I walked into the well-lit room and surveyed the landscape before me: four round empty tables, a few music managers conversing, several half-eaten crudité platters, crushed beer cans and five extremely tired musicians, known as Jakübi. They didn’t appear depleted, however; they seemed ironically energized. All band members shared this tranquil expression of elation, pride and solace in their job well done; each excited and grateful to be interviewed.
Fresh off a 21-hour flight from their hometown of Melbourne, Australia to New York City, Jakübi had little time to see the sights or marvel at the iconic Big Apple skyline. No, for Jakübi, this trip was all business. But it’s funny: once you do what you love, the line between business and joy becomes blurred and converges into one amazing experience. Jakübi’s outdoor performance at the Time Inc. New York Headquarters was an amazing experience.
I stood in the front of the stiff, slightly awkward and uncomfortable crowd—a collection of Time Inc. employees—sipping my beer and shielding my eyes from the sky’s serene red sunset, not quite sure what to expect. I had heard Jakubi before, but recorded studio sessions often differ from their live counterparts. The band members plugged in their equipment, and exchanged daps, smiles and a look of assurance saying, “We got this.”
From the first guitar riff strummed, I could tell that Jakübi was special. They are an extremely charismatic group of young men, who use their fusion sound of Hip Hop, Rock, Funk, Soul (pretty much every genre) to captivate the audience and leave them amazed. Watching Jakbüi do their thing up there was pretty incredible—they have this tangible bond and an infectious energy. Within about 20-minutes of their set, the stiff, slightly awkward and uncomfortable crowd was massaged into a fluid, spirited and excited fan base. After consuming a few drinks and absorbing Jakübi’s fun, soulful vibe, the audience finally heeded lead singer, Jerome’s, advice of, “If you like the music, dance. And if you don’t like the music… dance!” And dance they did.
As the red skies turned into a black night, Jakübi’s electrifying presence and performance filled the absent sun’s void. The crowd drank, danced and rejoiced at the band’s show and was audibly sad when the set came to a close. Fans sported elated smiles as they lined up to take selfies with the Australian musicians, and the band genuinely reciprocated the feelings of adoration. After the crowd filed out, Jakübi broke down their instruments, celebrated a job well-done and retreated to privacy in the aforementioned well-lit room. It was finally time for me to learn about the individuals who stole the night.
We inhabited one of the four round empty tables and I arranged the happy-go-lucky members in a semi-circle to start the interview. Despite their yawns, eye-rubbing and jetlag, Jakübi was alert and excited to tell their intriguing story. Before firing away questions, I sat back and just marveled at their strong spirits and amusing rapport. It was obvious that this type of rapport wasn’t the type that was formed overnight.
It takes a special bond rooted in deep, rich history to facilitate their type of strong connection. While Jakübi formed five-years ago, their individual relationships predate the band’s genesis. Jerome Farah (vocals, keys and talk box) is Jacob Farrah’s (bass and moog) younger brother, Jesse Rehaut (drums and guitar) and Addam Kane (guitar and keys) are cousins and Rob Amoruso (guitar, keys and drums) is the band’s best friend (or “mate,” as my new Australian friends would say). Contrary to my belief, working with family fuels their passion and forces them to produce their best work. Jakübi members are incredibly supportive of each other and ensure that egos are checked at the door, for fear of compromising the greater good: music.
They were introduced to each other through a friend and they gelled instantaneously, foreshadowing their greatness. The Jakübi members are authentic and grateful guys who are living life, doing what they love. Jacob described the Time Inc. concert as a “really special moment” for him and the band—a moment that validates their incessant work ethic and grind.
After hearing Jakübi, Gregg Little of New Frontier Touring orchestrated their first American tour in hopes of them amassing increased exposure; the world couldn’t be deprived of their sound. Music tours all slightly vary, but they retain central themes: a mental and physical grind, more Hard Rock Café t-shirts than anyone should ever own and, at the core of it all, the thing that keeps them going—the tour bus. Hearing them describe their interaction with their first tour bus was hilarious. It was akin to the relationship that Stillwater had with their bus in Almost Famous—the foundation that moved everything and everyone forward. Falling bunk beds and consistent maintenance issues became pedestrian for their bus, but I don’t think they would trade the experience for anything. It speaks to their humble beginnings and enhances their rich character—contributors to their bubbling stardom.
The Time Inc. show was a precursor concert for their current tour with The Suffers. They’ll be playing across the US, hitting almost 30-cities and couldn’t be more excited and poised for the opportunity. Playing alongside The Suffers will certainly make for fun and energetic shows, and I’m sure they’ll round out the tour with gained experience, perspective and, of course, more fun bus stories. Jakübi will play a mix of their catalogue, including hits: “Can’t Afford it All” (remixed version by Kygo), “Couch Potato” and “Nobody Better”—the latter being a single off their debut EP, 61 Barkly.
In their short five-year life, the closest they’ve come to an album is a released collection of singles. 61 Barkly—a four-track EP—hit the public on 9/16 (the day after our interview) and is Jakübi’s first cohesive body of work. The group shared similar feelings regarding its release: nerves, anxiety, excitement and a silently understood notion of “this is our time.” Despite working on this project for six-months, the release felt surreal for the members, especially Jerome. He struggled to find the words to describe the joy of holding the physical disc for the first time and playing it for his receptive Uber driver, but his vibrant smile said it all: hard work pays off. This succinct project further solidifies their fusion sound and boasts a great future for these fun, upbeat musicians.
I left that interview feeling satisfied. Not because I was proud of myself or anything, but because I can now say, “I knew Jakübi way back when.” They have all the makings for a bright future: an Epic Records deal, a growing fan base and an admirable love for each other and their craft. I’m sure that they’ll experience ebbs and flows along their journey, but that undying passion for music will thwart any obstacle. At the end of the day, they’re five talented friends, jamming out, living life, doing what they love. That is truly special.
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