Words by Matthew Spence:
We walk around and pass by various kinds of people in this world we call Earth. Those who talk the talk, those who walk the walk, and those who can’t read the room and don’t know when to sit down and shut the fuck up (I’m looking at you, Carl). A grandiose B-Boy Bouillabaisbe of personalities. Amid all the traveling through a sea of people, we eventually come across those who stay true to themselves and entail, inspiring us at our craft to walk the talk….indeed. Introducing Brandon Phrommany, better known for his solo project Juke the Tiger.
As an up-in-coming Bedroom Pop artist hailing from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, he’s been paving the ground for his craft over the past 5 years as a solo artist. This year, with the January release of his bubbling single “The Past Keeps Knocking’ on My Door”, a gothic indie pop track that would make classics like Tainted Love by Soft Cell or Little Dark Age by MGMT feel like a proud gothic parent. With an infectious chopped sample melody throughout and a vocal/sonic atmosphere that feels it would fit an 80s film aesthetic edit (the music video proves right) and the prom scene from Napoleon Dynamite (or at least I envision that).
With 2 EPS under his belt, 2019s “Colossal Crush” and 2021s “Tiger Elephant” and a bunch of tracks that range from alternative and indie pop. Sprinkle in a dash of sample chopping, Juke the Tiger is knocking on the door to enter his own musical home. March 22, was a Wednesday that Wednesdayd’ so hard that the previous Wednesday said: “I wouldn’t let that happen to me tho”. But, I was thrown a bone, as I got to chat with Brandon for a few minutes, an hour to be exact.
The Following Q&A Convo is brought to you by the phrase: “DIY”
(Q&A has been edited for clarity and yada yada yada)
M: Congratulations on the Past Keeps Knockin reaching 20,000 streams (as of now it’s near 30,000)
B: Yeah, it’s been averaging like 400 and 500 streams daily on Spotify Radio. Starting to show on peoples’ “Discover Weekly” and it’s a good feeling you know. Thank you, man!
M: Do you think it’ll be your biggest song?
B: I was actually thinking about that. I think it could be probably my biggest song. It’s on the verge and it could do well. You know the momentum it has right now, that hasn’t really happened to me before. It’s probably my fave song I’ve made so far, I really like the vocal sampling and vocal chopping. I feel a reason for the small momentum it has is cause I released it with the help of a label [Spirit Goth]. They did a good job pushing it and making a video for me. They really introduced me to a whole bunch of new bedroom pop listeners.
M: Since your music has quite some range, how would you define your sound?
B: It’s funny when I chose “Bedroom Pop Artist from South Dakota” [referring to his Spotify bio], that was my bio that I chose when I dropped my first EP “Colossal Crush”. I just called Bedroom Pop because I had no idea what the hell I was doing as an “audio engineer”. I just recorded my songs and mixed them the best I could with little to no experience. I guess I can still go by as a Bedroom Pop Artist cause I make music in my bedroom but I do feel like I’m all over the place. But to sum it up, I’d say “Indie” just because I’m trying to be as Independent as possible with recording/mixing/mastering.
M: What was your musical journey like?
B: I’ve always loved music my whole life. My first favorite rapper was Eminem [we both chuckle] and then in 6th grade, I started listening to Green Day. Then I realized “I wanna play guitar, I wanna be Billie Joe Armstrong” —[We interrupt this program for a quick note: Billie also played a huge role in me wanting to play guitar as well…so Thank You, Billie]
—– So my mom got me my first guitar and I started playing more and more. Then in high school, I got into more Emo bands like Circa Survive, Devil Wears Prada, and Dance Gavin Dance. Then I ultimately started to listen to more chill bands like Passion Pit, alt-J. I was in a band called Tenanbaums, we haven’t really broken up but are on an indefinite hiatus, but I’d do it again in the future.
As far as producing my own music goes…. 2019. When I made my first EP, that was when I tried to experiment in writing my own music and not rely on anyone else. Ever since then, I became addicted to writing my own songs.
M: How Important is DIY to you?
B: It’s very important to me. I love working with other people. I’ve had people design T-Shirts for me and etc, but when it comes to making music, in the DIY fashion, I’m on my own time. I’m on my own budget. Making best with what you got. It’s super important to me and everyone should consider it to some degree. I’m also in a band called “Sundaze” with Wes Eisenhauer, he said something to me “Surprise Yourself’ and that’s what you do when you go DIY.
M: First song you were confident with?
