For the better part of his life, Sean Neumann has been playing in punk bands throughout the midwestern United States, most recently as a member of bubbling Chicago post-country act Ratboys. Now, Neumann is taking all the knowledge he’s amassed on the road and applying it to his own work under the name Jupiter Styles.
Ultra St. Opera is the project’s sophomore album, rooted heavily in themes of loss and compartmentalization to deal with grief. In celebration of the new album, Neumann sat down to talk Modest Mouse, Japanese baseball playoffs, and how much he loves Illinois in the latest Indie Mixtape 20 Q&A.
What are four words you would use to describe your music?
Sounds exciting but sad ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
It’s 2050 and the world hasn’t ended and people are still listening to your music. How would you like it to be remembered?
I do seriously hope some kid finds this band (or any of the other thousands of self-sufficient bands like it) and can learn from our actions just like I’ve learned from other artists before me. True DIY is the backbone of real and comprehensible art, but the only way to learn that is by experiencing it yourself. In some strange world, maybe one of my songs introduces a kid to the world of music and they decide to go out to a house show and they fall in love, just like how bands like Algernon Cadwallader or Easter or Nnamdi Ogbonnaya hooked me on music when I saw them playing in houses as a kid.
What’s your favorite city in the world to perform?
Either Champaign, Springfield, or Galesburg, Illinois. I grew up in Illinois and have played here more than anywhere so I’m biased, but damn those places are passionate and know how to keep their punk scenes healthy, excited, and up and running.
Who’s the person who has most inspired your work, and why?
Everyone I met playing music between the ages of 13-18 in Illinois, really. I’ve always found inspiration in people I know and people I can relate to rather than people you read about in magazines who aren’t tangible. Artists I grew up with or met in my teens, like Kyle Lang, Kamila Glowacki, Aaron Shults, John Menchaca, Julia Steiner, Dave Sagan, Nnamdi Ogbonnaya, Jake Mott, Derrin Coad, Seth Engel, Brian Galecki, just to quickly name a handful. Whether they make punk music or not, they all taught me in some way or another what that word actually means, how to stay honest and keep creating.
Where did you eat the best meal of your life?
Bolton’s in Nashville, TN. It’s more of religious experience than meeting the pope.
What album do you know every word to?
I’m pretty bad with remembering lyrics, but Modest Mouse’s The Lonesome Crowded West is probably the closest I’d get.
What was the best concert you’ve ever attended?
Algernon Cadwallader at Strangelight in Chicago, which a really great journalist Leor Galil shot a video of here. Strangelight was this dingy ass little basement in the city and I took the Metra train up to Chicago to see the show. It was 2010, so I think that makes me a sophomore in high school at the time. Just watch the video and you’ll know.