Juice
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Juice

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Pop Funk

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This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Sep
30
Juice @ Mercury Lounge

New York, NY

New York, NY

Dec
01
Juice @ Brighton Music Hall

Allston, MA

Allston, MA

Oct
28
Juice @ Hard Rock Cafe Boston

Boston, MA

Boston, MA

Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


Juice has come a long way since 2014. Juice the eight-member band with Boston College origins, that is. The octet, which has a funky jam band vibe, played their very first festival gig last Thursday and walked away $20,000 richer after winning the Land the Big Gig music competition, a part of Milwaukee’s 11-day Summerfest music festival (which claims to be the world’s largest). Grammy-nominated producer-sound engineer Johnny K, who’s worked with bands like the Plain White T’s and 3 Doors Down, was among the judges. It’s not the first time the local band has emerged victorious in a music competition; Juice started out as a group of BC freshmen (plus one foreign exchange student) that, within days of forming in 2014, won the school’s Battle of the Bands. We’re guessing last week’s win felt a little sweeter. Band members include Ben Stevens, Kamau Burton, Christian Rougeau, Daniel Moss, Miles Clyatt, Chris Vu, Rami El-Abidin, and Michael Ricciardulli. They released their debut self-titled album in April. - Boston Globe


Magnetic, charming, and refreshingly distinctive, Boston-based 8-piece band (yes, eight) Juice has sufficiently succeeded in crafting a sound that is both addictive and matchless. Having first come together as college freshmen a few years back, the group has continued to see exponential growth. They released their debut album in April of this year, and will be playing their first ever festival slot at Summerfest in Milwaukee, WI on June 30th. Juice’s alt-infused, soul-inspired vibes masterfully foster an inimitability that ultimately separates them into a

The group’s single “Gold,” which Atwood Magazine is proudly presenting today in partnership with LiveSyphon, is quintessentially Juice. Lead singer Ben Stevens’ striking and expressive vocals are on full display throughout the 4-minute track, as vocalist/guitarist Kamau Burton interjects before the chorus with equally soulful fervor. Vocalist/violinist Christian Rougeau excellently showcases his talents in “Gold” as well, fiddling his way into everyone’s hearts.

“Gold” is toe-tapping, charismatic track about newfound desire, and the warmest feelings that come with it. The song traverses through the barrage of inner emotions that follow along with new affection, and ultimately embraces them. It’s new and maybe a little bit scary, but nevertheless enchanting.

In anticipation of our LiveSyphon release, Atwood Magazine was able to catch up with Juice’s vocalist/violonist Christian Rougeau, where we discussed everything from the group’s origins, how their hometown of Boston has affected their sound, and how their music represents their personalities.

ATWOOD MAGAZINE: HOW DID YOU FIRST COME UP WITH YOUR BAND NAME?
Christian Rougeau: There’s an old Scottish legend that the bringer of dance would sip nectar from a golden chalice and be given the eternal power of Funk. In 1873, Jackson McMahon discovered this chalice deep beneath the Loch Ness – but it was empty. Since then, musicians everywhere have attempted to fill the chalice with nectar and obtain the power of Funk, but none succeeded. One night, Jackson McMahon came to all eight band members in a dream, deeming us the keepers of the chalice. “Juice” is the representation of our responsibility to fulfill our destiny.
YOU'RE A LARGER BAND WITH SEEMINGLY VARYING INFLUENCES. WHAT'S THE TYPICAL THOUGHT PROCESS IN CREATING YOUR SPECIFIC SOUND?
Christian: We try to play music that we would enjoy listening to. Since there are a number of different musical tastes and backgrounds in the group, Juice songs end up blending elements of everyone’s ideas of “a good song”. Oftentimes one member will bring a groove they’ve been working on into practice, and by the end of practice the song will be something completely different than what it was initially. This known, we’re a bunch of college guys, and there’s definitely a lot of common ground in terms of what we like to listen to as well, so writing is …generally …a profoundly productive experience.

HOW DID YOU ALL FIRST MEET AND DECIDE TO BLEND TOGETHER YOUR VARYING BACKGROUNDS?
Christian: We met at Boston College as freshmen. BC isn’t known for its vibrant music scene, so a few of us met up after sending out feelers through the roommate portals and Facebook. Some of us were in classes together, and some of us met through music events on campus, but by second semester we were all jamming. We decided to do our school’s battle of the bands, we won, and the rest is history.

HOW HAS BEING FROM BOSTON AFFECTED YOUR MUSIC? HAS IT AT ALL?
Christian: Boston definitely influences our music at least somewhat, whether or not we really know it’s happening. There are some really good bands in the area who’ve come out of Berklee College of Music and other schools in the area, and in playing shows with with these guys, we’re constantly reminded how hard we need to work to be successful. Some of the best bands from around here are some of the best independent bands any of us have ever seen (probably because of Berklee), but we do our best to learn from them in terms of composition and performance art, and it’s really helpful for us as a group.

YOU'VE WON A SPOT TO PLAY AT SUMMERFEST THIS YEAR IN MILWAUKEE -- HOW ARE YOU GEARING UP FOR THAT, AND DOES YOUR SET CHANGE AT ALL FROM A FESTIVAL CROWD VS. A SMALLER VENUE?
Christian: We’re so excited to have the opportunity to play at Summerfest, and we really want to make it count. In terms of playing to a festival crowd – we just want to bring as much energy on stage as we can. Engaging people with energy on stage is one of the most rewarding experiences that a musician can have, and a festival audience is the perfect place to do just that.

DO YOU HAVE ANY DREAM FESTIVALS YOU'D LIKE TO PLAY, OR A DREAM FESTIVAL LINEUP?
Christian: I’m from about an hour away from Chicago, and I wake up every morning and ask myself if I’m playing at Lollapalooza yet. I’ve been going every year since I was 14. We’ve got some guys from California in the band who I’m sure would love to play at Coachella, and I’ve been checking out some cool jam band festivals like Lockn’ that sound insane. Lolla would be heaven though – I tell all the guys it’s been the dream of my short life for a long time.

IF YOU COULD OPEN FOR OR PLAY WITH ANY OTHER BAND, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
Christian: We have a number of influences ranging throughout the band. Any bill with Phish or Dave Matthews Band would be too good to be true, Chance the Rapper is a favorite of mine, John Mayer, really anybody we like to listen to – and I’m sure I haven’t done everyone’s favorite artists justice in this list.

