Look them up on Facebook and their band’s description reads only: “BC’s Funkiest Band.” After being determined as Boston College’s best this past weekend at Arts Fest, it seems like there’s some merit behind Juice’s claim. An avid fruit punch drinker and funk-lover, myself, I met up with some of Juice’s band members, Ben Stevens, Chris Vu, Jack Godfrey, and Michael Ricciardulli, to test just how funky the fellows are. Check out the resulting interview for some juicy band talk with Modstock underdog heroes.
Hello, gentlemen. Before we even begin to talk music, tell me: we’re all wondering, why JUICE?
Ben: (Laughs) No particular reason, actually.
Jack: As we were entering the Battle of the Bands competition, we didn’t have a band—we were just meeting up and jamming. Christian Rougeau, our violinist, came up with the name “Juice” spontaneously, probably because it was there. We liked the sound and since then we’ve tried to come with a reason. (Laughs) We say that since juice is a mixture it works because we’re mixing different music styles.
Chris: Yeah, basically just because of the mixing different things. Yeah, we’re going with that.
OK, great. Very clever. So now let’s talk about us, or, you: Who are you?
Ben: I’m the singer, a freshman in CSOM, from New York, and I’ve played music most of my life.
Jack: I’m Jack, and I’m an exchange student from England, which means I’m leaving in two weeks. Back at home I have one year left so that makes me a junior. I play bass.
Chris: I’m Chris and I’m from right outside of LA. I play keyboard; I’ve been playing piano for 12 years, and I consider myself a jazz pianist, although I’ve been classically trained for 8 years. I’m undecided about my major but I’m looking at Econ and Chem, and I’m minoring in music for sure.
Chris: I also play club water polo, but that’s it beside Juice—
Jack: Juice is life!
Michael: Juice is life! I’m Michael and I’m from San Diego, the finest city on the planet—
Ben: It’s a nice city—
Michael: I’ve been playing guitar for going on 8 years. I’m in A&S, also a freshman, and I’m not sure about a major yet, but I’m also definitely minoring in music; maybe even a double major in music and bio.
Jack and Ben (finishing each other’s sentences): We should also say that in Juice is Christian, a freshman; Miles Clyatt, our drummer; we have Kamau Burton who’s guitar and vocal; and Dan Moss. Dan’s an Econ major with a minor in music, Miles also has a minor in music and is a Classics major, and Kamau does Chemistry. There’s eight of us altogether.
Ben: Yeah, Kamau and Chem. It’s crazy because we practice at Lyons from 10 p.m. - 2 a.m. at nights and he’ll leave his lab and then come practice with us. It’s tough to balance all the work. Kamau’s also in the Heightsmen, so this past weekend he had rehearsals back to back gearing up to both Arts Fest and their performance.
With everyone having such different majors, how did you all come together to form Juice? The only thing in common with most of you is a music minor.
Ben: Miles found everyone.
Jack: Miles and I were in English together and he found out I played music.
Ben: Yeah, Miles is the one to blame, he assembled us.
Jack: Miles’s roommate is Dan, so that’s how he ended up in Juice.
Chris: After Miles found Michael, Michael brought me in 'cause we were in Music Theory together and I played my own arrangement of a blue-sy piece so he approached me after that.
Ben: I was definitely the last one! I needed someone to accompany me for BC Idol and I wanted to do something smooth so I reached out to Chris. It’s basically all kinds of random interactions that brought us all together.
Jack: Miles started it but we all came together.
Ben: And we definitely didn’t expect to be here.
Michael: When we first started, I jokingly said I’d be happy to fail all my classes if we got to play at Modstock…I still don’t believe it.
Chris: It will probably rain, but that would make it even crazier, we’ll keep it juicy.
Ben: …Highly concentrated…
(Everyone laughs and groans)
Jack: Too far, Ben, the puns are awful!
Regardless of weather and concentration, Modstock is happening, and soon! But Ben, you mentioned BC Idol. That was very recent, when did you guys start practicing together?
Ben: Oh, yeah, recently we’ve been crazy keeping it juicy with everything happening so fast.
Jack: Second semester, although some of us were jamming a bit last semester and we kept saying we should do something but we never imagined we’d end up here.
Ben: I wasn’t even there the first time we played together as a band.
Jack: Yeah, we’ve only played together four times, and three of those performances were all over one weekend.
Ben: That weekend was crucial to the evolution of Juice; we really found our sound.
