Interview: These Juggs are going to be huge - The Grey Lantern
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Interview: These Juggs are going to be huge

Up in the Hills of Hollywood, something exciting is brewing. Two best friends, steeped in a musical upbringing, are concocting a sound that’s provocative, sexual and shadowy. One that will make you move and purge your mind of the daily grind. One, the son of Rock Royalty, the other of an ardent audiophile, the two have known each other nearly as long as they’ve been eating solid food. Under the name of Juggs, they caught the ear of legendary Music Mogul Alan McGee. Whose new boutique 7” label, Creation 23 releases their new single Super Cool Time on January 25th.

At their home cum studio, we caught up with Willem and Brando to explore the world of Juggs. With an interplay that only comes from long, enduring friendship, we asked where their similarities begin and end. 

“We met so young. We were always good friends and got along really well. He started playing bass and so early on, we learned everything together almost. But because we got along so good at a young age, Brando knows how to deal with me more than someone else. And I would know how to deal with him because we grew up together” explained Willem. 

“When I’m pissed off he’ll be like ‘oh, don’t pay attention to him’ or calm me down in a certain way, something like that. But dealing with two personalities in a band is certainly easier than dealing with five or six” “I’m a schizophrenic, so it’s actually three” chimes in Brando. “And I’m a Gemini so….” muses Willem. The chemistry between the pair obvious. Expanding on what drives their creativity, Brando explains, “Whatever life brings and our experiences, we come together and just try to make something cool. That’s also where we can forget it all at the same time. So you go to this space where anything can be said and talked about. Then made into something that’s great.”

Photo: Zach Smith

So in a duo so tight, we asked if there was ever room for anyone else. Willem revealed, “We did play with other musicians and we still do now. We still like to have people record on tracks. Like last night, we were jamming and we might have a couple of friends come up with us at a show. But maybe some people would get upset if you said, “Oh I don’t like that guitar line“. People will get upset and leave the room or huff and puff. But Brando could be like “Yo, that riff sucks” and I’m Cool. You know, we never had a stick up our ass about music. We were always very open. You can say anything. I could say, ‘try a different bass line’ or something. The fact that there’s only two maybe makes it easier. But we were just good at that from an early age. Just not caring too much about your ego. We were in a four piece, then it just slowly kept dwindling at practices, stuff and shows. It kept getting less and less and Brando and I kept doing more and more. When one door closes, another one opens. So we’re at this door now.”

Turning to what influences the Juggs sound, Brando explained

“We grew up loving everything from punk to hip hop, to dub music. All kinds of stuff. And so I think Juggs feels like a combination of all of that. Being able to just throw it all in one thing, then fuck with it and make it sound like what we think Juggs should sound like.” 

As for sharing a moniker with a 1970’s Larry Flint porno magazine, they bounce off each other to tell the tale. “We just thought having a band called Juggs would be cool. And it was not even seeing that magazine. It was just, Juggs sounds cool. But maybe it was subconscious or something…” As Brando thinks on that, Willem takes up the baton “We’re were sitting outside of a weed store waiting for a buddy to get some weed and Brando and I are sitting there. The kid took forever…” “As he does” Brando cuts in. 

“He’s still there now! Seriously, and it was almost because of that. Brando and I are just sitting in the car and he gives me a look. And I was like, ‘Well, this band we’re in is dying, isn’t it? We keep jamming. So, what should we call this?’ He said, ‘I’ve always wanted to call a band Juggs’. We said ‘Done‘ and it just stuck. It’s great to have a name that’s big. You think of jugs, you think of something big. So I think that was attractive. You don’t think of tiny jugs. But funny enough we’re both ass men by default. We’re in a band called Juggs and we don’t really care about tits. 

I think about that, girls thinking, ‘Oh Juggs, he must be the only in the big tits or something’. Don’t read too far into it. Especially nowadays with the Me Too Movement. It does feel like you’re walking on eggshells. That’s why the name is so cool to us. We’re very anti PC. We love being anti that. We just think that ruins the human experience. If we could be warriors for anti PC using this name, that’s great. But hopefully it doesn’t get read into too much and people don’t get offended immediately. You can’t help it though. Someone’s going to hate you no matter what you do. So you can’t really worry about it, you know?”

In the modern age of everything running through a search engine, do they worry about what people will find if they look for them? “I think if somebody Googles Juggs, they may be pleasantly surprised. You’re not going to get anything too bad if you searched Juggs. And hopefully we’ll become the top result.” While Willem adds it wasn’t a consideration they’d made. “When you’re coming up with a band name, maybe people do think of that kind of stuff. But we definitely didn’t, we just thought cool, done. Everyone else is like, ‘Oh, you’re going to run into things’. And you think, Shit, didn’t think about that. There are so many crazy bands names.” “Like Butthole surfers!” “Yeah! There are band names that are difficult to find. But in the end, if you’re big enough where you get to a certain echelon, it won’t matter. So hopefully it doesn’t matter if we’re Googleable or not.”

Turning to how they feel about joining the esteemed ranks of Creation Records Roster “We were blown away. Really. Because we loved a lot of those bands, Screamadelica, all that stuff. We used to listen to a lot of that stuff growing up. So when I met with Alan Mcgee in England and thought it’s really going to happen. Along with Brando, we couldn’t really believe it. The fact that it’s being released on vinyl is great. We definitely love that aspect as we collect vinyl ourselves. It sounds great. When I first put it on it was like, wow, it just sounds amazing. We started looking at all the releases that they’ve done over time, like Flamejob and we couldn’t believe we are going to be a part of that. We can die now.”