WHAT IS THE INSPIRATION FOR YOUR SONGS?
Christian: The inspiration for songs really varies, and is always difficult to put into words.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE PERFORMANCE OR SHOW YOU'VE HAD SO FAR?
Christian: We played a big show at Brighton Music Hall in Boston this past February, which was incredible. We’ve had lots of amazing shows though, and anytime we have a lively crowd dancing along, it’s an awesome experience. I want to shout out Brandeis University – we played a show there a while back and they were one of the wildest audiences we’ve ever had.
DO YOU HAVE ANY LONG-TERM GOALS?
Christian: Lollapalooza. Well, that, and being able to play music professionally as a band. All but one of us are still in college, and we’d love to be able to have enough success to really make Juice something lasting and special in the years to come.
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO TRY AND PUSH THE BOUNDARIES?
Christian: I want to believe that if you love something enough, and you work hard enough at it, you can do amazing things. I’m from South Bend, Indiana, and there’s kid who went to school across town from me who just got drafted by the Celtics. I didn’t know him well, but he was a workhorse, and he loved what he did. Juice works really hard to be the best we can be, and I really think if we continue to do so, then good things will happen.
WHAT IS THE OVERALL MESSAGE YOU'D LIKE TO CONVEY WITH YOUR MUSIC?
Christian: I don’t know if there’s a message so much as there’s a character that represents our personalities. We’re a bunch of guys who love to make music, and hopefully people can feel our energy and our love in our sound.
Juice certainly brings an infectious energy with their zealous presence, and their passion for music is evident. It may seem difficult to maintain freshness, but these guys make it seem easy. Juice and “Gold” are symphonically captivating, deftly original, and genially energetic; fostering a sound that upholds a sharp fluidity and wholehearted promise. Watch Juice’s performance of “Gold” via LiveSyphon, and you’ll see exactly what we mean. - Atwood Magazine


By Piet Levy of the Journal Sentinel

Just two years old and playing its very first festival gig Thursday, Boston-based funky jam band Juice wowed the judges at the fifth annual Land the Big Gig music competition at Summerfest, taking home the $20,000 grand prize.

"You guys are a stunningly good band," said one of the judges, guitarist Jason Klagstad from local roots rock group Semi-Twang. "I don't think there was anything you did not master on stage."

Bob Babisch, Summerfest's Vice President of Entertainment, and Grammy-nominated producer Johnny K (Megadeth, Plain White T's) also judged Thursday's competition at Summerfest's Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard stage.

Formed by Boston College freshmen in 2014, Juice has become popular on the local college circuit, and raised more than $15,000 on Indiegogo to make its self-titled debut album, which came out in May.

"From Boston to Milwaukee, it's a whirlwind," Juice frontman Ben Stevens told the Journal Sentinel. "We're honored. It wasn't even about the money. It was such an electric experience for all of us. It's sublime. I can't even put it into words."

Stevens said the band would reinvest all the money into recording...and possibly splurge on tickets to Pitbull's concert at the Marcus Amphitheater Thursday.

The band has a local connection as well. Guitarist Dan Moss is a 2013 graduate of Marquette High School in Milwaukee.

Juice performed at a disadvantage, competing against local alternative rock band Well-Known Strangers and Chicago-based blues group Honey & the 45s, whose fans packed the audience.

But Juice's hip cover of Kanye West's "Gold Digger" inspired scores of shrieks from teen girls, thanks to Stevens' a cappella croon and Christian Rougeau's versatile violin solo. Even the stage's headline act, teen pop duo Jack and Jack, was dancing backstage during Juice's set.

Strangers won the second-place $5,000 price. Honey placed third and received $2,500.

The bands were among more than 150 entrants from around the country who submitted audition videos to landthebiggig.com. The 10 acts who received the most online votes were reviewed by a panel of music industry professionals, who selected the three finalists.

Land the Big Gig is sponsored by Tap Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's entertainment news site. - Milwaukee Journal Sentinal


Armed with a stabilizer-mounted DSLR camera, he circled and panned across the Arts Festival stage, swooping toward Christian Rougeau, MCAS ’17, and his electric violin. Rougeau leaned into the camera, smiling at the videographer as he tore into his strings. The fraying hairs at the tip of his bow—war scars. He knew the battlefield well. They all did.

Juice’s meteoric rise from freshman-boy jam band to campus media darling likely came as a surprise to those familiar with Boston College’s music scene. Having covered student bands for some time, I can say there’s a strong sense among many musicians here that BC students just don’t get it—they don’t show up at concerts, they don’t like music they haven’t heard on the radio, they don’t pay for music created by on-campus musicians. Then Juice showed up.

Attendance at BC band competitions skyrocketed overnight, and to be fair to other acts, a 7-man band will mathematically have more friends to show up, but it quickly became clear these weren’t just friends: they were fans. They knew the lyrics, they would shout out requests for specific songs. They would show up to concerts in Cambridge, they would show up to concerts in New York. And when it came time for Juice to record its first album, the crowdfunded effort raised over $16,000. Heck, I even donated to it. Thursday night was the concert for that album’s release. Juice, having won the Battle of the Band’s competition twice already, left the mantle open for another band this year, conceding instead to perform its own set on O’Neill Plaza after this year’s winner was announced. But with the competition cleared for another winner, a sense of anxiety remained for the other musicians there that night: was there really room on the mantle for another Juice?

For this year’s winner Funky Giant, perhaps, but these events have yet to demonstrate even close to the same turnout when Juice doesn’t show up. At this point, Juice almost feels like the featured performer, with everyone else serving as openers. The regulars call out the performers by name, while the University’s Office of News and Public Affairs happily co-opts the performance as an opportunity to collect some B-roll. The crowd conspicuously doubles in the minutes before Juice takes stage, with the venue so packed by the start of its set that latecomers start standing up on chairs to get a view of the stage.









Juice’s freshly released, self-titled album—as anyone familiar with its set can tell you—is Juice. It features a few newer tracks, but for the most part, could have been taken song-for-song off of a setlist from one of their longer concerts. For those at Thursday’s concert, it wasn’t a grand reveal so much as a celebration of a Juice BC knows well, potentially moving toward the next big stage. It all had the feeling of a send-off party.

Crowd favorites “Gold” and “How You Gonna Do Me Like That” were mixed with extended musical interludes—Chris Vu, MCAS ’17, performed a mesmerizing piano intro. For his part, Ben Stevens, CSOM ’18, stood out very clearly as the band’s lead vocalist Thursday. In the past, it’s been tougher to pick out just who was championing the vocal efforts. Rougeau’s exceptional violin, meanwhile, has developed from essentially serving as the band’s best party trick to being the standout ingredient in Juice’s instrumental mix.

What keeps Juice fresh is the band’s depth. The group’s internal dynamic is constantly shifting, and its sound gets a clear boost from the competitive energy between its members on stage. While its studio recordings are spectacularly produced, that explosive energy is a tough thing to mix for. Most bands aspire to sound like the recording, but I imagine Juice having a tough time ever recording something truthful to how it sounds live.

This is all to say that, while Thursday’s event in some senses marked Juice’s arrival—a completed album, a completed identity at BC, success beyond near all its contemporaries—it mostly presented questions. Has Juice’s success at BC given new legitimacy to BC’s independent music community, or has it simply disguised some of the community’s problems? Can Juice effectively export its sound outside Chestnut Hill and enjoy a much broader base of fans? Why did our overlords with the BC Arts Council cut off Juice mid-set? (Yup, that happened.) Did they get all the B-roll they needed and just call it a day?

