Joe Keery Is Ready to Leave ‘Stranger Things’ Behind

Joe Keery won’t stop talking about Stanley Tucci. We’re having coffee for 20 minutes on the Lower East Side, and because Tooch is one of my favorite chat topicsI have a hard time getting the conversation back on track.

Command. Let’s talk about the director. We’re talking about getting behind the camera when Keery starts to overwhelm Tucci, whose 1996 movie Important night Inspiring young people Strange things actors to pursue filmmaking. Then there’s Tucci’s new memoir, Tastea combination of recipes and autobiography, which led Keery to the idea of ​​concocting a cookbook – possibly someday, somehow, creating a project that combines His recipes and music.

“Well, not cookbooks,” Keery said. “How can you mix genres? What he does there, in a really cool way, is: How do you combine a cookbook and a story about your life? No one has done it the same way, not that I’ve read. ” (As a devoted rom-com lover, I told him to read Heartburn by Nora Ephron.)

Keery rummaged through a long list of movies he wanted to make one day. A touching family story like Important night. An original adventure movie. Or even a gripping horror movie like Nightcrawler. I told him to combine all three for something original — a mixed genre like Taste—And he seemed eager for the challenge.

Still, it’s all about as exciting as this, and just as I’ve exaggerated Keery’s passion for directing, we’re here to talk about his new album. DECISION-yes, famous actors also make music — and Strange things.

Even though he’s only 30, Keery can’t help but unleash his inner child when something thrills him, whirling through conversations with a bubbling energy and a carousel of topics to talk about. discussed enthusiastically. The actor is calm and soft spoken – except when he talks about his idol (Charli XCX and Stanley Tucci, of course) or reminiscing about his days as a college boy in Chicago.

He became famous in his twenties thanks to the fan’s grin, bouncy hair and lovely aura Strange thingsKeery has now adopted the stage name “Djo” (pronounced “Joe”, like Django Unchained) for his musical career.

“It’s a way to put music under my name without people knowing directly that it’s me. It was very confusing,” admitted Keery, siding with all of us who thought Djo might be a DJ named “O.”

So, is Djo different from Joe? The names sound the same. It’s actually a homonym. He told me that his most memorable role, Strange things‘charming teenager Steve Harrington, similar to his real personality, but Steve is not he. “It’s not hard to get into the character,” Keery said. “Because we spent so much time working on this show, it felt like a shade to me.”

Unlike his more notable on-screen roles, like Steve, Kurt in the thriller about the speed road. Spreeor “dirty strip police” in Free boy, Keery’s musical personality is not actually a personality of its own. It was just a name he gave Spotify to ensure that listeners wouldn’t think about Steve fighting Demogorgon every time they heard him sing his youth carols.

“It’s not like I’m singing all this music from the point of view of one character. It’s all on me,” Keery said. “It was just a way to separate from myself. I feel like, with the show, I’m a character, because of the internet. I didn’t want that character to affect people when they were listening to the music — so releasing it with its own personality was a way to give it its own space.”

But if Djo is his musical character, and Steve/Kurt/Stripper Cop is the screen version of the star, who is it? Joe Keery?

Joe Keery aka DJO performs at Grant Park on July 31, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois.

Scott Legato / Getty

He’s definitely more than just our online boyfriend. In fact, Keery feels a little tired of being swirled about in some aspect of his life. Yes, it’s his hair. No, he doesn’t want to talk about it anymore.

“It really makes no sense. It’s not something I have control over,” he said and shouted Strange things designer. “It was just internet fodder that went viral and is now tied to me. I really can’t type it. I have a career, so I have to say, “Who cares? I’ll take it.” But it’s also not something I care at all. However, people seem to really care about it and fix it, for whatever reason. Honestly, it’s true. is stupid”.

Nearly every interview Keery has done – including this one – has a few paragraphs dedicated to his hair. Normally, hair take the entire first paragraph. He has done title when he admits he doesn’t wash his hair. Keery has repeated interviews and articles about this trend, but apparently, he is fed up with being prioritized in his performances and music.

During the first part of our interview, he took off his hat. Only after we were done with this mess did he take it off to let his poodles breathe. He wore a hat around Manhattan to shield his identity.

In his upcoming album DECISION, Keery actually talked about this hair disappointment in a song. His new single “Gloom”, a fast and furious song in which Keery shares his frustrations about bad friends, he references the speech: “Your insults have no effect. come to me with my favorite coat / I know my hair looks good in the shower at the bar,” he sings.

