"Juke Kartel's stint with Slash opened the band's eyes to taking the next step." – Interview

An up and coming band to look out for is Juke Kartel, whose album “Levolution” debuts in the states on September 28th (see review of album here: "Juke Kartel's 'Levolution' has pop rock hooks like Nickelback, 3 Doors Down and Matchbox 20." – Music Review). Front man Toby Rand recently stopped by to talk “Levolution,” “Rockstar: Supernova” and what the band learned from Slash.

Q - Thanks Toby, for doing this.

A - Well it's my pleasure, thank you so much for taking the interest in our band.

Q - Where did the name Juke Kartel come from?

A - It's a play on words. We took Juke from jukebox as in 'MuSic' box. And Kartel from the word Cartel, which can mean a band of brothers who conspire to launder money or drugs. Soooooo....Juke Kartel is - "band of brother's who get together to create music," how's that?? Ha ha.

Q - You were a contestant on "Rockstar: Supernova." What was that experience like?

A - It was truly an incredible journey in my life/career. Tommy Lee and the boys really gave me and JK (Juke Kartel) a stepping stone into the music world. Each day on that show I grew as a performer and as a man and was definitely the defining moment where I could look at my future realistically. It was challenging, humbling and rewarding. Thankfully, I walked away with my head held high, and look back at the experience as one of growth and learning.

Q - I reviewed the new album, "Levolution" and compared the songs to Nickelback and Matchbox 20 in terms of catchy pop rock hooks. Juke Kartel got the chance to tour with Nickelback in 2006. What did the exposure do for the band in terms of visibility?

A - I agree with the pop rock hooks, but I definitely feel Juke offers a new breed a big rock that is a little sexier. It's sexy to be able play music that not only is directed to inspire, but also to feel affection and lust. Nickelback was a good opportunity for us and definitely stepped us up in the Oz music scene, but I feel our recent exposure has been all our hard work and dedication to the journey of JK.

Q - What did you learn from touring with Slash?

A - Slash is an incredible performer and surrounds himself with near perfection. Touring with him and his band definitely opened my eyes to taking the next step. His belief in JK as a band is credit to our performance over the last 18 months. We have done quite a few shows with him now and it is another sign that we are doing the right things as a unit. We consider Slash a great friend and someone who aided in our move to the US and ultimate success.

Q - What I love about "Levolution" is that each song could be a hit. How does the band decide which songs are going to be singles when the album as a whole has many potential hits?

A - This is possibly the best question I've ever been asked! It's very difficult to lead with one track, so in the US we have opened with our ballad 'If Only' whilst pitching a heavy rock track in conjunction. That way we are catering to access the markets. We have such a diverse record that different tracks can be played in different markets. I believe every song is a hit in its own right; so much has gone into this album, that it a storybook of our lives. The title 'Levolution' is a word created to express our path over the last few years. Levolution means ‘understanding the process of life by evolving to new or greater levels.’ We have found that at our lowest depths we found strength within ourselves and each other to persevere and continue to reach our goals - Levolution!

Q - It seems that the music industry is very cyclical. Do you think that there is a right time, right place in the music industry? If so, is this the right time for Juke Kartel?

A - It is a perfect time for JK to erupt in the music world. We would like to join the rock revolution that inspires listeners to pick up an album and take away something special from each song they hear. I feel that rock with heart and soul is coming to the forefront and we would like to be part of that leadership and help shift the world into a powerful headspace.

Q - Going back to "Rockstar: Supernova" and reality shows in general, what is your opinion, good or bad, regarding reality shows that promise a lot for essentially winning a contest? Is the recording industry just one big contest?

A - I think you have to enter a competition like that with your eyes open and have a support crew ready for afterwards. I actually don't see many shows on TV that I would consider recommending to upcoming musicians. But if you do, stay true. To yourself, and don't be mislead into someone else's skin. The recording industry is actually very open, artists are getting recognized by YouTube, and other internet sites....the whole game has changed; it will be interesting to see what happens in 2020. I am just extremely fortunate to be represented by an amazing record label, Carved Records. They are family orientated and dedicated to see us work our way to success.

Q - What's going on with Kanye West, John Mayer, and these other nut jobs that think people care more about their personal lives than their music?

A - I have no idea...but one thing is for sure, people do want to know artists and feel empowered when they have insight into their lives. And reality definitely seems to be key to promoting music....

Q – What’s going on with Juke Kartel in the United States? What are you guys doing right now?

A - Currently I'm on radio promotion tour with Dale (guitarist) launching our first US single 'If Only' in wake of our upcoming debut record "Levolution" released on Sept 28. We are shooting the video and that will hit TV in October.

Q – Is there anything else you wanted to add?

A - Can't wait to share our music and lives with the world. Thank you for helping us spread the cause. Peace, Toby.


Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous." Email Jason at jason@zoiksonline.com.
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