Mama Juke is a NYC based band comprised of Amos Rose (electric guitars, lead vocals, background vocals), Eli Bridges (acoustic guitars, harmonica, background vocals, perc.), Pete O’Neill – (bass, background vocals), and Jon Wert – (drums, perc.).
Check out our interview with the very talented guys!
upfrontNY: How was Mama Juke Formed?
Mama Juke (Amos Rose): Eli and I met a couple of years ago after a friend of mine recommended that I go do an audition with Eli for an acting role even though I am mostly a musician. Eli is an actor. We ended up playing some music together and having a great time.
We didn’t get the audition but we did end up playing some gigs together and busking a little bit. We realized that we had a great musical connection and we started playing more gigs together trying to make more dates for our specific project. We met Pete and he added a lot on the bass. I was surprised at how quickly he had harmonies ready for our songs. We put them together and had a 3-part harmony. Then we got a residency in the East Village at East Village Social in September 2015. After searching for a drummer s we found Jon and never looked back.
upfrontNY: It sounds like it came so naturally.
Mama Juke: It was really beautiful and we still have that residency. We are playing every Tuesday night at East Village social.
upfrontNY: What is the best part of having a residency?
Mama Juke: Once you know how a venue works and the type of people that come, it in makes it easier to choose the right songs, but also playing that regularly is a great way for a band to become tight.
upfrontNY: Do you usually see the same people?
Mama Juke: You can never really predict what’s going to happen on a particular night. EVS for us, we’ve had some nights where its an intimate crowd and we’ve had some crazy nights where people are spilling out of the door. It is always different but that makes it fun for us too.
upfrontNY: What can people expect from hearing you for the first time?
Mama Juke: Its rootsy, rock and roll, a lot of vocal harmonies. It gets rowdy but it also gets sweet. I think one of the big strengths of this band as the name kind of implies, Juke, we all have a lot of familiarity with a wide range of different American styles of music so that goes anywhere from 150 year old Americana like Appalachian music that we have adapted to like early rock style all the way to Daft Punk. We play a lot of covers, whatever we feel like playing. Now we have original songs too and we are in the process of recording our album.
upfrontNY: Can you tell us about your recording experience?
Mama Juke: It has been an interesting process. There have been a few different tracks we’ve been on. A space, Unit J in Bushwick is a performance space, movie screening venue, and recording studio. We have all the capabilities to shoot videos and record audio. We have released snippets and full songs through Unit J.
In a recent effort to record our own music, a former student of mine in Rochester where I used to live, contacted me and he is studying recording engineering at Finger Lakes Community college and he offered us an opportunity to record it there for free.
upfrontNY: That is awesome!
Mama Juke: The recording process is pretty advanced and we are looking to put that out in the spring. If you want to hear the first single that we released on Halloween you can go to mamajuke.bandcamp.com and you can check it out there. You can also find it through our website www.mamajukemusic.com .
upfrontNY: Do you guys have a favorite Song?
Mama Juke: I think the way it’s always been with us is every song we work on becomes our favorite song. So we are probably going to recycle through every song on the album.
upfrontNY: How does it make you feel to have people listening to your music and excited for your album?
Mama Juke: I am pretty excited about it. This band came about like we were talking earlier as a bar band, mostly a cover band, and through that process now I feel like the band has it’s own identity as a band that plays original music as well as being a pretty versatile cover band.
I feel there has been 3 phrases in my mind. When we started, we had the first 8 months of our residency where we dabbled through the winter time, it was cold, the crowd was small and we were just getting started and didn’t know what our name was and then we figured that out and started having band breakfast and meeting on Friday mornings and do our computer work, look at our website. We all enjoy hanging out with each other. It became more and more like a tight night knit band of brothers. After that we started getting some gigs upstate and in Connecticut. Ss soon as we started traveling, something changed, everything got tighter and more magical for some reason. I think that people picked up on that as well. Since then the crowds have been growing and I am glad people recognize that. I think we are moving to a great place and the audience is coming with us.
We have a ton of friends who are amazing supporters! We are all friends and associates with a lot of the people at Unit J and a lot of other musicians around town especially in Brooklyn and Queens . We are very open to collaborating and have friends come sit in on a few tunes at gigs. It has become more of a communal aspect too, what we are trying to do.
upfrontNY: Do you guys have a favorite NYC venue?
Mama Juke: Wherever the crowd is good . Sometimes a good show can come from anywhere. We love UVS, we have a great history there. We also play at another place in Brooklyn called Santos Anne. That is one of the places that we met and that has a big place in our hearts. We have a residency there every Thursday.
upfrontNY: Is there anything you want others to know?
Mama Juke: We have a very distinct personality through a number of genres and styles. If people haven’t checked us out before, they can expect to come see a band that is going to be a really good time, interacting with the audience, creating a party and feel good atmosphere.
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