A short while ago, in a neighbourhood a few kilometres away, five young guys started jamming together above a café. Flash forward nearly two years and those guys, making music as Jakubi, are now packing US venues and selling out shows back home.
It’s been quite the whirlwind for the band. “Jesse our drummer was living above a café that he was working at and they were throwing parties on Sunday nights, they were our early shows. After those parties everyone would come up stairs and party up there. It was house party style. At that point we only had maybe three songs, so we’d play those three songs over like four times, that was our set,” guitarist Rob Amoruso says.
What started out as a few guys making noise to a bunch of their mates, rapidly became what many local bands only dream of: cue Perez Hilton. The infamous blogger was instrumental to the Melbourne hip hop act’s success – particularly in the States. “Because we were playing these parties, we thought let’s record some stuff, [and] chuck it on Soundcloud,” Amoruso says.
“Some bloggers from America picked it up. It was wild. We put up our first song ‘Can’t Afford It All’ and within three days we had a couple of hundred thousand plays on it. We were calling each other going ‘Wow – who are these people?’ We didn’t know 200,000 people. Then the emails started flooding in: agents and bookers, and all these people wanting to book us overseas.”
Jakubi jumped at the chance to break into the states. “We spoke about that and went ‘This is pretty wild, do we do it?’ It was like ‘Let’s roll the dice.’
“We’ve been in other projects and have seen people get stuck in Australia. I’m all about being Australian, but I just didn’t want to get stuck in Australia. We said if the opportunity is there for us to get out and see the world, let’s do it.”
Of course it wasn’t the complete lottery win moment, Jakubi did the hard yards, mostly self-funded their first US tour and bought a 36 foot RV upon arrival in LAX. “It was rubbish and nothing worked in it and for like six weeks we travelled the country and slept in car parks. We didn’t eat food, didn’t shower and pretty much roughed it.” Amoruso says.
“I think it was one of those things where we all got home and really felt like – ‘Wow, if we could get through that together, we could pretty much get through anything together.’ It made us all tighter. And it was great because that’s where we met our now US manager in Chicago. It was awesome.”
Now they’re selling out venues across the country. “Maybe 18 months or two years later, to be able to come out and fill a pretty decent room in some of these states and some of these cities – we can’t get used to it. It’s amazing,” Amoruso says.
The more he talks, the more it seems these guys were destined for something great. “We never started this band saying ‘Let’s be a hip hop band, or pop or let’s be a soul band,’ that was never really a thing. We liked music and partying together. Jerome our singer, was a b-boy, he was a break dancer and had never even sung before.
“To share what we’ve been doing, share all of that stuff with our friends and family. We’re gonna kill it every night no doubt. It’s going to be wild every time we hit the stage. It’s going to be a party and we’re excited to share that with our own country, in our own back yard.”
With all the success, do Jakubi still get the pre-show jitters? “No. We’re chilling. We’re pumped. We’re actually really excited because we’ve been in the studio writing because we want to put out another release pretty soon – I’m actually not sure if I’m allowed to say that. But whatever.”
You heard it here.
Written by Asha Collins
Via Beat Mag.
When & Where: Pitch Music & Arts Festival, Mafeking – March 10 – 13