Brooklyn-based band Junk Made Ill recently completed a 3 show stint in Los Angeles, playing famed Angeleno haunts including the Whisky a Go-Go and Silver Lake Lounge. The band, comprised of Jaime Lynn, Trevor Collins, and David Maldonado are self-proclaimed ‘genre-curious’ musicians and aim to make lemonade from lemons or, as Jaime Lynn likes to say, make ill from junk.
Natalie Durkin (TribeLA Magazine): Give yourself and your work a tagline and tell us why.
Jaime Lynn: Junk Made Ill cause I take sh*t and I make it ill. Make lemonade out of lemons type of Motto and way to live. Music has been my saving ill.
Trevor Collins: Taking any ingredients available to make the dopest music possible. I like taking something raw and bringing the best out of it.
David Maldonado: Pulling the strings behind the scenes. Because I love bringing all the pieces together, but I hate being in the spotlight.
ND: What got you started in music? What is the reason you are here today?
JL: My family that took care of me bought me a Casio when I was little. I pasted numbers on little pieces of square papers and numbered the sounds. I taught myself to play! Then my family tried to get me into professional lessons thinking I had this talent, but I was always the worst student. I’m sorry I “tortured” them but I’m happy I never listened because I am able to play the particular sound we have made today. To create. To communicate. You change things. To make the world and the music genre-less.
TC: Being exposed to it a lot in my life helped, but I have always felt connected to music. Playing it with people I vibe with is the greatest feeling in the world.
DM: Playing piano when I was kid. I’m here today because we have a a lot of great ideas that we want to get out of our heads. It took some time, but it’s time.
ND: How do you hope to influence your audience?
JL: I just want people to listen to the actual music and stop gravitating toward what the labels put on all of us. I want people to decide for themselves what they like and what makes them feel. I always want to inspire anyone I meet to be themselves – the best version – and to follow their own dreams.
TC: By showing them something they have never quite heard or thought of before.
DM: By throwing a high-energy, kickass show with a bad ass singer!
ND: What do you do when your creativity is blocked?
JL: I either walk to the water in the city or to a park bench, or read a book in a bookstore, or lock myself in a quiet space as I let go of all the emotions that are obstructing me, cry and then write it out. Or I meet up with my band and just start to play through it. I’m very grateful for them as they represent what I always wanted growing up… a band that is a musical family. They always pull me out of my blocks and I love them for it.
TC: Expanding your mind and your horizons always helps, but getting out and working on something else constructive always helps regenerate the creativity.
DM: Relax on a higher level and just mess around with instruments.
ND: What fires you up and gives you energy?
JL: It fires me up when people judge other people when they don’t know sh*t about them. I’m always driven to connect everyone, mainly because I love everyone! When it comes to energy, performing is what gives me energy. To be on stage with the best people in the world and to then get the chance to talk to all these best people in front of me: those who [are] giving themselves to my craft. It’s an energy that is the most alive and most magical language I have ever experienced.
TC: Vibing with people who you feel you can be yourself around! Being able to pursue your passions! Bobby Brown!
DM: Making people laugh.
ND: Can you tell us a little known fact?
JL: A pickle was once a cucumber!
TC: “Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson is actually one of the greatest songs of our generation. Try and change my mind.
DM: I hate tomatoes, but I love ketchup.
ND: Where is your favorite place in Los Angeles and why?
JL: Not exactly in Los Angeles, but in the vicinity… Joshua Tree. I had a magical transformational moment out there at sunset one time. I also planned our next music video while that moment was happening and I’m so excited to execute that one. Malibu – of course – is stunning, and Venice Beach is my jam and drum circle I mess with. It is just so much fun to go and play and dance with everyone in Venice. Super inspiring people are in that city.
TC: Venice Beach because it is F*CKING BEAUTIFUL!
DM: The beach! Living in NYC, I don’t have this luxury.
ND: How do you make music? Briefly chronicle your creative process.
