Juice is the new boy band for the ‘new normal’

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The seven-member boy band ‘Juice’.  Photo by Off Season Creative via City Pulse

The seven-member boy band ‘Juice’. Photo by Off Season Creative via City Pulse

There’s little things we can do everyday to make the “new normal” of quarantine better, whether it’s going on walks, trying out those new recipes you’ve been eyeing for a while or discovering new music to listen to. If the latter is more your speed for quarantine self-care, then you’re in luck: This week we have a new artist to add to your ever-growing quarantine playlists. 

There’s no doubt that in the past couple of years there has been a rise of a new sort of boy band, most notably demonstrated in the megapopular group Brockhampton. Juice, the seven person collective hailing from Boston, follows this general musical format while also adding their own unique twist.

Juice is made of members Ben Stevens on lead vocals, Christian Rose on violin and vocals, Kamau Burton on acoustic guitar and vocals, Daniel Moss on guitar and vocals, Michael Ricciardulli on guitar and vocals, Rami El-Abidin on bass guitar and Miles Clyatt on drums. The group formed while in college in 2013 and have been creating music together ever since. While it was in college that each of the members began to take music seriously, their paths to getting to that stage weren’t all similar.

“I actually got put in band class by accident in like sixth grade,” Michael Ricciardulli said in regard to the beginning of his musical endeavors. “I ended up having to stay in that class and so I ended up just picking out the alto saxophone [to play]. That was my gateway into music, as a young kid. Then I actually picked up the guitar and started learning that and writing songs.”

For guitarist Daniel Moss, his first introduction into the world of music was through a scary Russian piano teacher that was the “bane of his existence” as an 8-year-old. He moved from the piano to the guitar and stuck with the latter. 

“In terms of knowing that I wanted to do music for the rest of my life, that didn’t happen definitely until college, until I met the guys in the band which opened up a whole new side of music for myself, in terms of writing and creating original content,” Moss said.

Like Moss and Ricciardulli, Christian Rose explored music at an early age, taking violin lessons as young as three or four years of age. 

“I knew I loved to play and I knew I loved to do music,” Rose explained. “And when I got to college, even though we didn’t go to school for music per se, I was really excited to meet other musicians. By the time we got to our junior year, we were all narrowing in on our decision to pursue music full time, so all the pieces lined up.”

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we got a couple of big announcements this week

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Since then Juice has been on a roll and has only gotten better. In 2016 they released their debut self-titled EP while 2018 saw the release of another EP entitled “Workin’ on Lovin’,” the titular track garnering over 650,000 plays on Spotify. In 2019 they released “you are simply magnificent,” another collection of songs including the previously released singles “Peace of Mind” and “Audrey Tell Me.”

As expected in such a big group, there isn’t just one musical influence, or sound for that matter, that defines Juice. Rather, each member brings his own personal inspirations and visions to the table, which in turn creates the genre-bending sound that makes Juice such a complex and entertaining listen. 

From a ‘90s R&B influence on “DiCaprio (Love Me All The Time),” one of their newest singles released in 2020, to a classic California indie-pop sound on “Straitjacket” off of their 2019 mixtape to even a bit of a soulful country twang on “Sugar,” the single they performed on NBC TODAY in 2018, it seems like the band can’t only just do it all, but can do it all well. 

“We try to let our sound come naturally,” Moss said in regard to the band’s musicality. “We take influence from all different things, but once you have everyone’s influence on [a piece] it makes [the sound] more cohesive and a little more unique. There’s not one specific [sound] that we’ve always been going for; it’s more to meld all of the things that inspire us and make it our own by working with it and playing with it.”

Just like their sound, Juice doesn’t have a set songwriting process but rather lets it happen naturally. 

“It really does depend on the song,” Rose said. “It depends on a lot of things: It depends on where we are physically as a band, it depends where the idea comes from, it depends on whose idea it was initially and what process works best for that specific idea to grow.”

“Most recently, we have this [unreleased] song that we just recorded. We were sitting in a radio station, and I think Michael was playing some chords that he had been jamming on, just messing around with those chords for a few weeks. I started singing a really simple hook and it ended up sticking. Then it evolved into this awesome song that we’re really excited about,” he explained.

Juice typically releases singles before compiling tracks into mixtapes or EPs. 2020 has seen a continuation of this pattern, with single “DiCaprio (Love Me All The Time)” — a song that is sure to get you out of your quarantine blues — released this February and new electro-indie-R&B-pop fusion “Konoha” released this past Friday, April 10. However, the band is “always thinking about projects,” as Ricciardulli said. 

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konoha's really kind of about everybody, especially you 🍃

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“We’re always thinking about pieces of work and how they fit together into the bigger scheme,” Ricciardulli said. 

While Juice checks many of the boxes for being the perfect poster child of the new boy band, the group strays away from being a cookie-cutter copy of other collectives and allows their own personalities to shine through their music. While some of their songs are more personal than others, most notably the tracks on “you are simply magnificent,” Juice constantly focuses on the energy they put out with each release.

“We like playing with a lot of different genres, but we also like playing with different energies and different places that songs come from,” Moss said. “Some songs that we’ve written are really personal. But then there’s songs like ‘DiCaprio,’ where we wanted to preserve an energy of lightheartedness, so it’s not as personal, not as big. And not everything has to be that big, emotional thing.”

“I think that [we hope] a lot of people resonate and feel that [energy], whether it’s something light or deep or powerful,” Rose added. “I personally hope that people are getting a sense of us as humans, and as artists. We’re people creating something about ourselves, and I hope people can connect with us through our music.”

This dichotomy is what makes Juice such a great listen: Both profound and easygoing, the band makes music to get lost in while still recalling our humanity. And on top of it all, the songs just simply sound good. And really, we could all use some of these relaxed yet aware vibes as we continue on through the coronavirus pandemic. So to that I say, queue up some Juice. 

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Lucie Turkel is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at lucie.turkel@uconn.edu.

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