Jack: It’s all very recent.
Tell me a little bit about what the sound was that you found. How would you describe it?
Jack: Funk, R&B, hip-hop.
Ben: (Laughs) Dave Matthews meets Stevie Wonder meets Fish meets Kanye.
Michael: But really, everyone listens to different stuff so we have a ton of different influences coming together.
Jack: All our songs have rap, a violin solo, and an awesome drum beat; always a mix.
Chris: And soulful lyrics.
Jack: We all want to play songs we enjoy playing, so everyone brings something different to the table when we create music.
How have things changed since the Arts Fest or Battle of the Bands crowning and the Modstock announcement?
Jack: Because of the fact that we’re all really into different music, we’ve been having some trouble lately since we need to find a cover. It’s so hard because everyone has different preferences so it’s really difficult to find something we all agree on. Up until now, we’ve all written our own songs.
Ben: Also, I do think when we do a cover were going to make it our own, still by adding solos, adding funk, throw in some riffs, a rap…a ska solo—
Jack: Ska solo!
Ben: I’m telling you man! I’m telling you; it could be cheesy, but good. (Looks to me) Also, throw in the fact that Jack says that with his British accent so everyone wants to know who the British guy is. Or like a Harry Potter reference.* I totally wanted to say something else I thought of but I forgot.
Noted. Speaking of references, will you be spending some causal time with Hoodie Allen?
Ben: We tweeted to him!
Jack: We tweeted him to ask—
Ben: It’s a surprise!
Chris: We noticed he tweets back to followers—
Jack: I’m still in disbelief—
Chris: We hope to meet him.
Jack: Yeah, it would be so cool, but honestly, we’re worrying about our own set; it’s in two days, and we need to make sure we know that and what we’re doing—
Ben: Fantastic. We’re really happy that it’s going so well and its coming together.
Michael: That’s also because Jack is definitely the dad who keeps us focused and on track.
Ben: He’s the oldest.
Jack: (Grins) I’m the only one who’s always telling them to shut up in practices.
Ben: OH, I REMEMBERED! THIS IS JUST A LITTLE TIDBIT: you asked about the process of things, I wanted to say that since everyone is in their own realm it makes our music beautiful. But the music ADD is real - everyone fiddling around, until Jack says to shut up to focus…but sometimes, it also makes a song.
Jack: Yeah, that’s important to our music: everything started with just jamming, and that’s what led us to here; we’re playing Commencement Ball next.
Ben: We have two hours to play, so we have a lot to do. All in all, it’s been a sweet year; that’s a good pun.
Chris: It’s a bad one.
Ben: I’m not going to say we’re “fresh squeezed.” Also, I should comment, our other members aren’t here and they’re twice as funny as I’m trying to be.
So what’s next for you guys? Is there a greater purpose behind what you do?
Jack: Jesus, definitely Jesus…just kidding.
Chris: Now what will they think!
Ben: It’s hard to say what a greater purpose is because we didn’t expect to be where we are now so were running with it. Opportunities are coming our way so we just want to keep getting better, improve, and see where things can take us. It’s all really humbling.
Jack: We didn’t expect any of this, a short while ago we were joking about Modstock.
Juice has certainly come a long way in a short time.
Ben: Miles sent a vocal-less video in to Battle of the Bands and with only four of us playing in it. Now there’s eight of us and we have so much to look forward to.
Chris: We’re also mostly freshmen so we have three more years at BC to make an impact.
Ben: We’ve become such good friends that I can’t wait to see what’s in store.
Jack: I’m sad my year at BC is ending, especially at such an exciting time for Juice, but when they’re doing a world tour, I’ll be the one screaming in the front row!
Ben, Chris, Michael: No! You’ll be playing on stage with us!
Jack: They’re going to be auditioning for basses next year. It’s wild.
Ben: It sounds a little ostentatious.
Jack: We’ll just say, “Come jam.”
Ben: Or “It’s time for Juice!”
Indeed, now is Juice’s time. They’re young, they have opportunity knocking left and right, and come Modstock, Hoodie Allen and most of BC will know who they are. Juice is one drink we’ll all be sipping for quite some time.
Catch Juice at Modstock performing at 3:30pm in the Mod Lot. You can find their music and videos on the BC Youtube channel and on Facebook. If you missed their classy Arts Fest performance, here’s the video for that, too.
*Jack is British. And yes, he does speak with a British accent.