As Arts Council volunteers ushered Juice off the stage—to the extreme distress of several angry onlookers—the crowd was offered a rare reminder that even Juice can feel the squeeze, that gravity has not changed, and while Juice’s rapid rise can offer some hope, plenty of obstacles remain for musicians at BC. - The Heights (Independent Student Newspaper of Boston College


Juice is a big band. Stationed in three rows in The Middle East Downstairs, there’s not much room to wander on stage. There’s plenty of room to groove, though. It takes lead singer Ben Stevens, CSOM ‘17, a full minute to introduce the eight-man crew. In the back there’s Miles Clyatt, MCAS ’17, on drums and to his left, up stage a bit, sits El-Abidin, A&S ’15 on bass. Dan Moss and Michael Ricciardulli, both MCAS ’17, stand in the center on guitar. Chris Vu, MCAS ’17, mans the keys to their right, facing the band. And front and center there’s Stevens, with Christian Rougeau, MCAS ‘17, toting his electric violin to his right and the fedora wearing, always smiling Kamau Burton, MCAS ’17 on acoustic guitar and vocals to his left.
The floor is a sea of bobbing heads. Everyone’s bumping shoulders from the stage to the bar. The popular Cambridge venue is full of the kids you’ll find around the Boston College music scene—fellow musicians, Music Guild members, and probably a few seeing the band for the first time. The Middle East Downstairs looks and feels like an off-campus basement’s older brother. Its ceiling is higher than the average off-campus haunt’s, and looks as though it’s held together with duct tape. A long, wooden bar runs along one side. The Middle East Downstairs is essentially a more earthy, authentic image of Cabaret Room. It’s what the Rat might have looked like as a venue years ago.

Juice moves its way through staples “Pineapple Groove” and “Where I Want To Be” along with a few new tunes. For its finale, the band turns to “Gold.” Stevens looks toward Vu with a knowing grin. Vu starts his silky piano intro and locks eyes with Moss, who slides in with a spicy guitar lick that stirs the drink as the whole jumpin‘ concoction joins in. Stevens, the guy that sounds like Sam Smith only with a deeper timber without any of the whine, comes in with “Change is never easy babe, but it seems to be with you…”

“Gold” is like an Avengers movie—a seamless mash of styles, skills, and personality. It gets everybody, from Vu and Moss to the crowd. Burton’s falsetto carries the song into the chorus of “g-o-o-o-o-l-d.” It features a silky violin solo from Rougeau. And typical Juice, it practically invites the crowd on stage for the last few choruses of “g-o-o-o-o-l-d.”

The single “Gold” was supposed to close the set, but the crowd needed more Juice. The crowd screamed “ENCORE” and “SQUEEZE THE JUICE.” A few cried for a rendition of “September,” the Earth, Wind & Fire cover that rocked the senior Commencement Ball last May. The band eventually scampered back to positions for a cover of “i.” The tune rolled in waves off the stage. The expressive Rougeau met Kendrick Lamar’s original bar for bar, eventually closing the song reading the lyrics on his cell phone. It has a fitting chorus and the crowd eventually jumped in. “I love myself.” No, they love the Juice. Juice is as BC as the Gasson Tower, as answering the question “how are you?” with “fine but like so super busy, just so busy” or blaming large structural issues on the Supreme Jesuit Leader. In a little less than two years, the band has managed to ingrain itself in the BC experience in ways few other artists have.“Honestly, I think the success of Juice in general has inspired myself and other artists at BC to continue to pursue their artistic goals,” Alex Mukherjee, A&S ’17, who shot and produced a mini documentary on the band in the spring, said in an email. “Seeing Juice start from nothing at BC and become what they are now has given me a bar to try and reach with my filmmaking.”
“I think it’s all just like fun,” Clyatt says seriously. “Fun—exclamation point,” he adds less seriously.

In part, Juice was playing at the Middle East to promote the promise of its first album, but also just because it could. Over the summer the band has become one of the venue’s regulars. It was one of the band’s final performances before the group heads into the studio Sept. 25—under local producer Mike Davidson, who has worked with St. Vincent, Regina Spektor, and some local acts. Davidson produced the band’s most recent and third recording, ”Gold.”

The band set a $15,000 goal to cover the production and promotional costs on Indiegogo—the global crowdfund site and now a popular place to kickstart projects from a Star Trek fan film to Angry Troll Brewing. Supporters were given the options of donating a clean $25 dollars for a physical copy of the album, $75 for an exclusive autographed poster, or as much as $1,500 (which one fan did) for a full private show. The band reached its goal in just 11 days.

In a few months, Juice has gone from a band without a Facebook page or a Soundcloud to a band with merchandise—a gold or maroon T-shirt with a jolly pineapple man on the back.

Stevens, who is more reserved in person but equally as earnest as he is on stage, described the band’s journey, and mindset during its rise, as a series of humps. The group eyes a goal, reaches it, then moves on to the next. Battle of the Bands? Check. Play the Middle East? Check.

“We got over [the Middle East] hump and then we were like what’s the next hump, then we got over that hump so like there’s always gonna be a constant thing—how can we keep moving forward from here,” Stevens said.

The boys used to drag the Music Guild’s equipment to and from Vandy’s Cabaret Room. This summer, they found themselves lugging it down Houston Street in the Lower East side.

Juice had secured a gig at the Parkside Lounge—a divey establishment in East Village. The event quickly surged on Facebook and drew the attention of the Mercury Lounge—a tastier venue. Mercury asked the band to ditch Parkside.

“We were like no, because that would have been kind of a scummy move,” El-Abidin said.

But on the way to Parkside, the band passed the Mercury, and to its chagrin saw “Juice” on the sandwich board for the night. It went in to clear up any confusion Mercury may have created but eventually just booked another gig for the night.

“They said, why don’t you just come over after your set?” El-Abidin said.

So when the band finished its set at Parkside, there was no time to stick around and mingle. Soon, eight sweaty guys and a herd of friends and fans were marching their way down Houston Street. A few were helping Vu with his hulking keyboard. Rougeau—long, wiry, and expressive like his violin bow—paced over the sidewalk. Burton’s fedora hung perilously and his perpetual smile had dimmed to a workman-like grimace. The herd behind lent its hands and pushed the band along. The only casualty was Vu’s ankle, which he rolled at some point along route. He still finished the set.

“I think we all felt like rockstars after the Parkside Lounge show,” El-Abidin said.

Juice puts on an electric live show, no matter the location—BC, the Middle East, or somewhere in New York. It is the most popular crew of artists on campus. But while Juice may have beaten the likes of Small Talk and William Bolton in the Battle of the Bands, both acts have produced several EP’s. Juice has yet to really bottle up the live performance that has brought it to this point.

“We’re all really good musicians—live musicians—but this whole ‘recording artist’ part of it is new to us,” Vu said. “It’s something we’re all exploring and learning.”

The band’s sheer size is one of its defining qualities, and what shapes the sound that Rougeau calls “vibey” and “tropical.” The group can blend influences and templates to collectively write what Rougeau calls “a Juice song.” Its size also helped grow the band socially. For the first year of its lifespan, Juice relied solely on word of mouth. The band didn’t have a Soundcloud or Facebook page to pimp. It had one great song—”Where I Want To Be,” and virtually no recording of it.

“There was this long period of time where we couldn’t get a recording together,” Rougeau said. “We didn’t have any money and we didn’t know like how to get (recording) gear … ‘How You Gonna Do Me’ isn’t really a bad recording, but it’s not a good recording.”

The band’s next official recording “Where I Want To Be” is closer to its vibrant live version. For a solid year, it was the best written and regularly performed song at BC. “Where I Want To Be” is a song with an infectious, rousing vocal melody. It has an echo of “What a Wonderful World/Over the Rainbow.” It puts the heart of Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s track in an upbeat melody and layer upon layer of instrumental depth. And it’s that layer of voices and instruments that’s hard to capture in a recording.

