Q&A with Hip-Hop Alternative Melbourne-based band JAKUBI
Posted On 24 Jul 2015
Tag: All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, allaccessmusicnicole, Allen Stone, Artist Interview, Australia, Bali, Colorado, Couch Potato, Curtis Mayfield, Death Cab, Death Cab For Cutie, Exclusive, Holiday Ep, Indonesia, Jakubi, James Brown, Leon Bridges, Melbourne, Michael Jackson, Music, music interview, musicallaccess, Musician, MXPX, Qbala, Stevie Wonder, US
Jakubi is a Melbourne-based band composed of two brothers, two cousins and one friend whose love for producing music brought them together and whose pure talent propelled them forward. Jakubi’s unique flavor stems from an irresistible combination of jangly guitars, hip-hop beats and sailing synth rhythms. Flawlessly melding the sounds of a talk box one minute and reggae-inspired guitar the next, the band’s infectious experimental songs are guaranteed to get everyone dancing.
2014 saw the band touring two continents and three countries including Australia, the US, and Canada. Since the release of their first single in 2013, the band’s music has been streamed on SoundCloud almost 5 million times and has amassed over 4 million views across YouTube.
The band’s latest single, “Couch Potato,” earned the praise of the king of pop culture commentary himself, Perez Hilton, who says, “It’s so dope! They’ve got a real laid-back, positive vibe that’s infectious.” The playful video for the track features a couch coasting down the street and was filmed by dragging the couch behind a car, a stunt that accidentally got the band featured on “Highway Patrol,” a national television show in Australia.
Starting 2015 off with a bang, the band has released its debut EP, Holiday, to critical acclaim, gaining further attention from industry insiders and fans alike. May and June will see the Australian band heading off on its second North American tour in under a year. Including a series of headlining shows and festival performances, this is definitely one tour not to miss.
All Access Music writer, Nicole DeRosa had a chance to catch up with guitarist, Rob Amoruso before the band jets off to Bali to play another music festival. Read more in their interview below!
Hi Robert! How are you today? What’s on the agenda today besides our interview?
Hey there. We are not doing too much today, just relaxing really. We leave for Bali in a few days for a beach festival, so we’re just sorta getting things together for that. Also trying to stay warm, Melbourne is freezing right now.
For those that are not familiar with you and your music, how did you get your start? Who or what was the catalyst for you to want to live the life of a musical gypsy?
Well it was pretty different for all of us. Adam, Jesse and I all started playing music really young. Jess and Adz are cousins and were teens when they started playing in bands, more alternative and punk rock styled bands.
I grew up in a very musical family and started playing in the church band when I was about 3 years old. Adzy and I met when we were around 14 and have been in and out of bands together since then. One day our drummer decided to leave and Jess just sort of slid in haha. Jacob and Jerome’s dad is this crazy dancer, which I guess sort of paved the way for those 2 to hit the stage as freak b-boys. It wasn’t until a little later that they started playing music. They originally had a duo production team going which was more electronica.
Through friends of friends the 2 parties collided and we just started making noise together. It wasn’t supposed to be anything serious, this was kinda like the “side-project” just for fun, then one day we played a few songs at a house party, and we pretty much haven’t stopped since.
You are originally from Melbourne. Is that still home for you? How did you think growing up there influenced you?
Yeah, Melbourne is home for us. We are not here very much anymore but I think it’ll always be home. Melbourne is a very culturally diverse city. Everyone comes from different backgrounds and upbringings. I think this definitely influenced us because living in Melbourne you are always exposed to so much variety, this goes for music too.
“Entertainment is not celebrated maybe as much as say, America, but diversity 100% is. For me this mentality spills over into the way we not only think about, but the way we write music. Growing up in Melbourne, it was okay for one of you favourite bands to be MXPX and the other to be Michael Jackson.”
How would you describe your sound to those not as familiar with JAKUBI?
This is always the hard question haha. We make music you can dance to on a Saturday night, but also chill out to on a Sunday arvo (afternoon). Summer time funk, a touch of hip-hop, gritty at times, mashed together with a whole lot of soul.
Who have been your inspirations growing up that also inspire you today?
Coming from different musical backgrounds, we all grew up on very different jams. I think we take influence from a pretty wide spectrum of bands and artists. Rock, Indie, House and Hip-hop.
To us it’s all about that beat, bass line and hook. The style doesn’t matter, a killer track is a killer track. One thing that bleeds us all together is the funk. James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, the list goes on………but yeah, the stuff from the soul has always been a big thing to us.
What did you learn between your past work that you felt you wanted to infuse into your latest debut EP, Holiday?
You know, we were not really planning on releasing the 4 songs on the Holiday Ep. They were just songs we sorta made in the bedroom, more so for our friends to hear. We were pretty shocked when we started receiving emails from people on the other side of the world haha the thought of these tracks actually getting on a cd never crossed our minds. Because of this, we never really thought about what we wanted to do at all, we just started tracking stuff that we really liked.
What was the inspiration for your new single, “Couch Potato”?
“Couch Potato” is pretty much inspired by just being a kid, going to school, getting jobs. Watching a lot of people around us jump into that “template” of life, even though it makes them miserable. I’m not saying everyone should chill and do nothing……. It’s more about doing what makes YOU happy.
“If working in real estate, or in a bank is what you want to do, then that’s exactly what you should do. But you shouldn’t do it just coz everyone around you expects you to. Grow up on YOUR clock, work towards YOUR goals, fall in love with who YOU want to. Your life……..your way!!!”
The video for “Couch Potato” is pretty awesome! It looks like it was a blast to film! Did you guys help come up with the treatment?
Yeah that film clip was so much fun to make. The whole thing was really DIY and on pretty much no budget. The legend that shot and pieced the whole thing together was our guitarist’s brother Justin Kane. Without him we would still be sitting there discussing ideas and concepts for the clip.
Everyone you see in that clip are our friends and families. The little girl at the start is Jacob and Jerome’s little sister. I think the best bit about making that clip was just watching her eating cereal… haha too cute! We basically told a heap of people to meet us on this one street, threw costumes on them and away we went.
Who is in your current playlist? What artists or bands are in current rotation for you?
Ummmmmm well Allen Stone and Leon Bridges have been getting a decent spin. Personally, I have been really smashing an old Death Cab for Cutie album. There were a heap of bands we got to share the stage with on our last US tour that I’m pumped about. One particular artist from Colorado called Qbala, check her out…….she’s the real deal!!!!
What’s on tap next for you guys? What are you most excited about for this year?
Well we just got home from an absolutely crazy US tour, we are all still buzzing from that. In a few days we head to Bali to play a beach festival. We are thinking we may just chill there for a week or so. Relax, get some sun. As soon as we land back in Melbourne we are going straight into writing season. Really excited about this. We have wanted to hit the drawing board for a while but the touring schedule has been a little outrageous.
At this point all that’s on our minds is Album Album Album!!! Hopefully by the end of this year it’ll be taking shape and well on it’s way.
To learn more about JAKUBI , visit them HERE .