Finally! It took me quite a while to get this Cherub interview together. Over the past year or so, they’ve been very busy touring full time. By the time, I finally got everything together for this interview, I had a tour of my own! Glad we could finally connect and get this out there. I think a lot of bands and artists can learn a lot from these guys. At least that’s what I plan to do and the reason I reached out to them. Here’s the interview with Jason Huber & Jordan Kelley of Cherub. (pictured above l to r; photo credit Ramiah Branch Photography)
QE: So tell me a little about how you guys came together.
Jordan: We both attended MTSU’s recording industries program. We were both playing in separate groups at the time but eventually decided to get together and work on music. This led to us leaving school to going on the road full time! We are loving every minute of this crazy ride!
Jason: MTSU is supportive of their recording students adventuring out into the industry. School will always be there, but right now we have the opportunity to put in some time on the road and live our dreams.
Jordan: I got my first electric guitar when i was in 3rd grade and we have been in love ever since.
Jason: I had a bass first, but when my little brother got a six string to follow suit, I fell in love and ended up getting my own. I still consider making mixtures on cassettes the first way I shared the music I love with others… even if it was only a carpool of 5 people in a minivan.
QE: How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it.
Jordan: Our music has a very strong pop foundation with lots of leaning towards 80’s synths and falsetto vocals. Pop music has gotten a bad wrap lately due to people thinking its all like the radio, but most of our favorite music is pop. There is nothing like a catchy song!
Jason: Our live show is very high energy and all of the drums and basses hit well on large sound systems, so we end up getting associated with a lot of electronic music as well.
Jordan: anything from sounds, other music, porno videos and efukt.com, and ambiance of my surroundings. Other music and people that we see getting down at our shows are such big inspirations for us to keep working on music daily.
Jason: Jordan tends to make music during the morning after waking up early… It’s a rare occasion he stays up very late making music other than in the studio. (We don’t sleep much in the studio while tracking vocals and mixing the records.) I on the other hand, like to collect my thoughts at the end of the day. Music keeps me up at night.
QE: Is collaboration an important part of your artist-DNA?
Jordan: for sure! me and Jason compliment each other through me building the songs in the studio to him taking them and turning them into an actual live show that can be performed.
Jason: We love to collaborate with other artists. We tend to be in house with our writing and recording process as Cherub, so collaboration is where we get to adventure outside the box. It’s where the magic happens!
Jordan: Pharrell, The Dream, Mariah Carey just to name a few. It would be so dope to have Prince make an appearance on a track with a crazy ass guitar solo. I also want to do a whole album with Jon Brion. I love his compositions so much! Oh, Lapalux would be dope too! I love his production!
Jason: There are a handful of producers I would love to Cherub to knock heads with in the studio… Sebastien Tellier, Calvin Harris… friends like Gramatik, Eliot Lipp, and Adam Deitch… or more off the wall picks like Butch Vig or Josh Homme. Personally, I would be able to die happy after working in the Studio with Dave Grohl and/or Adam Baker (Annuals). Both were a huge inspiration to me in deciding to pursue a life in music.
Jason: We’re a duo simply because it’s simple. We have all the technological tools at our fingertips to go out on the road and perform live music on a large scale with only two people. We write our own music, stay involved the entire way through the mixing process, build and fix our own equipment, and run our own live sound when necessary. Of course we get help along the way but when Jordan and I can do it ourselves, we do. As for Ableton Live… it was an obvious choice for live DAW because of all of the live input processing as well as .wav file playback/manipulation we do. We’re also excited to be working with Livid Instruments on a custom MIDI controller for the Cherub live sets.
QE: Is it more important for you to have a great live show or to have a great album or record?
Jordan: They are both so important. If you have an album that impresses people then they should be excited to see translated live. If the live performance sucks then a lot of time its a disappointment for fans and they lose interest in the group all together.
Jason: I like it when a band’s live show is different from their delivery on record. As long as they can both stand on their own, it doesn’t matter if the live show isn’t an exact performance of the record in my book.
QE: Any wild tour stories?
Jordan: So many that I DONT want to tell. Wait, Jason got shingles on one tour. That shit cray
Jason: Shingles… wow. Awful time… great shows though… especially Oxford, MS at Proud Larry’s. I puked before going on stage. The crowd was intimate, but gave a lot of energy and that was the night I started getting better. I guess I’ve had a handful of puking-almost-on-stage incidents and hospital adventures on out tours. (none of which were due to intoxication) I got my first IV in Mexico!
QE: I’ve seen Cherub play as Live PA and as a DJ set. What are the main differences between those two performances?
Jason: Our live set is Cherub. We sing. We play guitar. It’s sweaty. It’s a live rock’n’roll show with a pop punch and some electro bass. We have been known to perform DJ sets and under secret names mainly because we just love sharing music with people… LOUD! Our DJ sets are normally pretty ridiculous. We play Cherub remixes, unreleased originals, our favorite tracks, and everything in between… while Jordan rips on the talkbox.
Jordan: the live show consists of me and jason and all original cherub material performed with our guitars and live vocals. the dj set is jason just doing his thing with tracks we love. there is really no original material in the dj sets except for some cherub remixes
Jason: Don’t get frustrated if things are slow to get rolling. Take everything you do seriously along the way, but don’t forget why you started this in the first place. (Hopefully it’s because it’s what you love… if not, you might want to reconsider, unless you happen to like sleeping in cars.)
Jordan: realize you are going to be broke as shit and fully believing that your project is something you can make a living off of. Being able to tour requires a lot of money for gas, food, hotels, etc. bands and DJs need to realize they need to have shows properly set up to where they can make money or at least break even.
QE: What is something you do either every day or regularly that most people don’t know that contribute to your success?
Jason: We’ve on a really solid weird-health-drink kick for a while… Kombucha, fresh juice, yerbe mate. We feel it balances other extracurricular activities quite nicely. Laura Reed also taught us about many mumbling mice. They make music in the moonlight.
QE: What are your immediate goals, musically?
Jason: Because we do use so much modern technology in our writing and live performance, I want to always push us to stay on the cutting edge of what’s going on in the tech world. The first challenge was building out a live rig that suited all of our needs with live performance and studio-style processing/mixing/playback from on stage. Now the new challenge is slimming down our live rig for more frequent fly dates and upcoming overseas adventures, while we also incorporate new instrumentation and performance parts.
Jordan: Just continue to build upon our foundation that has already been started and keep having fun doing this. So many factors go into actually being a working musician that sometimes you forget making music is fun. I always want to be able to go onstage and love what I do!
Thanks again to Cherub for taking some time out for the interview. Check them out at Cherublmusica.com. They will have a new EP out called 100 Bottles. Plus Like Cherub on Facebook & Follow Cherub on Twitter.
Quiet Entertainer (that's me) is a DJ/Producer that blends ambient electronica with hip-hop. I'm based in Nashville, TN.
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