Photo Credit - Dangerbird Records with permission to Entercom Buffalo LLC

#DiscoverAndDownload: Juiceboxxx - "Freaking Out"

Brought to you by Black Button Distilling. Live Large In Small Batches.

July 24, 2017

It’s no easy task for an artist to sum up who they are in one album, much less in one song. And yet, here, at the start of the first verse of the first song of his newest album, Juiceboxxx lays it all out for you:
Out of my mind but I’m a hell of a guy, I got the PMA, that’s just an FYI / I got a J-O-B and that’s to stay alive, 24/7 not 9 to 5…

So begins “Freaking Out” on Freaked Out American Loser, the latest album from Juiceboxxx, the Milwaukee-bred punk rap artist who is quite simply the first and last of his kind all at once. But back to that couplet. Juiceboxxx might be out of his mind, but in all the best ways—he owns it and commits to this unstoppable onslaught of creative ideas and outbursts. Music is, as Juice himself says, essential, and for life. And no one else on earth is approaching it quite like him.

“My story is a bit counter to how most people in independent music have worked over the past decade,” he says. For Juiceboxxx, his singular blend of punk and rap is “an attempt to merge a bunch of things I have in my head that I don’t necessarily see being executed by anybody else. The music I make could only come from me, the mix of styles and the way I perform it and present it, it’s an attempt to do something that’s has some totality. It’s also just the story of me growing up and hitting all these brick walls and moving forward… I just have to do it.” We all recognize that it’s virtually impossible to sum up something as vast and infinite as the creative eye of an artist with a word, or in a sentence, or—if we’re being honest with ourselves—within a fucking bio for a fucking album. But first, we have his music. So at least we can start there.

Juiceboxxx grew up in the ‘2000s within the noise, punk rock, and underground rap communities of Wisconsin, and while those banners still fly high independently today, there are very few other artists who not only understand that venn diagram but who are also actively attempting to merge those sounds cohesively. Freaked Out American Loser is a punk rap blast that captures the anarchic, aggressive spirit of Juiceboxxx’s live show while also adding a new level of polish, focus, and dare we say, professionalism. Songs like “Guts and Tension” and “Destruction and Redemption” place the listener in the middle of the pit, blazing with frenetic guitar and thick energy. “Freaking Out” and “Go To the Club Alone” display dexterous rap skill and a heavier hip hop feel while retaining a jittery post-punk edge. And the album-closing eponymous track even brings to mind the melodic chime and epic codas of the Pixies.

“There’s something weirdly eccentric about what I do that puts it to the left of culture. I’m trying to do something eclectic but rooted in parameters I set for myself. Almost like when you watch a Beck show from the ’90s,” Juiceboxxx says. “I’m looking at Beastie Boys as the Ramones or something, and trying to build on that language; looking at Public Enemy within the lens of punk rock. My own singular form of American music based around a certain lived experience. I think a lot of kids have actually had a similar experience, but oftentimes they end up segregating the music they actually output. I’m trying to smash it all together into one thing.”

To echo that notion, in addition to his music and performances, Juiceboxxx runs a record label and brand called Thunder Zone. His fans are rampant to the extent that a book was even written by one of them, called The Next Next Level, published by the esteemed imprint Melville House. As you have no doubt realized by now, all of this is just to say that it’s impossible to say everything and wrap it up neatly. And so, we grab hold of the long tail and just keep rolling. “I continue to believe in this project as a vehicle, as the years go on I think there’s some meaning built into this that maybe separates it a bit. What I’ve learned is that I can cut a lot of shit out of my life but I can’t stop making music and performing. It’s cheesy but I feel like I’m just starting to get good.” Or, as the man himself said all those words ago: 24/7, not 9 to 5.



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