Based out of Nashville, TN, and consisting of Jordan Kelley and Jason Huber, Cherub is an electronic-indie musical duo signed to Columbia Records, who made their major-label début early last year.
The duo’s hit single “Doses and Mimosas” off of their début record Year of The Caprese has racked up over 4.5 million YouTube views, and a top 25 spot on the Top 40 Alternative Songs chart. Described by some as ‘Electro-Funk’, the duo have been back in the studio, crafting the tunes that may eventually wind up on the followup to 2014’s Year of The Caprese.
AltWire writer Mattison Keesey recently spoke to the duo about their upcoming tour, writing process, and the band’s recently released Leftovers EP. Read what they had to say below.
AltWire [Mattison Keesey] Would you say that you guys put equal parts of everything into your writing process? Or do you each have more distinctive pieces of your work that you focus on?
Cherub [Jason Huber]: We do have pretty respective roles that we tend to fall into. The lines get blurred all the time, but Jordan is really our songwriter of the group and when we’re in the studio, I really follow his lead. Every once in a while, Nick, our producer, or myself, will get a melody, a drum loop, or some sort of idea that we all connect on and start vibing off of. Really, Jordan kind of leads the way, then when we turn things over to the live settings it kind of gets turned over to my hands. We take the music that we’ve written in the studio and turn it into a live show.
AW: From the style of your music, I can assume that you guys have probably had some pretty good times while on the road or when writing. Any stories you’d like to share?
Cherub [Jason Huber]: Jordan, you know what we need to start doing? We need to just make a book, where every once in a while we just say “That shit’s crazy! Write it down in the book, dude!”, so that way anytime somebody says, “Hey, tell me a crazy story!”, we’ll just refer to the book.
Cherub [Jordan Kelley]: Well, here’s a crazy story. This isn’t a cliché, like “We went to this really crazy party, and it was really crazy”. We played on Conan O’Brien, we just got super lucky after our Bonaroo show, his booker was at the show and saw us there, so he invited us to play on Conan. So we got the chance to play on Conan, it was amazing. That night, we missed our flight at the airport so we had to sleep on the sidewalk of the Las Angeles Airport, LAX, and we got a flight home the next morning. We had maybe about 12 hours at home, something like that, then we were flying to Electric Forrest to perform, and there was a whole mishap with the flights, and flights getting delayed. We almost missed out Electric Forrest set. Literally, our tour manager threw us into the van at the airport and sped 3 hours from the airport to the festival site, we screeched into the back of the stage, loaded and played the set. We had a couple of hours there, but then we had to fly to Europe, to play another festival over there. So by the time we actually got a chance to sit down and take a deep breath after playing Conan, we were already two festivals later and all the way overseas. That was just a crazy, crazy time. That was all this summer.
AW: What was the writing process like for ‘Leftovers’? Did you guys do anything different when writing this album than with any others?
Cherub [Jordan Kelley]: ‘The Leftovers’ is all the stuff that we made during the time we were recording ‘Year Of The Caprese’, and it was basically all the songs that didn’t make the cut for that record. Our thought, was really just to get it out before we started working on new material because once we started doing that, they would become something that we didn’t want to put out. So we decided to put ‘The Leftovers’ out so that we could put out songs before we got started on new material, basically.
Cherub [Jason Huber]: Up to this point, we’ve usually just recorded an album and released absolutely every song that we recorded because that’s what filled the album. ‘Year Of The Caprese’ was the first time we had the opportunity to record more songs than we were going to need for the album, so we had the opportunity to pick through that and pick what we thought was going to be the strongest. Then we had this other batch of songs that we were still in love with, and that’s the whole reason we write the songs, so people can enjoy them. It was fun to actually have enough music to put out an EP.
AW: I was going to ask what inspired the title, ‘The Leftovers’, but I guess I think the title speaks for itself.
Cherub [Jason Huber]: Yup! It all kind of goes with the ‘Year Of The Caprese’ thing. We had the antipasto with the appetizers, then the main course, and it’s kind of a little dessert at the end.
AW: With one album and one EP released within the same year, it’s safe to say you guys are pretty much non-stop writing music. Can we maybe expect another album in 2015? Have you guys been working on any new material?
Cherub [Jordan Kelley]: We don’t have a release or anything set, but we are in the studio and we are working on music. Hopefully, when we start getting a better idea of where the direction of this music is going, we will release a mixtape. We are currently making new music and we’re really excited to start putting it all together and figure out when we will be releasing another album. So, we’re really excited about that.
Cherub [Jason Huber]: It’s also really refreshing for us right now to be able to go into the studio and not necessarily have a set to do, rather have the desire to create new music. We don’t have to put anything out immediately because we’re still working off the past album, so it’s giving us the opportunity to stretch out creatively at the studio and see what’s inspiring us most.
AW: ‘Doses And Mimosas’ was a very big hit! Congrats! What was the creative process like writing this song?
Cherub [Jordan Kelley]: I wrote that song, and right before moving to Nashville, there’s like a two-month gap there, me and my roommate, who’s Jason’s roommate now, we moved into Jason’s house before, because our lease was up and all my shit was up in a little room right next to where Jason’s room was, and I wrote the whole song. Actually, the cops got called twice, the cops in Murfreesboro are ridiculous, they always find a way to get you busted on stuff. But, when I was writing that song;
Cherub [Jason Huber]: We had bitchass neighbors, and we still never fucked with them, but we should have!