The band had a few more originals to pair with it like “Pineapple Groove.” “Groove” is a jamming tune, but “Where I Want to Be” was always the golden ticket, until “Gold” debuted over the course of the most recent Battle of the Bands competition. “Gold” is electric live—a seven-minute epic of guitar licks and piano melodies that weave around each other. It’s also probably the band’s best recorded effort. It still had to make some sacrifices. The recorded track cuts the song from seven minutes to four, including Vu’s piano intro.

Juice is a band, and for the first time, it seems like a band thinking about how to marketing itself. It is preparing to promote an album and sell merchandise. It is planning contingencies for when Stevens, Clyatt, and Moss go abroad in the spring. It is figuring out who might be able to step in for a time to hold the fort. It is wondering if dissolving the band for a spell might be feasible, in which case it would turn to solo projects (count us down for Chris Vu solo project). It is even entertaining the possibility—if the album is successful enough—that members going abroad might fundamentally alter the band’s roster. Like a lot of students entering their junior year, they’re eyeing for the first time their eventual fate—graduation and the void of possibility that exists beyond it.

Juice has made change look pretty easy so far.

“By the time we graduate, at least from my perspective, we really want to be in a place where we’re comfortable with playing music all the time and we have options, because we want to be able to move to LA if we move … I don’t know … we’re gonna see if we have the funds to do things like that and the sort of stability to do things like that,” Rougeau said. - The Heights


We gave it a listen - and loved it
Looking for a fresh(-squeezed) new artist to grace your carefully-crafted study/party playlists? Look no further than Juice, Boston College’s own R&B, funk, hip-hop, rock, alternative fused boy-band.

Ben Stevens, the lead singer, is joined by seven other members: Christian Rougeau, Rami El-Abidin, Miles Clyatt, Chris Vu, Michael Ricciardulli, Kamau Burton and Daniel Moss. Together, they make up Juice, a name that Steven says “was pretty random but definitely embodies our identity as a blend of genres sounds and influences that come from every member of the group.”

This fast-growing musical sensation is getting more and more attention around Boston College and in the greater Boston area. Oh, and did we mention they’re dropping their debut album just in time for Art’s Fest?


Yeah you heard that right.

The self-titled album is a eclectic blend of soulful vocals which can only be described as both savory – cue Christian Rougeau’s hard-hitting and witty rap debut in “How You Gonna Do Me Like That” and “Pineapple Groove” – and sweet – Ben Stevens’ jazzy vocality reminds us to be patient in love in “Need You To Wait.”

Juice’s first album is proof that these guys are ready to shatter the barriers of conventional pop-music. The lyrics are a compilation of ideas brought forward in the group as a whole but are written primarily by Kamau and Ben — and of course, the rappers write their own raps, but the vocals are fittingly arranged together.


Vocals aside, there is little doubt that Santana’s protégé walks among us. Daniel Moss steps downstage to ignite a fire with his solo shred in “Pineapple Groove.” And Juice’s signature sound transcends the humdrum of the mainstream at the hand of the surprise electric violin.

Not to mention, Juice also covers classic bangers at their live sets including the likes of Earth, Wind and Fire’s “September” and Fetty Wap’s “679” and the grooviness of each cover rings with the novelty of their sound – to be frank, Juice does it better.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any juicier? Juice is planning to perform a full set at the end of BC’s Battle of the Bands competition in honor of their album release!

We talked to Ben about what he (and the group) thinks are the most exciting part of the concert and the upcoming album. He said: “The Arts Fest is going to highlight some of the songs from the album and also debut some of the new songs that are in the works.

“We have put so much hard work and love into the album we are putting out. As our writing capacity continues to grow, I continue to get excited for what the group can accomplish in the future.”

The (free!) concert starts at 9 PM directly following the competition on O’Neill Plaza.

Needless to say, once you get a taste of this juice you just might have a new reason to stop sippin’ on Beyoncé’s Lemonade. - The Tab


Last night, under the sprawling white tent of Arts Fest—pulsating with purple lights and thundering applause—Juice debuted their first, self-titled studio album to a crowd of eager fans.

Paying homage to their roots, Juice returns to their formative years when they claimed victory in the Battle of the Bands of 2014 and 2015. Instead of competing this year, however, the well established veterans, now juniors, put on a special album release performance following the announcement of the winner. Regardless of having won or lost, all the competitors looked on with optimism as Juice beckoned them forward with promises of similar glory.

Image courtesy of Juice
Image courtesy of Juice
The band, comprised of Ben Stevens (Vocals), Kamau Burton (Acoustic Guitar/Vocals), Christian Rougeau (Violin/Vocals), Dan Moss (Guitar), Miles Clyatt (Drums), Chris Vu (Keyboard), Rami El-Abidin (Bass) and Michael Ricciardulli (Guitar), possesses a far more socially mature sound than they once did as a motley crew of lanky freshmen. This past summer, the band committed to playing and writing music full time, allowing them to move into a sphere of maturity and functionality inhabited by precious few other ensembles on campus.

The album kicks off with the previously released single “Shoot Me Down,” a funky number that opens softly with a gritty keyboard riff, building gradually into a pleading chorus: “Don’t let her shoot me down, Beretta!” Above all else, this track serves as an excellent centerpiece of all things Juice—the mature vocal tone of Stevens, which harkens back to jazz-era crooners, the penetrating and borderline screeching effect of Rougeau’s violin, the soulful keyboard licks of Vu, the punchy bass of El-Abidin, and the funky wah-wah guitar licks of Ricciardulli, among others.

The next track, “Gold,” also previously released, is a foot-stomping crowd pleaser, showcasing a catchy guitar groove grounded in the driving character of the drums. Stevens demonstrates particularly versatile vocal ability in his transitions from quick paced spoken delivery to falsetto. Lyrically, the song reinforces the crowd-pleasing groove: “Yeah we step in the club and we’re blowing up the show. Put your hands up if you’re all about that gold!”

“Look My Way” slows things down as more of a ballad in nature than the previous tracks. Vu’s striking keyboard skills create a echoing soundscape that allow Stevens to shine through with a demonstration of gentle falsetto: “I saw you walking, the type of walk that kept the whole town talkin’. I just hoped you’d look my way.” With a slow evolution, gradually the guitar and strings join in, climaxing in a slightly more upbeat, distinctly Juice sound.

Image courtesy of Juice
Image courtesy of Juice
Juice re-enters their funky comfort zone with “Thrones”—a quick spitting, rapid-fire rap number further accentuated by the synchronized riffing of the piano and guitar. Juice is in peak form as the track escalates, and cries of “yahhh” from the band reinforce the punch line bars of Rougeau: “I’m King of the Juice, Tropicana Messiah.”

Similarly to “Look My Way,” “Need You To Wait” opens quietly with gentle, acoustic piano backed vocals. The similarities continue, however, and the song picks up quickly after only a minute of this mellow tone. Although the groove they revert to is certainly high quality, it would be refreshing to see what Juice could do if they kept things mellow and slightly acoustic for longer before reverting back to their funky, violin heavy comfort zone.

While their music has always flitted back and forth between hip-hop, funk, and rock, Juice demonstrates a firm command over these various influences as the band blends them together with an effortlessness that could only be regarded as professional. Impressively, for a band with such an eclectic degree of influence, they have successfully established a sound that is distinctly “Juice-y.” As their maturation undoubtedly continues and the group becomes more versatile, it's clear that Juice certainly has big things in store.

