Julie Axis - vocals, flute (1998-)
Joe Axis - guitar, bass, keys, vocals, programming (1998-)
Robb Shakespeare - guitar, keys, programming (1998-)
Michael Dobkowski - bass (2002-)
Joe St. Charles - drums (2004-)
Dan Smith - drums (2002-2004)
Danielle Colbeck - additional vocals (2004)
Jute draws from a thousand different spectrums to combine a delicate beauty with an ever-present hope for artistic and social insurrection. This Chicago band has released a CD that bridges the gap between rock, electronic, and dj/dance without losing any of the charm of each genre.
Hypnotic beats, layers of textured guitars, rolling basslines, languid female vocals--the songs are lush soundscapes with dripping vocals. Intelligent music for the age of uncertainty.
Much of what drives Jute and their music stems from the diverse origins of its members. Vocalist Julie Axis is a soft-spoken siren from Florida, whose dreams of travel and discovery drove her to move to Chicago to pursue her singing career in the early 90's. Guitarist/vocalist Joe Axis, a native of the Chicago streets, began playing music at an early age to escape the hostile environment around him. In the summer of 1998 he met Julie and the two began to kick around ideas about music, and soon after, decided to form Jute. In the spring of 1999, at a My Scarlet Life show (Julie's previous band) in Iowa, Joe was introduced to guitarist Robb Shakespeare. The two had an instant bond and within a matter of months, Robb moved to Chicago and the three members began to write and conspire. Unable to find the same connection with other musicians, the three decided to write and record the entire album themselves. After completing the CD, Jute moved to the next phase, translating this music they'd created across to a live audience. In early 2002, just as the songs were finished being written, they met bassist Michael Dobkowski. Originally from Portland, Maine, and seeking a larger market for his band Aleutian, Mike migrated to Chicago in the late 90's. After Aleutian disbanded, Mike heard what Jute had been working on and immediately knew he wanted to be their bass player. With the addition of Dan Smith (Joe's long time friend and collaborator) of Salvo Beta on drums, the line-up was complete. Jute performed for a year and a half with this line-up. Dan Smith recently left the band and was replaced by Joe St. Charles of the Chicago band Typewriter.
Their debut CD, "a violent narcotic", was released in October 2002. It took over two years to record the CD and their efforts have earned some rave reviews. As James Van Osdol of 94.7 The Zone WZZN in Chicago put it: "If all independent music was this well-recorded and interesting, the major labels would have no choice but to fold." The CD is filled with a lush quality. Sexy, passionate, angelic vocal lines float atop and weave among the darker brooding male energy. They achieved their goal to bridge the gap between electronic/dj bands they loved, like Massive Attack and DJ Shadow, and rock bands they admired, including Jane's Addiction and Tool. With the vocal style of a Curve or Cocteau Twins type, the blend of sound is complete. One fan wrote: " I just got to hear it on [head]phones for the first time and my opinion of you creatively has increased about a million percent." It's escapism for the imaginative- invoking images of places that only exist in the mind. A soundtrack looking for a movie. As DJ KirK Knesset of WARC put it: "We'll be spinning this one right down to its nubbin!" The intensity that flows thoughout the songs on Jute's debut CD "a violent narcotic" is a direct result of the sort of dissatisfaction that surely acts as a catalyst for change. Jute draws from a thousand different spectrums to combine a delicate beauty with an ever-present hope for artistic and social insurrection. This Chicago band has released a CD that bridges the gap between rock, electronic, and dj/dance without losing any of the charm of each genre.