“It was just like a cheeky wink at the camera. People ask me about it. It was like a— ”he flipped the back of his hand under his chin,” a moment. That song is like a song about stress. “

Still, Keery continues to talk about those buns, because he knows that’s what people want to hear. He also knows his self-worth is more than just his hair. In the final line of the upcoming album, Keery sings about wanting to be “someone,” but he says he only finds notoriety when he searches for inner peace.

“Really that’s about everyone wanting to be respected, you know what I mean?” he explained. “But it’s a never-ending journey, if you’re trying to get other people’s approval. Because of that vague approval? You will never reach it, even if you reach the top. It has to come from somewhere inside. “

The album comes out September 16 and is a collection of upbeat tunes perfect to listen to during fall outings. It doesn’t explode with anger, but a lot of the lyrics struggle with the tedious task of growing old. Keery spent the last few months of his twenties developing the album, a tribute to his more playful younger years.

“You think about your life in different eras, I guess. For me, it’s easy to identify them by location. I think about my time in Boston as a kid. I think about my time in Chicago when I was young. And then I think about my time in Atlanta, starting my professional life,” he said. “I feel like what took me a long time to realize is that it’s not like you were a kid and you grew up. You are always growing up. You are always changing. “

He’s currently Internet’s boyfriend, but after his new role in Fargo, he’ll probably become Internet’s husband.

Keery sees aging as progressive, and that’s what the album is about. Example: He is currently Internet’s boyfriend, but after his new role in Fargomaybe he will become the internet husband. On the first song on his new album, “Runner,” Keery sings, “People never change / But I have to try,” a goodbye to his younger days, but is a celebration of his personal growth.

Keery remembers his days in Chicago, where he got into music with his band Post Animals, along with alt groups like Twin Peaks and Whitney. He wouldn’t be the performer, musician, or person he is today if he hadn’t spent some of the most important years of his life in the city. But now, when he returns to visit, just as he has grown and changed, so has the city.

“It teaches you to appreciate that time in your life,” says Keery. “It’s like: Wake up in your everyday life and appreciate what you’re going through right now. That could end at any time. But easier said than done! It is a fulfilling life that you will have to strive for. “

The actor had to venture to Los Angeles, the most recent “era” of his life, to record this album. He can’t wait for fans to (hopefully) listen to it over and over again to find new sounds hidden in the nooks and crannies of his psychedelic beats; I definitely went back and listened to his Tame Impala-esque tracks after our interview. Listen closely to the last song on the album, “Slither,” and you’ll hear the clink of glasses. That’s the sound as it knocks on the famous Marvin Gaye urinal in LA’s Floored Sound Factory.

“There are some funny sounds here,” Keery said simply, chuckling. Once again, that inner child is appearing.

There are several pop culture influences on the album: the humor of Tim and Ericas Nathan Fielder; Jacob Emrani’s ubiquitous LA billboards; and Quit for its creepy, pale/neon office. ButStrange things not one of them. Keery is surrounded by a number of young musicians on set (Maya Hawke and Finn Wolfhard… even Gaten Matarazzo and Sadie Sink have made their strides on Broadway), but they rarely collaborate. Instead, Keery watches his days in action Strange things like an energy drink for his brain.

“You do the acting and you are a small piece of a big puzzle. You can release some control,” he said. “While that bar is being exhausted, the vocal is filling up on the other side. It’s like, ‘Okay, I want to do this now, have full control and take this in my own hands and watch it all the way and figure it out.’ So they cannibalize each other. “

Keery is much older than his character Steve, especially since Strange things There was a long hiatus between seasons. It’s hard for him to act in reverse. “I felt disconnected for that age, because I was 10 years older,” he confessed. “So that’s a bit weird.”

The actor had to go through many periods in his life, all the way back to Chicago, to get the mindset of a recent high school graduate. It’s not easy. Pretending to be a young person when you miss your college days is a tax-worthy thing. Keery’s new album is all about that – mourning your younger days, but finding a way to deal with the growing up process.

He said: “I am sad in many ways, when I look back on the past and realize that they will never come back. “It took me a long time, especially when I think about Chicago, to say, ‘Man, it’s great to be a part of that crew and community. It won’t be the same. ‘ It was a sad realization. But that’s also how life works, and that’s also a beautiful thing. “

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