Interview: John & Jacob
John and Jacob is a band you may not have heard of but definitely should give a listen (and with their album coming out today – you can!) Straight out of Birmingham, Alabama – except for Austin who’s from Texas ironically enough – their Southern roots shine through to their folk-rock music to create a unique sound that will bring a smile to anyone’s face. I got a chance so see their set last week when they passed through Chicago with Kacey Musgraves and the “Same Trailer Different Tour,” and I made a few observations. One – the audience seemed rather impressed to find out John & Jacob penned a few pretty well know, well loved songs (such as “Be My Girl” from the second season of ABC’s Nashville and The Band Perry’s “Done”). Two – the audience was feeling it. All around me I heard murmurs of “wow I like them,” and “they’re really good,” and as each song ended, the cheers only got louder.
Before the show, I got a chance to sit down with the boys and talk about their summer adventures, their album and some extra random things that prove just how loveable they are.
Lizzie: I know today is only Day Three of the tour but – how’s it going?
All: Great, really good.
L: You’ve toured with Kacey before – this summer y’all went to Europe. What are European fans like compared to here?
John: They were so receptive, I guess to American music. They seem to be very passionate about it. They are here too but you can tell that, you know, it doesn’t happen a lot over there.
Jacob: They’re listening. If you’re playing a song they’re listening to everything and not just watching, I mean going nuts.
L: In July you had your first UK headlining show, how was that?
John: It was good, really cool. We were surprised by the turn out.
L: Do you have a favorite memory from Europe that was not performance related?
Jacob: Aw shit
John: Barcelona was good. We just went to the airport and found the cheapest flight we could anywhere we could because we had a few days off and we went to Barcelona for a week and just hung out over there. Amsterdam was great.
John: It was a lot of fun overall because we were able to have like four or five days between shows so we could travel and experience things you know.
L: Well you had a good time back in the states this summer too – you did Hangout Fest, Bonnaroo and Firefly. I know festivals are crazy so I know you have some kind of weird stories – what was your most memorable festival moment?
(This question was met with a long pause before a simple “I mean, Bonnaroo,” from John. Then all the boys laughed.)
Jacob: We got crazy as hell at Bonnaroo.
John: The bottom line is we’ve never played any of the festivals and we got crazy, like we just-
Jacob: (finishing for John) We were there seeing our favorite artists on stage and we’re also getting to play.
Jake: Bonnaroo’s just it’s own thing. There’s nothing like it, really that I’ve seen. People just let it all hang out, party hard, it’s awesome.
Jacob: Jake was naked half the time.
Trevor: Literally let it all hang out.
Jake: (shaking his head but owning the accusations) It’s really cool… Firefly seemed cool but we didn’t get to stay and hang out, we had to play and leave. I think we left the night of.
John: And Hangout fest when you’re just on the beach…
Austin: And we had that private beach.
L: And y’all are from Alabama so Hangout must have felt like coming home.
John: Yup, expect for Texas. (He pointed at Austin)
Austin: Yeah I’m from Texas but I always feel at home in Alabama.
L: Switching from live to recording – your debut album “John and Jacob” is coming out soon… can you talk a little bit about it?
John: We pretty much went into the recording studio at our publishing company and recorded the whole thing ourselves, had to learn how to record and get the sounds that we wanted. We basically tried to mimic what it sounds like and the feel you get at the live show and put that into a record where you could listen to that and still have the same feeling and energy as you do at the live show. It was a lot of trial and error and seeing what sounded good.
Jacob: Late nights.
John: Yeah it took a long time to get it done and we all just dug into it – if we weren’t happy with it we weren’t going to put it out so we made something we’re really proud of.
L: Do you guys have a favorite song on the album?
Austin: Brand New.
Jake: [Nodding] Brand New is my favorite.
Trevor: [chuckling] And we don’t even play it live.
L: Now time for random fun questions!
[they literally clapped and cheered]
L: Where’s the weirdest place you’ve played a show?
Jacob: I didn’t know where that question was going at first.
Austin: and you were ready to shoot something out.
At this point they all spoke over each other – Trevor suggesting “the top of the library,” Jake suggesting “The fraternity thing was pretty weird like in that courtyard at that fraternity house…”
Austin: how bout at the Barons game?
Jacob: Ooooooh the Barons game. So we’re big fans of the Birmingham Barons we love them – our hometown [team] – and they asked us to come play this thing before the game and we wanted to but what we didn’t expect was for it to start raining. The big place where we’re supposed to play got rained out so we end up like away from everybody – you couldn’t even get lost and find this place. No one was there except for our families.
Trevor: The music in the stadium was playing as we were playing; it was louder than us.
L: Favorite song at the moment – not your own?
Jake: The Ryan Adams single “Give Me Something Good.”
Austin: We all like, Arctic Monkeys – that album is great. I dunno…
John: [pointing to Austin] He likes Bang Bang by Jessie J.
L: Last person you texted?
John, Jacob, & Austin: My mom.
Jake & Trevor: Girlfriend.
L: Last thing you googled?
All but Jake: Jake! What’s the last thing you googled?
Jake: Something dirty probably.
Austin: Mine was food.
Austin: I was doing what food was, I wasn’t sure exactly what food is.
John: I was trying to buy tickets for tonight’s show on StubHub.
Trevor: I don’t have my phone with me I cant tell you.
Jacob: I don’t wanna tell you mine.
[everyone laughed at Jacob for that]
L: Guilty pleasure music y’all listen to?
Austin: Chris Brown, the new Chris Brown album is really awesome.
John: Echo Smith “Cool Kids.”
Jacob: That’s guilty? That’s a good song.
John: [pointing at Austin] He got me on that Tove Lo, what’s that song “Stay High,” or like “Latch,” “La La La.”
Austin: I like Sam Smith. That’s a guilty pleasure because I don’t feel like we should like it for some reason?
Jacob: But he’s awesome.
L: Favorite alcoholic beverage?
Jacob: Oh shit. um, Scotch. I go Scotch – Dewer’s on the rocks, splash of water.
Trevor: Jack Daniel’s mixed with Milo’s Arnold Palmer – It’s like sweet tea, lemonade, and whiskey.
Jake: Tequila. I just, I like tequila.
Austin: Tequila margarita
L: Describe John & Jacob in ten worlds or less.
John: I like for people when they listen to our music to have fun so: Have Fun.
Trevor: Get into it.
John: Along with that, Infectious I think.
Austin: Dancing shoes.
Jacob: Simple but Sweet.
In short, John & Jacob is a band of great guys who put on a great show and released a great album that you’d be wrong to miss out on.