“I mean, if there was a camp that Juggs could fit in, it’s The Cramps. The strange and the weird.” Enthuses Brando

“The Cramps seemed kind of innocent in a way because they were like kids. But then Lux Interior has got his dick out on stage and deep throating a microphone, screaming into it and it’s fucking awesome. Poison Ivy is his wife, like total S&M, wearing barely anything. They just had such a good vibe for letting it all loose. That’s kind of what we want to feel like or be a part of.”

With imagery obviously important to them, what influences their visual aspect? “We love John Waters, David Lynch, that kind of stuff. Love Twin Peaks and all that. We grew up in the nineties. So I love that, now it’s retro almost. A bit of nostalgia, but it’s funny, I don’t like editing videos, but I like creating things in general. ,We really do love creation in its purest form. Whether it’s making a cover for the vinyl, or we’re making a video. You just try and represent yourself the best way you can. You work it until you go, oh, that looks done. It looks cool. So yeah, the visual aspect, it’s almost like the name Juggs, how we just ran into it. You just kind of go, it’s either okay, that’s cool, I like that. Or I don’t like that and we’ve got to do something else to make sure we like it.”

Growing up the son of Rock Legend Billy Idol, we asked if Willem ever felt pressure to enter the music business, or if growing up in such a musical environment made it inevitable. “It was more the latter, you grow up around it, and it was something that I always enjoyed. It was funny, my music teacher asked me the same thing recently, like ‘are you just doing this because of your pops or something?’ You know, I never even thought of that. I had never even questioned if I’m just doing this because my Dad. There was never anything to prove to him. He’s happy as long as I’m happy. So I could have been a fucking carpenter or something, you know? But growing up around music, my mom, my Stepdad, he was a musician, all these people.

I thank Jason Kearney forever for showing me three chords. He used to live around the corner and was one of my mum’s mates and he just said ‘Willem, you’re fucking learning guitar’. He’d show me A, C, G, and then he’d come over next week and be like, ‘Let me see the fucking chords’.

So he literally changed my whole life. So it’s funny that it wasn’t even my dad necessarily. It was just growing up around these cool people and stuff.”

An upbringing drowned in sound gripped Brando in a similar fashion. “My family all love music and art so they’ve always just been like, ‘You want to do it? Cool’. My mom saw Black Sabbath back in the day, and that’s always awesome to me. I have her Black Sabbath record. It’s got like her maiden name on. My Dad has a huge house and he collects vintage record players and records. I think he’s got three and every room. I mean, he’s like a monster with that kind of shit”

Photo: Zach Smith

“Whenever his Pops left town, we’d go over there and just put on a record in one room and be like “all right, cool, let’s go to the next room and just listen to another record on a different sound system in a different room.”

“I think when I was 12, I was in my Uncle’s old room where he grew up, and there was a bass in his closet. I was like, oh, that’s cool. He told me to just take it, do whatever you want with it. I took piano lessons and stuff as a kid but didn’t really get into music that way.” “You took piano! I didn’t even know that! We’re all learning here” Willem exclaims. “So I had a bass in my room for about a year and I was like, well, you know, I’ve got this thing, I should do something with it. So I fixed it up and started taking lessons. I started playing when I was like 14 at this blues club called Cozy’s in the valley. I would play with all these older guys once a month, which was awesome. We did that traditional band line up when we were young, we were playing at The Roxy when we were 14 years old or something. So we’d kind of done that, Juggs was just a natural progression. We love producing music and we don’t have any other band members, so this is how we’re going to do it. For this Creation release, we recorded it, produced it, engineered the whole thing, mastered it. We taught ourselves over the years.”

Asking if the future holds a role behind the mixing desk for the duo, who would they love to work with? “I immediately think Aphex Twin, but that’s just because he’s my bread and butter” says Willem without hesitation. “But there’s so many that would be just amazing. God, is Bruce Haack still alive? Josh Homme would be fun in the desert. They have a cool recording thing going on there and we’ve always loved him.” While Brando looks towards the Creation Records legacy.

“I saw the Memphis documentary with Alan McGee and Bobby Gillespie. We love Primal Scream, Jesus and Mary Chain and now that seems somewhat within reach a reach a little bit. It would be amazing to work with those guys. Like Andy Weatherall.”

Two Lone Swordsmen, that’s funny, we’re Juggs and that would be a fun collaboration! Both Brando and I have the same goal with Juggs. We’ve created an entity and we want to see it blossom and grow into something that makes people forget their lives for two minutes and have fun. It’s like a little baby, you watch it grow, you know? And so we just hope that it has a good life. We just want to protect our child”

Juggs’ new single Super Cool Time is released on Creation 23 Records on 7” Vinyl January 25thand can be Pre-Ordered here

Upcoming Shows

Jan 18th– The Monty, Los Angeles, CA

Jan 24th – The Cornish Pasty, Las Vegas, NV (Single Launch Party)

Jan 27th– The Cat & Fiddle, Los Angeles, CA (DJ Set)

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