Interview with Juno Roome
Meet New York-based musician, filmmaker, and multi-instrumentalist – Juno Roome – in the interview with Soundeon team
Juno, how did your musical journey start?
I always remember having played music. I also grew up in a church and was lucky enough to have access to all these instruments that I wouldn’t normally have had, and just started recording/producing as soon as I could, on this 2008 MacBook that my grandmother had bought me when I was a child.
Could you please share the story behind your artistic name? You’ve changed it recently, why?
So this actually happens to be a question I’ve been asked before pretty recently, and the way I had answered this previously I think I’d done an adequate job, so I will just paste a paraphrased form of it here: “I think I’ve always had a hard time reconciling my personal identity with my creative identity — mainly stemming from self-esteem and self-confidence issues probably — feeling as though I myself personally isn’t good enough or isn’t really something to be championed; but if I gave my work a separate identity of its own, then it can be good enough, and stand on its own”. So I’ve always given my projects names, to dissociate it from my own person. Then within the past year or two, I had gradually begun to realize that that’s what I was doing, and have gotten to a place where I felt comfortable enough with myself to be able to work as myself and not (hide) under a pseudonym. So I’ve actually been hoping to change the name for a while since then — also because I had other creative endeavors I wanted to pursue in my life, such as filmmaking, writing, comedy, etc., and it just made logistical sense to operate under a singular name that would consolidate all of my prospective projects. I didn’t know at all if I actually would change the name though, because A. harlana was on a pretty decent trajectory at the time, and it’s just such a pain to rebrand it all. Then in early May, my label person and I finally decided to split after many weeks of negotiating / discussions, and with that split, I was also already planning some structural changes to the project, so it just seemed like the perfect time to take a little step back and take the time to rebrand.
How would you define your style? Was it hard to find or did it evolve naturally?
I sometimes like to say that it’s like Explosions in the Sky plus Britney Spears.
And that’s interesting to think about how my “style” has changed because it’s not something that crosses my mind often — in my head, it’s always felt like I’ve been doing the same thing, but I know when I go back and listen to the stuff I was making in high school, it’s almost unrecognizable, so it obviously has changed… so I guess in that sense, it has evolved naturally — because I don’t even really notice it changing.
Juno Roome shared a list of songs that inspire him with Soundeon team
You also make videos yourself, right? Do you make everything from playing to mastering and producing? Or do you have a team?
At the current time, I am doing everything, mostly just because I’m poor. I can’t really afford to hire anybody, but right now I’m fortunate enough that I don’t necessarily need to.
I’ve taken part in all of the videos made thus far, whether it be directing, editing, writing, producing, etc., or all of it, but lately I’ve had the great fortune of working with this one filmmaker who I really admire, Chiara Kung. The most recent video, Mohair, was the first of my videos that contain virtually none of my fingerprints — it was all her. She’s working on the video for the next tune also at this very moment, which I’m super excited about — also all her work.
What advice would you give to young artists just starting their careers?
I think the advice that I would’ve most needed would’ve been to recognize my project as a business and to strategize accordingly. I think perhaps what I didn’t realize was that in order to operate a business, you need to invest money into that business. It costs money to play music — it costs to get your song produced, mixed, mastered, and marketed. So that’s potentially upwards of thousands of dollars before your first tune ever even comes out. And when it does come out, the ROI doesn’t come through for a long time — unless it becomes a hit immediately — so it’s more and more money that needs to go into your project, until eventually, you start to make the money back. And that capital needs to come from somewhere, whether it be from a financier or yourself. I had to start looking at my project as more of a small business than a purely artistic venture, which was a little hard to throat as a young artist.
What difficulties did you face when you were starting as a musician?
Probably coming to terms with the above statement — having to view my project as a small business more than simply just an expression of my art. I had to learn how to run my own marketing campaigns because no one else knew how to, or I couldn’t afford those who did. But I think that has made me a more autonomous artist/business owner in the end, which I’m grateful for.
Has the coronavirus pandemic affected you and your work?
I didn’t think it would in the beginning because for the most part, staying home and working is mostly what I do anyway. But I ended up falling into a really deep depressive phase for a while — the small ways that it did alter my life turned out to be quite substantial. I had to adjust to a pandemic lifestyle/routine and it took me quite some time to realize that. I live by the historic Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, and that’s sort of becoming my morning routine walk — it’s been healing.
Juno, what are your plans for the future? Any upcoming projects?
I’d love to tour again when it makes sense — and I have so many tunes to share with everybody! The album has already been written and conceptualized, and all the subsequent tunes will be compiled in that record. The next immediate tune is called “Capitol” and Chiara will be making the video for that one, which I’m super excited about.
We thank Juno for a great conversation and wish him good luck in his upcoming projects!