Imagine having multiple spinal surgeries and one of them results in losing sensations from both of your legs once the anesthesia wore off. You went back once more to correct the issue and are then sent to extensive physical therapy to revert the mistake. Through the thick of it, you still continued to work on your passion, music. You worked hard, writing songs about love, songs about your life, finding the right tune, looking for gigs to play. Nothing was able to stop you from pursing your dreams, even if you couldn’t stand on your two feet. While you were working, some of it started to pay off. One of your songs were featured in the 2018 Sacramento Film and Music Festival. People gravitated toward you and the art you produced online. You were shared on YouTube, comments from all over the world letting you know that they enjoyed what you did. You were healing, all the while playing live shows and playing in a band. A diligent indie artist, here regardless if it rains or shines, with his guitar or drums. The Dweebpop King.
JMMC! What an absolute pleasure in speaking to you! I’ve got to ask firstly, what is a Dweebpop?
Oh Goodness. Unfortunately, there really isn’t a super profound origin story behind it. I came up with the tag during a Skype call with a few friends. I was just messing around with different genre names I could use for my music, cause I didn’t feel like any existing genre or tag could accurately describe my sound. With how scattered my influences are, it almost felt easier to make something up than to go with something that’s already established. Hence, Dweebpop was born.
If you could kindly share with TREMG readers the origin of JustMakeMeCry?
Before JMMC, I was using my real name as my artist name, but I didn’t feel like it fit what I was trying to do as an artist. Plus I didn’t really want the music to be tied directly to me as a person, if that makes any sense. I started using “FailureToFlyWithTheOthers” as an artist name for a while, but it was so long that most people would forget it or misspell it. It wasn’t until I saw a post on Tumblr in 2017 that I finally got the name I use now. It said something along the lines of “dogs just make me cry” or something to that effect. It’s so silly how a thing that small could inspire a whole musical identity.
How long have you been a musician? Do you play any other instruments?
I’ve been playing music for a little over a decade. I started playing guitar in my early teens, then progressed over to bass in my late teens. I’d like to give a shout out to the wonderful Pastor Taz for showing me all the ins and outs of playing bass. Being in a church worship band really had it’s advantages. Haha.
A little later down the line, I started dabbling in drums. In my earlier recordings, you can hear me doing my best impression of a drummer. Being able to mess around with all three instruments really helped me hone my sound as a songwriter.
You’ve released one to a few albums every year! That is impressive, what is your creative inspiration?
Thank you so much! I’m glad you think so. I honestly couldn’t even give you a straight answer. The process has changed so much over the years, and it continues to change and grow with every project I work on. At first, I used music as an audio diary to log all of my thoughts and feelings. So writing and recording became more of a therapy for me than anything else. Now it’s kind of changed a little bit. I still use it as a way to work through things in my life that are troubling me, but I feel I put more emphasis on creating something that excites me as a musician and songwriter. It takes me longer to put songs together than it did a few years ago, but I’m enjoying the journey more and more with every new song.
Would you like to share with TREMG about your dreary spinal surgery?
Back in Nov. of 2016, I went under the knife for a revision to a spinal correction surgery I had when I was 13. This being my 6th operation, I wasn’t very nervous going into it. I trusted that the surgeon knew what he was doing, and that he was just going to replace the hardware like he said he was going to do. Unfortunately for me, it didn’t necessarily play out that way. As soon as I woke up from surgery, I knew something was wrong. My legs felt much heavier than they were before, and I could barely move them. I initially chalked it up to the anesthesia, but I started to panic that something was wrong. Turns out, the panic was justified, as I had developed a pretty severe case of spinal stenosis during the surgery. It took the docs a bit to figure out what was going on, and after a post-op MRI, the surgeon realized he made a pretty fatal error by straightening out the lower portion of my spine during the surgery. About three days passed, and they got me back into the OR to fix what they had done to my poor spine. Then after a short respite, I was pushed straight into physical therapy almost immediately afterward, and then the real work began. I spent hours and hours in physical therapy doing leg strengthening exercises, just to get myself back to where I was before the surgery even happened. There were nights where I was awake for hours, thinking about where my life was going to be after I was done with my hospital stay. I honestly had no idea if I would ever make a full recovery.
