ABOVE: KEVIN JAMES NEAL (LEFT) AND SYDNEY MORRIS OF JUDE.
JUDE., a duo hailing from West Palm Beach, Florida and individually known as Kevin James Neal and Sydney Morris, have been making music together for the better part of eight months. Their debut release “Crystals” instantly garnered attention the world over, getting picked up by blogs and music aficionados on either side of the Atlantic. With swirling synths, ethereal vocals, and hauntingly beautiful lyrics, it’s easy to see why.
Here, the members of JUDE. premiere their debut music video for “Crystals” and discuss their entry into the industry, the power of the Internet, Yeezus, and more.
NAMES: Kevin James Neal and Sydney Morris
AGES: 18 and 17, respectively
HOMETOWN: West Palm Beach
BECOMING A SAINT (OR SOMETHING LIKE IT): Kevin James Neal: When coming up with ideas for band names, we were looking at patron saints, and Saint Jude is the patron saint of lost causes. There’s a song on the [forthcoming] EP called “Uncertainty,” and it’s really about a lost cause… we liked it and latched on to the idea.
EASE OF DELIVERY AND FORMING JUDE.: Sydney Morris: We met via a mutual friend, and then Kevin randomly messaged me on Twitter and asked if we wanted to make music together. The first day we hung out and we made “Crystals” in like 40 minutes; it was super relaxed… it just works when it comes to music.
Neal: Even writing our newer songs for the EP and for the future and whatnot, it’s a really easy process and it’s really fun.
ACCIDENTAL ATTENTION: Morris: We didn’t really expect too much; it was just for our friends and family to kind of show what we’ve been doing. We just kinda put it [“Crystals”] out there and a few blogs picked it up and from there it’s just been carrying its own weight.
THE AWESOME INTERNET: Morris: Essentially, the Internet has been our complete ascent. We’ve not even played any shows or anything as JUDE.. We literally just released it on SoundCloud.
Neal: Without the Internet, my mom would be the only one listening to it.
ON THE VISUALS TO “CRYSTALS”: Morris: It’s not necessarily a story line, it’s just kind of shooting different places where we’ve grown up. We thought it would be kind of cool to show a little more about us.
YEEZUS‘ INFLUENCE: Neal: As far as the music stuff goes, it’s insanely minimalistic but every song hits really hard and feels huge. As a producer that really inspired me with the minimal style music that we do. I think people are ready for it after the huge pop sound that’s been in for a long time.
LORDE, OUR SAVIOR: Morris: I think the sound is in right now, the super minimal Banks- or Lorde-like female vocalist with synths and stuff. I think it’s a really good time to do this kind of music.
Neal: I don’t really mind the comparison. I mean… she’s won a couple of Grammys and she’s incredibly successful, so I take it as a compliment.
JUDE.’S FORTHCOMING DEBUT EP IS SET TO BE RELEASED IN THE COMING MONTHS. FOR MORE ON THE BAND, VISIT ITS WEBSITE.