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10 Quick Ones with RAMI EL-ABIDIN of JUICE – August 2018

| 23 August 2018 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “With seven distinct personalities, Juice distills rock, pop, and hip-hop into a signature sound with a flavorful kick of electric violin, rich harmonies, honest lyrics, and festival-worthy choruses. The Boston septet-Ben Stevens [lead vocals], Christian Rose [violin, vocals], Kamau Burton [acoustic guitar, vocals], Daniel Moss [guitar], Michael Ricciardulli [guitar], Rami El-Abidin [bass], and Miles Clyatt [drums]-perfects this mix on its 2018 independent project. Workin’ on Lovin’ highlights the band’s diverse signature sound with songs like “Sugar,” the soaring single that features airtight raps and radiant chorus harmonies, and “Heartbeak in a Box,” an honest and emotional ballad about holding onto feelings after they’ve left your life.”  We get Rami to discuss new music, influences, and much more in our 10 Quick Ones…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Our latest release is a four song EP titled Workin’ on Lovin’. The project is an exploration of the ‘coming of age’ feelings we’ve all confronted as young men in their 20s. The songs touch on romantic love, but also self-love and the challenges that come along with growing and moving forward in life. There’s a nice little nugget in the last chorus of “Sugar.” We actually got the whole band (and our manager JT) in the booth for some gang vocals on that last chorus. You might not hear it at first, but all the boys are singing their hearts out for you on that one.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realize you wanted to be a musician?

When I was maybe 13 or 14, my older brother Julian got a guitar for Christmas. I became interested in music at that point and learned some classic songs on the guitar. I eventually picked up the bass, and like many other bassists of my generation, became enthralled in the music of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. We convinced our little brother Omar to pick up the drums so we could jam out on some tunes in the basement. I didn’t realize it at the time, but our little ‘brothers band’ was one of my most formative experiences as a musician. Learning how to play in an ensemble is absolutely essential. Being able to do that at a young age, with my brothers no less, was an absolute blessing. I knew I enjoyed music ever since I picked up the bass/guitar, but I didn’t realize until much later that I wanted to be a musician as a life path. I went through college assuming I would get a traditional job like my peers, but I was subconsciously feeling lost and out of place the whole time. I met the Juice boys my senior year at BC and I knew I had found something special. When we took the leap and made the band a full-time thing after college it was clear that I had made the right choice and that I really just wanted to be a musician all along.

3. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Herbie Hancock, The Beatles, D’Angelo, James Jamerson, and BadBadNotGood

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

I’d love to play bass on a D’Angelo or Daniel Caesar record. As for a collaboration with Juice, I think it would be awesome to do something with Daft Punk.

5. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before?

We’ve got rock and roll at our core. We’re a real band with drums and bass and electric guitars, but our songs are very focused with clear and present vocals and hooks, which moves our music slightly towards the pop spectrum. Our grooves are R&B flavored and our vocal harmonies evoke a ‘90’s boy band aesthetic. We also incorporate hip-hop into our music with rap verses and hip-hop inspired rhythms. We’ve got a ton of genre blending going on in our sound. We use genre as a tool to tell stories and evoke moods in our songs in a way that is both natural and modern.

6. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

The best part about being a musician is being able to express yourself creatively while bringing joy to listeners and inspiring a younger generation of musicians to do the same.

7. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

I usually do the cooking, often with help from Michael. Ben, Christian, and JT (our manager) always make sure drinks are available and music is bumping. Ben is the first to bust out the acoustic guitar, or the cello, or my bass haha.

8. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

Being a musician is my dream job, but if I had to do something else I would certainly be an entrepreneur of some kind. An independent band like ours is literally a small business, and I have learned to love the process of building something I care about from the ground up.

9. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I wish I had realized sooner that music was my true passion. I spent a lot of time trying to mold myself into a person who could get a traditional job after college and eventually settle down in the suburbs or something. It wasn’t until after college that I was honest with myself about wanting to be a musician. Had I figured it out sooner I would have practiced a lot harder, worked on my singing and picked up other instruments/skills like the keyboard and pro-tools.

10. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

I’d go back to the recording of Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters. It’s such an incredibly groovy record with some truly iconic bass playing from Paul Jackson. A lot of my playing style is inspired by that record. From what I understand, the whole recording process was just a big jam session. Whatever got played ended up on the record. Being in that room would be a transcendent experience. I read in Herbie’s autobiography that one night he and the Headhunters were cooking so hard that they all starting levitating off the stage. Who knows if that’s true, but I’d like to be there and see for myself. Headhunters and other Herbie records from that era bridged the gap between jazz and funk for me. The songs from those records helped me realize that I could be melodic and technical while still remaining in the pocket and supporting the band as a bassist.

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Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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