Broke-Ass Band Interview: The Juliets (Playing Pianos NYC This Saturday 9/15)
1. Your music features orchestral elements, without ignoring the pop vibe. Not many other bands can lay claim to this distinct style. What influenced the idea to focus on blending elaborate orchestral arrangements with memorable vocals, and a lively rhythm section?
I’ve always loved good string orchestration in a variety of musical styles. At some point it just dawned on me that there weren’t many modern bands that were aggressively implementing those elements and I wanted to give it a shot.
2. You describe yourselves as classically trained musicians. I imagine you had parents that motivated you towards music at a young age, or you may have discovered music yourself. What would you say to younger people about the importance of participating/advocating/demanding arts programs in their cities and schools?
The string section and drummer were classically trained (thank, God), but I wasn’t. I did have some amazing music teachers here and there that helped me to look at things in more sophisticated ways. My Dad mostly just listened to blues. The most sophisticated thing I was exposed to at a young age was Motown, which is really all anyone would ever need. Classical music was almost a rebellion for me. And I picked most of it up by ear. The fact that we have to advocate and fight for arts programs in this country is depressing. We’re spending all our money on things like a “War” on drugs when we should be putting it into something more productive. Maybe there wouldn’t be so many creative people driven to drugs if our leaders cared about something other than money and playing with our heads. The war is on us. Not drugs.
3. Holding true to the theme of Broke-Ass Stuart, what’s the most “broke” thing you guys have had to do so far?
Be in a band that’s from Detroit. Pick pockets. Circus sideshows. Stuff like that.
4. How do you maintain relationships with such a busy schedule whether it’s with your family members, girlfriends/boyfriends, friends?
Our relationships are maintained by constantly being strained and in jeopardy. Then at the last second they are saved by a beautiful melody and a sincere I’m sorry and thank you.
5. The general theme of this band seems to be one of perseverance and desire. What would you say to young artists everywhere about perseverance, and reaching their goals?
A goal is a strange thing when you’re an artist or attempting to sincerely and passionately create anything. It seems redundant to say “I’m an artist with goals”. If you’re truly good enough at what you do to use the word “artist “ you’ve reached the goal. Once you’ve reached it the new goal is to stretch and transform the goal. As far as money goes. Food and shelter are generally necessary to be an artist.
6. Which is your most memorable show to date? Why?
Either a two set gig we played at The Detroit Institute of the Arts where both sets were sold out and we were surrounded by a classic Diego Rivera Mural. Or a frustrating gig at hole in the wall downtown where the sound guy was purposely screwing with our sound and I ended up rushing him from the stage mid-set only to be tackled by my friend and brother to keep me from going to jail. Me and that sound guy are cool with each other now. Just another night in Detroit.
7. Besides Detroit, what are some of your favorite cities or venues to play?
There’s a place in Chicago called The Empty Bottle that we really love and we have blast at Pianos out here.
8. You’ll be in New York this weekend at the height of Fashion Week. How important is a sense of style to you guys? What influences this style?
It’s semi-important only in that we want to look like we belong on stage. But if there’s any designers out there that want to get us Spider’s from Mars’d out, please get in touch with me.
The Juliets at Pianos NYC
Saturday, September 15, 2012 at 11:00 pm,
Pianos NYC – the Showroom
158 Ludlow Street
[Lower East Side]
Interview by Leonard Zachery
Photo Credit: The Juliets