Having grown up as a small town boy from Utah, USA, and moving to NZ at 16, Whangamata proved to be the perfect location for Jake Preston to cook up some surfy, psychedelic sounds. Known musically by the name JuiceRoof, the now 20-year-old Preston exudes an eclectic and calming personality as he introduces how he started recording his EP ‘Drink Me’ last year in the lower Coromandel beach township.
“That was my first experience. I guess I started recording little bits and pieces all throughout the summer, and eventually I would just record shit every day. Mostly a bunch of bullshit, but eventually I kind of started flushing things out, started making stuff that I thought was cool.
“I would just wake up in the morning and start playing guitar. I borrowed a synthesiser and a drumkit from a friend, and if I really liked a sound or a riff, everything would kind of fall in around that.”
With this serene image of a NZ summer spent on the beach experimenting with music, paired with the rawness of a still-foreign home, it’s little surprise Preston’s music fell nicely into a psych-beach-pop vibe.
“It just kind of comes out that way,” he smiles. “When I started writing music, I didn’t really have any idea at all what it was going to be like. But then eventually I was making music that sounded cool to me, music I wanted to hear.”
So JuiceRoof was born.
Now living in Auckland, Preston has undergone conversion of small town boy to city man, and new frontiers are definitely on the horizon.
“Coming to the city, and the crowd of people I’ve landed into, all their views have ended up totally changing my perception on music – and probably really shaped the direction I ended up going.
“If I hadn’t had come to Auckland and met the certain people I did who had the certain views and tastes in music, then my music would probably be very different. Auckland definitely shaped me a lot.”
Following the release of his debut EP in February Preston is now joined by bandmates Fraser Hunter on drums, Jess Fu on keys, Akim Waengler-Heinicke (Lapis) on bass. There are new works underway and they are keen to perform as much as possible.
“I’m trying to spend all my free time recording, it’s eventually going to culminate into something. I wanna get a full album together, but it’s a slow process at the moment.”
Although Juiceroof is not yet signed to any label, it is definitely something Preston looks toward in the future.
Photo: Robyn Jordaan