Djo – ‘Stranger Things’ star Joe Keery – on being inspired by Charli XCX and his love of the Chicago DIY scene

Djo, the music moniker of Stranger Things star Joe Keery, has told NME about how his love of Charli XCX and the Chicago DIY scene has been instrumental in his own sound.

The musician and actor, who played Steve Harington in the hit Netflix show, has released two albums under the Djo alias, most recently 2022’s ‘Decide’.

That album is where the song ‘End Of Beginning’ was first released, although it is in recent months that the track has become a major trend on TikTok, with users taking advantage of its woozy, nostalgic quality to illustrate their memories of their hometowns, especially, as referred to in the song’s lyrics, Chicago.

Following the viral success of the song, it has become a major chart hit on both sides of the Atlantic.

And now, Djo has told NME about his love of British pop iconoclast Charli XCX, and the impact that her writing style has had on his own.

“I feel like what she’s really good at is writing a song that is really about a specific thing,” Djo said. “A great example is this song from her most recent album [‘2022’s ‘Crash’] called ‘Yuck’. It’s a great song about such a funny thing: her being over-stifled by a romantic partner, a boy who’s really obsessed with her. I feel like that’s such a cool concept for a song and she just nails it.”

“And I feel like she does that pretty consistently with a lot of her music. I also love the production of her songs. I just think she’s really cool and doing her own thing and not afraid to be herself. Which is kind of the whole point.”

Djo also opened up about his memories of first moving to Chicago, from his home in Newburyport, Massachusetts, and how his own nostalgia for the city and its underground music scene chimes with the TikTok trend that ‘End Of Beginning’ has now inspired.

“Basically it’s a reflection on my time in my early twenties living in Chicago, where I went to college and graduated and played in a few bands,” he said about the song. Keery was a member of the psych-rock group Post Animal in the city for several years.

“I was kind of in the music scene [but also] waiting tables and auditioning for commercials and stuff…. And I guess it’s about how I was on the precipice of a big change in my life, but I was so anxious to live out my future that maybe I didn’t realise what a special time I was in. So in a lot of ways, it’s a song about a kind of nostalgia – you know [for] another version of me. But it’s also kind of a self-declaration to try to appreciate your present [and be aware that] your past will always stay with you and inform who you are.”

The post Djo – ‘Stranger Things’ star Joe Keery – on being inspired by Charli XCX and his love of the Chicago DIY scene appeared first on NME.

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