Nylon.com – When it comes to celebrity profiles, there’s a storied tradition of reporting fastidiously on what the subject — most typically, a young female actress on the rise — eats during the journalist’s allotted time with them. Do they pick nervously at an undressed salad (predictable) or ravenously tear into a burger (relatable)? No detail is left spared from print. Thankfully, this troupe has faded over the years, as we learn that what one person chooses to eat at one meal of their life does not often reveal some great detail into their psyche.
When we meet for a late lunch in mid-August, Joe Keery orders deviled eggs for the table. There’s no thesis statement to be made of this; it just stuck with me long after our lunch was over — when’s the last time you saw someone order deviled eggs at a restaurant? (They were delicious, for the record.) It was a part of a larger spread that, for two people, included fries, tuna tartare, two different salads, and an avocado tartine. There was a lot of food because there was a lot to talk about.
At the time, the actor, who turned 30 earlier this year, released Decide, his second studio album under the stage name Djo (pronounced Joe). It’s a trippy, wide-ranging album with influences that span from Devo to Charli XCX. The project sees Keery leave behind the floppy-haired all-American persona that made him a star as Steve on Stranger Things in favor of a shaggy ‘70s style ‘do and tinted sunglasses — think Miami Vice meets Boogie Nights meets a used car salesman. That’s the point here: Steve is for the internet; Djo is whatever you want it to be.
I know you’re only in town for a few days. How long have you been in LA now?
Man, like five years. Almost six years. Since 2017… It’s a nice place to live. It’s kind of a really relaxed pace of life. It can be less social, if you’re looking for it. If you’re not open, it can be difficult, but it’s also access to all sorts of nature and easy trips.
I was just in Portland, Oregon, for a wedding. It was up in the mountains, which was gorgeous — weirdly, at the hotel where exteriors of The Shining were filmed.
That’s really cool. There’s a documentary, Room 237, that talks about the inconsistencies of the floor plan for the exterior and the interior, and how that’s symbolic in some way of what he was trying to say in the movie. Man, what a great movie. It took me a while to watch that movie, to get the courage.
Same. I think I watched it for the first time like five years ago.
Great music. Talk about that music. The opening scene of that movie is so cool.
Have you ever thought about scoring a movie, really combine your two arts?
Yeah. I would love to do it, but I don’t know if I have what it takes.continue reading
DIYMag.com – Joe Keery’s already won the hearts of the world on screen, and with second album ‘DECIDE’, his alter-ego Djo is aiming to do the same on the musical stage.
Koe Keery is explaining his alter ego Djo (pronounced Joe): the lank-haired ‘70s businessman in a big suit, wheeling through an even bigger Rolodex. “It’s just sort of a vehicle for me to not have to be myself…” he suggests. Fans of the global superstar actor’s musical pursuits will have become familiar with this version of Keery who first emerged last year ahead of the release of his debut solo album, ‘Twenty Twenty’, a psych-rock record that proved his musical chops.
“It started because the concept for the last album was this guy listening to this record as a pre-show ritual,” he explains of the character. “And then it ends right before he goes on stage. But now it’s kind of taken a different thing; I guess on stage it frees you up a little bit. I also really love like, David Bowie and those glam rock guys. So playing some sort of character allows you to be maybe a little bit larger than yourself. And it went hand in hand with also trying to take away any preconceived notions people might have because they see the guy from the show up there. I’m kind of always like, ‘Is this something I still want to do or not?’ But it’s continued so far, and it’s been fun to do.”
The show Keery refers to is, of course, monster success story Stranger Things, in which he plays the loveable Steve Harrington. Steve is on hiatus right now, but Djo is back again for second album ‘DECIDE’ – 13 snaky synth-pop tracks that borrow from influences such as Daft Punk, Tame Impala and The Strokes. Whatever Djo does out of office hours sounds like a lot of fun.
Today, we’re chatting with Keery over Zoom. He’s in Rome, on a break from filming Finalmente L’Alba, a new Saverio Costanzo movie co-starring Willem Defoe and Lily James. There’s no sign of his on-stage persona today: the wig’s gone, and he’s sat in his kitchen chomping on a cracker, sporting a Faux Real sweatshirt – merch for the English synth pop band who feel very much in both Joe and Djo’s wheelhouse. His hair looks great.
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Flood Magazine – In our latest digital cover story, the Stranger Things star shares how his creative processes for songwriting and acting overlap, as well as how his second solo LP DECIDE was inspired by a need for change.
Joe Keery wants to go back to a certain golden age of music. No phones or collabs over Zoom—just himself, studio musicians, and producers wizarding over a massive stripboard, confined to a studio for a few weeks with the challenge of throwing ideas to the wall and seeing what sticks. “It would be nice to see how a different environment affects the music you’re making,” he tells me over Zoom of his dream studio locale: Paris. He sits in front of a royal blue velvet couch as he envisions how he wants to challenge himself with making music in the future.
He invokes a romanticized pressure cooker situation where one is forced to follow their creative intuition in a single studio for a short number of weeks. “Constraints are not necessarily bad,” he says. “Having some outside pressures can be good creatively, because you’re forced to make decisions.” A second passes before a soft smile begins to take shape across his face: A cheesy full-circle moment is about to take place, and he realizes this before the words fly out of my mouth. “You’re forced to decide,” I say, smirking at the namedrop of the album he’s promoting for this interview. “Deciiiiiide,” he says in a sing-songy voice before flailing his arms around in a circle.