Be sure to get your own free download of the album at itstimeforjuice.bandcamp.com - The Gavel (Progressive Student Voice of Boston College)


The main dance floor had mostly emptied out by midnight, but on the other end of the Boston Sheraton, Boston College jam band Juice was packing in the crowd for a third encore at Commencement Ball 2015. The group would close its two-plus hour set with a inventive cover of Kanye West’s “Gold Digger.” Frontman Benjamin Stevens, CSOM ’17, offered a velvety interpretation of Jamie Foxx’s take-my-money interlude while violinist-vocalist Christian Rougeau, MCAS ’17, tackled West’s verses.

It had been a wild evening for the eight-piece act, which started off with only a modest crowd, but by night’s end, stole nearly the entire senior class from Dorchester DJ Clinton Sparks, the event’s headliner. Juice’s diverse set hit on several high points, including a cover of Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie,” which finished the first half of its performance. Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September” also made its way onto the setlist. Both songs were later to be repeated by crowd request.

Per tradition, the regular set ended with Juice original “Where I Wanna Be,” the recently recorded group anthem. Considering this was an original, plenty in the crowd still seemed to know the words.

For bassist Rami El-Abidin, MCAS ’15, Friday marked his final Juice performance as a BC undergraduate, but for most of Juice, the night was a perfect occasion to rock some under-21 wristbands and crash the biggest evening of this spring’s Senior Week. - The Heights


On Saturday night, enthused and nearly frozen Eagles poured into the basement of The Middle East nightclub to warm up jamming to the music of Boston College’s own student band, Juice.

The band played the smaller upstairs of the club in December and their impressive performance earned them a booking in the larger downstairs of the club, in which headliners such as Aerosmith, Passion Pit and Eminem have all played.

“It’s truly a rite of passage for any up and coming band to get asked to play there,” says the group’s violinist/rapper Christian Rougeau, A&S ’17.

While at first glance the venue seemed exceedingly spacious, the environment near the stage was one of contagious energy, not at all diffused by the cavernous room. Fans of the band crowded the stage, calling out to the musicians in a relationship that made the performance feel like a playful jam session among friends.

The group’s oh-so-groovy funk sound would prove difficult for even the most adamant non-dancer to resist moving to, and the comfort and confidence with which the band took to the stage immediately set the tone for a larger-than-life performance.

The band members played, sang and rapped (yes, they do it all) with an exuberance that invited every audience member to crack a smile and let loose with them. The sweet and soulful vocals of lead singer Ben Stevens, CSOM ’17, provoked a constant stream of whistles and playful “hoot-hoo’s” from the ladies, while Rougeau’s passionate and slightly manic fiddling never failed to rile up the audience.

Stevens, Rougeau and acoustic guitarist Kamau Burton, A&S ’17, not only sang and played their respective instruments, but also alternated rapping verses with impressive rhyme and wit, bringing a strong hip-hop element to the show.

The group’s sound, a conglomerate of R&B, funk, hip-hop and rock elements evades labels or definition. As Rougeau puts it, the sound is “a new genre, a blend… a juice, if you will.”

Their flawless instrumentals (three guitars, keys, drums, bass and the show-stealing electric violin) and perfectly harmonized vocals form an incredibly robust sound to begin with. But this volume was even further amplified when the band played Amy Winehouse’s hit “Valerie” and the audience instantaneously joined in the singing, unable to resist the unreasonably catchy tune.

When the band announced the end of their set, the suddenly unsatisfied audience barraged them with hungry demands for more music. Boisterous fans chanted, “One more song,” and one impassioned audience member added, “Make it a long one!”

After exchanging regards with one another and a club manager, the band happily segued into a well-chosen final song: Sam Smith’s “I’m Not The Only One.”

The song choice was met with a roar of approval and if “Valerie” hadn’t gotten every voice to sing along, the encore certainly did. When the song finished, fans and friends of the band reached out to grab the band members’ hands in gratitude and the group, beaming with satisfaction, packed up their instruments and left the stage.

“We brought an awesome crowed despite all the on campus activities,” reflects Stevens, “and the band was feeling it.”

Upon joining their fans on the floor, the group was met with a seemingly endless parade of high fives and congratulations, including my own. The highest compliment I could think up was “You rock” and other similarly generic phrases, but what I meant to compliment them on seemed near impossible to vocalize.

What had amazed me were the band’s intangible energy, charm and warmth. They’ve got the je ne sais quoi that makes a good band great – or better yet, phenomenal. - The Gavel: The Progressive Student Voice of Boston College


On a makeshift stage, under a temporary white tent taking up most of O’Neill Plaza, eight Boston College students started on an unlikely journey. Sporting blazers, slacks, and a few odd ties, the group was in the middle of performing one of its originals, “Where I Wanna Be.” As lights flashed on the stage—as people in the audience let out scattered screams of joy—Christian Rougeau, A&S ’17, fell down to his knees in a fit of passion and tore his bow across electric violin strings, his head bobbing ecstatically, strands of horse hair flying off the stick as he finished a furious solo.

After the fury, the band’s frontmen Rougeau, Ben Stevens, and Kamau Burton, all A&S ’17, took over. They ended the song a cappella, singing, “Sometimes I dream about a place so far away / Where the sun is shining right on through my day” to the silence of O’Neill Plaza. The audience joined in, clapping along with the song. “That’s where I wanna be,” the song closed, and the crowd erupted into a standing ovation.

If the guys in Juice haven’t reached the place they want to be yet, they are certainly on their way. Winning the Arts Fest Battle of the Bands on that April night under that white tent—and consequently opening for Hoodie Allen at last year’s Modstock—was, in part, the impetus for the band’s incredible rise over the last semester. “When we won Battle, we were like, ‘Wait a minute, we’re freshmen, we have so much time ahead of us,’” Rougeau said. “We can just take this, and just evolve it, and make it something awesome.”

Now sophomores, the eight-piece band still has plenty of time to evolve. But the journey that started that night less than a year ago has already taken Juice to the forefront of the BC music scene, making it the closest thing to a “household name” in student-generated music that BC has.

Since winning the Battle of the Bands, Juice has played some pretty high-profile BC shows. The band opened for Hoodie Allen, played to a raucous crowd of soon-to-be graduates at last year’s Commencement Ball, opened for Andy Grammer in Robsham Theater, and opened for YouTube sensation Joseph Vincent at the Asian Caucus’ “Mind to Mic” event this month. These aren’t the typical kinds of shows at which BC bands perform. For the last few years, student organizations like the Music Guild have been working to foster a strong music scene at BC, but have struggled to build campus-wide interest.

Typically, BC musicians will play student-run shows at smaller venues like the Vanderslice Cabaret Room, which usually holds around 100 to 200 people. Juice, on the other hand, has had opportunities to play at more publicized events with big-name stars, and the band has even performed at Robsham Theater, which holds nearly 600 people. Gathering more than 600 fans on Facebook in under a year, Juice has broken through into campus consciousness, having done all this work as freshmen and sophomores.

Juice credits its success to a philosophy of persistence. “If we wanna maybe do something with this, we want to try to play as much as we can,” Rougeau said. “We want to reach out to as many people as we can about performance opportunities.”

