Week in Pop: Choir Boy, Friend Roulette, JJ MAZZ

Sjimon Gompers

The timeless devotion & unstoppable drive of Friend Roulette; press photo courtesy of the band.

Friend Roulette

The creative powerhouse that is Friend Roulette; press photo courtesy of the band.

The creative powerhouse that is Friend Roulette; press photo courtesy of the band.

There are some exciting things happening right now in the Friend Roulette camp. But before we bring you word of new material from Brooklyn’s visionary crew of Julia Tepper, Matthew Meade, John Stanesco, Tlacael Esparza, Kyle Olson & Nate Allen; it is our honor & privilege to present the wild Josh Jones directed short film/music video for Friend Roulette’s “Dutch Master”, found off their lauded Goodnight Records album I See You. Your Eyes Are Red. Like the grandiose & imaginative approach that Friend Roulette employs on this wondrous composition, Jones’ video interpretation transforms the audio work into a surrealist horror-suspense slice of cinema that Josh described to us with the following introductory foreword:

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The video is entirely inspired by the music. I just listened to the song a few times, wrote down these dream-like acts and then started producing. I did all of the photography, lighting, editing and not-so-special effects myself. No crew, just one big beast man running around and tricking people into acting.

The four actors who play the yuppy party people are local comedy actors and senior members in PHIT (Philly Improv Theater). Goldy, the blonde, is also a killer Philly Roller Girl.

Kent Boersma, who plays the ax-wielding protagonist, is an award winning scare-actor at Philadelphia’s famous annual Eastern State Penitentiary haunted house, Terror Behind the Walls.

Ayinde Purnell (the guy with the moon in his face) is a touring experimental musician and local music teacher.


Kent Boersma as the Ax-man
Ayinde Purnell as the Moon-man
Jacquie Baker as Happy-girl
Matt Schmid as Happy-boy
Goldy as Glasses
Zachary Uzupis as Shorts

The Josh Jones video for Friend Roulette’s “Dutch Master” revolves around a tortured maniacal ax-man played by Kent Boersma who is haunted by the disembodied heads of his decapitated victims. Boersma’s fright brought about by the ghastly emergence of the floating heads sends him out on a cosmic journey where he encounters the mystic Moon-man, Ayinde Purnell. It is after this chance encounter with Purnell & his lunar visage where we are then brought to the origins of the crime. We watch Jacquie Baker & Matt Schmid as the happy girl & boy are followed home by the axe wielding weirdo where Glasses & Shorts meet up, enjoy drinks, & cult film mayhem. As Kent causes absolute bedlam, the Moon-man connection returns as the finale of the video finds the Friend Roulette sound being catapulted deep into the furthest reaches of the cosmos.

The video also comes on the heels of news that Friend Roulette has an upcoming three song EP in the pipeline, to be followed by a five song album that features songs composed by the group’s dear friend Matt Sheffer. Having been of the few to hear these songs in their demo form, Friend Roulette continue to move in wildly elaborate directions where they remain truly one of the most original acts in NYC that chooses time & time again to create arrangements & collections of sounds that are unlike what anyone else in the world is doing. We talked about this further with Friend Roulette’s Matthew Meade in the following interview session:

First, what was your knee-jerk reaction to the suspenseful Josh Jones video interpretation for “Dutch Master”.

Josh Jones taps into a collective fear shared by all of us of a certain means: that all of the fun we have, the upscale groceries, the adult-contemporary dinner parties, could in an instant be destroyed by a white man who is obviously mentally ill. He doesn’t necessarily need to be white, but in this case he certainly is. I don’t see the problem with that, we’re just stating the facts.

Friend Roulette’s music has a natural cinematic quality to it where it feels like each song is deserved of it’s own film short/music video. Why do you feel this is?

What can I say, we like movies—our bassist Nate has seen over 200 movies! We’ve been lucky enough to get some sweet videos made by our cool friends, but ultimately we would like to do an album where each song is accompanied by a feature length Christopher Nolan film. We’ve emailed Chris about the concept, but he’s a pretty busy guy.

Catching up with Friend Roulette's Matthew Meade; press photo courtesy of the band.

Catching up with Friend Roulette’s Matthew Meade; press photo courtesy of the band.

So tell us about what’s going on with the new beautiful Friend Roulette songs and what upcoming releases are possibly in the works.

We have too much on the way: a potential EP consisting of three ultimate-style bangers, and another five-song album of songs entirely composed by our old reclusive friend Matt Sheffer. Both recordings are awesome and reek of profitability for any of you A&R execs reading.

What else can you share about these recent sessions have been like?

The sessions were the easy part. They were all done years ago in various studios. The challenges have lied in the overdubs, the mixing, the editing, the mastering. And now all we’re left with is the musical equivalent of Rachel Leigh Cook fRom “She’s All That” with her glasses still on- We’re still waiting on our Freddie Prinze JR, he of the multiple scholarship offers and immense parental pressure, to see how hot we truly are and lock us down, make us his girlfriend/the prom queen.

Friend Roulette & their strings; press photo courtesy of the band.

Friend Roulette & their strings; press photo courtesy of the band.

What lately has been speaking to you all creatively in terms of environmental, local influences, local art & artists, etc?

I don’t know we’re not very artistic. We watch the same dumb stuff on YouTube as all of you. We are just pretty cool and we’re good at our instruments, which helps.

Friend Roulette’s 2017 game plan?

Stay together.

Parting words of wisdom/advise?

“Be you’re own Valentine.”
– Dove chocolate wrapper

Friend Roulette’s album I See You. Your Eyes Are Red is available from Goodnight Records.

More info on the new Friend Roulette EP & LP TBD.

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