel confident to just express everything that they’re thinking of, so that in the rest of the week when they’re expected to be normal people…they can feel more at ease with themselves generally. Like going out and getting hammered, it really feels often like those kinds of moments – there’s a real rush doing those big shows like Splendour in the Grass…there’s definitely a moment of ‘holy crap, this is so massive and so amazing’. If that feeling is there and it’s real and you can hold onto it, it adds to everyone else’s feeling – and those things start to sort of play off themselves in a kind of self sustaining cycle of energy.  Which sounds pretty easy to say, but it’s true – I’m not easy at all, I’m a cynical guy – and that is literally what happens. It’s amazing, you feel like you’re part of this big perpetual motion machine that can’t be stopped and has no conscience, but just wants to party and have a crazy time, and you are glad to be apart of that.

The tour coincides with the release of the ‘Winter of Our Discotheque’ remix of Recession – can people attending the gigs expect more of an electronic/dance vibe to your music of that calibre?
Yeah definitely…we do like to play tunes for the audience that they recognize…and also just to keep ourselves entertained we want to change arrangements that we have, because otherwise you’re just playing the same thing for the songs live and it gets a bit dull.

So in this case we’ve taken elements of the remix and put them into our electronics that we use on stage to get play back, we can have all the extra synths running at the same time that you hear in the song – we wouldn’t actually be able to play all of that stuff because there’s like a gazillion layers of stuff going on – but we put stuff on our pads and our sequencer so that it sounds like the tune, we can put the kick drum maybe on track and have it running. So when you hear the song live it’s like our remix of the remix basically – that’s the idea.

The remix itself has been pretty well received, have you considered releasing more remixes of tracks off Company?
Yeah, we’ve got two fuckin’ SICK ones! There’s one by this guy Miracle – he’s living in Melbourne – and he’s a really amazing MC, I think he’s going to be a proper star in the next year I’d say. He’s just very very technically good and sounds really great on the track…and he did a remix of Act Yr Age that’s really good, it’s really hip-hop…a completely different groove to what the original does basically.

We’ve never had good remixes before, like we’ve gotten remixes done and we haven’t just hated them but they’ve been uniformly uninspired unfortunately. No one’s quite managed to get the song right, and often they felt they were a tack on part of the process we hadn’t managed properly…In this case we knew that we wanted to do a remix this time, our manager was more on it than the last record because he’s been with the band for longer and knows more about the band now, and it’s just been a lot easier to organize…more of a confluent flow to a good quality product, which happened here I think. All I know is that I was pleased when I heard the tune back and thought, “this doesn’t suck, this is good – I could dance to this!”

What are you most looking forward to for the upcoming the tour?
I’m actually most looking forward to playing with Deep Sea Arcade…we’ve toured with that band before and I just like them as people, I dig their music a lot, they’re really great live and on record, and they’ve produced themselves in an interesting and relevant way…I fully expect them to blow us off the stage in terms of quality of sound every night. But it’s gonna be good. It’s gonna be a good deal because you’re going to see two bands who are wanting to do something decent and one band who are in the prime of their youth, because Deep Sea Arcade are really coming into their own right now. It’s going to be a special show in a lot of ways I think.

Now you’ve been on stage in yellow jumpsuits and yeti jackets, can we expect any eccentric costuming at the Unibar?
You know what, this is the tour where I just want to wear clothes. <GASP> Look, don’t be disappointed, it’ll be all right – we’ll do stuff to the clothes. Altered clothes can work really well, sometimes it just suits the surroundings a little more.

That’s more than fair, and you wouldn’t want to expose Stav’s hairy chest in bright lycra again.
Exactly! Plus it’s hot in those things and they get really wet and disgusting, and you can’t clean them for the next show. You end up with this mouldy thing and you’re just like, “Oh God, do we really have to wear this? I’m getting a lung infection from this.” And sometimes you think, “Fuck, we started out as a band and nobody expected us to be wearing multi-headed Sun God outfits or anything.” People still came initially when we were wearing T-shirts, so why can’t we just do that again? The reason why the costumes started was because Jerry and other members of the band did not know how to dress themselves, they just don’t know how to wear clothes at all. I’m not suggesting I do, but…there was a point where Jerry was trying to wear Crocs on stage and I was like, “Are you kidding me? You’re in a band, you’re being looked at you know!”

Well regardless of what you’re wearing, your performance at Wollongong Unibar is set to be an excellent night and we can’t wait for your return.
Yeah, always excited and happy to come to Wollongong!


TOUR NEWS: Bluejuice, Deep Sea Arcade

Bluejuice will be returning to town later this year, as part of a massive national tour of university campuses.

The boys with a penchant for neon will be playing Wollongong Uni on August 11, as part of a big tour to lauch new single ‘Recession.’ They will be joined by Deep Sea Arcade and The Preachers on the 14-date tour through August, with the UOW date at the Unibar coming early on in the piece.

Bluejuice were last in town on their own ‘Company’ album launch tour in April, playing Waves Nightclub with Loon Lake and The Cairos; check out our photo gallery and review from the gig.

Check out the new remix of Bluejuice’s new single, ‘Recession,’ here.

Bluejuice, ‘Recession’ remix tour
w/ Deep Sea Arcade, The Preachers
UOW Unibar, August 11 

TOUR NEWS: The Cairos

Brisbane band The Cairos will return to Wollongong in July, as part of a national EP launch tour.

