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An Interview with Jakil

They WERE a home-grown Edinburgh act who won a Red Dog Music ‘Battle of the Bands’. These days, they’re a hugely successful “tight, tasteful pop” band, living the dream in The Big Smoke. Allow Jakil to charm your socks off…

HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH YOUR NAME?
It came from Kieran, Jamo & Liam deciding to start a band and having the tricky task of coming up with a band name. We took the first letters of each of our names which made J, K & L; stuck ‘em together with a few in between and voila!

DESCRIBE YOUR MUSIC IN THREE WORDS.
Tight. Tasteful. Pop.

BEST & WORST DECRIPTIONS OF YOUR MUSIC?
Being likened to Radiohead & Blue Oyster Cult. I don’t believe we sound anything like them but to be put in the same sentence as two acts of their stature is something we won’t shy away from. I guess that answers both best & worst descriptions; not accurate yet very complimentary!

YOUR BEST GIG?
Our best gig of the year was at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall in May. It was an honour to play in such a prestigious venue to our home crowd. It was the final date of our ‘Homecoming Tour’ and our first return to Edinburgh since our big move to London, so it had a special buzz about it. Big enough to overwhelm yet enclosed enough to feel intimate – perfect mix!

FAVOURITE TUNES/ALBUMS AT THE MOMENT?
A band favourite is Bon Iver’s second outing. The fluidity of the record is outstanding, a very evocative album. It really opened my eyes wider to the significance of melody. On 1st listen, we had no idea what the lyrics were but the melody was just so charming that it didn’t matter what he was saying; it was more you understood how to feel.

WHICH OF YOUR RECORDS ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
Our new EP “Swings” is, to my ears, our best to date. Maybe it’s moving to London, the line-up change or general growth but this EP definitely has a more mature sound to it and a lot of thought went into every detail. We worked in the most amazing studio with a fantastic engineer who really made the new material come alive. The majority of what you hear in Swings was recorded to tape, which was a first for us but something we will definitely be using again in the future as we instantly fell in love with the way it sounds. It’s much warmer and richer than anything we’ve recorded before.

HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT WRITING A NEW TUNE?
We live together, which helps as we’re churning out tunes! The beginnings can come from anywhere: a melody I can’t get out my head, Jamo or Liam coming up with a guitar part or Callum & Kieran just jamming something out and everyone joining in. Most frequently, you’ll find all of us in a room with a couple of acoustics, bouncing ideas off each other from a core piece that’s been brought to the table.

WHAT DO YOU WANT YOUR MUSIC TO ACHIEVE?
We’d be happy just being able to live off our music; touring, writing, recording and getting it to the people that enjoy it – even if we’re scraping by. To have the luxury of your own music as a career is a hard fought battle nowadays and one we’re tackling head on. We still have big dreams and aspirations and we’d love to say that we helped ‘change the music scene’ or gave control of music back to the people but at the end of the day, if people listen to and enjoy our music and believe it to be something genuine, we can’t ask for much more… except maybe just wear our T shirt to finish off the ‘been there, done that’.

WHICH BITS OF MUSIC GEAR WOULD YOU RECOMMEND TO THE MASSES?
Try before you buy. Read a bunch of user-reviews, find a shop with the gear you want and spend a few hours with it. Only you can decide whether something sounds nice or not. Guitarists & bassists: try different strings until you find the ones that suit your playing style. Try a heavy set if you’re a light string user, or vice versa; you might be surprised. You may then need to get your guitar neck tweaked accordingly to help the tension. Pick thickness is also important! They all feel different to play with and can have a dramatic impact on your tone. Singers: Vocalzone, ginger beer, pineapple juice & warming up plenty of time before any bouts of prolonged singing.

ANY FUNNY BAND STORIES?
At the time, terrifying; in hindsight, a chuckle: we were sitting in the kitchen in the early hours of the morning, exchanging stories. Kieran started explaining a horrific dream which involved pregnancy, shadow ghosts, blackouts, abandoned cities… dark stuff. As I was telling this tale, candles started flickering, our kitchen lamp was sparking on & off and the wind picked up. Cue Liam & Kieran huddled under a duvet watching Disney Pixar out-takes from A Bug’s Life chanting “No such thing as ghosts”.

NAME A SONG YOU WISH YOU’D WRITTEN.
Marvin Gaye’s ‘Heard it Through the Grapevine’.

WHAT’S UP NEXT FOR JAKIL?
We’re currently touring ‘Swings’ (available on iTunes and from jakil.bigcartel.com), another tour planned for early 2012, starting work on writing a new album and carrying the Olympic torch while winning Gold at High Jump, 100m Sprint and the diving simultaneously at London 2012… Busy boys.

IN A PARALLEL UNIVERSE, WHICH BAND WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE IN?
The Saturdays.
—————————————————————————————————————————————————— Jakil’s Kit List.

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Who are Jakil?
Having made a firm dent in the Scottish music scene and only in their early twenties, Jakil have performed extensively throughout the UK and have sold out many of the best and largest venues in Scotland.

Since moving down to London together at the end of 2010, the band have written and recorded their next EP “Swings”, completed a nationwide tour that finished with a headlining show at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall and went on to play to 60,000 people as the main support for JLS and Olly Murs on three open air concert dates in July.

Jakil pride themselves on having a predominately DIY approach to promoting tours and selling records. A large part of this is due to the extremely strong online following that they themselves have built. Newsletters, podcasts, competitions, video diaries, exclusive cover tracks and blogs are sent out to thousands of fans on a monthly basis.

Interview by Roberta Pia.

About The Author

Red Dog Music

Dawsons Music is delighted to announce that the Red Dog Music brand is now part of the Dawsons family. This is an exciting opportunity to bring both communities together and create a stronger, wider network of people passionate about music gear. We both share a common heritage to support musicians throughout the UK and Dawsons want to support Red Dog Music customers in their continued musical journey.

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