A Conversation With Judcody Limon
Photo Credit: Nick Jolola
Judcody Limon is currently working hard to finish his new EP, Loose Ends. The EP will be out July 15 through Wreck-It Records and currently available for preorder via Bandcamp. To coincide with the release of the first single, “Colorado”, he took the time to discuss the peaks and valleys of working on a solo project, all the work that has gone into this release, and much more.
The first time I listened to Judcody Limon I thought to myself “This is the only band that I feel people would describe as sounding like Brand New that actually sounds like Brand New.” When I tell him that he responds with a laugh and says, “That is a huge compliment. But it’s funny you say that because I know exactly what you mean.” Going solo, one of the major goals was to finally get comparisons to bands that have truly influenced him rather than promoting himself as similar to bands that he doesn’t really even like – something that bothered him with his previous band The Motel Life. “It’s not that I hold myself on that same pedestal,” he says, and he is not aiming to be Brand New, but the comparison stands nonetheless.
Judcody Limon is a powerhouse creative. At one point he was in six bands at the same time. “I realized really fast that that wasn’t going to work because I was only really having time to practice and not do anything else with any of the bands.” While still going strong, “I have my three set bands now and I’m happy with that.” Those three boil down to one band and two separate solo projects: New Manners (with another former member of The Motel Life), The Creepy Eepys (a solo project that started as a joke, but has become a real band), and the eponymous project known simply as Judcody Limon.
“I wish it wasn’t under my name. I wish I had a band name, but I couldn’t think of anything cool,” he says. Waiting to find the perfect name to release material as was hardly an option since he has already been working on it for so long. Still, “I do have a big self-esteem issue with it. It doesn’t feel comfortable, especially now that I have a live band and I play shows.” To resolve these fears, Judcody has gotten into the habit of adding a disclaimer before he and his band play that the name comes from how it started and how it’s written. He doesn’t want to take all the credit for what is going on at the concert so “I have to really make sure I feel comfortable about it before I continue doing the show.”
This project was born after leaving The Motel Life, which was the first band Judcody was part of to see some amount of success. About that experience he says, “being in a band is definitely a marriage. It’s a lot of compromise, a lot of getting along with everybody, and, you know, doing the best you can to get along with everybody… [It was hard] being in that band, having full ideas, and then having everyone pick apart your ideas and having to be okay with it. There’s definitely good things about that because you don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot by thinking you’re always right – and nobody really likes that person anyway – but it’s also really frustrating when you have an entire vision for something that you were going for. It becomes immediately discouraging when it turns into something else that you did not picture it being or like you had no idea it was going to end up like this… When you had an initial way you wanted to do things and it doesn’t turn out that way, you’re no longer happy with it.”
Now, he doesn’t want to deal with compromises: if he needs help, he’ll ask for it. “I’m not afraid to admit that someone else has a better idea than me… [But] there are very few people that I trust writing with.” Finding something you like on your own can be a much faster process than working with someone whose tastes are too far removed from your own, so when Judcody goes to someone he wants to know it’s the proper fit.
Getting an actual band together for this solo project has been a relatively natural process, but even having that band is still a strange feeling sometimes. Without pay or the band really making any money the other members’ “priorities sort of go above mine.” Before anyone joins up Judcody again feels the need to give a disclaimer. He tells them “This isn’t going to be like you join the band, we all jam out, we work on writing songs. This isn’t like that at all. I already have everything written out so if you don’t feel comfortable having someone tell you what to do or how to play your parts, then this probably isn’t for you.” This is usually for the better though because Judcody ends up with people who believe in what he is doing enough to be a part of it. While Judcody performed everything on the previous EP, All Of The People We Have Yet To Be, apart from three tracks’ worth of drumming, this new one features an outside drummer on all of the songs, along with backing female vocals to add a little something extra. “Depending on how the rest of the songs go and how much frustration it causes me, I might ask for more help from other people, but probably not because it’s just so stressful.”
Sonically, these songs fall in a similar vein as those that have already been release. These are “stragglers” from the first EP originally intended to bridge the gap between that release and a full-length record. However, “the more I worked on this EP the more it became an actual thing, not just a bunch of demos that didn’t get finished… Some of [these songs] are like three years old, but they’ve gone through so many changes from when I first started with them that they do seem like new songs, to me at least. But they are still very much old songs to me.”
The original version of first single, “Colorado”, was one long verse. Over time it has been expanded and fleshed out to the point where Judcody is much happier with the final product than he would have been with a more rushed rollout. “I hate[d] myself throughout the whole process, but by the time it’s done I’m happy that I waited as long as I did. [I’m happy] I didn’t release it earlier because it would have been way shittier than it is now.” In an even more dramatic fashion, the song “Fuck Around” has been completely reworked from head to toe. This song was written when Judcody first began playing shows as a way to ensure he wouldn’t completely bring the mood down when preforming at backyard parties alongside energetic DIY bands. It was a more upbeat, straightforward rock song, but ultimately led to personal disappointment. “To me it’s too easy to do, it’s such an easy way out because I know how to kind of write that song and it wasn’t really hard for me to do. It was even more painful when that was the song that people were mentioning after the show like ‘Oh I love that song, that song was awesome!’ It’s just nothing like what I actually like to write.” Because of the love shown by audiences and friends there was a lot of pressure to simply release in its original form. In the end, Judcody decided he did indeed like the song, just not the way it was. Taking the extra time with it and allowing his true colors to show through was the way to go; now even the people who liked the original agree that though the final version is completely different it is a much better song than it was.
As much as Judcody is still trying to find “his sound” and this new material is or is not a departure from the last EP, “the most I can say is consistent in my sound is the amount of reverb and sadness.” And there is much more to look forward to than this upcoming release. Judcody plans to ease the tension of staying relevant and in people’s minds between releases by using SoundClould more frequently. Not only will this be used to give a deeper look into the history of these songs and how much they’ve changed through various stages of demoing, but it will also serve to showcase little ideas he has here and there as well as things he is currently working on, giving fans and inside look at a true artist at work.
Preorder Loose Ends via Wreck It Records