You've seen them on my weekly top 20 and have heard me rave about them on Twitter so why exactly have I been doing those things? Because my friends, I bring you my second indie interview.
The first time I ever heard Ju-Taun I was in awe of the impeccably executed vocals, the swoon-worthy harmonies and everything else that draws me to vocal groups - be it a boy band, girl group or whatever. I thought musically they were one of the best groups I'd heard in the past three years and believe me, I've heard a ton of them so yeah - I adored them from the first note I heard come out of their mouths. Let Me In is a staggering 7 minutes-long but you know what? The time just flew by while I was listening to it - those seven minutes didn't and will never seem like 7 minutes because I lose track of time when I listen to their music.
The first time I heard Let Me In I was using crappy bass-less and flat to the point of tin can-y earphones so right now as I listen to the song with a brand new pair of earphones with the best bass and sound quality ever, the brilliance I first heard now sounds life-changing. Their other songs are equally brilliant as well and I think Es Amor is just below Let Me In when it comes to the quality of the songs. Oh dear, have I become a fan girl? No problem there!
Just the music made me desperately want to interview the band so I prepared the questions as critically and close to home as possible and sent them in before waiting a few days. Apart from the quick response I got, while reading the interview for the first time as a whole just before I started doing this write-up, their answers made me smile so much.
I don't know if they knew I believed in the same things I do but I saw answers that practically took a page out of my principles that have to do with music. It's rare that I find artists who read my mind this precisely and this is the first time I've heard someone say them directly to me - I'm dumbfounded. They've given me a reason to fight harder for what I believe in - knowing that a band has the same principles and ideals as me and is fighting for the same things I am really inspires me.
So, please do take the time to read their answers to nine of the questions that were brewing in my head and really get to know the band - what they said here means a lot to me and for that I now genuinely respect them as artists. You do realize if you don't know already that my artistic/creative respect is something I don't give to just anyone.
1. In theory I see you as somewhat a boyband - you sing songs, don't play your own instruments and you're vocal harmony-based. To you yourselves, what are you? Are you what I said you were or do you have another term for yourselves?
There's such a stigma and preconceived notion that comes to mind when the term "boyband" is used. Maybe "Vocal Group" would be better. But then again that term didn't really come to the pop culture forefront until BSB and NSync got so big that they began to get backlash from their immense popularity. Groups like Boyz II Men, All 4 One and Take 6 don't recieve that label. I think nowadays that term is better used for groups that were put together. We've been together since our early high school days so there's nothing fabricated here. We taught ourselves (with the help of one of our fathers) how to produce our own records and eventually found our own sound. Everything you hear on this album is us. Everything from the backing tracks and lyrics to the vocal production and mixing we did ourselves. So no we wouldn't label ourselves as such but we'll let the public and the media come up with their own labels. Our goal is to make the best and most heartfelt music possible.
2. Being indie artists(I assume..), do you want a major label contract or are you happy with what you have at the moment?
Honestly when we first started we were so determined to get signed to just about whatever came our way. We thought it would be easy but we were in for a rude awakening. But as we continued down this road of independence we learned that maybe that road isn't for us. We have so much freedom to make the music we feel needs to be heard. Signing to a label without making them come to us would just cause us to have to compromise our sound. So I guess the answer to that answer is Yes. So far we truly feel we're fulfilling our destiny.
3. Over the years after getting to know a lot of vocal groups, watching how they debut, get famous then split up as well as being in a group myself, I've noticed that there's a certain dynamic needed between the members to properly last over a certain time period - to exceed the shelf life of a vocal group/boyband. Your bio says that you've been together since 2000 - what's the secret to the group lasting this long?
It's really all about Love. It's the reason our album title is "Love Changes Things". You treat people differently because you want the best for yourself and others. We can tell each other about each others faults and shortcomings without the fear that what we say might rub the other the wrong way. Not only do we have a brotherhood, but we also know that whenever we approach one another respectfully with a suggestion or complaint it's out of us wanting the best for each other.
4. Is music first priority for you? Above trying to break the industry, making tons and tons of money or having hoards of screaming girls running after you wherever you go - do you always want to make music that moves people and has the ability to cross generations? Why?
Definitely, you hit it right on the head. We've been approached by big name producers and labels with the lure of riches at their side but in order to play the game we had to play it their way. We were fortunate enough to find our way and make a decision to not send the wrong message through our music before they came knocking. From the very beginning music was about how it made you feel. Even in this commercialized industry artists like Robin Thicke and John Mayer still gain noteriety and success while still maintaining their integrity. We plan to do the same and stay true to the music that comes from our hearts.
5. You've opened for The Temptations, I've heard. What part of the group - their career, vocals, music, the respect people have for them or whatever, do you want for yourselves?
To even attain a fraction of their success or to be mentioned in the same sentence would be a blessing within itself. If we would have to choose it would be the respect they achieved from their peers. Whether competition or label mates (though we're sure that's the same category since Motown had a reputation for their in-house competitive spirit) they we're always respected for their body of work, and their work ethic. Their vocal delivery was impeccable, their songs we're memorable and they laid the blueprint for many groups that came after them.
6. One of the things I look at in a boyband/vocal group, apart from amazing songs is their ability to do brilliant a capella work. Powerful vocals that fit together like puzzle pieces - the reason why I adore my favorite boyband is because they can nail a five-part harmony like no other. Can you guys nail a four-part harmony that'll make me faint?
We pride ourselves in knowing that we can always be better as musicians, vocalists, producers and people. So we're not one to toot our own horn, but in our own humble opionion we can throw in some ninths and sustains with some dynamics that were pretty sure can get us kudos from the most seasoned musician.
7. Why do you want to make music?
Our parents all loved music so maybe we had no choice! lol...But we truly enjoy singing together and making music. We even enjoy working towards perfecting our harmonies, dance steps and vocal delivery at our rehearsals. This honestly feels like what we were supposed to do. Some people never find out what they truly want to do with their lives, we're just happy and blessed that we did.
8. How does your song selection process work? Do you write most of your material or do you work with other people and around how many songs did you consider to put on the album?
At one point we had 15. If you count all the songs that could have possibly been placed on this album the number rises past twenty. Like we said we write and produce all our own music. Although it was something we didn't plan, we really had no choice. We haven't really met many writers or producers that had an energy about them that just clicked with ours. Chemistry is so important. It's something we have now after years of working with each other. With us song selection is just a feeling we all get. We usually know by the time we get to writing the Hook/Chorus whether it's a good song or not and we're usually all in agreement. The best compositions are the ones that just come together so quickly that we're dumbfounded. We're just vessels for the music. The songs we picked for this album all represent how love can change things in one persons life in one form or the other. They all fall in line with the motto we live and operate by.
9. What do you want to be remembered for in the next 10 or 20 years?
We want to be remembered as the group that never gave up. The group that persevered and continued to fight an industry that makes you pay if you want to play. The group that tore down walls and built new ones. The group that reminded listeners that we're just like everybody else. Four regular guys with just a dream. The group that reminded everybody that the right kind of love can allow us to do anything we wish to do in our lifetimes.Find them online: