INTERVIEW: Jerome Perry talks about Sexjuice, soundtracks to fake movies & Louisville Sports!

I think it’s safe to say that there isn’t another musical endeavor quite like Sexjuice in Louisville, or anywhere for that matter. Specializing in jazzed up instrumental funk, Jerome Perry is the man behind the moniker, and his debut record Tammy has to be the most unexpected collection of tunes that have come out of Louisville this year. It’s a genuine throwback to classic blaxpoitation soundtracks. This music also has me thinking of early Herbie Hancock — his Secrets and Sunlight records to be precise — which is a monster compliment considering how ridiculously fantastic those records are.

Listen to Tammy below:

I figured now was as good a time as ever to reach out to Jerome to get a better handle on what Sexjuice is all about. I reached out for an interview, to which he thankfully obliged…

Never Nervous: Tell us about the name “Sexjuice”. Is there a deeper meaning behind the moniker, or does it just sound cool?

Jerome Perry: My wife, Carlie, and one of the band’s singers, thought of it. I’m not sure we even had real plans to ever release anything when she did—we just wanted to play a show and needed to call ourselves something. I think we thought the name was funny. Sometimes people are like ‘Do you guys reeeeeally think that’s the best name for y’alls group?’ but I’m like ‘Man we write music, not band names.’

NN: Where did the idea for this concept album come from? Was there a particular inspiration aside from the classic soundtracks from yesteryear?

JP: No, no other inspiration at all really. At first we just wanted to write music that sounded like it was from that era of film. Once we had enough material though it became really helpful to frame it in some way. We thought of the ‘film plot’ idea and it really came alive and felt like we found really fresh way to write music. It’s just took on a life of its own at that point too. Writing a soundtrack to a fake movie isn’t a new idea at all, but it’s not super common and turned out to be really fun to do.

“We thought of the ‘film plot’ idea and it really came alive and felt like we found really fresh way to write music.”

NN: What would you say is the most important ingredient in the creation of a retro soundtrack like this? Is there a secret weapon that makes this sound so authentic?

JP: Yea! Just listening and understanding. It think it’s like maybe learning a language. You start with vocabulary, then sentences, conversations, pronunciation, accent, different dialects maybe. And at first you’re gonna be copying other speakers of that language. We just copied other music like this, I guess. We didn’t even purposefully try to add anything to the genre. Obviously we wrote our own melodies and such and were creative as we could be with arrangements, but stylistically it’s a lot of just understanding and mimicking that style, really. Now we know how to build it though, take it apart, put it back together, and we can start to do our own thing with it.

NN: There are so many layers to Tammy, and the quality of sound is tremendous. How long did it take to put this record together?

JP: It wasn’t a lot of hours we put into it, but it was spread over quite a while. First we recorded basic tracks (drums, keys, bass, guitar) live in a studio in one night. You have to record this type of stuff live—at least the initial tracks. We did it on the night Lamar Jackson won the Heisman trophy actually, which I love. We were recording Sex Scene II the actual moment he was announced as the winner. I was watching it all on my phone while we were recording ha.

It was awesome because our friend Kyle that tracked those basic tracks for us is a huge UK fan and he was hating it the whole time. Anyway, that was early December 2016. We started slowly doing overdubs over the next year because a few of us bought and sold houses, had kids, and basically it was hard for me to get everyone in and record the rest of the parts. But we got it all done early this year finally and that’s that.

“We were recording Sex Scene II the actual moment Lamar Jackson was announced as the winner (of the Heisman Trophy).”

NN: Now that “Tammy” has been out for a few months, what’s the plan moving forward? Is there another ambitious record on the horizon?

JP: Hell yea there is: the SEQUEL. In this next album, Tammy accepts an invitation to go back to Planet NAS-T-69 with the aliens and start a new life. Basically she’s seen too much shit and done too much to just go back to a normal life on earth. Anyway on the way to NAS-T-69 their ship gets shipnapped by some other uncool aliens and taken to their uncool planet called Planet LAY-M. Held as prisoners,iIt’s up to Tammy to escape and get her new friends off this lame ass planet. It’s gonna be wilder, dirtier, sexier, funkier. And on this album we are gonna develop our own sound a tad bit more as well. I want to incorporate some prog-rock elements sorta a la the band Goblin who did soundtracks for Dario Argento films. Also we are probably gonna have 3-4 songs that are more single oriented as well, with lead vocalists.

“I want to incorporate some prog-rock elements sorta a la the band Goblin who did soundtracks for Dario Argento films.”

NN: Aside from Sexjuice, what other bands/projects have you been a part of or currently involved with?

JP: Deloreans, another band I play in in town has some aspirations to record some of our songs so I want to find a way to maybe do that. Or at least just release some singles. We have a live acoustic album we recorded in 2014, I just have to mix it a bit. We may release that.

NN: Aside from music, what have you been up to lately?

JP: Basically our little baby Hayes! He’s 11 months old now and a handful to the 10th power, but my favorite moments have been when Carlie and me spend time with his little butt on Saturdays, our only full day to hangout as a family. Also houseplants. I’ve really been into my houseplants lately. I just got white and an orange bird of paradises. It’s cool to mist them. I need to play them this early synth album called “Music For Plants And The People Who Love Them” by this guy Mort Garson.

NN: What restaurant serves the best pizza in Louisville?

JP: Just take me to the cheesesticks.

NN: Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?

JP: No, but I’d be into it.

NN: Do aliens exist?

JP: How do you know I’m not one?

NN: How do you see Louisville’s football team faring this season? Now that Lamar Jackson is gone, will the offense sink?

JP: How much time you got, buddy? I think in the fanbase there’s two extremes right now. One camp thinks that we are barely going to make a bowl game, if that, without Lamar. The other camp thinks the offense will be better now that Petrino will have a pro-style pocket passer in heir apparent Jawon Pass at QB. I wish I could say something like ‘the answer is somewhere in between’ but I think it’s more complicated than that. Last year’s offense was pretty phenomenal, top-15 nationally in a lot of metrics, and I don’t think we are going to approach that this year. But I think offense is still going to be very good. You’re not going to keep receivers Dez Fitzpatrick and Jaylen Smith from making big plays again this year.

The difference is going to be if the defense and if the ground game can improve; those things can win us more games this year if we can take that leap. But I think the big challenge with Louisville is going to be depth. I think the team healthy, can win any game outside of Alabama and Clemson. But do we have the depth to sustain that through 12+ games? People talk about heart a lot with sports. Heart is great for movies. And it’ll get you through a play, maybe a coupe plays, maaaaybe a game. But heart won’t get you through an entire season. Not with the schedule we have.

Experience, talent, grit… we need all those things, and a lot of it (depth). When your first-string guy gets injured, is there a guy just as gritty ready to step in? What if that second-string guy gets injured? That’s kinda where a lot of bigger schools have us—and probably will for a while. But you wanna zoom out from these individual games and even seasons and refuse to adopt an all-or-nothing outlook because I think the alternative puts you at risk for exhausting all of your passion and maybe abandoning the team and university. That all basically applies to anything, not just sports.

NN: Will the Louisville basketball team make the tournament this year? Or will this be a rebuilding year?

JP: Oh, man, I even more don’t know with the men’s basketball team. Coach Mack seems awesome and I think just about everyone is super pumped to have him here. We lost a lot of key guys last year though, more than usual. But with a new coach and a couple new guys coming in, I think a lot of great things can happen. I’m gonna be bullish on the basketball and say we do make the tournament this year! Go Cards!

NN: Are you still a fan of Rick Pitino, or have you washed your hands of him?

JP: The hot take lately is to trash him of course. I have never personally met Rick Pitino, but I feel really confident in saying that that man loved this city and his players to a degree I don’t think he or anybody could put into words. I think he always gave the team everything he had and I think he would give his players the skin off his back if they needed it.

And I imagine the guy’s heart has been broken into a million pieces over everything that has happened over the last few years. I’m just trying to see the human side of the man, I suppose. That all being said, I think the correct things took place. It’s a new era now with the men’s basketball team and I am glad about it. It needed to happen—just a shame it had to go down the way it did. Time to move on.

NN: Before you go, tell us about your favorite record from 2018 thus far.

JP: I’ve been really into a particular performance of Machaut’s Messe de Nostre Dame. That’s not from 2018 though—it’s from like 1360. This group directed by Marcel Peres called Ensemble Organum does amazing things with it.

Also my favorite song this year is by a new dude calling himself Cautious Clay. Song’s titled “Cold War”. I like his voice and the lyrics. They seem to be addressing what is like the hardest thing to do: just openly, vulnerably speaking to another person, and being understanding.