B: Anytime I make a new song I kinda feel like that. Like Colossal Crush, not necessarily feel confident of being on to something but I felt really proud of what I made. With my EP “Tiger Elephant”, I felt I was on to something but I kinda second guessed myself. But the song I really thought 100% on to something with my sound and what I was going for was “Water U Doing?” for sure. I remember when I first made that I was like “YES….YES”. Plus, everyone tells me they like that song, that feels nice.
M: Songwriting Process?
B: Lyrics are generally the last thing I add to the song. I generally start by riffing around on my guitar and searching for samples on the internet that I could chop and play with, then I kinda just go from there. I kinda just go where the song wants to go if that makes sense.[Case in Point: Past Keeps on Knocking was originally intended to be an instrumental for a commercial his friend was making]
M: What affects you more: Creative Burnout or Imposter Syndrome?
B: I’d say creative burnout. Whenever I feel uninspired, I take a little of a break I used to kinda suffer from Imposter Syndrome but then I realized “Oh no, I make good music, I think anyway”. I’m not saying I make the best music or I’m better than anyone, but for me I do. The fact that people are listening, even if it’s small numbers I look at my page and see potential. Creative burnout, I used to hate leaving songs in the dark [unfinished] but sometimes you gotta move on, so, try not to beat something to death. If you’re trying to make a song it isn’t working out, just move on or consider coming back to it.
M: Name Origin?
B: I was playing Tekken 7 with my buddy and just chilling. I was Steve Fox and he was… someone and he kept throwing like a Tiger at me. I’m like how the hell am I supposed to beat you if keep throwing your fucking tigers and he said: “you gotta learn to just juke the tiger” and I was like “ok”. A lightbulb hit me and I really liked that name. I was looking for a name for my project at the time so I took it. I didn’t really take it as seriously back then, but it just caught on.
M: Song of yours you’d want in a movie? Who’d be directing it?
B: Past Keeps on Knocking definitely I could see in a move. As far as who’d direct the movie, Darren Aronofsky or maybe Wes Anderson.[Jukes fav Wes Anderson film: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou]
M: What do you do if the past does come knocking on your door?
B: Confront it. You can either learn from it or run away from it. As Rafiki would say in The Lion King.
M: Dream Collaborators?
B: I’d love to do a song with Beach House. Maybe Kanye West when he’s less crazy and gets his shit together. Castlebeat.
M: What guitar do you have?
B: Danelectro Deadon 67. It’s my baby I love it. It’s called Seuss. Seuss was inspired by Dr. Seuss because it looks like a guitar from a Dr. Seuss book
M: What’s the music scene like in South Dakota?
B: I think it’s great, there’s a bit of everything I mean it is small, the scene where I’m from [Sioux Falls] but you know we’re getting bigger I think. From Country Music to Alt. Rap & R&B to Metal to Indie Rock. I feel like we have every genre. Some of my fav artists are from Sioux Falls, who are my friends who I listen to. My friend James goes by James1stGen, he makes like Rap/R&B. I think he’s the shit. There’s a band called We All Have Hooks for Hands. Off Contact, they’re kinda like Goth and Grunge rock I’d say. There are quite a few bands. Sioux Falls is a small collective scene where everyone tries to help each other out.
M: Did you ever consider moving out of Sioux Falls for music?
B: Eh kinda, I thought about Minneapolis, but I don’t think it really matters where you’re from. I wanna remind people that talent can come from anywhere and don’t need to be in LA or from LA to become a superstar. I’m making all my music at home and have a small following in Sioux Falls. If I could go anywhere, I’d go to Portland, Oregon cause they have a great music scene.
M: Plans for your career in the future/Goals?
B: To put it simply, I just wanna keep on making music and keep the momentum going. Keep what I have growing and get better and better as a songwriter. Keep on keeping on as the Dude once said. Plus I wanna try to write happier music.
M: Do you plan on making an album soon?
B: I don’t feel like I wanna work on an album. I’m afraid if I work on an entire album and it doesn’t work and get the traction I wanted, I’ll feel like I wasted my time. So for now I’m focusing on singles and EPs. Albums, nah, not anytime soon. I like it that way.
M: What inspires you more, film or reality?
B: Whatever inspires me inspires me It’s nice though when I don’t have to rely on bad things happening in my life or anyone else for inspiration. I prefer to be inspired by art in general than personal stuff, it’s just more fun that way. Art in general inspires me.
M: Dream Tours?
B: It’d be cool to open up for Beach House. That’s my favorite band ever. Not sure they’re making music anymore but Twin Peaks. Beach Fossils. Cigarettes After Sex too.
Photo by: Taylor Yocum @realtayloryocum