Flood Magazine – Djo’s Joe Keery Knows the Universe Won’t Decide for Him

[ Written on September 29 2022 by admin ]

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

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