Over this past summer, Juice reached out to the Campus Activities Board (CAB) looking for opportunities, and it found that the newly-founded activities board had been impressed by the band’s Modstock performance. The two groups have formed a relationship that’s led to many opportunities, including performance at the Commencement Ball and Andy Grammer. This weekend CAB and the Music Guild will be hosting the annual Fall Band Showcase in the Vanderslice Cabaret Room with Juice on the bill, along with BC musicians Atomic Pizza Slap, William Bolton, Seaver’s Express, and Lucid Soul.

In the long run, Juice just hopes to keep playing together, at whatever capacity. “I don’t care about being famous,” El-Abidin said. “I just want to be able to play bass and sit in that nice pocket that Miles creates.”

With more than two years left at BC, Juice is taking steps to expand its popularity and experiment with its sound. The members are currently working on an EP, as well as a partnership with Serengetee clothing that they hope will result in an official Juice merchandise line. They are also hoping to expand outside of BC with a show on Dec. 13 at the Middle East in Cambridge, a venue often considered a rite of passage for aspiring artists in Boston. A good showing with a big crowd could propel them into the music world thriving just outside of BC’s campus. Rougeau is optimistic. “Hopefully we can make the Middle East bump,” he said. “And then, the Boston scene will accept us.” - The Heights


It’s been less than a semester since Juice handily won top honors at Battle of the Bands 2014—a major upset, considering most members of the eight-piece band were then only freshmen. The innovative hip hop, rock conglomerate has gained a large following at Boston College remarkably quickly. Saturday, Juice performed a lengthy concert at Alumni Stadium as fans geared up for the football game. The warm September morning lent itself well to the performance, and the turnout for Juice was especially strong. At points later in the set, near a hundred fans in Alumni had stopped to watch. The Heights breaks down the five best moments of Juice’s Saturday show.

5. Cover of Kanye West’s “Hey Mama”

Recorded by Kanye West in 2005, “Hey Mama” has remained a cult favorite among his fans. Juice’s cover of the song added a soulful component to the mix, with lead vocalist Ben Stevens, CSOM ’17, adding impressive riffs to the relatively simple melody. Juice’s massive line of strings (three guitars, one bass, one violin) helped transform the sentimental source material into something of a jam, making the song feel like the band’s own. Bonus points for dancing along on stage.

4. The Giveaways

All right, perhaps this wasn’t technically part of the performance, but incidentally, good entertainment gets even better with giveaways—it’s a formula daytime television nailed down decades ago. At the SuperFan Zone, where Juice was performing, the University was giving away BC apparel with reckless abandon. Frequent announcements of raffle winners by the band’s violinist/vocalist Christian Rougeau, A&S ’17, added a certain character to the performance. No free cars have been given away by BC Athletics just yet, but we’ll have to check back on that after Parents’ Weekend.

3. “Get Lucky” in Alumni

Up all night to get lucky? Well, tailgating early day games then is probably a less-than-fond experience for you. Fortunately, catering was serving chicken and waffles with Juice, as well as a few other decent detox foods. Meanwhile, the band was covering Daft Punk’s 2013 hit, “Get Lucky.” A crowd favorite, the song showed off the band’s depth of vocals. Most young, unsigned bands have a front man who (hopefully) is into singing, but as for the rest of the group, best turn the microphone down. Juice has at least three vocalists who, given the song, could be mistaken for the front men. This added a lot of flavor to the chorus of “Get Lucky,” which was originally sung by Pharrell Williams.



2. Changing Keys In A Cover Of Beyonce’s “Love On Top”

Even Beyonce can, at times, struggle singing Beyonce, with one of the most challenging repertoires in pop music. So, when Juice took on Beyonce’s “Love On Top,” fearlessly navigating the song’s many key changes, you better believe it was a big moment at Alumni. Entire segments of the crowd broke into dance—and it was hardly even noon at this point in the performance. Stevens remarkably mustered up the vocal firepower to sell the song to the crowd, and Rougeau’s work on the electric violin dissuaded any leftover doubts about an all-male band covering Beyonce.

1. Original Song “How You Gonna Do Me Like That”

Guitarist Kamau Burton, A&S ’17, and violinist Rougeau double as rappers, and evidently, they are quite good at it. Original song “How You Gonna Do Me Like That” showed off the two playing back and forth with verses. Interestingly, the original numbers at Saturday’s show might have gotten an even stronger response than the covers—defying conventional wisdom when playing for a crowd who isn’t necessarily familiar with you, it’s best to draw them in with other artists’ material. It was nice to see students connecting so well with the band’s own songwriting.

All things said, a little Juice before the three-hour game felt just right. - The Heights - Independent Student Newspaper of Boston College


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.



Photo courtesy of Facebook/Juice Photo courtesy of Juice / Facebook
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.

Ben: Same.

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.

Photo courtesy of Facebook/Juice Photo courtesy of Juice / Facebook
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. - The Gavel: The Progressive Student Voice of Boston College


‘OUR MUSIC IS JUICY’: CHATTING WITH THIS YEAR’S BC BATTLE OF THE BANDS WINNER
Nicole Suozzo - Blog Editor - April 27, 2014 - Stories

Thursday night at Battle of the Bands, Juice took home first place. In this interview, the band members, including Christian Rougeau, A&S ’17; Jack Godfrey, A&S ’14; Ben Stevens, CSOM ’17; Miles Clyatt, A&S ’17; Chris Vu, A&S ’17; and Daniel Moss, A&S ’17 answer some questions about their experience. Two members, Kamau Burton and Michael Ricciardulli, both A&S ’17, couldn’t make it, but were there in spirit.

Heights: Did you play an instrument in high school, or were you part of a band?

Rougeau: I did a lot of that stuff like that in high school—I’ve been playing the violin since I was three.

[They all laugh as Godfrey approaches the interview, out of nowhere]

I actually moved from South Bend, Indiana to Westin, Massachusetts halfway through high school. So when I was in South Bend I was in a band at Notre Dame and we had the opportunity to open for their version of Modstock, which happens at the beginning of the year—so that was pretty cool. And I wasn’t really in a specific band when I was in Massachusetts, although I had a couple of side projects and stuff.

Godfrey: Well, yeah—not at my school, but I played in my church band as one of the music leaders. I played piano and a little bit of drums, guitar, bass, and we had another band as well where we played at birthday parties.

Stevens: In high school I played the cello and I was in a choir, and I was actually the drummer/singer of a band in the ninth grade. I mostly, like Jack, played and sang in church.

Heights: How did you all meet?

Daniel: Okay, so first me and my roommate Miles, the drummer—oh wait, there he is…

[Clyatt approaches the interview, again out of nowhere]

…met on the Agora portal and then we jammed in our room for a pretty long time, which we still do. Then we found Christian, who brought in the Upper boys, which are Chris Vu and Mike Ricciardulli.

Godfrey: I was in English class with Miles during the first semester and then we realized that we both play instruments.

Stevens: I kinda just hopped on the bandwagon.

[They all laugh.]

Rougeau: I knew Kamau from orientation, and we decided to do BC Idol, and Ben was doing BC Idol with Chris Vu, and we all decided to jam. And then we made this sort of super-group where the winners of BC Idol mixed with the second place winners of BC Idol and we formed the best jam band on campus.

Heights: All right, I’ll definitely quote that.

Rougeau: Oh no, no, don’t say I said “the best.”

[Sorry boys, I’m a reporter]

Heights: How did you come up with the name “Juice”?

[Everyone cracks up and says, “That’s a good question.”]

