Artist Session: Jude Shuma

Psych rocker Jude Shuma chatted with us about his new ‘Biggest Hits’ EP, how growing up in Chicago influenced his music, and more.

Hey Jude, introduce yourself. Is Jude Shuma your real name?
Jude Shuma is my real name! Those two words are on my driver’s license.

How did growing up in Chicago influence your music? What’s the current scene like?
Chicago is embedded directly in the center of the Midwest. So chances are if you are planning on going on tour as a band or a musical act, you’re going to stop through. I was constantly going to shows growing up. There wasn’t much else to do. Being able to see my favorite bands and attend concerts at places like the Metro helped develop the musical drive inside of me. It was pure inspiration. As you get older and more focused though it gets harder to get out. I feel like I spend more time now playing music than watching it live. The dynamic has shifted.

What was your first piece of equipment and do you still have it?
First guitar I ever had was given to me by my mother, it was actually my grandma’s. I will never let go of that one. It’s what I record with whenever I am in need of an acoustic.

Your song “Subterranean Feelings” was featured on the HBO show Ballers – how did this come about. Sync placements can become a very profitable market for artists nowadays. In the process of creating music is the idea of sync something you take into consideration?
It just kind of happened. Not entirely sure how. I received a message on soundcloud saying they wanted to use it in an upcoming HBO series. I honestly thought it was a joke, the song had only been out for maybe a month. I don’t really think about that side of things when I’m writing or recording. That song wasn’t even going to be on the EP, I had a friend tell me last minute that I was being an idiot and I should release it as the second single. If you create with the intention of getting a license of sorts, chances are you’re going to be disappointed more often that not.

In a recent interview with The Chicago Tribune you said, “You love the struggle because that’s what feeds your soul.” Looking back, some of the greatest artists of our time created beauty out of their anguish. Do you think that in order to be at your greatest creative capacity you have to indulge in some misery?
Yeah I might forever be miserable. The struggle will never end because as an artist you always have to abandon what you are working on and walk away. I think my darker side shines through in my music, where as I am typically a happy person. It’s when you start to spend X amount of time alone in a room with no windows or natural light that things start to get weird. It’s like being in Las Vegas.

Tell us about your ‘Biggest Hits’ EP.
Biggest Hits was my first attempt at engineering a record with a tape machine. I wanted to make a record that wasn’t so much driven by computers and plugins, but rather the instruments and the tones that I chose. Try to get it right the first time so when it came to mixing, the majority of the work was already done. I wanted that 60’s record simplicity in a 21st century fashion.

You brilliantly blend elements of surf rock & psychedelia. With washed-out melodies, you takes us to a nostalgic era of the 60’s. Where do you draw your influence?
Haha mostly the 60’s. All of the records I inherited, which honestly I have never actually counted, but it’s over six crates worth. Band’s that took melodies and forefronted them in the song. Made the song revolve around them and work with them.

We heard that you lived and recorded in The Smashing Pumpkins’ old house. What was that like?
Legend has it. And I still live there actually. Apparently my home studio is now in their old practice room aka the garage. I forget often times that there is a history to the place. I think if you listen closely enough, you can hear Billy Corgan and his cats in the background of They Only Wanna Bring You Down…

What’s next for Jude Shuma?
Well we’re about to release the first music video, head out East for a tour in September, we’re headlining a show at the Hideout on 9/29, and all the meanwhile, I’m working on my debut full length album. So definitely staying busy!

MikeArtist Session: Jude Shuma

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