Jacob Banks Exclusive Photoshoot and Interview for FAULT Magazine

Jacob Banks X FAULT Magazine

Words & Photography: Miles Holder

Styling: Rachel Gold

Leather tassel waistcoat Rokit
Roll neck Ralph Lauren

It’s no big secret, that here at FAULT we’re all huge fans of Jacob Banks; you can read our live review of his London show as proof here. The 26-year-old British-Nigerian singer-songwriter is often described as the saviour of blues, the “young man with the voice to bring blues into the 21st century”, but behind the hype lies a man wanting only to tell great stories through music. Moving unphased by the titles and accolades unwantedly bestowed upon him, Jacob lives in the moment, wishing only to create great music for himself and those willing to listen to it. We caught up with Jacob on the London leg of his worldwide ‘Into The Wild’ tour to find out more about the man behind the music.

 

FAULT Magazine: You’re currently on your worldwide tour, do you find that you enjoy the stage and perfoming more so than the studio enviroment?

Jacob Banks:  I think it has to be equal; I don’t do both at the same time. If I’m touring, I’m touring, and if I’m writing I’m writing. When I write a song, I write and then record, and then I’m done but the song isn’t truly ready until it’s had a chance to exist in a different space outside of the studio. Sometimes I can write what I believe to be a good song, but I don’t know if it’s a great song until I’ve tested it on tour and that’s why touring gives me the chance to experiment and really push the songs that I create to another level.

 

Denim suit: Newell Bespoke
Roll neck: Hackett
Pocket square: Dunhill
Beenie and trainers models own

 

FAULT Magazine: What’s your writing discipline like, do you do the writers workshops and say “today, I’m writing x amount of a song’ or do you let the songs come to you organically over time? 

Jacob Banks: For me, I’m writing constantly, and I’m almost trying to remember a song as opposed to writing a new one. I listen to people that inspire; listen to them talk, and I love vocabulary and the way different people can string sentences together in a certain way. For me, it’s about staying open to inspiration no matter where it might come from. That may be a chord progression that I hear from a television advert or an odd sound that I hear whilst playing Fifa but it’s always about staying open and being aware of every sound, every thought and conversation that’s around me that might become my next song.

 

Where do you go from there and find inspiration to turn those fleeting moments into a narrative within your music? 

Music, art, family and sometimes I tell stories about other people. Every second of the day is as an opportunity to tell a story and as an artist you can’t miss them. If I’m having a conversation with someone and it’s just a conversation where we’re not thinking of music, it’s in those moments that I find great inspiration because it’s natural and people are at their most honest. Staying unique is a personal battle because it’s easy not to stay unique, you can do it only once, and it’s so easy to fall back into old patterns because it felt so great the first time around. As an artist, it’s important for me to be unique and I’d rather be hated for being weird than known for mediocracy.

 

FAULT Magazine: Many people claim that you are the “saviour of blues” and the one person who can bring the genre to a new generation of music lovers, does the pressure of such acclaim ever get to you?

Jacob Banks: Nah, I didn’t know people cared! [laughs] I’m just having fun and making records with great people. I think everything else is a bonus and a constant struggle for me is figuring out what truly matters. For me, it’s just ensuring that I’m nice to people. My job is to give people company through my music and I’m not concerned with blues or being the saviour of anything as much as people think I am. I’d be happy to write a book as long as I felt that I was expressing my true self.

 

FAULT Magazine: How did the Timbaland remix to ‘Unknown’ (to you) come about?

Jacob Banks: That’s random! He came across the song and loved it so he reached out. For the longest time, I didn’t believe it would happen because it was “The Timbaland” and I grew up with his music with Aaliyah and Missy Elliot. It gave me great bragging rights for the longest time, and no one could tell me anything!

Denim suit: Newell Bespoke
Rollneck: Hackett
Pocket square: Dunhill
Beenie and trainers models own

 

FAULT Magazine: What’s been the proudest moment of the musical moment so far

Jacob Banks: Not to sound cliché but literally every day of being of musician and that is such a luxury. I get to see the world and play music to fans who might as well be my friends. I always pinch myself to remind myself how lucky I am. For me, the highlight is getting to express myself so openly.

