Interview with JJ Grey

June 19, 2024
4 mins read
Credit_ Nick Langlois

Words by Emily Cheyne

Watch the full interview with JJ Grey here. 

JJ Grey is no stranger to Jacksonville. Growing up here, he’s gone from playing small punk venues to selling out the largest venues across the world with his band. Grey has a deep love for the South and expresses that through his music. After multiple albums and over a decade of touring, JJ Grey & Mofro has released another album, “Olustee.” The album features 11 new songs from the band, and they are currently touring it worldwide. 

The band just finished their first leg of tour which consisted of roughly 40 shows in 50 days, ending it at home in St. Augustine with Blackwater Sol Revue, a two-day music festival they headlined. Next year they will be heading to the West Coast and Europe. “Folio” recently got to speak with Grey via Zoom about the album and current tour. 

Folio: Your new record is the first one in almost a decade, and it’s produced entirely by you for the first time. What was that process like, and why did you decide to self-produce?

Grey: It was just life. Gamble Rogers says, “Life is what happens to you while you are making other plans,” and this album sort of happened while I was making other plans. I didn’t intend to produce it. It’s just COVID kind of got in the middle of all that. If you added up all the time spent making the record, it was probably the least amount of time making a record. It just spread out over such a long period because of some of the wackiness from all that but also just life. I didn’t intend for it to take that long. I said OK I am just gonna do a bunch of demos, which I always do by myself, and then for the first time I want to make demos with the band — without someone there as a producer. Before I knew it, I had a record done. 

Folio: Is there a venue or city you are most excited to play or have already played on tour?

Grey: It’s kind of funny, and I don’t want to say this so I don’t leave anybody out, but the only venue I think is my favorite place to play is St. Augustine Amphitheater — and that includes everything from Paradiso in Amsterdam, which I love, to Red Rocks, all of it. I just love playing here, and we used to do it once a year. But I’m looking forward to going back to Europe ’cause while I haven’t put out an album there in 10 years; I haven’t toured there in almost 10 years. I am looking forward to going back. 

Folio: What is your favorite part about touring?

Grey: I kind of like all of it. Obviously, playing but it’s more about getting lost in an honest moment with the audience; that’s it for me I don’t really care about anything else. Everything else is not in material, but it’s just secondary to that for me. If you get in that honest moment, lost in it, then the music plays itself, and the show becomes something else. I just want that thing to sort of permeate the rest of my life to where I am in an honest moment all the time. 

Folio: Do you have a song on the album that is your favorite to play live?

Grey: That changes all the time but I would say I love the opening track that we’ve been doing at the show, which is “Olustee…” I thought I would have maybe one or two that stuck out more than the others but it’s not been that way, happily. 

Folio: What is your favorite Jacksonville venue?

Grey: We played there earlier this year for their anniversary, Jack Rabbits … I like playing those small places that are very loud and out of control. We did that back in January with 11 pieces on the stage in Jack Rabbits: It was fun. I love Freebird too that was here … I could just keep going. There’s something in my heart, and maybe it’s just more familiar because I spent so many more years playing a smaller stage in a punk rock vibe, so I just love those places. 

Folio: What do you want people to take from this new album?

Grey: I have no idea … It’s pretty vast. Do what it does for me: a gateway into an honest moment with yourself. Whether it’s joy … or it’s introspective, it’s all joy to me, it’s all life. Even when you’re thinking about hard times. Trying to transmute hard times into something else. It’s all joy. That is what I am getting out of it. 

Folio: When it comes to music you listen to outside of your own music, are there any guilty pleasures you have in terms of genres or artists? 

Grey: It’s not a guilty pleasure cause I’m happy to talk about it, but I think it shocks people when I tell them I love the Dead Kennedys, a punk-rock band from back in the day led by a guy named Jello Biafra. I kind of like some old school ’70s pop music. Some of it’s like “whoa, that’s nasty,” but some of it, like “Telephone Man,” the song is so silly and goofy. I’ll tell you another one too. I love “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred. I love that song. That one makes me laugh, especially the video. 

JJ Grey & Mofro was just added to the Sing Out Loud Festival lineup in September at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre. For more information and tour dates, visit jjgrey.com. To watch the full interview, head to the “Folio” YouTube channel.

 

Emily Cheyne is a student at UNF majoring in Communication with a focus in multimedia journalism. Having a passion for music, she aspires to work in the music industry after graduation as a writer. Outside of work she enjoys going to local shows, thrifting, and reading.

Current Issue

SUBMIT EVENTS

Submit Events

Advertisements

Date

Title

Current Month

Follow FOLIO!

Previous Story

Behind the Curtain: Karrissa Wade’s Rush to Radiance

Next Story

ANNUAL SUMMER SHOOT

Latest from Entertainment

The Lore of Florida Man And the Blue Collar Barefoot Brawler

We’ve read the headlines, seen the memes and watched the news — “Florida man arrested for trying to get alligator drunk.” “Florida man charged with DUI after driving scooter into Walmart shelves.” “Florida man shot Walmart drone because he thought it was ‘watching him.’” But who is Florida Man, really?

Urine Good Hands at the 5andDime

Urinetown: The Musical, the quirky satirical musical comedy with music by Mark Hollman, lyrics by Hollmann and Greg Kotis, and book by Kotis hit the floor at the 5&Dime this past weekend.  The premise of the show is a time when water is scarce, so it is a privilege to

Your New Podcast of the Summer

Words by Emily Cheyne Podcasting has been around for awhile, but in the past few years, it has grown a lot in popularity. With podcasts being audio focused, it is an easier medium for the average person to access. But with any popular media, it can be super overwhelming trying

The Lore of ‘Clancy’ by Twenty One Pilots

Words by Emily Cheyne “Clancy” is the seventh studio album by Grammy award-winning duo Twenty One Pilots. This has been their most anticipated album after the name was released. Fans knew the name indicated it would be adding to the lore that the band has been establishing for almost a

Drop ’n’ Dance

Words by Emily Cannon “I thought dance was just an after-school activity for kids.”  In today’s world people are trying to find different ways to work out without just lifting weights and going on a run. I myself have tried a variety of classes trying to find something I enjoyed
GoUp

Don't Miss

The Lore of ‘Clancy’ by Twenty One Pilots

Words by Emily Cheyne “Clancy” is the seventh studio album

Dance Floor Delight: Grace Seymour

Words & photos by Amiyah Golden Music is multi-faceted, everchanging,