The band, last in town as support to Bluejuice and currently touring with Deep Sea Arcade, will hit The Patch on July 4 with The Preachers and a local support. They’ll be launching their excellent new EP, ‘Colours Like Features.’

On their opening slot for Bluejuice in April, we praised their “quirky brand of indie-pop which draws from many points on the musical spectrum from 50s guitar-pop to 80s rock,” calling them “a band who clearly have an ear for a hook and an ability to craft a catchy tune.” Click to see the gallery and review from the Bluejuice gig.

Catch The Cairos in headline mode in July. More info.

Walking Who to play Select Music’s 7th birthday party

Select Music’s 7th birthday party in June will have a distinctly Wollongong feel, with several local connections on the bill.

Select, which is responsible for handling and booking some of the country’s biggest talent, will celebrate seven years of existence with a mini-festival across several Sydney venues in June. Alongside headliners Bluejuice, Ball Park Music and Midnight Juggernauts, Wollongong stars The Walking Who are booked to play the party on June 21, which will sprawl across Upstairs Beresford, The Standard, Oxford Art Factory and Phoenix Bar in Darlinghurst. They will also be joined by Step-Panther, who have recently picked up local Daniel Radburn as their new drummer.

Tickets for the event are just $20, which will get you into every venue, with proceeds to benefit Beyond Blue.

Tickets are on sale May 15 – click here for more details.


REVIEW: Bluejuice, Loon Lake, The Cairos

(see our photo gallery here)

It looked like it would be another embarassing turnout for Wollongong music as Brisbane indie-pop quarter The Cairos took the stage. In a space like Waves Nightclub, a poor turnout is very noticable, and the 50-odd punters who were on hand for the opening set of the night awkwardly sat or stood around dancefloor area. The Cairos’ brand of quirky indie-pop draws from many points on the musical spectrum from 50s guitar-pop to 80s rock, this scattergun approach leaving their set feeling incoherent and unrefined. They do the loud-soft dynamic well, their default sound channelling Yves Klein Blue at points, and frontman Alistair has an excellent voice; but overall their lack of musical focus – coupled with an almost non-existent live presence – let down a band who clearly have an ear for a hook and an ability to craft a catchy tune.

Loon Lake kicked the crowd’s energy up a few gears in anticipation of the night’s headliners. The room had measurably filled during the set-change, with several hundred on hand for the hotly-tipped Melbourne rock’n’roll outfit. Bright, upbeat indiepop, their three-pronged guitar attack instantly produced a much fuller, more immediate vibe than their predecessors. Off-kilter, raucous and energetic, the five-piece blasted through a hugely entertaining set melding modern pop with 50s-influenced surf-rock jams and an attractively raw, unpolished vibe. In contrast to the introverted, almost sombre demeanour of The Cairos, it was clear that Loon Lake was enjoying themselves on stage, judging by the laughs and smiles between songs. Frontman Sam was warm, charismatic, and more than a little intoxicated, his gravelly and throaty vocals an interesting juxtaposition against their big, bright melodies. Dreamy and hazy at times, before dropping back into a more direct retro-pop, Triple J favourites and excellent set-closers ‘Bad To Me’ and ‘In The Summer’ finally coaxed the near-capacity crowd onto the dancefloor – and just in time for the headliners.

Coming out to the tune of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ (Friday the 13th was just hours away) and adorned in black cloaks and hoods, Bluejuice soon turned on the neon as the stabbing key chords of ‘Can’t Keep Up’ rang out and triggered an instant losing of shit from all assembled. With neon keyboards, glasses, guitars, wristbands and microphones, courtesy of some blacklights, the six-piece transformed the dark stage into a mass of light, colour, strobes and smoke. “We are inca warriors tonight,” Stav proclaimed as the upbeat ‘Recession’ gave way to a surprise early rendition of ‘Vitriol,’ which saw the dancefloor morph into a crowd-surfing, handclapping frenzy as frontman Jake waded into the crowd and was borne back to the stage on a sea of hands.

While the dual vocals and on-stage antics of Stav and Jake generate the “better video that on my iPhone so I can put it on Facebook later” moments of Bluejuice’s live show, it can’t be overlooked that the band are comprised of some very fine musicians; a drummer, bassist, keyboardist and guitarist form the backbone of the live sound, which transforms the polished and professional sound of their recorded work into something more energetic and infinitely more compelling live. This is especially true of latest album ‘Company’ (which this tour is in support of), a distinctly less energetic sound, a love letter to 80s radio pop. The mix of old favourites with new album tunes was excellent, the more serene synthpop of late meshing surprisingly well with the rawer, more high-energy oldies.

However, of course, it IS Jake and Stav that make this band. A true yin/yang contrast, Jake is the crowd-surfing, stage-diving, hip-gyrating, amplifier-climbing maniac, while Stav largely holds the fort behind the mic stand. It’s why they work so well, that the two play off each other and bring two completely different aspects to the show. During a zany, manic, rave-style ‘Medication,’ Jake was literally swallowed up by the crowd, much to the chagrin of flustered-looking stage hands who were looking to protect their microphones and equipment. Finishing up with ‘Head of The Hawk,’ ‘Shock’ and a rabid, singalong rendition of ‘Broken Leg,’ Bluejuice certainly showed once again that they are one of Australia’s finest live pop acts… and more pleasingly, actually managed to attract a decent crowd in Wollongong.

GALLERY: Bluejuice, Loon Lake, The Cairos @ Waves

Photos by Courtney Fry, 12/4/12

(See our review here)

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