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Touring Artist Spotlight: CHERUB

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If you listen to the radio, chances are you’ve heard Cherub‘s hit single “Doses and Mimosas” and jammed out to it in your car. The Nashville based indie-electronic duo, consisting of Jason Huber and Jordan Kelley, formed in 2010. The duo met while going to school for music production in Nashville and fostered a friendship after playing in different bands and bouncing ideas off of each other. Both work on the song-writing and production as well as singing on their tracks.

I had a chat with one-half of indie-electronic duo while the group was in the midst of their “So You DTF” tour. Huber was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to have a quick chat, while Kelley was resting up his voice for their show in Lincoln, NE later that day.

Just to get things started, how would you guys describe your sound in three words?

We [the band] covering Prince. A fan had told us that one and it’s so right on.

I looked up what ‘cherub’ meant on the internet and found that by definition it is a ‘winged angelic being’. Does that have anything to do with why you decided to call yourselves Cherub?

Jordan was flipping through a family album and saw a cherub baby, and I was like “what, I had never heard the term before” and it sorta stuck. We’re open to inspiration of our daily lives when it comes to our identity and catching inspiration for our songs, and we slowly assumed the identity of it.

To get some background on the band, how did you guys meet and the birth of Cherub happened? Where are you from and how long have you been playing together?

We both met going to school for music production in Nashville. I went for 5 1/2 years. Throughout the years of knowing each other and playing in different bands, we became friends. Eventually Jordan sent me a batch of songs and asked what we should do with it and then we immediately started dreaming of projects.

It’s been about 5 years since we started the duo project, but there’s always been more of us behind the scenes. Nick Curtis is our drummer for our live shows. He also helps with producing, mixing and mastering. Another friend from college, Jordan Bartlett, has joined us on the road playing the guitar. We’ve grown into a four-piece for live shows and become a family of friends–tight-knit. It’s been fun having the ability to keep people together.

I have to be honest, “Doses and Mimosas” was one of my anthems when it came out. What inspired that song and your funny music video(s) that came of it?

Daily life inspired it. We were in a random gas station/liquor store in Alabama, and talked to some random guy about ‘doses and mimosas’ and his story sorta stuck in our mind. We never intended for it to be the single of our record. We put the whole body of work out [MoM & DaD, 2012] and didn’t highlight a specific piece, and slowly but surely the people have spoken. I think it reflects feelings everyone has at one point or another.

The first music video didn’t satisfy us, so we tied up the loose ends with the second music video.

I really love your sound on a production level. How do you guys go about your creative process with a track? Songwriting first? Production first? Or is it an organic process?

Our process has changed over the years. We don’t have a specific formula. Our writing style and process has developed by necessity and what’s available to us. Jordan wrote everything by himself in his house for “Man of the Hour”. He sent the songs to me and Nick, and we took the ideas and polished them up so they’d be ready for the rest of the world. It was very much Jordan diving inside of himself with just a laptop. His laptop wasn’t strong enough and would crash, so it forced simplicity and creative ideas to get around it.

For our second record, we realized people were responding to our uptempo sounds. When the crowd gets going it makes us that much more excited. So the second record was written similarly and in response to shows we’ve been playing. We began investing more into the studio with drum machines analog synths.

On the new record we kinda of ditched the computer as our starting point, [and sat down] with pianos and guitars and invited friends into the studio to jam.

Talk about your live set-up as a two-piece. How do you go about preparing for a live show once you’ve created your tracks? I saw you guys from the back of the crowd at SnowGlobe, so maybe you can give me an idea of what it’s like for you two on stage?

We’re still performing as a duo, however the past month we’ve been performing as a four piece with Nick and Jordan on guitar and keys. Our family atmosphere continues. They’re not viewed as the new guys and it’s refreshing to have more musical minds on stages and on the road. It rejuvenated things for me and Jordan; it’s not that things got old or stale, but more exciting.

I’ve gotta ask, since you’ve done tours and lots of festivals. What’s it like to play a festival vs. a show?

Both are awesome, and I love playing both. When we play our own show we know our audience have had it marked on their calendars since they bought their tickets. But at festivals it’s a big party and fun to play for new audiences.

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This week, Cherub will be starting the west coast leg of their “So You DTF” tour with Hippie Sabotage and Shooka. They will be taking over Los Angeles at The Fonda on Thursday, Nov. 12, and will work their way up and down the California coast and valley to end their tour.

Be sure to check out their website at cherublamusica.com for tour dates in Oakland, Santa Cruz, Chico, Fresno, Santa Ana, Santa Barbara, and San Diego this month!

Photo by Bliss Hellfire CC/Flickr

 

About the author

Victoria Kobayashi

Victoria is a music and arts contributor reporting on live events and festivals happening throughout California. She was born and raised in Sacramento and recently graduated from the University of California, Davis, majoring in Design and minoring in Professional Writing. Her hobbies include browsing through fashion blogs, photography, listening to new music, thrift store shopping and going on weekend road trips. She's always down for an adventure and meeting new people.

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