Last Friday, electro-pop/funk/magician duo Cherub played their largest headlining show at Terminal 5 in New York City. Before this landmark show, we caught up with them to chat.
How did each of you get involved with music? Do you have any formal training?
Jason: Neither of has have any formal training, except just playing for a while. Neither of us had musical families, we just kind of grew up listening to the radio and wanting to make music to call our own. We taught ourselves how to play guitar and different instruments.
Did you have any other music projects before Cherub?
Jason: We both have been playing music for a long time now. Over 10 years.
Jordan: If anybody’s curious Jason was in a band called “The Burrows” and I was making music for a group – we called ourselves I.V.Y.
Jason: You’re not gonna tell them about Catalyst?
Jordan: Well yeah, you wanna go back?
Go way back!
Jordan: Yeah I was in a band called catalyst and I was in another one called Fire Chooser, and I sang and screamed in that one too.
Jordan: Nah, it wasn’t screamo – it was like metal, but definitely screaming stuff
Jason, what about you?
Jason: Never any metal bands, I played in some punk bands and stuff like that
Why make all your album titles food related?
Jason: It’s completely unintentional, we just yeah
Jordan: Well yeah, there’s only one, but yeah then there’s Year of the Caprese, but everybody likes food so why not write about food?
Jason: Well I guess the other thing is we consider “Antipasto”, “Year of the Caprese” and “Leftovers” all part of one full complete album.
Jordan: Yeah, it’s an appetizer, main coruse, and dessert. It’s an EP to lead into the pain record and then a B-Sides EP that we put out after the record. So that’s I guess one of the other reasons people would be like “is this the food band?”
Jason: It was an extended concept
Jordan: We like food.
Who is Dave from “Dave’s Pickup Truck”?
Jordan: Dave, uh his name is Dave Boger and he owns the clothing line Jiberish with a couple of other folks and they’ve always been like really supportive of us since day one when we were playing like 200 cap rooms in Colorado, and one time we went out there he let us borrow his pickup truck and its like a classic red pickup truck and he fucking loves it, it’s like his baby
Jason: You started singing along to the blinker, right?
Jordan: Yeah, he’s a badass. So yeah, there’s actually a guy named Dave and he has a pickup truck in Colorado, so that’s some real shit
Did you party in it?
Jordan: Yeah, we partied in it
Do you write the lyrics or melody first?
Jordan: The melody. I never write lyrics without like a drum loop or some sort of melody going. It’s hard for me just to write… I’ll write like single lines
Jason: Yeah you write punchlines
Jordan: Yeah, I’ll write two lines that rhyme or something – just to be like I’ll have something that goes with this, but I’ll never write a full song. Even if it’s very very minimal, like a melody or a rhythm.
Favorite festival to play?
Jason: I love playing Bonnaroo.
Jordan: Bonnaroo is definitely the most epic for us, because it’s the biggest attendance we’ve had at a show. And definitely the energy for it was the most intense. So Bonnaroo is definitely one for the books, but all the festivals we’ve played have been great for us.
Do you ever go around when you’re done playing and check out other sets?
Jordan: Oh yeah, Jason loves it.
Jason: I mean yeah, I love going. This year at Bonnaroo with be my 10th year in a row there, so I love going to music festivals. Before we started Cherub that’s what I was doing as a career choice, was working at music festivals, so yeah I love going around and watching the shows, and then also seeing all the friends and famly we have there.
What was your favorite set there this year?
Jason: Elton John was pretty spectacular, oh and R. Kelly there a few years ago was awesome.
Jordan: James Blake was pretty cool. I don’t really… go…. Well I don’t really like festivals. I mean love playing them, but when I’m done I don’t like camping, and I don’t like shitty weather, and I enjoy staying relatively clean. I just don’t like festivals that much.
I mean that’s understandable, it’s a love hate thing
Jason: Yeah, between us it literally is love/hate.
Jordan: Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy playing them and they’ve been really awesome for us for getting word of our music out so they’ve been cool. Just personally if I wasn’t playing them I wouldn’t be attending them.
Worst show you've ever played?
Jason: I mean I’m thinking of one I just don’t wanna call people out though. Like the one I’m thinking of is once we played a private event, and it was just like…. Soggy. I think that’s the best way to describe it. It was like a dingy sponge that’s been left on the counter and you just wring it out and it’s like ehhhhhh, like stinky water comes out. It was just like a very soggy show.
Jordan: Mine was an unofficial after-party in Gulf Shores for the festival called Hangout at this place called “The Barrel” and we hadn’t really played a festival before but we were just getting in with people who said they could bring some folks out so maybe we could play the next year.
