We caught up with Juice‘s lead vocalist Ben Stevens, and guitarist Michael Ricciardulli, and chatted about music and their upcoming tour starting at the Sunset in Seattle January 16th. The Boston-based seven-piece band just released their new song “Audrey Tell Me,” and is gearing up to create live magic. Ben was in New York and Michael in California spending some time with their families over the holiday break before having to take off on tour for a few months.
NWMS: Tell me a little bit about how this project began.
Ben: It started about six years ago when we all met at Boston College where we all had different experiences with music but none of us necessarily thinking this is what we’re going to do when we’re done. It wasn’t really a music school and people there weren’t really arts driven and it made it really cool when we all met and started to jam together. We started creating and bonding over music while growing our friendships with each other. During junior year we thought that something special is going on here so might as well ride with it and see where it goes, and here we are.
NWMS: Was it all seven of you from the beginning?
Ben: Yes, from the start.
NWMS: What kind of challenges do you face in a seven piece band?
Michael: Honestly, it’s been totally developmental over the last few years. Everyone in the band creates, everyone writes, everyone always has their creative decision heard and we’ve learned to let that natural chemistry flow. We have found our balance and every band member has their own spin on some of the creative elements. Our process is special to us and we love it
NWMS: Tell me about the tour coming up, what should fans expect?
Ben: We’re all scattered now so we can get some good family time logged in before the big haul. This is the longest tour we’ve been on and it’s just over three months. Some of us are on the East Coast and we are driving out to Seattle in order to kick off the tour there on Wednesday. Then we’re going down the West Coast , which is something I’ve always wanted to do and I’m really excited about that. It’s going to be nice to be on the bus and have that downtime to create with one another since we’ve had some time to be apart over the holidays. Then we’re off to Arizona and all the way to Florida playing shows along the way.
We also have some studio time booked in LA and Nashville over the dates that we get to work on the tunes we have been writing. We thrive in the studio and I can’t wait to get back in there.
NWMS: I was actually going to ask that after, but it looks like you write on the road?
Michael: It’s very hard to do that on the road but we really want to make time for it and make it happen. It’s crazy hearing all these stories – for example: The Beatles, where John and Paul would write hits on the road and that inspires us to work on that too.
NWMS: I completely understand how hard that can be since you have a schedule that must be followed every day that leaves you exhausted.
Michael: For me right now it’s something I need since I’ve missed everybody. When you spend every day with people and then take a hiatus for the holidays that can be hard. I can’t wait to share ideas and chat about them.
NWMS: What role did music play in your early life?
Ben: A lot of us grew up immersed in music, whether we come from a musical family or it was just playing in the house, it’s been a big part of our lives and growing and learning about ourselves. I started playing music very early on, I was a cellist at first, and I didn’t start writing music or didn’t think I could write music until college. Creating a song was a very wild concept for me to even think about doing it when I was young. It came mostly in part with the relationship with my bandmates, Michael especially has been a great influence of mine. My parents constantly played music around me and I can remember specific moments from my childhood when a song was playing. You can hear our perspective influences in our writing now.
Michael: Ben summed it up nicely, I’ve had a similar experience with music. I grew up with my mom and she didn’t play a ton of music in the house but every time we got in the car I was exposed to the latest tracks. I remember even the first time discovering what an earworm was listening to “Penny Lane,” by The Beatles. I was so young but when I left the car I had it stuck in my head and was wondering why that was happening. It was never something I thought about in regards to a career but as soon as we met it became a reality and we’re very grateful for that.
NWMS: What is the most exciting thing about touring?
Michael: I think a lot of it for me is a lot about being an artist and what it means to create music that you share with fans. It’s a very special opportunity and there is a lot to say. Collectively we feel grounded and it comes out in our writing. We want to create a strong community of fans that are loyal to Juice and it’s all coming together with touring.
NWMS: How did you come up with the name?
Ben: I was expecting that question but wasn’t expecting it at the same time. Well, it just sort of happened. We have recently started making up stories about it and we change it up when we are asked. To be honest, we were doing Battle of the Bands and we had ten minutes to decide and we just went with Juice but we never changed it after so now that’s what it is.
Juice will be playing at the Sunset on January 16th with Flip Phone and INVICTVS. Tickets and additional information can be found HERE.