Calling in from Rome, I catch Keery right before he’s about to go back on set for a new movie he’s working on, acting alongside Willem Dafoe and Lily James. Keery is most known for his acting career, starring in Stranger Things as Steve Harrington and showing his range with comedies like 2021’s Free Guy and thriller-horror films like 2020’s Spree. Although acting has brought him stardom, dethroning Robert Pattinson as Hollywood’s new hair king isn’t his only creative pursuit.
Before Joe Keery was a household name, he gained familiarity in the Chicago music scene playing in the meditative psych-rock group Post Animal. In 2019, it was officially revealed that Keery had parted ways with the band due to scheduling conflicts and the rise of his acting career. Later that year, he released his first single “Roddy” under the name Djo. His growing fame seems to have nurtured his creative output. That same year, he released his debut album Twenty Twenty.
Variety.com – Production has just started at Rome’s Cinecittà Studios on “Finalmente L’alba” the new film by “My Brilliant Friend” director Saverio Costanzo. It is set during the 1950s when the famed filmmaking facilities were known as Hollywood on the Tiber.
This high-end costume drama – the title of which translates as “Finally, Dawn Has Come” – features a stellar cast comprising Lily James (“Pam & Tommy”), Joe Keery (“Stranger Things”), Rachel Sennott (“Shiva Baby”), Willem Dafoe, and Italian newcomer Rebecca Antonaci.
“Finally, Dawn” is the journey over the course of a long and intense night of an aspiring young Italian actress, played by Antonaci. In the Cinecittà studios of the 1950s, she experiences some memorable hours that will mark her transition to full blown womanhood.
What are the main elements of the story?
It’s about a young Roman woman during the 1950s. She is simple, unsophisticated and on the verge of becoming engaged to a man that her family likes more than she does because he is well-to-do.
The young protagonist played by Antonaci goes to Cinecittà to do an audition as an extra and is thrust into this almost infinite night during which she discovers herself. She finds the most gutsy part of her inner self and taps into her self-awareness thanks to the encounter with a group of [American] actors who are shooting an Egyptian swords and sandals movie at Cinecittà.
It’s a film about the world of show business. So it’s clearly a film on ambitions, on vanity. Since these characters spring from the movie world, and they are making a movie, there are plenty of films inside this film. It’s like a Chinese box.
And Joe Keery’s role?
He plays a young actor named Sean Lockwood who, compared with Josephine, is a newcomer. In this film, Keery plays three characters: an American soldier whom he portrays in a film in which the soldier is among those who free Rome from the Germans [at the end of World War II]; then he plays a Mesopotamian prince in the Egyptian swords and sandals film; and the he plays himself, Sean Lockwood. In this Roman night he will also come to terms with his insecurity, both as an actor and as a man.
Billboard.com – With second album ‘Decide’ out Sept. 16, the ‘Stranger Things’ star will reach new heights in his musical career, too.
When Joe Keery performs as his musical solo project, Djo, he looks nothing like the character that millions of TV watchers have come to know — and that’s the point.
If not for an all-caps sign in the Lollapalooza crowd that read “Listening To Djo All Day Keeps Vecna Away,” for instance, festivalgoers likely wouldn’t have been quick to associate the artist with a shaggy wig, glasses and stark-white painter’s jumpsuit onstage with Steve Harrington, the bully turned beloved chaperone from Netflix’s Stranger Things.
In addition to his prominent role in the worldwide phenomenon, Keery, 30, has recently starred in Free Guy and Spree as he has simultaneously reached new heights in his acting career. Currently, he’s working on a project in Italy, ahead of a few others coming in the fall. But that’s Joe Keery, the actor. Joe Keery, the musician — Djo — is its own separate entity. There’s hardly a trace of the everyday Keery, and no mention of characters associated with a film career, on Djo’s social media accounts or digital service provider profiles.
“There’s a level of comfort being in this alternate look, where I feel more free to do what I want,” he says. “I think about David Bowie or Marc Bolan dressing up. Devo is another great example. Something that started off with that intention has opened this door to make me realize that it can be more than just that.”
Deadline.Com – Joe Keery is set to join Lily James and Willem Dafoe in the indie drama Finalmente L’alba (Finally Dawn) sources tell Deadline. Rachel Sennott and Rebecca Antonac are also on board with Saverio Constanzo directing the pic.
Plot details are currently unknown and production is set to start sometime this month in Italy.
Keery is best known for his role of Steve in Netflix’s Emmy and Golden Globe Award-nominated series Stranger Things, which recently completed its fourth season for Netflix. Not only did the series become the biggest show in Netflix history, it landed 14 Emmy nominations including Best Drama.
He recently wrapped production on romantic drama film, Marmalade, where he stars alongside Camila Morrone and Aldis Hodge. Based on O’Donnell’s script, Marmalade centers on a naive small-town man who ends up in jail and narrates a tale of a romantic bank heist to his cunning cellmate to escape and reunite with the love of his life. Keery has also joined the cast for the Fifth Installment of FX’s Fargo from Acclaimed Series Creator and Executive Producer Noah Hawley. He also recently was seen in the 20th Century pic Free Guy.
He is repped by Gersh and 3 Arts.