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Home Truths

After 13 incredible years, Bluejuice are calling it quits on their illustrious career. Jake Stone speaks with AARON BRYANS about his time with the band and reveals his views on the Australian music industry. Bluejuice perform at Capitol on Friday, September 26; the Red Dirt Arts Festival Karratha on Saturday, September 27, and Southbound at Sir Stewart Bovell Park, Busselton, on Saturday-Sunday, January 3-4.

It’s been an impressive career, for Sydney indie-rock four-piece Bluejuice, with three acclaimed records to their name and numerous radio singles including Vitriol, Broken Leg and Act Yr Age.

All good things must come to an end, however, and with the release of their greatest hits album, Retrospective, the Aussie band is heading out on their final tour of Australia.

“It’s a greatest hits record but there’s a few new songs on there and I think that the songs that we’re putting out are not just good, but better,” says vocalist, Jake Stone. “I’ll Go Crazy is probably the most consistent and best recording we’ve figured out; it’s a cracking single, rightly written, lots of hooks, great production, it’s as good as anything. I think we’re a much tighter studio band then we’ve ever been.”

With the door now closed for Bluejuice, Stone is glad he can finally share his experiences as an artist and hopefully impact up-and-coming musicians along the way.

“I would’ve liked to have gone overseas and been popular over there because I think it would’ve been a very different experience of success over there,” he reveals. “We would be wealthy and we’d be a successful band in that way and that’s a very different thing to being a successful band in Australia.

“I don’t know if the general public realises this, but now it’s kind of a given if you’re a young artist and you’re doing well you immediately go overseas now, but that wasn’t the case when we started. There were no other bands in Sydney and no one really had any money to go overseas to do that shit. Wolfmother and The Vines were doing it but no other bands were really getting that support. I don’t think there was a climate overseas to support Aussie bands.

“I’m happy with what we did but I wish that we had gotten overseas partially because idiots think that’s the main thing and if that’s what people think then sometimes you have to do what they think to be treated well. The difference between being treated well as a musician and treated badly is perception. If people recognise you on the radio they treat you famously, they treat you very differently if they don’t. If you say you’re a musician from a band they ignore you straight away and patronise you but if they know you they treat you like God; there’s no subtlety. There’s a massive difference when they do know you and when they don’t know you.

“It’s incredibly ignorant and stupid but that’s just the way people are. I don’t hate people. I feel very lucky that we’ve had a great career and been supported by people but being in the band for as long as I have been it’s amazing watching people change their attitude to you depending on your level of success. I’ve enjoyed our successful periods as you get a lot of great stuff happen to you because everyone wants to give you stuff… but in my not-as-successful periods it’s been very revealing.

“I think for the first seven years of the band it was really tough because we were not seen as a serious band and no one really supported us in a way, but once Vitriol came out we sort of represented Australian attitude but at the same time they’ll support you but they won’t allow you to be as exotic or glamorous as bands overseas. We have had that many singles that have gotten high reception on radio yet I can walk around and nobody recognises me and nobody gives a shit that I’m in the band.

“The tall poppy syndrome it doesn’t breed quality in the way that we think it does, it actually represses people and makes them less adventurous in some ways because they feel that they need to live up to some standard promoted by people who don’t really understand music.

“We’ve just been around for a long time and Stav wants to do something else with his life, he has two kids.
“The problems we’ve had are the same problems that any other band would have. We’ve always had to battle perception and we’ve always had to strategise to be successful. We do love Australian music and we do love Australia. We love it enough that we don’t want it to bullshit itself and lay around stupid preconceptions held by idiots. Lets be the smartest country we can, not the dumbest. We should get this government out; we shouldn’t be a bunch of racist isolationists. Lets open our eyes to what makes this country great and get behind it like we seem to be with younger bands now. If you’re friends with a band don’t just write them off or make fun of them and ask them when they’re going to get a real job. Go see them, go support them, be supportive and have fun with them.”

While discussing a fair share of negatives, Stone insists Bluejuice’s career has been an incredible journey and is incredibly grateful for what they have accomplished.

“There isn’t one particular highlight; I think consistently following up our singles and getting them to radio has always been a highlight and probably just discovering that Broken Leg went platinum this morning. It went platinum in 2007, but I only just found out about it, nobody had told us it happened.”




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