DIY Magazine Interview – Whaddya Know, Djo?

[ Written on September 29 2022 by admin ] – 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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