MUSIC FEATURE: Five Minutes With…Just Friends
Photo Credit: Cody Furin
Just Friends are a funk-rock collective with community at their core, formed through friendships in high school and the suburbs of Bay Area, California. We caught up with vocalist Sam Kless following the release of the JF Crew Vol 1 EP, to discuss their formation, influences and what’s next for Just Friends.
Firstly, tell us a bit about yourself and your band.
My name is Sammy, I’m 27 and I’m the co front person for sometimes seven, sometimes ten-piece funk-rock band Just Friends!
How did the band form and how long have you been together?
We grew up together in the suburbs of the Bay Area, California and have officially been a band since February 2013! A lot of us met in the musical education departments of our high school.
Can you remember the first time you realised you wanted to make music?
I was like 10 or 11 and my parents had the Weezer DVD Video Capture Device and on there was a performance of Say It Ain’t So in 1995 on Lettermen – watching Matt Sharp play bass changed my life! That’s when I realised what I wanted to do with my life. I was always a weird kid who got picked on a lot and seeing someone who looked like me being themselves was an incredible thing to witness
Who and what are the band’s main influences?
Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beastie Boys, Outkast, Brockhampton, the Bay Area, our friends and our family!
Growing up, there was always music playing in my house. My parents had their stereo in the family room and the moment we would wake up until we went to bed we would take turns putting on CDs and records. That when I fell in love with music. My parents really shaped my taste, they would always play Red Hot Chili Peppers, James Brown, Outkast, Beastie Boys and just great artists! I remember crying whenever we would wear out a CD and it wouldn’t play anymore. We had to fill out info sheets in the seconnd grade and I got in a little trouble for putting Californication as my favourite song.
What do you aim to achieve as a band?
To create art, have, travel the world and help people!
For those who are yet to see you live, what can they expect from a Just Friends show?
It’s an absolute circus, it’s a bunch of best friends acting a total fool having the most fun of our lives. Sometimes Kevin will do a kickflip while playing bass, I will cartwheel, Avi lifts weights, and Brianda is a true superstar! You are truly watching people being 100% themselves and it is a beautiful thing to be a part of.
What’s next for Just Friends?
We are writing new music! We have a bunch of new stuff to share with everyone, and we have been trying to figure out the best way to release music during this difficult time. It’s been a learning curve a little bit due to all of us quarantining separately, and we are relying heavily on voice memos and group chats, but some very special songs have already come out of this new circumstances. We are also working on our setlist for Super Bowl 2023.
Just Friends‘ new EP JF Crew Vol 1 is out now via Pure Noise Records, available to stream HERE.