Interview: Bluejuice

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Sydney’s indie pop, funk, hip hop go-to-guys Bluejuice are pulling the plug and calling it quits on their 13-year long career at the end of the year. The announcement made live on Triple J breakfast in early August, was a shock to fans. However as Bluejuice frontman and vocalist Jake Stone describes, in terms of a divorce, “this is an amicable separation”.

But they’re not going out without a bang. One final “Retrospectable” farewell sees the band tour extensively around the country before finishing up at Falls and Southbound Festival ringing in the New Year. Punters have been lapping up tickets quickly, so much so that extra shows have been added to cater for the overwhelming demand.

Even though it’s their last ever tour, Stone says they weren’t exactly expecting the shows to sell as well as they have been, “certainly we were hoping that they would do well and we’re glad that they have.” Their Melbourne show at The Hi Fi sold out on the first day of sale, a first for the band.

“It’s better to go out with this big sort of shebang with everyone coming along and these festival shows. And it being everything the band has done at the highest level it possibly can” adds Stone. “And then see you later, and we’ll all go off and kill ourselves. I mean we literally get to kill ourselves like a suicide pact like that Heaven’s Gate cult”.

Take that last bit with a huge grain of salt, as Stone laughs it off.

It’s clear that Stone and the boys in Bluejuice aren’t one of those bands that take themselves too seriously, nor are they ones to pass up the chance to take the piss out of any situation. Their debut 2007 album Problems, features Stone and fellow vocalist Stav Yiannoukas prominently front and centre on the cover semi nude in their birthday suits; something that’s a regular feature at their live shows.

Despite having performed in some crazy costumes over the years from Bruce Lee inspired yellow jumpsuits, Tron-esq suits, matching hoodies, and golden tights to name a select few, Stone’s favourite outfit to perform in?

“I think underpants are my favourite costume actually,” he says without hesitation, referring to no gig in particular but rather any number of gigs he’s played at, gotten too hot, and stripped down to his undies.

“Sometimes it’s functional and sometimes it’s purely aesthetic,” he says with a smirk on his face, “they breathe so well, you don’t feel restricted, and you can really feel free in a sort of exposed, vulnerable but possibly artistic advantageous sort of way”.

Stone is never one to shy away from stripping off at gigs as he explains in a more serious sense, “you can’t be any less awkward then that…I mean more awkward. It’s very awkward. I think the band has always been awkward, so if you go to the full extent of that awkwardness it becomes interesting and exciting.” As you can probably tell, Stone isn’t afraid to put his body on the line for the band. After all he’s pashed a granny for their Act Yr Age video clip, what more can you expect?

Along with semi-nudity, another big feature of Bluejuice’s live shows is their general on stage ruckus. From climbing up and jumping off sound and stage gear, to crowd surfing, getting arrested by police mid-gig, and everything in between, Stone has seen and done it all. “There have been a lot of cuts, stepping on handfuls of broken glass. Just hitting my head on stuff, falling off of speakers, you know chasing a person into the crowd in a G-string. Having your balls grabbed by horny teenagers, being punched in the face by a man who’s trying to take the microphone off you and punching him back in the face” says Stone, “just all that shit goes on all the time that so much so I do not have any specific story about a particular injury…except for breaking my hand”.

As Stone explains at a show in 2008 when Bluejuice were opening for Tricky from Massive Attack. The show was going terribly and in order to wake himself up Stone decided that it was a good idea to punch the stage so that “it would hurt enough that I would be back in the show and not be bored.” Yet he punched harder than he expected, breaking the knuckle on his hand quite badly. “ I went from being quite energetic to not very energetic at all and quite clearly hiding something,” he says, but in retrospect adds “that’s my job, and if I don’t do my job then children go home unhappy. I simply don’t want that”.

As Bluejuice prepare for their final tour to wrap up their 13-year long career, it’s funny then that they’ve only just found out that their hit 2009 song Broken Leg went platinum having sold over 70,000 units, just a few weeks ago. Granted the song went platinum late sometime in 2011 Stone explains, but “they didn’t tell us shit man, not for two years”.

It was only when bassist Jamie Cibej was randomly wandering around on the APRA website that the discovery was made. “Our savvy manager had probably been telling everyone it had been platinum anyway,” adds Stone, but the real question he asks, “what is happening with the plaque? Where’s the plaque at?”

Bluejuice’s greatest hits album Retrospectable is out on September 26th.

Bluejuice’s Retrospectable: The Farewell Tour

Wednesday September 24 -  UniBar, Adelaide (Lic/AA)
Thursday September 25 – UniBar, Adelaide (Lic/AA) (SOLD OUT)
Friday September 26 – Capitol, Perth
Saturday September 27 – Red Earth Arts Festival, Karratha
Wednesday 01 October – Sol Bar, Maroochydore
Thursday October 2 – Hi-Fi, Brisbane
Friday October 3 – Coolangatta Hotel, Coolangatta
Saturday October 4 – Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay
Wednesday 08 October – Federation University – Gippsland Campus, Churchill
Thursday October 9 –  The Hi-Fi, Melbourne
Friday October 10 – The Hi-Fi, Melbourne (SOLD OUT)
Saturday October 11 – The Hi-Fi, Melbourne (U18′s only)
Saturday October 11 – Village Green Hotel, Mulgrave
Sunday October 12 – Barwon Club, Geelong
Friday October 17 – Waves, Wollongong
Saturday October 18 – ANU Bar, Canberra
Thursday October 23 – Bar On The Hill, Newcastle
Friday October 24 – Metro Theatre, Sydney (Lic/AA) (SOLD OUT)
Sunday October 26 – Metro Theatre, Sydney (Lic/AA) (SOLD OUT)
Thursday November 6 – Movidas, Mackay
Friday November 7 – The Venue, Townsville
Saturday November 8 – The Jack, Cairns

Bluejuice are also appearing at Falls Festival and Southbound Festival.

Partaker in dance offs, making playlists, and partying hard front centre of gigs. I like music.

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