Cher Dunn Interviewed Jude Shuma About His ‘Subterranean Feelings’
Written by Cher Dunn, Cher Dunn is a music blogger extraordinaire from Philadelphia. Check out her interview with Jude Shuma below and follow her blog, My Life In Sound.
Jude Shuma is just as electric and mesmerizing as his music. In Chicago, we caught up about his humble beginnings in a 180 square foot studio (Also the The Smashing Pumpkins former recording space), having his song featured on Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s new HBO show Ballers, and how to bribe your parents for your first guitar.
“I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. My parents got me this cheap, little plastic guitar when I was a little kid and that kind of sparked this idea that I could just do whatever I wanted to [and I] just started to play. I begged my parents for a guitar and they would not give me one because they didn’t want the noise and so I found my grandma’s 1968 Gibson acoustic under my mom’s bed, told her she was being a hypocrite and just started to teach myself. [I] eventually took lessons and then got enough from the lessons where I could take that knowledge and start to let it bloom on it’s own,” he explained.
Once he had the guitar, the writing began. “They were pretty bad,” he laughed, then continued, “But it wasn’t until 5 or 6 years ago that I started trying to record in studios. I’d spend $2,000 or $3,000 on trying to record four songs—it’s not cheap. So I just decided I was going to take all my money and start building my own studio. [I] started buying up all this gear, piece by piece. Gear acquisition syndrome is a real thing—look it up! It’s terrible. It’s so terrible,” he said, laughing. “So I built this studio and then I’d stay up until 5 in the morning reading articles on sound engineering, what frequencies to cut out of the bass to make the sound more clear, how to record drums—then I just started recording this album.”
Jude‘s start wasn’t glamorous. He explained, “I had an apartment above this old bar that was going under and so they allowed us to just make all the noise we wanted to. So I set the studio up inside and started writing these songs, just not really thinking anything of it. I was just trying to figure it all out as I went along, making friends who were engineers and trying to figure out how to make it sound exactly how it was in my head. That’s where “Wandering”, the first song I released, came from. Then I had to move my studio to the West Loop in this old decrepit building. It was terrible. It was just a shithole. I’d stay there and work all day. Then I would [go] home, take a half an hour nap, go to the studio, get a cup of coffee on the way and then stay there until 5 in the morning. I remember it was like 4 in the morning and I was piecing it together thinking ‘What am I doing?’ Everybody preaches to you, ‘You should get a real job’ or ‘You don’t know what you’re doing.’ It’s hard to keep believing in all this with the society we live in and the constraints it puts on you. It sucks.”
But then people find your music and it makes it all worthwhile. Jude Shuma‘s single “Subterranean Feelings” is going to be featured on HBO’s new show Ballers. He’s upgraded from the 180 square foot room. You could feel his excitement as he told us about the new space. He says, “[The new space is] the house The Smashing Pumpkins used to live in and they converted the garage into a soundproof space. It’s nice to have a space to go to at any waking hour of the day to write and record. You need that as [an artist]. You can’t have restraints. When I initially got that freedom, all these songs started pouring out. I felt like I was freed up for the first time in my life and I could just create. I’ll record drums, then go back and record bass, go back and record keys, and then go back and spend twenty hours on the guitar tone…it’s having that though. It’s a garage. I think for the next album I want to make the cover of it [a picture] from the outside.”
Besides “Subterranean Feelings” making it’s television debut, we can look forward to hearing new music from Jude. He plans to release an EP by the end of the summer, saying of his inspirations: “It’s weird. It happens in waves, so there will be months when I won’t be able to write anything and then all at once it’s just pours out of me” He smiled. “A lot of the times when I’m walking or I’m riding my bike I come up with melodies. Then I’ll build the songs on top of that.”