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Stranger Things’ Joe Keery wears a disguise to perform his music
Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Stranger Things’ Joe Keery wears a disguise to perform his music

Joe Keery's solo act Djo serves as something of an alter-ego for the star

Stranger Things star and musician Joe Keery has revealed why he wears a ‘disguise’ when performing on stage under his solo banner Djo. 

Keery may be best known for his well-coiffed breakthrough role in hit Netflix series Stranger Things, but outside of his on-screen career, he’s also been busy peddling dreamy psych and synth-pop as Djo - the artist he considers to be his alter-ego, rocking a wig and sunglasses to create a ‘character’ that others may not recognise quite as readily. 

Joe Keery at the premiere for the film Free Guy.
REUTERS/Alamy Stock Photo

Speaking to UNILAD, Keery explained: “Well, initially it was just a way to kind of throw people off the scent that it is me, and to kind of detach myself from the connection - or just music from the connection - to the show or anything like that. 

“And what it's turned into is just a really fun character to perform onstage live.  

“And it allows me to be less self-conscious, I think – and it's sort of like an element of surprise, too. 

“I think that there's a lot of showmanship that has been maybe lost in specifically indie music in the last 10-15 years. I think there is a lot of showmanship in pop music and pop-r'n’b, and so I’m kind of just trying to have a sort of different take on what an indie rock band can be, I guess.” 

Keery, stage name DJO, performing on stage during the Boston Calling music festival in Allston.

When asked if the wig was a way to stop people talking about his hair, Keery shrugged, adding: “No, not really.  

“It's mostly just about just disguising myself in general.” 

And apparently, the disguise works, with even the biggest Keery fans admitting they didn't recognise him.

Next month, Keery is due to release his sophomore album Decide, a follow-up to 2019’s debut Twenty Twenty. 

“It's just basically about a bunch of different things,” he said of his latest work.  

"You know, I just turned 30, and so it has kind of lined up with the release of this record.  

"And I think a lot of the songs touch on getting older and saying goodbye [to] this sort of young adult part of your life. It also was written over a pretty long period of time - I'd say, from the end of 2019 until now - so that it's been a couple of years coming." 

Discussing dream collaborators, Keery said he'd love to work with the 'legend' that is Jeff Lynn of Electric Light Orchestra, whose sound he grew up with, and even Kate Bush - although he admitted he'd never listened to her music until 'Runnin’ Up That Hill' was used for Max's iconic moment in season four. 


But there was also someone even closer to his heart that he'd love to team up with - his eyes lighting up as we mentioned a potential contender in guitar-shredding Joseph Quinn, with whom he shares something of a bromance.  

Keery replied: "Yeah, if he'd let me! Yeah, for sure. I'd definitely love to." 

Smiling, he added: “Well, I'll chip away at him.” 

Djo's new album Decide is released on 16 September. Check out his most recent single 'Gloom' here.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected] 

Topics: Stranger Things, Music