Michael Ricciardulli Discusses Juice's New EP, "Workin' on Lovin'" and Their Growth Over the Years
Boston-based, seven-piece band Juice is the epitome of a melting pot of sounds. After meeting as freshmen at Boston College, the group has been blending elements of rock, hip-hop and R&B (and many more) to create their one of a kind sound - one that is fully realized on their recently released EP, Workin' on Lovin'. The band's newest release finds them at their best, both sonically and emotionally.
With Workin' on Lovin' out now, Juice is gearing up for an exciting summer and a strong end to 2018. But don't just take our word for it - read what guitarist Michael Ricciardulli had to say about the EP, the band's growth over the years and their plans for the future below!
Interview by Dom Vigil
Can you tell us a little bit about Juice for any readers who might not be familiar?
Juice is a rock & roll band, a boy band, a generative musical collective, whatever you need to convince yourself to click the play button, we’ll go with that. In truth, Juice spans so many genre gaps that it’s impossible for me to pin that down in less than 200 words. And I know that’s needy and demanding of me, and it’s gonna take some energy on your end, but I promise, if you hang with me here, it’ll be rewarding for the both of us. Funny business aside, we all met at Boston College in 2013, our freshman year, and we’ve been playing and writing music together since then. We stay primarily in the realm of rock, hip-hop and R&B, with occasional nostalgic journeys.
As a seven-piece, you guys are kind of a melting pot of sounds and influences. How do you feel this has benefited you as songwriters or affected the music that you create as a group?
Yeah, definitely, for example, as writers we’ve certainly become more skilled at pinpointing the essence of a song’s significance, the core feelings that it longs to express. That in itself informs a lot of musical decisions. You’re dealing with a really large color palette, and we’ve learned to be selective. It’s really easy to mix all the paints and get brown. Especially if you use all the paints, the piece won’t shine though. Colors and harmony equal feelings. By now, we know collectively that there will be moments on records where certain colors are accentuated, with variance from song to song. What is important though is dimensionality, and intention with respect to that. Style is a word I like. Even in consolidating your color palette from song to song, you don’t weed out the possibility of ending up with a disconnected project. A great painter is consistent in their use of line, that’s what results in style. We’re conscious of that sentiment and we do our best to weave the same fabric through every song.
What are some of the most important things you’ve learned from one another?
The question definitely bears a lot of significance. I’ll spoil it with the Sparknotes by telling you to glance at the title of our new EP, but then I’ll let you read my long-winded answer since you’re still here. This past year out of college has been one of growth, one versed in human experience and insight surrounding means other than higher education. I won’t lie, it’s certainly challenging at times. You give up a little bit of your individuality to be in a band together. But in doing so, you reach many more individuals with your music. More importantly, you embody what you stand for - everyone on the same stage bound by some relentless desire to connect with other humans on a deeper level. That’s something we’re grateful for, and we’ve learned from one another to develop that, work on that one might say.
You just released your new EP, Workin’ on Lovin’! What are you most excited for listeners to hear on this release?
All of it, make it your own. Lowkey though, they’re all bangers.
How do you feel you’ve grown between your debut self-titled release and Workin’ on Lovin’?
Like I said, a lot of experience has paved the way. Musically, we’ve just had so much more time together, especially being out of school. The songwriting has started to feel really natural, packaging up feelings and tying everything up in a bow, distilling something lofty into a colloquial phrase, something approachable and human. Moreover, Workin’ on Lovin’ is sort of an acknowledgment that the traditional coming of age story has been more of a journey for us, an acknowledgment that “I’m not there yet, but I’m workin’ on it.” It’s still youthful and it’s still vibrant, but it possesses a new sense: an awareness, quietly reposed, this steady stream of sanguine, the true ability to reflect upon a current state of beauty. It’s a high-speed collision between knowledge and understanding. And to answer the question, well, I guess the first one didn’t have all of that.
What were some of the most rewarding or exciting things about working on the EP?
Recording over the summer in Milwaukee during our whirlwind trip to Summerfest was exciting. You experience everything together and it's so momentous. As a sort of collector of feelings, it’s incredibly rewarding to finally watch something breathe, to hear it separate from the abstract and become concrete, feelings becoming mirrored by sounds. It’s also incredibly terrifying sometimes. The standalone most gratifying feeling though is having someone come up to you after a show to tell you that they needed your music. You hope most of all that listeners have their own sensations.
You recently released your single, “Heartbreak In A Box” from the EP, as well! What inspired this track?
“Heartbreak in a Box” is a very personal track. One that is really about holding onto feelings after they’ve left your life. It’s the realization that sometimes sorrow and pain are the medium in which we recall feelings of joy. I’d felt a lot of those feelings very deeply while transitioning out of college a year ago, we all did. Think Spike Jonze ‘s Her on a collision course with ‘If Ever I Would Leave You’, by Sonny Rollins. Both those pieces mean a lot to me.
With Workin’ on Lovin’ out now, do you have any big plans for this summer or the rest of the year? What is 2018 looking like for Juice?
Summer is gonna pop off, we’re playing all over, come see us. We’ll chat. As for 2018, we’ve got some birthdays coming up, we’ll have balloons.
Thank you for taking the time to talk with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you :)