 

FAULT Magazine: How do you ensure that you’re always true to yourself as an artist and expressing yourself and not a version of yourself that others want you to be?

Jacob Banks: I just ask myself, do I like the song? That’s all that matters so I just have to be honest with myself, and it’s easy to be influenced, and sometimes I get influenced if pressured. If you leave me for a week, then I will know if it’s truly a song that I like because I’ll go back to it naturally. If I’ll go out of my way to listen to a song again, it’s because I’ve wanted to and it’s something that I’d appreciate even if another artist were singing it.

Coat: Newell | Bespoke Zip top: Luke

What is your FAULT?

Jacob Banks: I’m always trying to rationalise everything; one plus one is two and that’s a fact I can hold on to but I’m trying to not be so rigid in my understandings of certain things.

 

To see Jacob Banks in a city near you, CLICK HERE

Don’t Tell Me “Real Music” Is Dead When Jacob Banks Is Selling Out Venues Worldwide

 

Words & Photography: Miles Holder

You hear it all the time, “oh real music is dead”, “the industry isn’t what it used to be”. You hear it from those joyfully reminiscing on the heydays of Aretha, Gladys and Muddy Waters, you hear it from those inside and outside of the industry, and of course, you hear it from people who just want to feed into the false economy that vocal talent isn’t worth dust anymore. I say this to anyone we ever interview, I say it to anyone who thinks themselves an authority in the music industry, and I say it to you if you believe that young musicians aren’t slaying it night after night with powerhouse vocal performances – believe me, they are.

You might be asking why this article comes across so hyped up, what life-changing performance did I witness that has led to this passionate “come at me bro” review? Well, I’ll tell you! It was Jacob Banks playing to a soldout crowd at London’s Village Underground.

Opening act Joy Crookes, while small in stature captivated the room with her sultry and hypnotising singing voice. While only 18 years of age, the Elephant & Castle native has the stage presence of an artist far beyond her years. Exclaiming “I do this all for fun” as she played arguably her best-known tracks ‘Sinatra’ and ‘Bad Feeling’. It was her final track, ‘Power’, which truly set the crowd ablaze. In her soft speaking voice Joy began by telling the crowd, “I think that all artists should stand for something”, but ‘Power’ isn’t a whaling battle-cry anthem you might expect from the name, nor did it need to be for the message conveyed. Joy’s vocal control and her delicate grip on the melody had the crowd clinging on to every note she sang. Lyrics ‘You got bitches, you got hoes, We the people, and we know, All we want is to be accepted’, delivered so eloquently arrested every listener in the room and lyrics ‘I sing, you can’t take my power’ left us all shouting a resounding “Amen!”

Then, came the main event, Mr Jacob Banks. Starting his set with ‘Worthy‘ from his 2013 record ‘The Monologue’, (a track I presumed he would end on) it was only the beginning of what would be an epic show. We’ve all come to love Jacob for his soulful voice and blues revival on recorded tracks but live; there’s a whole new layer of grit in his voice that I for one hadn’t heard before. On the small stage, Jacob brought the audience to church, becoming the church chorus, conductor, alto, bass, soprano, pews and all. When ‘Unholy War’ rolled around, hands instinctively shot up and waved as Jacob boomed ‘Wade in the water’. Jacob also played a new and unreleased tracks, a fast-paced jazz infused track leading into an impressive guitar solo by Daniel Byrne. The whole performance was sublime, ‘Rainy Days’ merged into ‘Dear Simone’ so seamlessly and when Jacob returned for his encore, ‘Cahinsmoking’ left us all in awe.

While Jacob’s music transcends any generation divide, I do want to point out from what I could see; the crowd was 80%, young people. Young people who happily parted with their money to listen to Jacob’s and Joy’s FAULTless voices. Two days later and the whole performance still echoes in my mind, and I’m sure the same goes for everyone there – “real” vocalists still exist, and not in the dark corners of dilapidated blues houses! They’re selling out large venues in London to New Orleans and if anyone tells you that “real musicians” don’t exist in modern music, tell them that on the contrary, they’re just not looking in the right places.