Jakübi | Nobody Better

“We just move with what feels good.”

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Maybe it’s because I missed the 1970s heyday of funk, but I find myself increasingly drawn to it these days. In fact, it’s one of the keywords I look for when I receive a press release for a band I don’t know.

Somehow, though, I found funk-tinged Jakübi despite the email saying nothing about this genre. In fact, it promised me a mix of “Maroon 5, Bruno Mars, and a dash of Justin Timberlake.” Mmm…maybe. Although I’d definitely call them funk, not soul-tinged pop.

As I listed to the four-song debut EP, 61 Barkley, I could picture these guys writing songs in a Greenpoint apartment, playing small, dark, hipster clubs in Brooklyn. They mixed popular sounds from resurging genres; there’s no way they were from anywhere else but New York.

And yet, these five guys—Jerome Farah, vocals, keys, talk box; Robert Amoruso, guitar, keys, drums; Adam Kane, guitar, keys; Jesse Rehaut, drums, guitar; and Jacob Farah, bass, Moog—aren’t from anywhere near New York. In fact, they’re not even from America: They’re Australians, mate, and they’re family: two brothers, two cousins, and a longtime friend.

Jakübi just dropped the video for leadoff single “Nobody Better,” and the band is currently on tour with The Suffers (tour dates are below). Amoruso also answered a few of my pressing questions.

I love discovering new bands, and for some of that, I’m really glad there are record label scouts out there to find new talent and pass it along to me. Tell me about your signing with Epic Records. How did that come about?

Basically, we had just independently put out a track called “Couch Potato.” Epic Records reached out to our management about the track and pretty much all things Jakübi. They ended up re-releasing the song with a slightly better mix, as the original was straight DIY. About two months later, we came out to America for our second U.S. tour, which is when stuff started to get pretty exciting. We met the whole Epic team, talked, vibed on ideas. It was great to put faces to the people pushing our track. At this point, it was all about “Couch Potato,” then Brooklyn happened. There was some talk of L.A. Reid coming out to our Brooklyn show, but we honestly thought no way he would come, and then mid first track, we see this whole entourage of people roll in. L.A. was in the middle. He sat down, watched the whole set, and came backstage to meet us. We chattered for a while, took some snaps, and he was on his way. A few days later, we received a call from our A&R at Epic saying they wanted to make an album, and that pretty much takes us to now. We’ve just been writing and recording a lot of music and piecing it all together.

Where do you draw inspiration for your music? Where do the lyrics come from?

Really, I think we get inspiration from pretty much everything—everywhere we go, the people we meet and work with. It’s different for every song. For example, recently, we have been working in a studio out in Hollywood called Jim Henson Studios. This place has so much crazy history in it. You can really feel the magic in the place. That, for us, is really inspiring. Just being in a place like that, where pretty much all our favorite artists/bands have worked, makes us want to create. The words, those really come from everywhere too. Sometimes, it’s all of us throwing lines, concepts, and ideas at each other; sometimes Jerome will just rock up with a whole verse that he wrote three years ago… We just move with what feels good.

When I first heard the EP, I would have bet anything you were from Brooklyn—yet you’re not even from this country! Given what you know of the U.S. music industry, how does Australia compare?

Australia is a really beautiful place; it’ll always be our home, but if I’m being honest, it’s not a great place to be in music. In Australia, a lot of music falls straight through the cracks—not a lot of people, only a few cities, and massive land mass. We have amazing festivals, but those festivals generally source their acts from one of two places. The first, whatever is hot on Triple J, which is our biggest radio station for pretty much anything leftfield of pop and top 40. The second, they look outside the country. This leaves a whole lot of artists who are too pop for triple J, and not polished enough for top 40 in the dark. Out here in America, I feel like it’s a little different. Much bigger population, so many more radio stations, a city every few hours. You can tour all year round here, which for a band is pretty much the most important thing. I guess that’s why so many Australian artists end up leaving the country.

The familial relationships within Jakübi parallel those of a rather famous American band, Kings of Leon. What’s one advantage of playing with family and close friends? One disadvantage?

Yeah, it’s pretty cool. Sometimes, we are away from home for pretty long periods at a time. Having such a tight crew keeps it feeling like home a bit. The surroundings change every day, but with the brothers, the vibe is the same. You really learn to lean on each other. The disadvantage…to be honest, I’m not sure there are any, not that we have come across yet anyway.

You view working in L.A. and touring the U.S. as your musical education. What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned?

Yeah, we have 100% learned a lot. Biggest thing I have learned is patience. It’s a really massive industry, lots of people involved in what sometimes seems like the smallest thing. We have had to learn that there is a process to everything, which coming from a punk rock background, was a little hard to deal with at first. I just wanted to do everything for myself, haha. Outside of that, it’s just been amazing to work with such crazy producers. Every day with them is school, but the best kind of school because you actually want to be there. Touring…that just got us musically so much tighter.

As an outsider, what’s your take on the presidential race here? I always feel people outside of the U.S. must think we’re absolutely bat-shit crazy—which, as is apparent by the rabid following of a narcissist and misogynist with zero experience in politics, it seems many of us are.

Haha um, yeah, we think it’s a little full on. But we don’t really know that much about it outside of at night when we are taking breaks at the studio, on TV, there is some rich guy that pretty much hates everyone…and some lady that has a really shiny face. Excuse my ignorance, but from what I’m told, I struggle to understand how Trump even got there in the first place. | Laura Hamlett

Jakübi is currently on a U.S. tour with The Suffers and will make a stop at Boulder’s Fox Theatre on November 4; remaining tour dates are below.

11.04 | Fox Theatre, Boulder
11.06 | Neurolux, Boise
11.08 | Volcanic Theatre, Bend OR
11.11 | Mississippi Studios, Portland
11.12 | The Crocodile, Seattle
11.13 | The Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver CAN
11.18 | The Chapel, San Francisco
11.19 | Echo, Los Angeles
11.20 | Crescent Ballroom, Phoenix

About Laura Hamlett 467 Articles
Laura Hamlett is the Managing Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. In a past life, she was also a music publicist and band manager. Besides music, books, and other forms of popular culture, she's a fan of the psychology behind true crime and violent criminals. Ask her about mass murder...if you dare.

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