JL: I spend my travel time making music and, to be honest, whenever I’m in a bathroom I have crazy ideas, which are good for voice memos because the acoustics [and] reverb [are] always good in there. But, yeah, traveling on trains, metro wherever, listening to sounds, or in parks, I usually write lyrics. Then in my studio, or at home on piano I will write a baseline and that is usually where I begin. Then a beat, then the other elements. I create with different instruments and vocal sounds that I make. With the band it has tweaked slightly, but kind of always with Dave, he will write a guitar riff and I’ll have written bass and lyrics and it’ll go together, and then I will already have the idea for the melody from a voice memo or in my head. It seems to all fall into place, like puzzle pieces. And T man then comes in and lays down the ill drum track that drives the whole sound into the next dimension.
TC: I like to start with a chord or a bass line that I can build beats from. Despite drums being my primary instrument, I like to match a beat to melody rather than the other way around. In JMI, I’m often adding emphasis to other parts or helping my band mates come up with good melodies, rhythms and arrangements.
DM: Starts off with a piano or guitar. When I find that perfect melody, I just loop it and add a bunch of parts over it. After about 6-7 different sounds, I mix and match them to create some great movement and sounds.
ND: What is coming up?
JL: Oh, my god, well… as I’m doing this interview, we are here in LA for the month. Playing The Whisky on April 12th, Trip Santa Monica on April 13th, and Silverlake Lounge on April 14th. We have some unplugged shows around town, too. My baby child, “Special Boy,” which is JMI’s new single, just dropped on April 5th. Please go stream it anywhere as it’s on all platforms. This song is very special to me and close to my heart. When you hear it you will know why. Everyone has had a “special” person and [gone] through this. The brilliant music video comes out this month as well. And we have a huge festival we are playing in Colorado on April 20th called the Art Jamboree with the dopest line up and thousands of peaceful people. Party!!!! Come out if you’re around! And of course more releases / videos will follow.
TC: We have a sick little tour coming up on the West Coast, hitting up some spots like Silverlake Lounge and Whiskey-a-Go Go in LA, and the 420 festival in Colorado Springs!
DM: Our first Los Angeles tour in conjunction with the release of our brand new single, “Special Boy”.
ND: Describe your style – musically and otherwise.
JL: I am “genre curious”. My sister wrote that about me and I’m sticking to it. It’s now Junk Made ill’s tagline/genre. I grew up listening to so much great music in all different types of genres and it has made me who I am musically today. You may hear a track I produced and be like, ‘whoa it’s crazy electronic pop bug out’ and then hear the band on a track and it’s like post grunge with some hip hop elements in it. Or you might hear something from us on Spotify and be like, ‘ok this is something I never heard but I guess I would call it indie’, and then experience the live show and we’re like crazy punk rockers. So it’s really all about your interpretation of your experience with us. JMI is never the same.
TC: Chill vibes, jazzy, soulful, and often LOUD.
DM: I like to mix up electronic and acoustic instruments to get a nice balance. I also love doing a fun dance remix and taking a track in a different direction.
ND: What is the best advice you’ve received and the best advice you can impart onto us?
JL: Best advice I have ever received was to not let other people tell you how to get there because every person who got there did it their “own way”. People have always tried to say to me: pick one musical space to be in. I never would [because] then it wouldn’t be real and, if I had, I wouldn’t ever have the chance to create what we are creating now. I’m so thankful. Also surround yourself [with] truly supportive people of your path. That’s a game changer. And it’s hard to not have certain people around we thought were good for us. But, yep, simple but tough but real, yo!
TC: Taking things at your own pace is the best way to find the right path. Always keep an open mind! Avoid Blue Cheese and Wasabi!
DM: Best advice received — Do what you have to do, to do what you want to do. Best advice to give — Take out the earphones and listen to the world sometimes.
ND: Any closing words?
JL: I love you. Thank you so much for having us on here TRIBE LA! What a dope interview platform and set up! Oh and please don’t forget to check out JMI’s latest single “Special Boy” and follow us on Instagram @junkmadeill.
TC: LOOK MA! I’M ON A TRIBE LA ARTICLE!!!
DM: Live long and prosper.
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