Juto arrived in Gambier from Los Angeles on one of the busiest weekends of the fall semester. Between formal season and Legally Blonde: The Musical, the Horn Gallery was not quite as full as usual. Nonetheless, Juto established a calming ambience, and didn’t seem to let the sparse audience impact his performance. His lo-fi beats and soothing voice incited the viewers to sway as if in a trance. All eyes were on him as he effortlessly sang and strummed his bass guitar.
The Georgia native has only been living in Los Angeles for a year, and is the first signee of record label Re7ax Records, created by former Odd Future member Taco. In regards to how the move impacted his music, Juto said that in Georgia, he was almost exclusively exposed to “church stuff,” until he moved away and began listening to a more diverse array of music. “It gave me color,” he said. “I was drawing bland things and then started creating masterpieces.”
Backlit in blue and red, Juto was striking. The crowd could barely be seen in the dark, and a sole spotlight shone upon Juto with his red and white electric guitar and bright orange hair. The effect of Juto’s appearance only added to the impact of his honest lyrics.
When writing lyrics, he tends to focus on things “that everyone else goes through.”
“I would rather not have a song that caters to me completely,” he said, “but I’d rather have a song that caters to everyone’s feelings.” While Juto’s primary theme in his songwriting was love, his new project focuses on adulthood and the freedom that comes with it.
Although the crowd did not fill up the Horn, Juto’s energy pervaded the dance floor. No one focused on the space between them, but rather the earnesty of his voice. Paired with an opening act from Hoolian (Julian Shaw ’20), audience members had an extended warm-up for the show to come. While Hoolian’s intense energy contrasted with Juto’s subdued rhythm, their dispositions, as well as their differences, were very compatible. Juto listens to music similar to the mixes Hoolian presented to the crowd. Moreover, he cites Pharrell, André 3000, Frank Ocean, Prince, Amy Winehouse and Stevie Wonder as some of his main sources of inspiration. Juto’s music certainly emulates the R&B genre that these wonders have mastered.
Once he came to terms with his musical identity in his junior year of high school, Juto certainly made his mark. Having been featured on a song by Logic, as well as with more “big” and “exciting” projects on the rise, Juto is optimistic for his future as an artist. After the concert, he thanked the audience graciously for coming and for welcoming him to Ohio. Juto channeled the strength to perform on the frigid Saturday night in Gambier, which could have driven anyone to be unsettled or pessimistic.