Godfrey: Okay, so we had to submit our video to compete in the competition and we needed a band name, which we didn’t have, so didn’t you, [he questions Clyatt], just say “Juice”?

Clyatt: Yeah, [he replies to Godfrey], you and I were the only ones there, and we wrote in the group chat because I had to submit the video in five minutes, and I said, “Come up with a name.”

Rougeau: And I was like, “How does ‘Juice’ sound?”

Godfrey: And we had five minutes to think of something better and we couldn’t.

Stevens: We were going to do Saucy Juice or Juicy Sauce.

Godfrey: Or Suicy Jauce.

Rougeau: I have a special connection with juice because apple juice is my favorite juice.

Heights: So it was pretty spur-of-the-moment? There was no inspiration?

Stevens: Our music is juicy.

Clyatt: And we’re all really sweet.

Heights: Where do you guys practice?

Clyatt: In our room or Lyons.

Godfrey: For the first Battle of the Bands we were practicing until about one in the morning—there were about six of us playing in one small dorm room.

Godfrey: I feel like everyone must have been pissed off.

[They all laugh.]

But it worked.

Heights: How do you choose what songs to play?

Rougeau: Well, for the last couple of competitions, the first round Battle and the second round Battle, we haven’t been allowed to play covers so we’ve been doing a lot of speed-writing originals, and I mean everything’s turned out awesome because we love “Pineapple Group,” we love “How Ya Gonna Do Me Like That,” we love “Where I Wanna Be,” but we do also love to play covers. So when we’re picking covers we kind of have a sound in mind although we have a wide array of genres that we do. But we do tend to go for more funky stuff or stuff where we can showcase Ben’s voice or Vu on the keyboard or my violin.

Clyatt: I’d say that no matter what, we all listen to different types of music—rap, pop, jam bands—but within those genres we all play funk.

Rougeau: Hip hop, rock, alternative, funk … jam.

Daniel: Everything but country.

[They all laugh.]

Heights: How did you guys prepare for this event, and what other venues have you played at?

Godfrey: We drank a lot of apple juice every day … Okay, we just practiced a lot. Like all of the time.

Stevens: 11:00 at Lyons we’d start practicing.

Godfrey: We’d start at about 11 [p.m.] and end around 2 [a.m.].

Rougeau: At least four times a week, especially leading up to the show.

Moss: And we played at Faneuil Hall.

Stevens: We played at the Music Guild and it was really cool. We played outside and got a huge crowd. But we played outside O’Neill for our first kind of introduction to BC.

Moss: The first real time was round one of Battle of the Bands.

Godfrey: It’s funny that we have only done five performances and our fifth was yesterday. And Ben wasn’t even there for the first round of Battle. The whole band has only been together for four performances.

Clyatt: The first time the whole band played together was two days before our first show.

Vu: I learned all of the songs the day before.

Heights: What was it like on stage last night?

[In unison]: Sick!

Godfrey: I was screaming the whole time.

Heights: I was too.

Stevens: The lights perfectly coincided with our builds and the crowd was awesome.

Rougeau: Whenever I took a solo the lights would go and the crowd would scream.

[He imitates what the crowd sounded like.]

I was just feelin’ it.

Heights: What happens next now that you have won Battle of the Bands?

[In unison]: Modstock!

Rougeau: Yeah, we’re opening for Hoodie Allen.

Godfrey: We’re also trying to play at the Commencement Ball, and we’ve auditioned for that, so we’re just waiting to hear if they’ve picked us.

Heights: What are your plans for the future?

Godfrey: England!

[They all “aww” in unison and hug one another.]

Moss: Our bass player is leaving and going back to England, which is a rough move.

Godfrey: I’m only at BC for one year—this is the end.

Stevens: And it’s really sad because I fell like we’ve all become such good friends—like really good friends. We got mushy yesterday.

Rougeau: Yeah, it was a beautiful thing.

Stevens: When they were announcing the winners we all held hands.

Rougeau: But in terms of after Jack leaves, we’re all—well, a lot of us—are living together in Walsh, and Chris is living down the hall, which will be awesome. I think we’re going to start the year off by playing a couple of shows in our room—having, like, Juice parties.

Heights: Oh yeah, you guys can serve juice boxes.

Rougeau: Exactly. We’re also going to try and play around Boston and get our name out there because we’ve kind of expanded to the maximum that the BC bubble will allow us to, so we’ll have to break through the bubble. Hopefully somebody will notice us. - The Heights - Independent Student Newspaper of Boston College


Wedged between a humble mini market and one of Allston’s mom-and-pop pizzerias, the Brighton Music Hall doesn’t really look like much from the outside. Sure, the dark windows and deep red finish might suggest it’s some kind of quirky venue capable of having something cool going on inside. It’s possible that the dodgy black doors and crumbling brick exterior pique a punk-rock nostalgia for music buffs who can appreciate that sort of thing. For the average college student or local Boston resident, however, its edgy charm and miniature marquee signs go largely unnoticed as the building blends right in on Brighton Ave.

Juice doesn’t look like much from the outside, either. Stealing a quick glance at the eight guys setting up onstage, anyone who doesn’t know them might think they were plucked from the crowd and thrown together two seconds ago. Apart from acoustic guitar player and vocalist Kamau Burton, MCAS ’17, sporting the occasional flat cap or fedora, the band’s casual, laid-back look gives no indication of its infectious pop-funk fusion—its distinct vibe that throbs throughout any concert space like a life-giving pulse or a rainbow gone rogue.

Decked out in T-shirts and jeans, button-downs and khakis, the guys seem decidedly (and deceptively) ordinary to any skeptical audience member who has yet to hear the band’s music. Truth is, they’d be hard-pressed to find a local band better than Juice.

On Friday night, the Brighton Music Hall played host to a few of Boston’s most notable student music makers. William Bolton, CSOM ’16, and the guys of Juice shared the stage with Zander, a popular Boston-area hip-hop act hailing from Northeastern. Despite having scored a larger space than their usual venue in Cambridge’s Middle East Downstairs, Juice and Bolton drew a sizeable crowd that spilled well into the side rooms adjacent to the main stage.

Bathed in the bright glow of blended teal and pink spotlights, the audience waited patiently as the unmistakeable sound of Juice came to life even before the first song officially began. Three guys on guitar (Dan Moss, MCAS ’17; Michael Ricciardulli, MCAS ’17; and Rami El-Abidin, MCAS ’15) played a few warm-up riffs to get in the groove. Toward the back of the stage, Miles Clyatt, MCAS ’17, teased the audience with some improvised drum beats of his own. Stationed at the keys, Chris Vu, MCAS ’17, waited for his cue. Finally, Ben Stevens, CSOM ’17, stepped up to the mic at center stage and grinned first at Burton to his left, then at rapper/violinist Christian Rougeau, MCAS ’18, to his right.

The group’s unique sound is best described by taking a few hints from the band’s fun little moniker. Juice is a bold concoction of poppy percussion and electrifying guitar licks, with a little bit of Rougeau’s folksy violin thrown in for good measure. Juice boasts a fresh, fruity take on old-school funk. Ripe with eclectic instrumentals and Stevens’ velvety lead vocals, music fans find that Juice is really, really good. Juice just goes down smooth.

