Juice Jam 2K17: Q&A With the Artists


photography by Leigh Ann Rodgers

The most wonderful time of the fall semester has officially come and gone. Syllabus week is history, the library actually has people in it now, and, for most people who were caught in an alcohol-infused daze, Juice Jam is now just a distant memory.

On Sunday, University Union hosted Syracuse University’s annual music festival, Juice Jam. It was a beautiful day full of low-cut bodysuits, inflatable Gumby-looking balloons flying through the crowd, and the smell of "skunk" lingering just about everywhere you went. Oh, and every artist showed up this year.

While everyone was busy shouting “bitch” in unison during Ugly God’s set, Jerk was able to go behind the scenes and talk to some of the artists to learn about their music, personal lives, and thoughts on performing at Juice Jam 2K17.

Jeremy Zucker

Jeremy Zucker

What is it like balancing your college work with your musical career?

It’s not easy, but I make it work. I go to Colorado College. We take classes one at a time. It’s really academically rigorous, but I’m able to manage my time so I’m working on school four to five hours a day. I’m actually able to have a social life and do classes and still make music. But this year especially, since stuff is taking off a little bit, it’s getting harder, but I only have one more year left so I’m gonna stick it out.

SoundCloud seems to be a pretty main platform for you. How do you feel about the industry converting to streaming? Do you think it’s more beneficial for artists?

It’s more beneficial in terms of accessibility. I think if it weren’t for SoundCloud I wouldn’t be here, like straight up…I think that there will always be those free platforms for artists. In the past ten years, the barrier to enter as an artist has gotten lower and lower and lower. Like all you have to do is have a computer and a microphone…So SoundCloud is so important for people like me and independent artists.



Because your new EP is titled “The Science of Letting Go,” do you think you’ve actually mastered the science of letting go, and could you share some of your wisdom if you have?

Mastered it? There’s no mastery! I think that at least trying [to master the science of letting go] was putting the music out. That is our way of at least giving it a shot. Even letting go of a song is hard for an artist. You just keep critiquing and changing and shifting and remixing and sometimes you gotta just *whispers* let go. [The EP is] basically asking someone else to figure it out for us.

Do you think you learned anything new while making this EP about yourselves or about its process?

It seems like every song we do we learn something new. We did our first EP when it was just us in our room, very naive, just writing, and it was good. It was fun. Basically, we got to use a lot of peoples’ skill sets on these songs and the writing process that we wouldn’t have gotten to early on. The first EP was just writing, writing, writing. We didn’t know what we were doing. There’s a lot of personal growth between the first EP and now. Our lives were changing, we moved to different parts of the city. Life events occurred where we were all changing and we’re writing songs and before we knew it, it was two years later and we’re like, “Oh, these are the songs that we have.” And definitely we’re different people.

Ugly God

Ugly God

Your lyrics have been called eccentric, fun and new. Is that intentional and is authenticity important to you?

It's not really intentional but it is authentic. That’s me, that’s how I feel. I don’t go out of my way to make lyrics like that, it just comes to me.

In your songs there’s a lot of call and response of, “Thanks Ugly God.” Where did that come from?

I think it might’ve…I don’t know actually. People actually started saying it to me for no reason. They would tweet at me, “I just got an A on my test. Thanks Ugly God.”

What did you think of the show?

I think it was so fire and I mess with it more because the crowd was so real. I’m always in the city and the city people act like me and they’re just chilling. I don’t know, this is real. There’s more real people.