Jupiter One, the New York gang of electrifying punk-rockers are probably cooler than most of the people you know. I know they’re cooler than me and in all likelihood; they’re also cooler than you. Their story is worth your attention too – you can’t beat a plot that includes band members meeting in a circus, some marrying one another, and then all together making music that’s been compared to acts as good as The Cars and The Killers.
Lead singer K Ishibashi met guitarist/keyboardist Zac Colwell literally in the circus to start the foundations of Jupiter One, and would later bring on K’s future wife Mocha, as well as drummer Dave Heilman and bass player Pat Dougherty. Now they’re playing with unlimited freedom, capable of pulling sounds out of the air and putting them in an order that is more than pleasing to the ear. As they most accurately put it, their self-titled release is “percolating with the nervous energy of the Talking Heads, the stuttering punk-funk of Gang of Four, and the pulsating synths of the Cars.” You can find one of the tracks, “Countdown,” as part of the ever-popular Madden 08′ soundtrack.
Head off to a show if you get the chance as they support the new record, where you’ll see “a sweaty Asian guy in a jumpsuit, and a wagon full of testosterone with feathers.” Not bad. And keep an eye out for the next album – they’re already preparing. Dive into the XXQ’s to learn more.
XXQs: Jupiter One
PensEyeView.com (PEV): Tell us how Jupiter One first started out. Was it an instant connection from day one?
Jupiter One: As you may have heard, Zac and I met in a touring circus band. We were roommates, and we had a mutual love for the kind of music that keeps you up all night and gives you goose bumps. We ravaged the earth for all music good. We were lucky to find other musicians in NYC that shared our goal.
PEV: Growing up, what kind of music were the members of Jupiter One listening to?
JO: Mocha and I grew up as classical violinists, but we were always able to sneak the good stuff in. Zac’s a second generation musician, so he was schooled early on in the best of the best of jazz, old R&B, and rock and roll. He’s got original Stevie Wonder, Beatles, and Coltrane LP’s that his dad gave him. I’m always jealous. Dave (our drummer) grew up listening to solid drumming and percussion. He’s always dreaming about Stuart Copeland and John Bonham.
PEV: How has the sound of the band evolved from over the years?
JO: We first got together a while back as an experimental multi-media avant-garde group. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that we solidified our minds and our members into this more rock ‘n roll song splashed concoction. It took us a while to become comfortable using our “instrumentalism” to support the songs.
PEV: For K and Mocha, it is pretty unique that you are married and in such a successful band. Do you find this balance to be difficult at all?
JO: It’s a total blessing to be traveling together, but it can definitely be challenging at times. I think Mocha has a problem sometimes with the vulgarities that involve being a band full of single guys in a tour van.
PEV: Having had several songs used in several media outlets including EA Sports, Sci Fi Channel, and ABC to name a few. Did you like how the songs were used in their particular situations?
JO: We think it’s great. We don’t play video games or watch a lot of TV in general, so we haven’t seen most of the spots, but we’re thrilled more at the exposure that it brings to us.
PEV: Was there a certain point when you realized that music was going to become more than just a hobby you?
JO: I don’t think that anyone in our band has ever considered music to be a just hobby. We’re always scheming of ways to make new songs and music and how to get it heard.
PEV: Who have you not collaborated with so far that you would like to?
JO: There’s several producers of artists that we’re crazy about that we’d definitely like to work with. Dave Friddman (Flaming Lips and MGMT) and Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Air, Beck) are our heroes. we’re also way into Spoon and we’d love to work with Mike Macarthy.
PEV: In all your travels, which city do you think offers the best scene for music?
JO: Every large city seems to us to have a thriving music scene. Pittsburgh really stood out as a having a pretty interesting scene and friendly music loving people.
PEV: How has “life on the road” been for you? Good parts? Bad parts? Any favorite stops along the way?
JO: The road has been very good to us. We’re having a blast in almost every place we play or visit. We can come back to the same place, and it’ll be a completely different experience. It’s always great to see people really excited about us. We’ve tried to make some scenic spots out of this tour, including Yellowstone National Park and Big Sur in California. we’re always floored at how beautiful this country is. We rented a cabin in Montana for a few days and rehearsed. It was exactly like what a postcard from that area would be like.
PEV: What can fans expect from a live Jupiter One performance?
JO: A sweaty Asian guy in a jumpsuit, and a wagon full of testosterone with feathers.
PEV: Before a show, are there any pre-show rituals you do or is just go out there and perform?
JO: Drinking, drinking and drinking. Maybe some vocal warm ups for boring married singer guy.
PEV: Any embarrassing or funny live performance stories?
Once I broke my guitar strap and I had to play it like a ukulele for the rest of the set. Another time Zac was so drunk he couldn’t play half the set, and I thought to myself: “This is what Roger Waters must have thought when Sid Berret had lost his mind to acid and couldn’t play the set”.
PEV: Is there an up and coming artist out right now that you think we should all be looking into?
JO: There’s this band from New York called ‘Apes and Androids,’ and we’ve been loving the hell out their debut album.
PEV: Who are you listening to right now?
JO: Let’s see… Supertramp, new Spoon and LCD Soundsystem album, MGMT, The Zombies…
PEV: Aside from music are there other areas of the entertainment or art world that you have an interest in pursuing?
JO: Maybe the adult entertainment industry. We can’t wait for a time when they are one in the same.
PEV: What is one thing we’d be surprised to hear about the members of Jupiter One?
JO: We’re all vegans. It’s kind of hard on the road when there’s only S’barros and Wendy’s. Subway has been our savior. Although, I think they pickle their olives using animal fat.
PEV: When you sit down to write, what kind of environment do you surround yourselves in?
JO: It depends. For me, it has to be a totally comfortable environment of silence and nervous contentment. For Zac, I think he can create beautiful songs under any circumstance. Once he told me he came up with a melody while riding a roller coaster.
PEV: When you are not touring or performing, what can we find the members of Jupiter One doing in their spare time?
JO: A lot of catching up and wishing that we’re on the road again.
PEV: In one word, describe Jupiter One.
PEV: So, what is next for Jupiter One?
JO: We get our album released in stores in the US and in Europe this summer with two bonus tracks. Our song “Platform Moon” will be in FIFA ’09 from EA Games this year also. We also have a bucket load of great songs that we’re thinking recording later for our next album.
For more information on Karmina, check out www.JupiterOneMusic.blogspot.com.