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Best of Olympia 2014 Music: Best New Band - Fruit Juice

Meet the fun-loving nature, open-mindedness and raw awesomeness of Fruit Juice

FRUIT JUICE: Standing in a wheat field is for old bands. PHOTO CREDIT: WINTER TEEMS

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Interviewing Fruit Juice, voted the Best New Band in Olympia by you lovely readers, was the best band interview I've done in a long time. It may have been the bottle of wine I finished prior, or it may have been the band's own intake of whiskey and beer, but my hunch is it was Fruit Juice's fun-loving nature, open-mindedness and raw awesomeness that sealed the deal.

Jake McCaffray (guitar/vocals), Quillian Fennessy (keyboard/vocals), Travis Kirby (bass) and Jonathan Thompson (drums/vocals) make up the current foursome of Fruit Juice, a band that made its debut in January 2013. A first gig at Le Voyeur put them in a loop of continuously great shows, from house parties to the stage at 2013's OOPS! Festival.

"Fruit Juice makes it look easy," said John Manini, booker at Le Voyeur and organizer of OOPS!. "They have a well-tested - it's not a shtick 'cause they aren't disingenuous, and it's not a format cause they are not computers - but they are an upbeat, high-energy pop group with the breathy boy/girl harmonies that hit your face like a warm breeze. ... And the fact that they make it look easy speaks to their talent and dedication because pulling that shit off correctly is the opposite of easy."

>>> Fruit Juice / photo credit: Winter Teems

Agreed. A listen to their music brings to mind the harmonies and nuances of The Greenhornes, Holly Golightly and even a touch of John Lennon. Poppy and rhythmic with contagious energy, Fruit Juice embodies the idea of "let's make music because its fun and we're good at it."

Back at the interview, McCaffray is busy applying makeup for an upcoming photo shoot while the band chats about their love of house shows in Oly ("because they're thriving"), taking audio engineering classes at Evergreen, how they are pot-sober (lots of giggles here) and how being good friends makes the band really click.

"It feels really solid and awesome to be part of Fruit Juice," Fennessy said. "We have catchy songs that people seem to enjoy."

"We like having fun; we're not serious people," adds McCaffray.

And as if to prove it, Weekly Volcano photographer Winter Teems shows up, and the crew presents her with a bottle of gin for her birthday. It's all great ideas and brainstorming and jokes as Fruit Juice and Teems plan their photo shoot. When listening to the audio recording of our interview, it's hard to pull quotes because it just sounds like we're at a party - which we pretty much were.

One of the elements of understanding a band is seeing them perform live. Yes, I scoped video footage, and I'd gotten a sense of their talent and personalities, but it wasn't until Fruit Juice broke into an impromptu birthday song for Teems that I saw the dynamic of the foursome in action. All the silliness and random energy that filled the room before became focused, clear and beautiful.

And of course, fun.

Look for a cassette release in the next few months, as well as band merch and tour dates. Catch them live Tuesday, March 18 with Carsick Cars (Beijing), Flavor Crystals (Minneapolis) and White + (Beijing) at 8 p.m. in the Guest House, 1121 Fourth Ave., in Olympia.

LINK: Best of Olympia 2014

LINK: Best of Olympia 2013

LINK: Best of Olympia 2012

LINK: Best of Olympia 2011

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