Interview with SOU Alumni Josh Stirm of The Juniper Berries

SOU has many alums who have gone on to do great things during their time at school and after graduation. One student Josh Stirm and his band, The Juniper Berries, are a fantastic example. A local band that has slowly made a name for itself within the community. We sat down with Josh Stirm for an interview to tell us about his band, The Juniper Berries.

Josh grew up in Rogue River and would ultimately attend Southern Oregon University. There during his time at SOU would form the band The Juniper Berries. Originally this was supposed to be a solo pet project of Josh. However, the band members found each other during a songwriter challenge hosted by Josh’s friend David Adams. The songwriter’s challenge was creating one song a day for 30 days in a row. Josh, though, would only make it to day five with only five songs written and lose the challenge reasonably early on. Though losing the challenge did not deter Josh, if anything, this whole thing caused him to form The Juniper Berries, as those five songs became the initial five songs for the band.

Josh started playing in shows and continuing to write songs. Eventually, he built enough pieces to form an album as a solo act. This first album, Baby Face EP, was released in 2015. Josh then decided to bring on other members to form this band officially. The initial members were all his friends, and they began to create music with some borrowed equipment.  

During Josh’s time as an SOU student, he worked as a production assistant at the Digital Media Center. They took this opportunity to use the digital media center equipment to record their second album. Don’t Breathe In Through Your Mouth, released in 2017, contains almost double the number of tracks as the first album. Josh would eventually graduate from SOU, some musicians would leave the band, and new ones would join. However, they are still going strong to this day.

The current lineup for The Juniper Berries includes not only Josh Stirm as the songwriter and vox and guitarist but also Myles Simpson on bass, John Kealiinohomoku on drums, Dave Hanson on vox, and guitar alongside Josh on those instruments. Josh described the band when we asked what genre they fit in “Guitars twinkling with keyboards and drums and bass, too.”

While listening to their music, there is a lovely calm and almost peaceful melody. The vocals are very calm and relaxing, and the instrumental work and sound mixing are fantastic. The lyrics themselves are also a massive highlight of their work, showing that Josh is a talented songwriter with a bright future ahead of him.

In May 2020, we interviewed them and mentioned how they had to cancel a tour due to covid. But now, The Juniper Berries are about to begin a tour across Oregon and California that will last throughout the early parts of December. Their upcoming shows are at the following locations. 

12/3 Portland, OR at The Six

12/4 Olympia, WA at Cryptograph

12/6 Eugene, OR at John Henry’s

12/7 Rogue River, OR at Live Oak Grange

12/8 Redding, CA, at The Dip

12/9 San Francisco, CA at Milk Bar

12/10 Ashland, OR at The Black Sheep

Come by The Black Sheep on the 10th to listen to them. If you cannot, check out their music on SpotifyBandcamp, and Earthly libraries. Their music is quite good and is worth listening to, at least. 

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