Fast forward 6 years, and 3 prescriptions later, I’m here standing on my own two feet and performing wherever I can. Due to the trauma my body was put through during the surgery, I developed some pretty gnarly neurological disorders. It’s been an uphill battle to get treatment for the various health problems I’ve been facing since the surgery, but I can safely say I haven’t let it stop me from living my life to its fullest.
If you had to pick, which album was the most fun to produce? From Dweebpop to This Past Year Sucked, but I Have a Feeling That the New Year Will Be Alright?
Honestly, that’s a super tough question to answer. All of my projects have a special place in my heart for one reason or another. This Past Year Sucked was a super emotionally heavy one, cause I had written that a month after I recovered from a botched spinal fusion surgery. I lost the use of my legs for about two months, and I didn’t think I’d ever be able to walk again. Thankfully, I made a near full recovery, and I spent a lot of time after that ordeal just writing and playing guitar. TPYS is definitely in my Top 10. However, I think two are tied for my all time favorites: Dad of the Year and Save Yourself. They’re two complete polar opposites in terms of mood and atmosphere, but they both convey the messages I wanted them to.
Dad of the Year was my way of confessing my feelings to my fiancée. We started off long distance, and I didn’t really know how to even express how I felt in any normal way, so I decided to write about how much I loved her and how I was worried that I might not be the best boyfriend/husband. Lucky for me, we’re going on 5 years of being together, with no signs of stopping.
Save Yourself is a completely different story entirely. I was in a very very dark place in my life, and my health was at a very steep decline. That time in my life is a haze to me now, and it scares me to think of how disconnected I was from reality. I feel that it really comes through in the songwriting, and the overall feeling of the album. The one positive thing that came from that Era was the inclusion of my close friends in the writing process. I’d send tracks back and forth between my close friends, and they’d record stuff for me to add to the songs. It really helped make the album become what it is today. It makes me tear up a little thinking about it.
Your most played single, Loverboy, continues to be a fan favorite and has even been featured in several popular YouTube music channels. Are you relieved or over it?
Seeing Loverboy get so much love over the years has really warmed my heart. I wrote that song right after I confessed my feelings to my fiancée. At that point, we were long distance, and I really wanted to do something special for her. So writing a song for her seemed like a no brainer. I did not expect it to be one of my most popular songs though. I did it as a gesture of love to someone I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, and it took on a life of it’s own once I released it into the world. Can’t say that I’m mad about that. Haha.
If you had the opportunity, who would you want to collaborate with?
That’s another super tough question to answer. I almost have a top 10 of artists I’d love to collaborate with, but I’ll keep it short for convenience sake. My dream is to one day work with Mitski, Bjork, or Wu Tang Clan. The stylings are all over the place, but those three have been huge inspirations for me as of late. I aspire to be a name they’d be interested in working with.
Tell us more about your latest album Dweebpop.
Dweebpop is kind of like my “greatest hits,” even though I haven’t been around long enough for anyone to get familiar with the songs. Haha. I wanted to re-record my favorite songs from my back catalog, especially the ones that are mainstays on my setlist. So I took a good chunk of 2020 and 2021 to sit down, and reimagine the sound of all the songs I picked out for the album. The only outlier being “Don’t Be Mad For Too Long,” which was the only song I actively wrote for that album. I’m honestly so proud of how the album turned out. I got to turn my oldies into bigger sounding songs with full arrangements, and it was so rewarding.
Is there anything you’d like TREMG readers to know?
JustMakeMeCry is a project I have used to cope with the many, many struggles in my life. Whether it be relationship issues, mental health struggles, trying to cope with my own physical fragility, or simply writing about how much I love someone. I hope that my music provides a brief escape from life, or helps you cope with whatever harsh feelings you may be experiencing. I know what it’s like to be isolated and alone, but I also know how freeing it is when you find art that really speaks to you on a personal level. I hope JustMakeMeCry can do that for you.
You can find me on most social media platforms, and my music is available on Spotify, Bandcamp, Apple Music, YouTube. I also update all my social media with show dates I’ll be playing. Whether it be with JMMC, or other projects I happen to be a part of. Keep an eye out, and maybe you’ll be able to catch ya boi playing somewhere close to you.