It was like 10 people and the sound guy was literally trying to figure out how to do his job while we were playing so they would just go up and down and disappear in the middle of the song. It was so embarrassing. I wish just where we’re at now we could have had that on film so we could see it.
That was like our 11th show and it was the worst one for sure. Even our first show was better than that.
Jason: The worst was we were like “this is our big shot”.
Jordan: We were so fucking pissed
Jason: How about that one at the Mezcaleria in Mexico – the night you ate the totopos and we played on that little crazy balcony?
Jordan: Well yeah the energy there was cool
Jason: Yeah the energy was good but that battle I got in with the sound guy while we were having the show. It was just a language barrier thing. But beyond the language barrier I just don’t think he… knew what he was doing. Because I couldn’t express what I knew in his language I looked like I didn’t know what I was doing either. That was a fun one.
Favorite throwback songs?
Jordan: For all songs?
Jordan: Ah let me look at my phone fast
Jason: I like Orbital “Halcyon On & On” and Foo Fighter’s “Learn To Fly” because they both make me think of 90s movies. If at any given moment I was doing something cool I would want those songs to playing in the background and be like yeeeaah.
Jordan (after scrolling incessantly through his music on his phone): Mine’s Tom Tom Club “Genius of Love”
Jason: What the fuck is that…
Jordan: Everyone knows this song, just not what the name is
Jordan begins playing the beginning for us
Jason: That’s just crazy that you picked the most obscure song you possibly could
Jordan: No, I just like the Mariah Carey version, and I like the original version a lot too
Jason: Well that’s like me saying I like the song Cola Bottle Baby instead of that Daft Punk song
Jordan: No, this was a big hit, it’s a throwback
Jason: Well I know the Mariah Carey song, but I’m saying I’ve never even heard of that song
Jordan: No it was pretty big, it’s the side project of the Talking Heads dude
Jason: Oh shit! The more you know
How would you describe your music to someone who’s never heard it?
Jordan: We just…
The two look at each other and burst into laughter
Jordan: I’ll compare this to us being in an airport and people asking us “Oh what is that, a guitar?” then they’re like “You play music?” and you’re like yeah, then they’re like “Oh what kind of music?” and we just consider it pop music.
Jason: I’m gonna start telling people that we’re magicians
Jordan: My new rule is whatever they guess is in my case, that’s what I say it is. If they ask if it’s a keyboard I’m like yeah! But I mean we just generalize it as pop music because of all the things that go into it.
Best/worst part about touring?
Jordan: Losing shit is the worst part about touring for me. Taking things in and out of the venue, and hotels, and things somehow manage to get lost on the bus, so I’d say losing stuff is the worst personally
Jason: Losing seep included
Jordan: Yeah all that stuff
Jason: I was gonna say just the physical aspect of it, but really it just comes down to losing things.
Losing things, losing sleep, losing belongings, just losing, losing your mind.
Jordan: And I’d say the best part is everything else, I mean it’s all really awesome. I mean not everyone will love it, even if my mom was my age she.. just some people hate showering in public showers all the time.
I love being in different places, I love how random it is, the adrenaline rush every night when you go on stage
Jason: I mean yeah, we’re really, really lucky to get to do this. You know when you get to go on stage and people reciprocate the energy you put out in front of you every night you get to take a second to notice how luck you are. It’s really cool. And then beyond that, the show is obviously the coolest time of the day for us. We’re really lucky to get to go up there and share that time with all those people. The other part of the touring thing is that we really build a family with everyone we’re out here working with. That’s really something cool and special too.
Everyone on the bus genuinely cares about everybody else and that’s cool.
What do you think your most underappreciated track is?
Jordan: Yeah, “All” with Natalie Prass – who just put out an album! It’s really badass! But yeah, I think that’s the catchiest song we ever made and it never got a single push or anything because we didn’t know how to do that. It’s lost and I think people should find it.
Later that night Cherub went on to play a boisterously energetic set filled with songs new and old, like “Disco Shit”, “Strip to This”, “Monogamy”, “3 (Heart)”, which had the entire crowd screaming along to the wonderfully dark chorus – “I wanna take a sledge-hammer to your car and break every little part. Just wait until I get the nerve to break your precious little heart”.
They played other songs like “Work the Middle”, and a cover of Calvin Harris’ “Feel So Close”, which was a final push of energy from both Cherub and the crowd before the closed the night out with an encore of “Doses and Mimosas”, ending the night on the perfect note, literally and metaphorically.
The entire time you could really see, hear, and feel all the energy and love the boys were putting in the performance. They took small breaks to appreciate certain people who were dancing their hearts out, friends and family who came out to show their love, and express their gratitude towards all their fans.