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Royce - conducted by Todd E. Jones  


The Tuff Love Of Royce

September 2006

MVRemix: Has having white people in the group been an obstacle in hip-hop?

Jamie: No. Hip Hop isn't about being a particular race.

Justus Roe: Not in hip hop, but there have been a few rap crowds that were tough to win over.

MVRemix: Who are your biggest influences?

Jamie: Nick Spizzirri, our newest member. He's got that wild style.

Justus Roe: Early Chicago house DJ's, Prince Paul, Kool Keith, T-Rex, Brian Wilson, Brian Eno, acid house and acid, Tropicalia Records, Zombies, Steve Albini, Medusas and Club Neo in Chicago, Yaz, Pet Shop Boys, Caetano Veloso, Marcos Valle, Vincent Gallo, Ween, and my dad.

MVRemix: What are some of your favorite films?

Jamie: 'Donny Darko', 'Pee Wee's Big Adventure', 'Predator', 'Enter the Dragon', 'Amadeus', 'Amelie', and anything with Clint Eastwood.

Justus Roe: 'The Big Lebowski'.

MVRemix: Where were you on the September 11th terrorist attack? How did you handle it?

Jamie: I was working at a bookstore. At first, it wasn't clear what had happened although I was sent home, which was nice. I had made it to my friend's house and was on the couch with a Old Style in hand when the buildings fell. It was surreal. I had only a month or two. Prior, I worked for a brokerage company that had asked me to do some training at the Towers. Instead of accepting their requests, I quit. Had I accepted, I'd have been in the towers. Instead, I was on my buddy's couch, drinking a frosty one. Surreal

Justus Roe: Downtown Chicago. I made sure my mom was on her way out of downtown, went down to the lake, estimated the distance of the John Hancock building falling to the beach, and walked to the far north side to a friends coffee shop. I got drunk and met up with some people. In backyard, later that night, I watched the F-14s make square grids above Chicago. I talked to my cousin, who months earlier, had signed up for the national guard. He was called up immediately. He was then shortly sent to Iraq. He has returned and re-upped. I feel guilty that I had the time and the means to even work on music and not be in the army myself. Then, the next day, we threw a post-terrorist attack party in a friend's high rise to get people together and overcome the paranoia. I also remember making a point to get out our multiple friends of Muslim heritage there to help combat against the pressure they were feeling. I also remember DJ-ing, having one of those religious DJ-ing sessions, mixing in Lil Louis French Kiss, seeing how it was a longer 12", and deciding to go to the bathroom while it was playing. Being in the bathroom, I heard some one take the needle off. Then, I remember belligerently slapping my homie, Jash One, who did the Royce album cover, in the face and sort of wrestling / boxing.

MVRemix: These days, what is a typical day like for you?

Jamie: There is no typical day for me, each day is absurd.

Justus Roe: Record music till I'm too tired then read Harry Potter, obsessively check e-mail, watch and constantly check the BBC news, make lists of projects, and try to set up bocce ball tournaments.

MVRemix: Are you in a romantic relationship these days? Has touring, recording, and the lifestyle affected relationships?

Jamie: I'm a very loving person. 'Tuff Love' explains quite a bit actually.

Justus Roe: Yes, no. Although Heather B is, I think, did, with hanging out at hip hop shows.

MVRemix: Do you think success and credibility are mutually exclusive?

Justus Roe: I don't think so. I don't know. I guess my expectations are a little lower.

MVRemix: What LPs have you been listening to in the last 3 days?

Justus Roe: Well, in the last few days, I did just get a f*cking iPod. For some reason, all the music that I got is shuffling between 50 Cent and Joy Division. It goes from The Smiths, Joy Division, and New Order to 50 Cent and Count Bassie and MF Doom. Then, there's a little bit of Elliot Smith too.

MVRemix: Ah! Joy Division! Ian Curtis! '24 Hour Party People' is an incredible movie.

Justus Roe: Yeah, I love that movie.

MVRemix: Did you ever go to Wax Trax Records in Chicago?

Justus Roe: I used to go to Wax Trax all the time when I was little. It was the sh*t. It was one of the funniest places to go.

MVRemix: What is your favorite part of your live show?

Justus Roe: Being able to do the sign of the devil to the hip-hop crowd to get them into it. For me, that's it. Also, when it is clicking and everything is sounding right. I like when you have a good atmosphere and the crowd is sounding hype. I like it when I'm hitting it hard and syncing up with the whole group.

MVRemix: How has Royce evolved?

Justus Roe: We were very jammy, not like a jam band, but we would just try to improvise live house music for hours. That's all we would do. We were basically an instrumental band at first. Our first couple of shows were all instrumental. Then, Jamie, the lead singer, actually tried to sing more and write more songs. We went from just jamming to actual songwriting. That's not an easy thing to do. Well, it's evolving towards that more. We're also spending more time in the studio and learning how to record.

MVRemix: Word association. When I say a name of a name, you say the first word that pops into your head. So, if I said, 'Flava Flav', you may say 'Clock', 'Crack', or 'The Surreal Life'. Okay?

Justus Roe: Okay. Do it slow.

MVRemix: Happy Mondays.

Justus Roe: Ecstasy.

>> continued...





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"We were very jammy, not like a jam band, but we would just try to improvise live house music for hours. That's all we would do. We were basically an instrumental band at first."