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Bluejuice Interview

I had a chat to Jamie from Bluejuice following the release of their third studio album ‘Company’ and in the lead up to yet another ‘Sizzling’ tour from the guys as well as their appearance at the Big Day Out festivals.

Hi Jamie, how’s it going?
I’m well, thank you.

So you guys have just released your new album ‘Company’, how has the response been? Do you pay much attention to that kind of stuff?
The response has been good, though for once we haven’t really been paying too much attention, at least in comparison to previous releases. We used to slavishly google ourselves forty thousand times a day to see if we’d been reviewed or whatever. This time we almost didn’t notice the album had been released. Almost.

It seems to me that Bluejuice kind of do this balancing act between clowning around and some pretty serious songwriting, do you consciously try to have both of these sides to your music?
When the band first started it was mostly an outlet for clowning around, if only because that clowning around masked the fact that the songs weren’t really very good. We have made a conscious effort to be better songwriters since then, but we’re also aware that we can’t lose all of the unhinged aspects of the performance and become a bunch of self-serious, embittered, 30-something douchebags. It’s very difficult to not become those douchebags, it really is.

I have to ask about the ‘Act Yr Age’ video clip, which I’ve heard people describe as anything from hilarious to gross, were you surprised that some people found it so offensive?
Yes and no. It’s a little disappointing that a lot of people think the inter-generational aspect of it is the disgusting part. Personally I think it’s the super-slow-motion tongues (irrespective of who they belong to) that are a bit icky. Having said that, we obviously wanted the video to have an impact and be funny, and we knew that some viewers would inevitably show their appreciation by retching all over the place.

Do you constantly feel the need to outdo yourselves when it comes to video clips? I’m thinking especially of the ‘Vitriol’ clip here, which set a pretty high standard.
Yeah, I guess so. The “Vitriol” clip was really important in getting the band noticed, and it kind of set the tone in terms of our music and humour. Sam Bennetts directed that video, and since then he’s been the only director we’ve used. He was a friend before the band started, and understands what we’re capable of (in a public nuisance sense), and he knows how to squeeze the most out of an idea with limited funds and time. He also likes to wear hats a lot, like Spielberg.

‘Company’ sees you expand your sound quite a bit, how do you think your musical style has changed over your career?
Our sound has changed a lot since we first began. We started as an instrumental jam-band playing tedious funk dirges for hours, and we spent the next few years falling between the cracks of all sorts of different genres. We were once considered a “hip-hop/punk” band, which can’t really be said of our new stuff. We’re still a mish-mash of genres, but I guess the genres we’re mishing and mashing have changed over the years.

And of course you had some pretty fantastic help with the album from the likes of The Presets and Sparkadia, what was it like working with those guys?
Jake brought those guys to the table – he spent a day or two writing with Julian from the Presets, and “Own My Own” was borne from that session, and he did similarly with Alex from Sparkadia. Alex took a more hands-on approach to his songs (“Act Yr Age” and “Shock”), and was present for the recording of the parts for the album. He and his producer Blue then took the parts to London and produced the songs there. They are very talented gentlemen.

I saw Bluejuice play at Geelong last year with The Philly Jays and afterwards I heard you talking about a stolen guitar or something? Was this the case, and if so did you get it back?
Ack, don’t remind me. I had long been paranoid about my guitars after one got stolen years ago, and I finally started getting over it when some dipshit tried to nonchalantly walk out of the pub with my vintage bass after that Geelong show. Luckily a bouncer didn’t think the kid looked right and stopped him. I wanted to kiss that bouncer, all over his bald head.

Speaking of which you had a sweet glow in the dark stage setup there, similar to at Splendour In The Grass last year- do the band set that up themselves?
Yeah, we do it ourselves. Unfortunately we haven’t reached the point of success where we can employ Fluoro Tape Engineers on tour. Anyway, it gives us something to do before shows instead of playing Angry Birds or getting idiotically drunk.

You have a pretty amazing sense of energy to your live shows, is that something that comes naturally to the band or something that you’ve had to work on?
No, it’s always been there. As much as our music has changed over the years, the one thing that’s been consistent is our need for the audience to be dancing. Early on, our crowds were very small, and so Jake and Stav were pretty loose about what they would do onstage to get people involved. The music has also always been obnoxiously loud, so I guess both these things made us (and continue to make us) too annoying to be ignored.

And finally, what is next for Bluejuice? I’m guessing touring the new album?
Yeah – though for once we’re not touring the album immediately. We’re doing our annual Sizzling tour through some eastern coastal towns in January, then we play Big Day Out. I don’t think the album tour is happening until April, so there’ll be plenty of time for us to figure out a thousand new places to stick our fluoro tape.

Thanks for your time.

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