Playing a revamped and rejuvenated version of its first single “How You Gonna Do Me Like That?,”Juice had no trouble keeping the crowd engaged after Bolton’s energetic performance. Playing to a crowd composed overwhelmingly of BC students, Juice treated its audience to familiar Juice classics like the aspirational “Where I Wanna Be” and the punchy percussion in “Gold.” Never one to shy away from challenging covers, Juice slowed things down by putting its own spin on the swinging “Sunday Candy” by Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment. As it often does, Juice wrapped up its set with its famous rendition of “Gold Digger,” an imaginative cover that almost puts the original to shame.

Unlike Juice’s modest “guys-next-door” getup, Bolton’s bold image identifies him immediately as something special. Confident and carefree, he bops around stage in his hibiscus-print button down. Jerking his body to the beat of his professionally-produced tracks a la Matty Healy from The 1975, Bolton’s charisma simply commands audience attention.

Almost three weeks since releasing his most recent track “Front Row,” a colorful collaboration with L.A. pop artist Jackson Breit, Bolton is still basking in the success of his new single. Though he didn’t perform the song on Friday, Bolton gave a high-powered performance of old favorites like “Summer Breeze,” “When Will I Know,” and the mesmerizingly monotone “On My Mind.” Finishing his synth-saturated set with the bouncy lyrics in “Let’s Stay Together,” Bolton set the tone for Juice’s performance with his trademark style and incomparable solo artistry.

Bolton and Juice, Juice and Bolton. Despite their evident musical discrepancies, the two BC-based acts are often mentioned as a pair, as they often play many of the same Beantown gigs one after the other. And it’s a good thing they do. When coupled together in one show, their signature styles—Bolton’s mellow and breezy beat a perfect prelude to Juice’s beachy funk—sweep their audience somewhere warm, even on some of the coldest winter nights.

On more than one occasion, Stevens thanked the audience for braving snowstorms and sub-zero temperatures just to see the show.

But what did he expect? Kids just love their Juice. - The Heights (Independent Student Newspaper of Boston College)


Let the music of Juice sweep you away in a breeze of jazz, R&B, hip-hop, rock, pop and funk sounds. This Boston, Massachusetts based 8-piece stirs together a heady pineapple-flavored concoction of soulful vocals and harmonies, flowing rap verses, funky grooves and remarkable electric violin parts. The Pop Break had the chance to interview Juice about their origins, winning 2016’s Land The Big Gig competition at Summerfest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, their live performance, songwriting and their most recent music releases.

Who is Juice? (Names of your bands members and the instruments you play): Juice is Ben Stevens on lead vocals, Christian Rougeau on violin/vocals/rap, Kamau Burton on vocals/acoustic guitar, Michael Ricciardulli on guitar, Daniel Moss on guitar, Rami El-Abidin on bass, Chris Vu on keys, and Miles Clyatt on drums.

I know that you all met at Boston College as freshman, started jamming together soon after and then you won a battle of the bands contest that same year. Had you already been playing a lot of shows by that point and making a lot of fans? At what point did you realize that the band was really taking off: We didn’t start seriously playing shows until almost a year after the band was formed. When we won battle of the bands we earned our first BC fans, but at this point it was more of a hobby. The following year we played our first legitimate venue shows and won battle of the bands a second time. At this point we realized that people actually enjoyed seeing us perform and we started getting more shows in and around Boston. The term ‘taking off’ is relative since we still have a long way to go, but once we won 2016’s Land The Big Gig competition at Summerfest in Milwaukee it was pretty clear that the band had some serious potential.

When you began, did you expect that in just two years, you’d be playing so many sold out shows and gaining this much attention? What has that been like for Juice: We certainly did not expect the kind of trajectory we’ve been experiencing when we first formed. Juice has gradually transformed from a group of guys who jam together in a packed dorm room into a real band with original music and sound. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to grow our band and we are super appreciative of all our friends, family, and fans who have supported us and made it possible for us to take it this far.

How was the Summerfest 2016 Land the Big Gig competition? Did you have any idea that you would win and take home the $20,000 grand prize? Along with feeling an unbelievable amount of excitement and pride, what were your reactions to winning the competition: We went into the Land The Big Gig competition with a positive mindset but we certainly did not take anything for granted. The other bands sounded great so we knew the competition would be intense. We are really proud to have come out on top.

Now that it’s been a year, how has winning the Land the Big Gig competition influenced the band: Land The Big Gig opened a lot of doors for us. It proved to all of us that we have something special as a band and we need to work hard to take it to the next level! As a result of the competition, we had the opportunity to go back and perform at Summerfest this July. It was a lengthy 15-hour drive out to Milwaukee but we got to open directly for DNCE in front of nearly 10,000 people. That was wild. Land the Big Gig also put us in touch with our current producer, who helped us record an EP in Milwaukee. Be sure to check out our new music coming soon!

You are definitely a site to see live, with so many band members, an electric violin, strong vocals, rapping—even the combo of acoustic and electric guitars is really unique. Along with all of this, what it is about you guys that listeners love so much? What do you think draws in the big crowds: We have a very raw and loose energy when we play live and the audience really connects with that. Our solos and instrumental jams are often special moments that demonstrate our honest musical expression and versatility. Our songwriting has continued to improve, which has led to some great audience engagement!

What elements make up the signature sound of a Juice song: Fire hooks, tight grooves, violin.

I know that you started out as a jam band, so I’m wondering how that impacts your songwriting and performing? Do your songs usually start out as an improvised jam? Do you tend to have any improvised sections during performances: Our songwriting has become a more communal process, especially as we’ve lived together in NY this summer. Cohesive ideas are brought to the group in an effort to feel out the vibes, and take it to the next level. This helps refine and shape the songs, and allows for different harmonic and melodic ideas to come to the surface. We like to mix up our live show, so it’s always a pretty unique experience.

What message(s) do you want to convey to listeners with your music: We want our listeners to connect with our music in unique and deeply honest ways – whether it’s the beat, lyrics, jams, or melodies, we strive to transcend the typical listening experience. As long as we can convey the joy that playing music brings to us, then we are doing our jobs!

From releasing your single “Gold” in 2015 to your full-length album in April 2016 and just playing so many shows in 2017, how has your music evolved over the last two years: We have matured a lot in our songwriting and our playing since 2015. Our lyrics are more thoughtful, and we take effort to construct a more cohesive narrative in each song. In terms of our live show, we’ve always played with a tremendous amount of energy. However, recently we’ve done a better job at listening to each other and exercising restraint and dynamics in our playing, which allows for the big moments of energy to really stand out.

What are you most proud of in terms of your self-titled full-length album? Do you have any favorite tracks? What ones are they and why do you like them so much: We are most proud of the fact that we were able to record that album as young college students in the first place. Some of our favorite tracks are “Shoot Me Down” and “Where I Wanna Be.” “Where I Wanna Be” was one of the first songs we ever wrote as a band and it really brings us back to a special time in our lives.

What would you say is the best part about creating and performing music: The best part about creating and performing music is bringing joy and creating connections with the people who come out to listen and support us.

What’s next for Juice: We are going to be releasing an EP soon! We are also moving back up to Boston in the fall to play more shows and gear up for another tour in the Spring. - The Pop Break


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

Juice is an eight piece Boston-based mixture of funk, hip hop, R&B, rock, pop, and alternative influences, featuring powerful lead vocals and an electric violin. The band of former Boston College students has been building buzz in the Boston area for just over three years, and in that time period has become city's most heavily attended local acts. 

Band Members