Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Juice will close their ‘Nothing Like a Dream’ Tour in Amherst

Lead singer and keyboardist Ben Stevens, as well as guitarist Daniel Moss share the band’s story ahead of their upcoming show at the Drake
Photo courtesy of Juice’s website.

Whether it was fate, or the telltale fedora vocalist Kamau Burton wore around campus, the six members of the band Juice all found each other during their freshman year at Boston College. Their name was born out of a rushed effort to enter a Battle of the Bands competition, and it ended up sticking with them years later as they moved from open mics to stages across the United States.

While in undergrad, all six members had a unique experience with music. Ben Stevens was introduced to music through his classical cello training, while Daniel Moss was a part of jazz band, listening to artists like Stevie Ray Vaughan.

“The eclectic collection of our different experiences with music sort of makes us who we are as a band,” Stevens said. “I think it definitely makes things weird and hard sometimes, but also cool, in a good way.”

After forming in Boston, Juice relocated to Brooklyn, New York. Stevens explained how Brooklyn is full of house shows and lots of DIY music, making it a great place to meet other bands. In fact, this is how the members of Juice befriended folk band Shallow Alcove, who’ve become close friends and musical partners. The two groups collaborated on an acoustic cover of Juice’s song “Becoming a Stranger,” which is set to be recorded and released within the new few months.

“Becoming a Stranger” was part of Juice’s most recent EP “Nothing Like a Dream.” It was that song that “kicked the ball down the hill and [got the album] rolling,” Stevens said. “There was a long period where we were just throwing some darts at the wall … there wasn’t unanimous excitement about anything specifically until that song.”

Another aspect which helped Juice create new music is their tour. Much of their music is developed collaboratively, and being on the road means they have plenty of time to brainstorm. Moss explained, “Once you’ve recorded the song, you’re then trying to make it sound perfect and just obsessing over tiny details.”

Stevens and Moss struggled to find the right words to describe their genre. In terms of their inspirations, the band listens to everything from Japanese pop to Big Thief while they travel on tour. While this music does shape Juice’s sound, Stevens suggested the influence isn’t all that apparent, giving the band an even more distinctive style.

“We always say we’re alternative, mostly because it feels like the word that you say if you don’t know what to say,” Moss confessed. “It’s rock and multi-dimensional, and it’s got a lot of different stuff. Some funk, some RnB, some soft rock and it’s ever changing. This is always the question that’s hardest for us.”

Overall, the band strives to keep their sound unrestrained by a specific genre or label. When forced to come up with just a single word or phrase, “it leaves a lot to be desired for us as artists,” Stevens said.

Juice has now reached the final shows of their “Nothing Like a Dream” tour and are performing mostly in college towns. When I spoke with the duo, they had just arrived in Ithaca, noting that “they have a deep appreciation for live music here,” since many of Juice’s listeners are university students.

This final stretch includes Amherst, Mass., as Juice will perform at The Drake Saturday, April 27. Opening for Juice is Hush Club, who will be holding a free pizza social at Antonio’s following the concert.

Naomi Zwelling can be reached at [email protected]

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