North Coast Music Festival: Interview with Cherub

Photos by Bobby Reys

Cherub has been steadily building a name for themselves since crossing paths three years ago with a common musical goal. It was simple, guitarist Jordan Kelley had a sound he wasn’t quite sure how to achieve, Jason Huber had just the voice and production skills to make it happen. Having found each other in Nashville, TN, the pair created Cherub, a hybrid dance/funk electro-pop that has drawn comparisons to Prince and Pharrell. Over the past two years the duo have watched their stars rise exponentially, playing Bonaroo and Electric Forest, along with a successful SXSW in Austin last year buoyed by supports from the Red Bull Sound Select series. This year Jason and Jordan  jumped on tour with Gramatik in the spring and, with festival season out of the way, will begin a Fall tour with ProbCause, Mansions on the Moon and Pell. We had the opportunity to sit down with the pair before the played the Dos Equis stage, check out the conversation below.Cherublamusica

Photo by Bobby Reys

Jake: The two of you have had a crazy year or so since latching on with the Red Bull Sound Select series, what’s it been like?

Jason: I mean it’s been a really crazy year, we’ve had to take a lot of pictures of moments and step back. We’ve just been kind of doing our thing and then all of a sudden you’ll look back and be like “woah, this is really awesome what we’re getting to do.” We’ve had so many amazing opportunities, all the stuff through Red Bull-they’ve just been putting us on time and time again and have been super awesome about letting us do our own thing and supporting what we’re doing-it’s been a really great way for us to continue doing exactly what we’re doing and do cool stuff at the same time.

Jake: Yeah, the Red Bull show at SXSW in Austin was where I first saw you, all the way back at the beginning of festival season.

Jordan: Yeah, this year’s SXSW was a total redemption for the year before. We had a shitty first year we went there and totally redeemed ourselves and it was great.

Jason: We played our first gay bar at SXSW this year. It was a great show, a really, really great show.

Jake: The two of you came together to form Cherub from different ends of the musical world, how did it all work?

Jordan: It was one of those things where I made the first album by myself, I played guitar but didn’t know how to really make it something that could be performed live. Jason had been doing a project similar to what we’re doing now while on his own where he would perform all the music out live. But he knew what he was doing so we performed together and that’s what made the whole thing be able to work as a full package.

Jake: How long did it take you to get to the sound you wanted to achieve?

Jason: We’ve been playing together for three years now, we still have ideas. We want to expand all the way out to a live band in the future so it’s like it’s not quite up to the vision we dreamed up in our heads yet but to get it to where it’s at now I got an email from Jordan in October that was the first batch of songs and our first show in public was December 1, 2010. Obviously that show was pretty rough-you may even be able to find footage of it online somewhere. We’re not going to tell you the link or where to find it (laughs). But it is cool to look at that show and shows now-we’d like to think there’s been a big progression there and we’ve grown together as performers and it’s been fun.

Jake: Any special plans for the North Coast set?

Jordan: I want to shake a bottle of wine again. I tried to pop a bottle last night and the cork broke off (laughs). I was like “alright everybody” and left everyone anticipating it so hard. I don’t really get embarassed but I was bummed about that. I just popped another one though and it was ok.

Jake: How did the after party show last night go at City Winery?

Jason: It sounded good and the people there you could tell were really, really into the music and they sang all of our old songs so it was super fucking flattering and we felt the love man, it was awesome. The venue was gorgeous too, I hung out with the staff til like 3:30 in the morning. But yeah, we had a good time it was a really nice group of people who were awesome to work with-we like to make friends.

Jake: What’s it like for you two to play at a smaller  venue like that and move it to a festival stage?

Jason: Our performance doesn’t change that much, we really enjoy the small venues. Some people would be turned off by them, it’s just a really intimate, endearing thing when you have the crowd right there with you and in front of you-there’s no barrier, everybody’s right there together. I had one guy giving me high fives last night

Jordan: One guy kept being my delay. I’d be like “my body up against your body” and he’d be like “body. . .body” he was doing all the ad-libs. At first I didn’t like it, but then I was like he really thinks it’s a good look and was trying to hit those notes (laughs), but he wasn’t on time.

Jake: What’s up moving forward, I know you’re headed out on tour with ProbCause soon?

Jordan: Yup, we’re going on tour with ProbCause and also with another really awesome artist that we love, his name is Pell, we do a couple dates with him and then we’re doing some dates with Mansions on the Moon which will definitely be rad and we have a whole bunch of different artists and we just recorded a full album that should be done pretty soon. It’s just a matter of getting the master done on it and figuring out when to release it. So we’re expecting a full album.

Jake: When can we expect the full project?

Jason: Definitely not before the end of the year, probably looking at early 2014-we’ll see. If anything we’re going to put out a lot of music just to get content out leading up to the album as a sort of bridge to that.

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