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NME Interview – Joe Keery: “I want my stage persona to surprise people”

[ Written on August 11 2022 by admin ]

nme.com – It’s a roasting hot July day at Lollapalooza festival, Chicago, and Joe Keery is strutting confidently about the Bud Light Seltzer stage, electric guitar in hand. “What’s going on?!” he shouts to the sweaty crowd, “Y’all staying cool?” Some replying screams suggest they are, but Keery must be boiling. He’s sporting head-to-toe white overalls (as are the other touring members of his psych-rock outfit Djo), blocky sunglasses and a shoulder-length brown wig. He looks like Kevin Parker crossed with Weird Al Yankovic.

Fast forward two weeks, and Keery is telling NME how much fun he had that day. The quirky get-up is gone, but his big grin isn’t. “My God, it was unbelievable!” he says, chatting via video call. Today he’s wearing a simple white vest and sits in front of a virtual beach background, looking very content with his recent life choices.

“The stage persona started as a way to disassociate the music from the character that everybody knew me as on Stranger Things,” he says of his musical alter-ego, which he debuted in 2019, “but I ended up loving the camaraderie that it creates. My goal is to surprise people and to have a really fun show that’s infectious!

“It’s not lost on me that [Stranger Things fans] are going to come and see Djo – and that’s cool. If they like the music that’s great and if they only like it because of the show, that’s also fine. The main thing is to have fun.”

Speaking of Netflix’s internet-consuming telly behemoth, the latest season of Stranger Things was the biggest and darkest yet. Even though the finale aired in July, fans are still pouring over the most viral scenes now – including an unexpected topless shot of Steve, the high-school jock turned nice guy played by Keery. It was also a huge season for music. Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill’ shot up the charts after being used in the show – and Keery’s co-star Joseph Quinn jammed backstage with Metallica after performing their 1986 classic ‘Master Of Puppets’ during an episode.

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