A Music Blog, Yea? recently had a chat with Tom Hanley, lead vocalist of Toronto funk-rock makers JUICE. In support of their latest album Hit The Ground Running (released independently on July 16th), the sextet is performing in Toronto at The Piston on Thursday, November the 14th. If you want to learn more about the band, dig into our conversation where we spoke about favourite releases of the year, writing a second full length album, and their amazing side projects.
AMBY: Hello JUICE, thanks for speaking with us. What’s the band been up to lately?
JUICE: Hey! No problem, thanks for having us. Lately we have been in the shed…working on new music, revamping old tunes and planning tours for the new year.
AMBY: How would you describe each member of the band in one word?
JUICE: That is a tough one… Andrew – Animal (like the muppet), Tom – Dad, Max – Cool guy, Claudio – Italian, Craig – Diva, Kyle – Nice guy.
AMBY: You recently announced that you have some “big plans for November”! Care to share?
JUICE: For sure! JUICE is doing a mini tour around southern Ontario hitting some of our favourite spots. We are doing shows in Toronto (Nov 14th @ The Piston), Peterborough (Nov 19th @ The Spill), Waterloo (Nov 22nd @ Maxwell’s Music House) and Sarnia (Nov 23rd @ Paddy Flaherty’s). We have written a bunch of new music for the tour so it will be cool to play it live and see what people think.
AMBY: Your latest album Hit The Ground Running is awesome. Which songs off the record are your favourite?
JUICE: Thanks, I’m glad you like it. I would say my favourite songs on the record are Wake Me Up, The City and Indigo. Wake Me Up and The City are super up beat and fun to play live. Indigo is cool cause it’s a slower groove based tune which is different than most of the tracks on the album. Kyle did a 6 piece string arrangement for it that gives Indigo a really big sound.
AMBY: What was the inspiration behind calling your album Hit The Ground Running?
JUICE: Well, when we wrote the record we were in college and were really driven to get the band going once we graduated. We thought the title “Hit The Ground Running” was a solid fit for our situation.
AMBY: The band combines a unique mix of jazz, funk, and pop. Who inspires you as musicians and songwriters?
JUICE: The boys in the band listen to a ton of different stuff. Some of our influences would be artists like Frank Ocean, Lettuce, Kendrick Lamar, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, D’angelo, Snarky Puppy and Rage Against The Machine to name a few.
AMBY: You have some upcoming Canadian dates. What are you most looking forward to?
JUICE: I think the date we are most looking forward to is our Toronto show at the Piston. It is always fun to play at home at an awesome venue. We are playing with Mara and The Marigold and Yuka which are two stellar Toronto based bands definitely worth checking out.
AMBY: What’s the funniest thing to happen to you at a gig?
JUICE: There have been a lot of hilarious things that have happened to us while performing. Having to physically remove drunk people who have climbed on stage and want to sing lead, getting fired mid show because a bar owner didn’t like that we don’t play any Rihanna. I think the funniest moment would be while we were playing The Beaches Jazz Festival this summer one of the members of a band playing beside us came over and screamed in my face “Shut the F#$K up” mid song because he thought we had played too long. The crowd then started booing him which was amazing!
AMBY: What’s next as far as recording goes?
JUICE: We have a lot planned for the new year recording wise. Right now we are writing our second full length album and are hoping to start tracking it in the spring of 2014. We are applying for a few grants and looking to do some touring to raise funds for it. On top of that we will be releasing a bunch of new live and studio videos that we have been putting together over the last few months.
AMBY: What’s the best release of the year?
JUICE: That is another tough one…There have been some really good records put out this year. I was a big fan of the new Daft Punk record Random Access Memories. The new Arcade Fire album is awesome as well.
AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about JUICE that nobody knows yet?
JUICE: Something that most people don’t know about JUICE is all of the members are in involved in amazing side projects. Claudio is an Italian celebrity playing concertina all over the world, Tom and Kyle play with massive artists in the Bollywood and Indian music scene, Craig is a music programer who runs an 11 piece Motown band, Max has started his own record label and is currently writing his second self produced hip-hop record and Andrew is chef/DJ who is working on his first house music album. There is a lot of hidden talent with the guys in the band that is for sure.
Thank you JUICE, for giving us your answers!
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Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout