Brothers Join to Make Hits / by Alex Young

The Keymakers | photographs and video by Alex and Maxwell Young

The Keymakers | photographs and video by Alex and Maxwell Young

Since moving to Boston for jobs after college, Jerome and Justin Barnes have logged many miles traveling between Beantown, Miami, Toronto, and Pittsburgh to make music.

Their time spent is worthwhile though as the duo, officially called The Keymakers, release their debut single "Good For You." To celebrate, the 25-year-old Jerome and 22-year-old Justin returned to their native Pittsburgh for a music release party at Jay Verno Studios.

"It feels great to come full circle and share this moment with family and friends," Jerome said.

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The Barnes brothers started making music as kids. Jerome's father, James, recalled his son taking up piano in middle school and high school at Shady Side Academy. "When he went off to college, he played us songs that he sang on. I was shocked. 'This is really you?'" James said. Jerome sang under the name Rome Alexander

On the other hand, Justin was a drummer. At Shady Side, he joined a band called One Car Pile Up. Once they separated, he began to DJ and mash songs together as his own mixes. "It's one thing to take other people's songs, but it's another to produce your own music," James said of Justin.

As the brothers found their sounds in college, Washington University in St. Louis for Jerome and Depauw University for Justin, who is better known there by his DJ name Rederic, it made sense to combine Jerome's singing ability with Justin's production after graduation.

Professional guidance came from Always Money Always Gorgeous Collective, an off-shoot record label of Cash Money Records operated by Cash Money representative Anshuman Sharma. Sharma critiqued The Keymakers work each time they visited his plush studio in Kitchener, Ontario only 60 miles from Toronto. "Your energy isn't there. The energy doesn't match what you're saying," he said. Other AMAG team members such as Jesse Christophr helped The Keymakers write lyrics. "Any great song is going to have many different people working on it," Jesse said.

The Keymakers create pop music and love songs like "Good For You." "Jerome wants to put out these sad ballads, but my production makes them more fun," Justin said.

"Why would I deceive her? She made me a believer," Jerome sings in the debut track.

While "Good For You" is the beginning for The Keymakers, "so many awesome people have helped us along the way to get to a point where we have so much music we're excited to share with y'all," Justin said.

Now, The Keymakers work to "build our name," Justin said. They plan to release a monthly single. Until their next track, listeners can enjoy "Good For You" on all streaming platforms like Apple Music, Spotify, and SoundCloud.