WJM are a rock band from California who live to make a difference with their music. The trio, made up William, Jeremy, and Max, formed the band at just eight years old and have since used their passion as an instrument for change.
All proceeds from WJM’s performances have gone towards supporting various children’s charities including UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, Second Harvest Food Bank, Camp Okizu, the Bridge School, Live in Peace, and St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Their desire to make a positive impact on society stemmed from Max’s brother’s battle with leukaemia.
We recently spoke to WJM about their latest EP Where We’ve Never Gone Before, their philanthropic work, what they hope people will take away from their music and more.
Hi guys! Thanks for answering our questions today. First off, please introduce yourselves individually with a fun fact.
JEREMY: I was once known around town as the 3 year-old that successfully broke out of nursery school and found my way home. Bit of a metaphor for life.
MAX: When I’m not playing music, I love making mini movies and skating. Bacon makes everything better.
WILLIAM: We all have nicknames for each other that has to do with different meat products.
How did the band first come together?
WILLIAM: Jeremy and I met as tiny first graders at a music program. We became friends right away. We met Max a few years later and hit it off.
Have you always had an interest in music?
JEREMY: Where others hear noise, we hear music. Personally when I was five, apparently I would say things like “the doorbell is a G#” or “the siren is a C#” and would experiment with various instruments. I ended up teaching myself drums, guitar, and bass by turning up the volume on YouTube music videos and playing alongside by ear. Each of us are so obsessed with music that we sometimes forget the basics like eating dinner.
Your most recent release is your ‘Where We’ve Never Gone Before’ EP. Can you tell us the inspiration behind it, and which of the tracks has the strongest message?
MAX: When making this record, we wanted to explore new places creatively and express how we can use music to move others. We love all the songs for different reasons, but the messages in “Worth It All” and “Walls” connect deeply with us. There is so much focus on what makes us different, but these songs celebrate the incredible common ground we all share. Taking the chance to do something new can be frightening, but if you don’t take the leap, how do you grow and learn? All of us feel that way sometimes, no matter where you live and what your life looks like. Or the idea that building a wall around yourself for protection will probably leave you lonely and disconnected. There is something cool about the idea of breaking down walls and developing genuine connections.
Some people may recognize you from Little Big Shots. What was that experience like for you?
WILLIAM: Little Big Shots was an amazing experience. Not only for the music collaboration and filming but to meet and hang out with so many talented and amazing kids from all over the world. I still have contact with many of them.
Not only are you incredibly talented, but you’ve got hearts of gold as all proceeds from your performances go to different charities. This stemmed from Max’s brother battling leukemia – what inspired you to continue to support various organisations?
MAX: Since the beginning we thought is was the right thing to do… If we can help, even in a small way, we are so happy to use our music for change. Being part of something bigger than ourselves and trying to make a difference is important to us. After my brother survived his battle with leukemia, we felt a very special personal connection to a few different childhood healthcare oriented charities like UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, St. Baldrick’s and Camp Okizu, as well as UCSF Medical Center.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned during your time as activists?
JEREMY: Courage. That’s what I remember the most from my dinner conversation with Yoko Ono on New Year’s Day. Her kids and grandkids were at dinner too and they each have the heart of a lion, like Yoko. There’s a feeling that comes over you when you are with people that are deeply dedicated to the world. Two weeks later we took the stage at SAP Center at halftime of a Harlem Globetrotters game on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday and played a tribute show honoring Dr. King and the Non-Violence Project, including one of our favorite songs by John Lennon and Yoko Ono:
What do you hope people will take away from your music and your actions?
WILLIAM: I hope people will listen and enjoy our music. Our music is written with a lot of passion and we hope it speaks to our fans as well.
JEREMY: Love is the answer.
MAX: We are independent artists and not part of a label. We leave it to our audience to discover and share our music. We love playing live shows on behalf of our fans and on behalf of great causes. First and foremost it starts with the song but we are also sending a message of change. We believe we have been given an unbelievable opportunity to do what we love and want to use that platform to invite others to join in. Just like our creative process, it is not about one person but rather a collective voice to share with others.
What words of advice would you give to a young person who would like to make difference in their community and beyond?
JEREMY: Fall madly in love with the world. Be a part of something bigger than you. Act on what you believe in.
You’ve already had some incredible opportunities – what’s been your highlight so far?
MAX: While we have experienced some amazing things like playing at the UN (twice), performing for thousands of people on MLK day, playing at fundraisers benefitting kids with cancer, performing on the show “Little Big Shots,” recording two EP’s (working on our third:-) and traveling to Germany to be on “Super Kids” we are still kids (well, officially teenagers) and can’t wait to discover this world together.
What do you have planned for the rest of the year?
WILLIAM: We just finished our third EP and are very excited to release it in the end of summer. This EP is the product of both EP 1 and EP 2 blending synth and cool rocky lines together. We are very excited to share it with the world.
You can also follow them on Spotify in order to stream their music ahead of the release of their third EP later this summer.
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