Chances are that if you’re residing in Australia, you’ve probably heard of – and seen – Bluejuice. The hip-hop turned synth-rock quintet have had spots on Triple J’s hottest 100 with each album release, including Head of the Hawk’s “Broken Leg” reaching #5 in the 2010 countdown.
Their countless national tours in their eleven year career have helped secure their spot as one of the most adored bands in the Australian music scene if nothing else, and with their recently announced East Coast tour that sees them visiting an extensive amount of University bars, there’s no doubt they’ve got a whole lot more energy to burn.
“Sorry if I seem out of it, I sort of just woke up” states co-frontman Jake Stone, explaining that “we did a graveyard shift on Triple J last night. We were hosting from 1am to 6am, and it took a whole lot out of me. It’s a lot of fun, but I can’t see myself doing it more than once a week,” slurs Stone.
Their unique Winter Of Our Discotheque August tour sees them playing at almost 15 different Uni bars across the East Coast. The question is; why just Uni bars? “We’ve toured so much around Australia that we’ve got to keep our tours interesting,” Stone explains. “I mean, no one’s going to see this tour and be really excited and say ‘Oh, yay! I’ve never seen Bluejuice before!’ because, well, a lot of people have seen us –multiple times, too. So, we thought that the best way to make this tour successful is if we have one massive university celebration where all the young adults get really drunk and party with us.”
Fair enough, but what about the other cities not on the eastern seabord? “The reason we’re only doing the East Coast rather than a nationwide tour is that cities like Adelaide and Perth are a lot more expensive to get to.”
Stone continues, explaining “mid-range bands like us are like a small business. Stav, who took over the accounts position when our last drummer departed, looks at these cities as ones we’ll only really visit if it’s a major tour, such as the “Broken Leg” tour. I mean, as much as I love flying to Perth – where I spend four hours watching a movie or resting – we’re playing near international flights to get there.”
“There’s a bigger risk of making a loss, too” he adds, “– especially in this current state of the music scene. You could easily tell that the Big Day Out was going to be a lot smaller in 2012, and there were a lot more festivals and venues that have recently shut down. We’re in this situation where we can’t risk spending a ton of our cash only to not break even.”
Despite Bluejuice only having a level of prominence in the last five or six years, they’ve been perfecting their live shows and compositions since early 2000. “I guess it just took us six years for us to write something as good and enjoyable as “Vitriol” and that’s why we weren’t recognised until much later.”
“Our live shows were absolutely crazy in the early part of our career” says Stone. “We definitely had some things we needed to work on. Stav and I” remembers the co-singer, recalling they “were pretty bad singers” in the early days. “We also never really thought it through, where if we were on tour and we played for an hour, we’d have twenty minutes of really energetic and fun performing. After that, we’d just have forty minutes of a lacklustre set. Nowadays we’re still pretty energetic compared to other bands in the Australian scene, but we’re relaxed in comparison to how we used to be,” details Stone.
As for the need to pace their show, one of their song titles springs to mind… “one of the major things that changed… was how I broke both my arm and leg while performing,” explains Stone. “Looking back at it, it probably wasn’t the best idea to climb wet railing in gripless shoes. If we kept on doing what we did back then, I’d no doubt be performing in a wheelchair by now.”
One of the underappreciated things about Bluejuice is their ability to create high quality cover songs such as “Wake Up, Jeff”, their contribution to the Wiggles’ tribute album, or their upbeat version of Lana Del Rey’s “Video Games”. “I haven’t had any previous compositional experience, but I’ve learnt a lot through Bluejuice” says Stone of their adaptations.
“There’s always a lot of advice and discussion between friends about writing music, and when I was in the early stages of composing where I didn’t know much, I wanted to soak up a lot of tips and information,” says the co-frontman.
“The funny thing about our “Video Games” cover,” says Stone anecdotally about their Like A Version cover, “was that Triple J asked us to do a cover literally the night before, because the band that was supposed to fill the space cancelled. I guess all that pressure we had on us was for the better, as it seems to be fairly acclaimed.”
As much as their energetic shows and hard-working tour ethic? Maybe not just yet…
Bluejuice embark on their Winter Of Our Discotheque Tour from today, with dates throughout August. Full show details and information here.