The Water Cooler
with Jacob Jeffries Band
A few weeks back, we had the pleasure of hosting the Jacob Jeffries Band for a performance at our in-office studio. This high-spirited Florida band had all the Sharks gleefully bobbing their heads to gritty pop tunes and soulfully charged vocals. Fresh from a chain of performances along the East Coast, the band’s front man, Jacob Jeffries, took some time away from coaching musical theatre in South Florida to catch up and talk about some of the band’s upcoming projects. Be sure to check out the video for Suffocate My Heart off their latest album, Tell Me Secrets, at the end of the interview.
GS: Hey Jacob! Last time when you guys were at our office, the band had to head out that evening for a chain of upcoming shows, how did that go?
JJ: Great man. It was like a nice little almost-vacation. The traveling aspect is always going to be a part of any band’s career, and in this day and age you have to get the music to the people, but starting in a couple of weeks we are actually going to be based mainly out of New York.
GS: Are you excited?
JJ: I’m stoked, man!
GS: When did music become a part of your life?
JJ: Music is really a part of my life because of my mom’s passion for the Beatles and the music she grew up on. My mom is a pretty introverted person, and I think she found a lot of comfort and safety in music growing up. When others would have been going out and gallivanting around town, she found more happiness in just listening to a Beatles record, y’know? So, growing up that was all I listened to and I loved it, I embraced it, and I wanted to be them.
GS: How did the band get together?
JJ: I met my guitarist, Jimmy Powers, when we were in high school and he was known as this hotshot guitarist. He was in this amazing band that I just literally drooled over. I used to look up to them so much and I was kind of scared of them because, in my head, they were kind of famous. Anyway, in my sophomore/junior year I started jamming with Jimmy and he asked his band if they would be interested in jamming with me. After that his funk band started playing my songs with me and backing me up, and it was kind of this cool full-circle thing. I couldn’t believe that the drummer was playing drums for me, that Jimmy was playing guitar for me, and I was playing with this amazing band that I marveled at and loved for so long.
GS: I am curious to know who was Jacob Jeffries in high school. What album really defined you at that time of your life?
JJ: I was friends with a lot of different people in the high school food chain but I mainly did a lot of the musical performing arts stuff like drama, chorus, and jazz band. If I had to define myself with an album in high school, I would actually have to mention a couple albums. When Gavin DeGraw came on the scene, and his first album came out, I couldn’t stop playing that with my girlfriend at the time. There was also a Rufus Wainwright album called Release the Stars that I listened to a lot. Sprinkle in the Beatles and pepper in some Fountains of Wayne and you got my high school playlist.
GS: You guys have been together for nearly a decade in different incarnations. Any advice to other bands on trying to make it in the industry?
JJ: There was advice that was given to me years ago, and I try to practice it everyday: it’s not to compare yourself to others. Comparing yourself is the worst thing you can do, and it’s a disease that we all have. When you start comparing yourself to other artists and their progress or stagnancy, it starts to become more of a competition and you start losing your mind. The advice I have to other people is to put up blinders and only pay attention to yourself and your goals.
GS: I wanted to thank you guys, because last time you came through town you left copies of your first full studio album, Tell Me Secrets. What are the secrets or inspirations behind this album?
JJ: It’s pretty ironic that the album is called Tell Me Secrets because I don’t have any secrets. I am an open dude and I’ll tell you anything you want to know about me. The album is like a glimpse into some of my relationships with friends, family, and lovers, and how I feel about them, but they aren’t really secrets. That’s my job on this world, on this earth—to play music for people to relate to. And there’s no secret about that.
GS: How would you describe your music?
JJ: I feel like it makes people comfortable and it really applies to everyone on the planet. It’s kind of like the three little bears: not too hot, not too cold, not too hard, not too soft.
GS: Speaking of childhood, what was your program or cartoon as a kid?
JJ: When I was little it was definitely Rugrats, then as I got a little older it was Full House, and then I graduated to my favorite show, Freaks and Geeks. It only ran for one season but I can watch it over and over.
GS: What is something you want listeners to know about the Jacob Jeffries Band?
JJ: The music that we make and the shows that we put on are pure energy and honesty. I hope that people can relate to us and just smile that we are bringing good music to the world.