Jakob, a three piece instrumental band hailing from Napier, New Zealand, have been one of the fundamental acts in the scene with over 16 years of creating music. After eight years of preparations, they come back with their much awaited new record “Sines” honoring all the sacrifices they made for the band, right back to its birthing. We got to talk with the band’s guitarist Jeff Boyle about the inspiration behind the album, and how they overcame the obstacles in its recording process.
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Before we get to discuss “Sines”, let’s start with the most obvious of questions; where have you been for the past few years?
We’ve mainly been getting on with life in all honesty. We’ve had some bad luck with injuries from time to time which has held us back from touring and recording, which has been pretty tough, but on the other hand those setbacks for the band have given us the chance to spend more time with our families which has been great. In saying that in the past few years we’ve toured/played with some great bands like Tool, Isis, Mono, Russian Circles & Cog and recorded an album, we’re pretty happy with that.
A lot of unfortunate events occurred during this album making process, up to the extent that all the band members had simultaneous hand injuries. How did you manage to overcome these obstacles and how did they affect your inspirational vision for the album?
We first started the process for this album back in 2008 when we got back from a European tour with ISIS. We were going to record an album and release it through Conspiracy Records and then head back for another Euro tour. Halfway through writing material I had to have surgery on my wrist for an elongated ulna bone. I couldn’t play guitar for nearly a year and a half so all that momentum was lost. In times like that you just have to put all of the let down behind you and get on with life and start again when you can. Maurice broke his hand in 2010 and Jason severed his fingers in 2012 and with every injury we’ve just got on with things and picked up where we left off when we got the chance.
The composing work of “Sines” was stretched over more than six years. Did your composing approach and ideas change over these years, and how did you manage to keep the consistency of the tracks, being separated by this long time?
We have always approached writing relatively simply, started ideas organically with jams and then worked on taking those ideas in different directions until we’re happy with them. Over these last six years there has definitely been different inspirations coming and going which have sparked a pretty eclectic bunch of songs in hindsight. I suppose it comes down to what’s going on around us when we write. With the initial ideas being written so organically, I think it’s relatively inevitable that there will be a certain kind consistency about the songs regardless of when they’re written.
Among the many new ideas this album offers, I have noticed more stress on the piano and strings sections than before, which give the tracks a more soundtrack-like formation. What was the reason behind that, and what are the ideas and emotions you wanted to pass through this atmospheric background?
It’s about trying to evolve musically more than anything. With a relatively limited musical palette of guitars, bass & drums, it’s easy to feel a little confined after 16 years of creating music like that. So we looked to add other elements to bring out new ideas, tones and textures. I had worked with Rhian Sheehan on a couple of his albums over the last few years and some of his more cinematic approach of writing definitely influenced some of these songs. It’s about trying to take people away from their lives for a few minutes and creating a new space for a while.
As simple as it is, I couldn’t help it to think about the artwork of the new album and interpret it differently every time I hear the record. Who was behind this work and what does it represent for you?
The artist is a good friend of ours, Michael Hawksworth. He’s been a prolific artist around Napier for years and had always been keen to work with us on something so when it came to this album we jumped at the chance to. I think the artwork works perfectly with this album. There’s an eclecticism to it that sums up how this album came together; kind of made up of bits and pieces from different places and brought together to make something that really works.
You have been one of the cornerstones to New Zealand’s post-rock scene, going on for over 16 years by now. How do you look to yourself now as a band and to the scene in general after those years?
Yeah, it’s a pretty great feeling to have been around for that long and still have the support that we do these days. It’s good to still feel relevant after so long. There have definitely been times when we haven’t felt that way, but I suppose every band that sticks around for a while goes through that. The post-rock scene in NZ has been a pretty evolving one since we started up. But I think it’s in pretty good stead these days. There are some great bands like Spook the Horses, Sora Shima, Kerretta, Mountain Eater, Mothra, Kahu & Bachelor of Architecture that are all just ruling on a regular basis.
You recently revealed some of your tour plans to support the album inside and outside New Zealand. How does it feel to be on the road again, and to where may this tour take you this time?
It feels fucking great to be going back out on the road again. Like I said, we have actually been doing some pretty cool shows over the last few years, but definitely a lot quieter over the last two. But we’re really psyched about touring this album. It’s just really great to be doing what we love to do again, and what we do best. We’re heading to Australia in November after the NZ tour, and after a few NZ festivals over summer we’ll be heading to Europe & the UK for a pretty extensive tour including the Dunk! Festival in May. After that, we’ll get over to the US for sure.
Since you are back in action now, should we expect to wait again such a long time, or there are other musical projects on the making right now?
We’re starting to talk about a new album now, already a few ideas starting up. So we’ll see how that goes. We have every intention of getting into a new album in the next year. Maurice is working on some songs for his side project Desbot, which is sounding great and I’ve got some ideas that might turn into some kind of side project at some stage too.