An Interview With :: Juiceboxxx

juiceboxxx.jpg

Jodi was kind enough to hook up an interview with Milwaukee’s very own SXSW bound artist, Juiceboxx:

The year was 2005, I was a senior at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, and the free show at the student terrace consisted of several Wisconsin based groups including the Response, Paris, Texas and last but not least—Juiceboxxx.

It was a pretty decent line-up considering UW-O never managed to get more than crap generic pop acts like Michelle Branch or Sugar Ray to perform, and the fact that I had consumed numerous Absolut screwdrivers on this particularly warm April day definitely helped up the excitement level. Initially, the day had been about Paris, Texas since I had just interviewed them for a feature article for the Advance Titan. My mind was very quickly swayed to the Juice, however, once I saw the then 18-year-old gangly shirtless white kid pounce onto the stage. With his sweaty, matted hair and thick black-square frame glasses falling halfway down his nose, I knew something was in store—I just didn’t realize what.

The kid was completely nuts, it was impossible to take your eyes off of him. After he managed to hook up his portable Discman, his “beat box,” to the sound system, he was flailing around the stage to no tomorrow, spitting out rhymes like you wouldn’t believe. The sight was one to see—the hick frat-boy crowd not knowing whether to laugh or throw their hands in the air, eventually broke down and went crazy. It was one of the most lively enthused performances I’ve seen to this date—and not three months later I caught him standing right next to me in the audience at an M.I.A/LCD Soundsystem show at the Metro. I tried to explain to my friend why I was so excited to see some random, scrawny underage kid at a packed show full of eye candy—but I guess you’d have to see Mr. Juice on stage to believe in his hype yourself.

Three years later and I’m skimming the official SXSW line-up to see none other than Juiceboxxx attached to the itinerary. After this juicy little discovery, I couldn’t resist but copping a brief Q&A with the Milwaukee based hip-hop connoisseur. If you’re heading down to Austin next week, do yourself a favor and make sure you catch one of Juiceboxxx’s several sets throughout the week. For more info on all that is Juice and his upcoming shows, head over to his official MySpace Page.

Juiceboxxx—you are awesome. How long have you been busting out the madness of your beats?

I’VE WROTE A LOT OF SONGS AND LIVED SOME LIFE. BEEN DOIN JUICEBOXXX SINCE I WAS 15.

I’m sure you’ve received the Bright Eyes comparison, pulling off the whole DIY music gig since your mid-teens. Does this comparison annoy you, flatter you? How old were you when you realized you had to work at it yourself to get a foot in the music industry?

I’VE NEVER BEEN COMPARED TO BRIGHT EYES BEFORE. JUICEBOXXX GROWS AT THE RATE I WANT IT TO GROW. I’M ALWAYS ON THE GRIND IN SOME WAY OR ANOTHER.

The first time I heard of you, it was my college newspaper music editor raving you up and down. He described you as “this skinny, white high school kid from the suburbs of Milwaukee that spits lyrics fierce.” I told him I’d believe it when I saw it. Well, I saw you and I believed it. Did you ever find it difficult for people to take your music seriously?

YEA, IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN A STRUGGLE. BUT A STRUGGLE I ENJOY. THE AUDIENCE OWES ME NOTHING. I WANT TO PUT ON THE BEST SHOW POSSIBLE AND MAKE EXCITING RECORDS.

Along with myself, you’ve won over the hearts and iPod spaces of many fans with your live shows—there’s no question that your performances capture your fan base. Your enthusiasm on stage is comparable to the likes of Dan Deacon and Girl Talk—is there much preparation prior to taking the stage, music you listen to that gets you pumped up?

PUTTING ON A COMPELLING LIVE SHOW IS VERY IMPORTANT TO ME, AND IS SOMETHING I TAKE SERIOUSLY. SOMETIMES I WILL PLAY “BORN TO RUN” BY THE BOSS BEFORE I TAKE THE STAGE. IT IS MY FAVORITE SONG AND IT PRETTY MUCH SUMS UP MY TOTAL TUDE.

Reading your bio on the SXSW site, I see that you’ve had a pretty eventful past two years, with successful EP and split releases along with touring. What has been the biggest thrill of it all? What was the most wow-worthy moment of it all?

I’VE HAD A LOT OF GREAT MOMENTS. PLAYING WITH BALTIMORE CLUB LEGEND DJ TECHNICS IN BALTIMORE WAS A THRILL, RECORDING WITH CHICAGO HOUSE LEGENDS JOE SMOOTH AND CRAIG LOFTIS WAS A THRILL, JUST TOURING AND PLAYING SHOWS IS ALWAYS A THRILL.

Speaking of South by Southwest, your MySpace page boasts a series of sets scattered amongst the 6th street district. Are there any sets in particular you’re most stoked about playing? Any acts you’re looking forward to catching?

I’M PLAYING A LOT OF SHOWS, AND I’M PSYCHED FOR ALL OF THEM.

So what is next for Juiceboxxx? Where will we be seeing you in 2008?

MORE SHOWS MORE RECORDS MORE EVERYTHING. I’M ALWAYS THINKING ABOUT THE NEXT LEVEL. THANK YOU.

Myspace: Juiceboxxx