Ukes D'Jour: Playing it hard, Playing it Rock and Roll

The cool street-slamming style of Ukes D’Jour will be hitting Geelong After Dark this May, showering our ears with their “bouncy old time swing...” .

The Uke legends, Ukes D'Jour kicking it at Geelong After Dark 2015

The Geelong local Bluegrass/Jug/Jazz street band joined us before their return to Geelong After Dark for a good ol’ fashioned lightning round of Q&A.

You are named after it, some of you play it, but why the love for the Ukulele?

We love the accessibility of the ukulele. Within minutes a new player can grasp the basics and be able to join in. For people who have never mastered an instrument before - this is an absolute joy. The ukulele bug can strike the heart of even more experienced musos because of its potential for beautiful and diverse sounds. It's a social instrument that brings all levels of musicianship together.

We all still play and love our ukes but we now mix it up with other instruments that take our fancy...double bass, guitar, banjo, mandolin, and saxophone.

Tell us about the birth of Ukes D’Jour and your fondness for ‘Jug’ and ‘Old Time Swing’.

The name Ukes D'Jour is a play on the idea of 'Soup D'Jour' (soup of the day) because whoever turned up on a particular day was a part of the band. Mike and Herc (band members) set us on the path towards old time jug and swing music from the 20's and 30's and from there we all grew to love the bouncy rhythms and crazy lyrics about gamblers and tarts of old.

What’s the best part of playing with a fun mix of young and not as-young bluegrass lovers?

Its so cool that our 'young'ns' want to hang out with the grey heads - they are now seriously starting to show us up! Hayden (band member) is a rock with the chunky beat on his banjo uke, Elliot (another band member) has the stance and style of a blues harp maestro; and Tom (another band member) knocks us out with his mandolin and guitar breaks. We're fostering the next wave. A mix of young and old allows us to be unique.

You're back again for Geelong After Dark, what was the best thing about playing in the streets last time around?

We loved Geelong After Dark in 2015, there was so much happening. We all enjoyed the fantastic vibe and the family friendly environment. Last year we had a 'join the band' theme and we got around 50 people playing along with us. Geelong After Dark is great for bringing everyone into the streets. With so many interesting pop up performances - people just love it!

Tell us about the show you have in store for Geelong After Dark 2016?

Well, as you know this year's theme is 'Air' - so we plan to blow up a bit of a storm for people who come and see us perform. We will bring out your inner muso and help you find your finger plucking forte. We'll be playing it hard and playing it rock and roll. 

But that's all I can tell you.... You'll just have to be there!

What do you love most about being musicians in and around Geelong?

We play at so many great festivals, and love getting out there on the streets or on stage. We love seeing people smiling and tapping their toes as they walk towards us. To be 'scientifically specific' playing music is all about 'endorphins, serotonin and good vibes - what's not to love?

Catch Ukes D'jour at Geelong After Dark 2016, for a dose of their infectious energy. Follow them on Facebook.