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Interview: Tall Juan on new EP ‘Joya Nedo’

Photo by Audrey Del Piccolo. Interview by Julie-Anna George.

Tall Juan is a nice guy who plays rock and roll—that’s it. Like a greaser will always love his bike more than anything else, Tall Juan’s first love is his guitar. He’s a vagabond always on the road—from Buenos Aires to Far Rockaway—Tall Juan is a seemingly lonely boy, expect on stage.

He’s back in NYC and brought with him Joya Nedo, his new EP, a little bijou rockabilly, punk and sun. Listening to him, of course it’s impossible to not think about the Ramones, an unforgettable reference, Juan has the same freshness and a sort of almost naïveté but it’s all his own way of being punk.

On December 17th Tall Juan will play his EP release show at Brooklyn Bazaar. Ahead of the show I spoke to Tall Juan about the new music.

I heard that you’re not living in Rockway anymore, so where are you based now? Always on the road?

After a touring pretty much the whole year, I finally got back to Far Rockaway last month. I’m still there for now.

When you leave the city is there something you miss the most about it?

When I wasn’t here I was missing the diversity of cultures and food New York has, that’s what I love and missed the most.

Tell me about the creative process of the Joya Nevo EP? Are you still playing all the instruments?

Joya Nedo is a selection of songs I made out of this six other songs I had recorded for my first album Olden Goldies that just came out in May, and didn’t make it to the album. I just chose the four I liked the most and put them out just now.

The title is Spanish but the songs are in English—was there a conscious effort to relay something?

The title is just an inside joke I have with some friends and family in my hometown neighborhood in Buenos Aires. There’s no reason for it, it’s a non sense decision. The meaning of “Joya Nedo” would be something like “cool” in my neighborhood’s slang.

The promotion video for the EP is quite mysterious—what are you concealing with it?

I just like to do that, since I was a little boy I used to put makeup on while looking into the mirror and getting dressed up. And the phrases are just random ones. There’s not really a connection between them.

How have your influences and inspirations evolved as you’ve continued to create music? Was there anything new you found yourself drawn to while recording this?

The only thing I could say is that I’ve been listening to is a lot of South African music.

When it comes to classifying your music do you have a preferred association? A disdain for one? How do you feel about being qualified as punk or rockabilly?

I would rather not to label it or put it under a Genre. As for the punk or rockabilly thing, I would say that if you listen to songs like “Kaya,” “Take your time,” or “I don’t know what to do” and see if they belong to those music genres, which I don’t think so.

Keep up with Tall Juan on Facebook andInstagram. See him December 17th at Brooklyn Bazaar, details and tickets here.

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