Cherub [Jordan Kelley]: We weren’t even that loud, but the officer came over and she thought we were having a party, but we were like, no it’s just me, but we’ll turn it down. We turned it down, but I guess it was still too loud because they came back and the neighbors were really, really, pissed.
Cherub [Jason Huber]: Remember they thought they had ghosts in their house? They had a ghost hunter come in and check out their house. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not writing off ghosts, I am not saying that I don’t believe in ghosts. We’ve played at some really weird, old, venues across the country, there’s definitely some weird shit out there. But, these people were living in a house that was only like five years old, there weren’t ghosts in that house. They were just crazy people.
Cherub [Jordan Kelley]: Yeah, maybe! I don’t know what it is, but we weren’t super pumped up on that song on the record. It was kind of weird that it did all the sharing it did and got to where it is now.
AW: I have to admit, I’ve a huge fan of that song. It’s the song that you play when you’re in your car and you have a bad day at work, and you just scream it.
Cherub [Jordan Kelley]: Yup!
Cherub [Jason Huber]: Yeah! I didn’t even see it to be like that when I was writing it, but I like that people can be like yeah, this is a release for me.
AW: Maybe you were writing the song about your neighbors and you didn’t even realize it!
Cherub [Jason Huber]: Yeah! “To all the bitch ass” Who?
Cherub [Jordan Kelley]: It wasn’t about them, but now it is about them.
AW: You guys have done a few collaborations with different artists. Anyone you’d really like to collab with in the future?
Cherub [Jason Huber]: I’d really love to collab with Big Gigantic, or maybe Mariah Carey, that would be nice.
Cherub [Jordan Kelley]: He mentioned Big Gigantic, and we don’t have solid plans to speak of yet, but we do have plans with them. We’ve also been talking with one of our good friends, Spencer, from Capital Cities, we’ve been talking with him about doing something together. But, yeah, there are a lot of great musicians and instrumentalists that are super fun to have on our records and stuff. We’re only two people, so anytime we can branch out and bring other people’s ideas into what we’re doing, it’s great.
“We had bitchass neighbors, and we still never fucked with them, but we should have!”
AW: Going back in time, I read that you guys met in college, and were both pursuing a degree in music production. Just out of curiosity, if Cherub was never started, what career would you have pursued with your degrees?
Cherub [Jason Huber]: I never would have made it in college, I dropped the first year that I enrolled, and I never liked school. So, I don’t really know. I’ve never really had a plan B. I had a shitty job just to pay rent and stuff like that, so I have no idea what I’d be doing if I didn’t end up here. If I think about it now, the job I had before I started touring was Subway. If I was 27 and still working at Subway, I fucking shoot myself. I know there are plenty of people who are 27 and working at Subway, but I would hope I would’ve at least graduated to an Applebees or something.
AW: There’s plenty of other sandwich shops out there, you could have at least been at a Quiznos or some other type of sub shop.
Cherub [Jason Huber]: I just really wouldn’t have wanted a career in sandwich art. Mark my words. Write that down, just in case it ever crosses my mind, I know that I can’t go back.
Cherub [Jordan Kelley]: I would probably be doing something close to the same thing we are doing now. If I could not be an artist, I would probably be on the other side of things. Whether it be tour management or running sound for somebody, I might have even found myself over on the booking side of things, but I would have stayed as closely involved with music as possible. Right before we started Cherub, I was actually working at a lot of music festivals, and I could see myself still doing it.
AW: You guys will soon be kicking off your ‘Strip To This’ tour. Aside from having a new EP of music to perform, can we expect anything different about this tour than any earlier tours?
Cherub [Jordan Kelley]: I really wish we could say it’s going to be something epic, like, we starting every show out with the Cha Cha Slide! But I don’t think that would actually be a good look. You know what I think would be a good idea though? If we had Keegan lead stretches before our set. Like, in between Mystery Skulls and our set, just to make sure that everybody was nice and limber and have a really good time.
AW: I think that would be a great idea!
Cherub [Jordan Kelley]: Yeah! We don’t want anyone pulling or straining anything. We want everyone nice and loose.
AW: So you mention Mystery Skulls, will they be your only opener?
Cherub [Jordan Kelley]: We have Forte Bowie and Mystery Skulls coming out with us.
AW: Have you worked with either of these guys in the past?
Cherub [Jordan Kelley]: Forte Bowie is actually the other vocalist on ‘Strip To This’, so we’re really excited about that. Normally, a lot of our collaboration songs, especially when it’s a vocalist we collaborated with, we won’t get the opportunity to play the live song. Jordan and I don’t want to just fly in somebody for vocals, or just having it seem out of nowhere, or even just take it out completely. We kind of save those opportunities for when that other vocalist will be there to collaborate with us live. The fact that we have Forte coming out with us for this entire tour, is really awesome, and we’re going to get the chance to play ‘Strip To This’ for a couple of months now. We’re really, really excited about that. We haven’t had the opportunity to play that song live, yet, but it’s a super, super fun song.
AW: Can we maybe expect more than one Cherub, Forte on stage collab?
Cherub [Jason Huber]: yeah, that’s definitely a possibility.
Cherub [Jordan Kelley]: We can neither confirm, nor deny these allegations at this time. But, we can say that the ‘Strip To This’ tour will be a lot of fun and we have some surprises.