New Jersey trio JUTAUN are gearing up to release their EP, Back To Life on June 8th, 2015. The EP is aptly titled, considering it is the first release for the band since their transition into the new JUTAUN, and already, the group is gaining quite a bit of momentum. The band's video for their single, "Who Am I" is a perfect example of why, as the song conveys a strong message of acceptance and empathy. Check out the cinematic video for "Who Am I" below and be sure to grab Back To Life when it drops on June 8th!
Interview by Shannon Shumaker
Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves and Jutaun for any of our readers who may not be familiar?
Well, the band consist of two brothers, Jake(vocals, percussion) and Jamie Evans(vocals, guitar, keys) and friend Samoan Cheng(vocals). We started out when we were kids as a five piece r&b/a cappella singing group in southern New Jersey. Put out a few eps and albums and did some touring at that time. Lost a couple guys along the way and had to figure out what we were doing and where we were going.
During that period we had already been growing a lot musically. At one point I think we just made a conscious decision to do what we felt, and what ever music came out, came out! We let the music guide us, so to speak. We brought on some other amazing musicians, who have now become a part of the family, to help us get the sound we were taping into. Steve Honsberger (vocals, keys), Carter Fox (bass), Butch Serianni (drums), and Jimmy Faber (guitar).
Do you feel that your location and being based out of New Jersey has had an impact on your songwriting and music as a band?
I think you could say that in a way being from New Jersey has had an impact on us.
We actually credit our father, the late Jacob Evans Jr, for opening our ears to ALL types of music. He was a musician himself and played for a lot of the Oldies Philly/Jersey acts like Chubby Checker, Dee Dee Sharp, and The Dovels. He taught us about harmonies, songwriting, music theory, ect... One thing he would always say to us was "If you want to be a great musician you have to appreciate all styles of music and study them."
You’re also getting ready to release Back To Life on June 8th - can you tell us a little bit about the EP?
Jamie is actually finishing up the mixing on the EP as we speak and we're loving the way it's going! This will be the first time people hear a body of work from us since our transition into this new JUTAUN. The title is kind of fitting in that way. We're excited for everyone to hear the new music.
What are you most excited for listeners to hear on Back To Life?
We're excited for the whole EP. We enjoy hearing from people which songs they liked or how a song touched them. You always get different answers unique to their own experience. That's the amazing thing about music.
Was there anything that you really wanted to be able to accomplish or touch on content-wise with this EP?
When we write we never say "let’s write about this" or "let’s write about that". It usually just comes organically. So, to answer the question, no(?), we didn’t want touch on a particular topic or content… but maybe as cheesy as it sounds, hope! Not on purpose, but it seems like that's one of the defining threads through the EP! It speaks to our own journey I guess! Motivation to push past all the BS and grab on to something tangible.
Musically, what were your goals for Back To Life?
In the past we did almost everything ourselves music wise. Our projects were mostly programmed drums, programmed instruments, and we'd get musicians that we knew to play on our stuff when we could. This EP is us as a band. The guys who played on this EP are the same guys we share the stage with. That being said, I think our goal was to not be like anything but ourselves, and that's a mixture of many musical styles.
Your music video for “Who Am I” is incredible. Can you tell us a little bit about the story behind the video and song?
Thank you. We definitely give credit to Guy Davies from Zebra Fish Media for directing such a beautiful video. He took our idea and turned it into something greater than what we had imagined.
As for the song “Who Am I,” it’s about a conflict within yourself and throughout the song you end up finding yourself. It's what we go through almost everyday. The first line is “Who am I to judge?” So, it provokes that question… who are we to judge someone based off of that surface information you have? We’ve realized in life, especially in today’s society, that we can judge a situation by what we first see and more times than not, it always ends up not being what we expected it to be. That’s pretty much what the video touches on. You watch the news and it's almost like they want you to pick a side, like it's just black and white. There are too many variables and issues that we can't just pass judgement that easily.
What would you like viewers and listeners to be able to take away from “Who Am I”?
We want people to see that we are all people. We all have struggles, we all have battles within ourselves, and we ALL go through obstacles in life. Let’s not judge so quickly.
After Back To Life comes out, what’s next for Jutaun? What is the rest of 2015 looking like?
After Back To Life we’re continuing to work on our music. Hopefully, an album SOON or a tour(?!). Whatever comes next, we’re up for the challenge!
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for having us! And look out for our EP Back To Life on iTunes, Spotify, etc!!
Please add us on social media @jutaun and subscribe to our youtubechannel, where we have LOTS and LOTS content like live acoustic videos and webisodes! youtube.com/jutaunclimax