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JJUUJJUU interview with Phil Pirrone

If I had a dollar for every amazing band that Permanent Records has turned me on to, well I’d probably just end up spending it all there anyways so I suppose it doesn’t matter but among the many bands that they’ve tipped me off to, JJUUJJUU rate as one of the most interesting.  Spacious, droning space melodies unfold like cosmic mysteries on the seemingly impossibly packed 10” slab of vinyl.  It doesn’t seem like you should be able to contain such a large universe on such a relatively small medium.  The FRST EP is the stunning debut from Los Angeles’ JJUUJJUU and while it embodies a lot of really interesting influences, the parts are wholly unique.  From the sprawling open space of the opening track “Ancient’s Future” to the hypnotic shredding, fuzzed out guitar solos on “A Forming” JJUUJJUU is out to prove they have a lot to offer with their first release.  And it does not disappoint.  Rather it leaves you longing for a full-length album, longing for some more spatial madness to be conjured from the ether by these mad Psych Rock scientists.  Taking tradition and turning it on its head doesn’t work for everyone but JJUUJJUU definitely know what they’re doing.  Have I piqued your interest yet intrepid readers?  I have?  Well then ‘nuff said!  Read on…
Listen while you read:

What’s the band’s lineup?  Is this your original lineup?

Myself on guitar, bass, vocals (live looping) and Andrew Clinco on drums/percussion.  We're joined sometimes by friends Harrison Roberts on Kazoo and Runson Willis on Harmonica.  Julian from Mystic Braves, Jonas from Psycho Yogi and Anthony from Auditory Aphasia have played drums before when Andrew couldn't make it and Emma Ruth Rundle played some additional guitar on the EP.  JJUUJJUU is a project I started with my good friend Andrew, it evolves every day and there are no rules.

Are any of you in any other bands?  Have you released any material with any other bands?  If so can you tell us a little bit about it?

Yes.  Andrew is in Incan Abraham, Marriages, and Drab Majesty, check ‘em out!  I used to play with Jeffertitti's Nile and my own projects Casket Salesmen and Valmart.  Check ‘em out!

Where are you originally from?

Me, Pomona.  Andrew, Los Angeles.

Where’s the band located now?  How would you describe the local scene there?

We live and write in Los Angeles.  Local music here is great at the moment.

Has the local scene played a large role in the history of JJUUJJUU?


When and how did you all meet?

Met Andrew when Jeffertitti's Nile and Incan Abraham played a show together.

What led you to start JJUUJJUU and when was that?

I just bought a looper pedal and Andrew and I were jamming at the end of a rehearsal and it felt so good I asked Andrew to jam some of my songs.  It felt so good we just kept doing it.

I hate to label or classify music, can you describe JJUUJJUU’s sound to our readers that might not have heard you yet?

Listen and decide for yourself.

There’s a serious vintage vibe to your music but it doesn’t come off as being over contrived or anything, it walks a perfect tight rope between paying homage and treading some interesting new ground with your own contributions to the sound.  I’m extremely curious who some of your personal music influences are?  What about the band as a whole rather than individually?

Tons.  Where do I start?  I love Can.  Kraut Rock has really been inspiring lately.  Andrew and my musical tastes are very different but I think we love the same things about the different stuff we like if that makes sense.  Does it feel good?  Yeah?  We're in.  I know Andrew and I both love primordial sounding stuff, we both appreciate a solid groove.  I also appreciate a great song.  Our EP was groove based.  Find a groove and follow it.  I think the new stuff is a little more song-y I guess.  I don't know...

Can you explain JJUUJJUU’s songwriting process?  Is there just a lot of exploratory jamming or does someone approach the rest of the band with a more finished product to flesh out with the rest of the band?

Well, it's just Andrew and me.  I come in with a piece and I start playing it, he starts playing and that's it.  We don't do much tinkering, a little, but not much.  We usually come out with a song the same day I bring the skeleton in.  It's less of a process and more of an exercise.

Do you enjoy recording?  Some bands thrive in the studios while others feel like their serving time in prison or something ha-ha!

Love recording.  Plan on doing as much of it as possible.  I want to focus more on recording than playing shows.

Can you tell us a little bit about recording your debut album FRST?  When was it recorded?  Where was it recorded?  Who recorded it? What kind of equipment was used?

Recorded spring 2011 in Anaheim at the Dahga Bloom warehouse.  Lucas and Manny from Dahga Bloom recorded it.  We found all of the equipment in the trash, we found some sandwiches too.  We ate those.

Cover artwork by Harrison Roberts

Who released it?

Beyond Beyond is Beyond!  From New York City!  Dope dudes.

Does JJUUJJUU have any other music available?  Are there any plans for a follow up to FRST or any other releases planned for this year?

We recorded two new songs last month that will be released on a 7" single soon.  We're going to start recording again in the fall.

Where’s the best place for our readers’ to purchase your music?

Online, Google it.

What do you have planned as far as touring goes this year so far?

We have some plans.  Stay tuned to our Facebook to see what becomes a reality.  If you're from Europe and reading this, bring us there, please.

Who are some of your personal favorite acts that you’ve had the opportunity to share a bill with?

Tinariwen, Akron/Family, Dead Meadow, Dahga Bloom, Deap Vally, Fool's Gold, The Entrance Band and a bunch of others.

Do you have any funny or interesting stories from live shows that you’d like to share with our readers?


Where’s the best place for our readers to keep up with the latest news like upcoming shows and album releases from JJUUJJUU at?

I love having a digital copy of an album, but there’s something magical and irreplaceable about physical albums to me.  Having something to look at, to hold in my hands while I listen to the music, it makes the listening experience more complete; at least for me.  Do you have any such connection with physical releases?

Yep.  Love Vinyl.  Love the big artwork, love that it spins around.

Do you have a music collection?  If so can you tell us a little bit about it?

Yep.  It's inside of cubby holes behind the piano next to the bathroom.  I go to the cubbies and pull records out and play them for friends or just myself.

It’s kind of a loaded question I suppose, as there are pros and cons to virtually everything connected to technology, but I am always curious to hear what musicians think of digital music and distribution?

Works for me!

In the vain hope of keeping up with all the super talented musicians out there right now, is there anyone from your local area or scene that I might not have heard of that I should be listening to?

Dahga Bloom, Mystic Braves, Lumerians (San Francisco), Mini Mansions, Deap Vally, Habits, Al Lover (San Francisco).

What about national and internationally?


Is there anything that I missed or that you’d just like to discuss?


(2013)  JJUUJJUU – FRST – digital, 12” – Beyond Beyond Is Beyond Records (1st pressing Limited to 100 copies on White Vinyl)

Interview made by Roman Rathert/2013
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