It's a hard life being an up and coming band. Endless shows, lots of time making new fans on the internet, and much hard work to prove yourself. Thankfully there are some good people out there to help you make the right connections and hook up with other acts that will garner you exposure in this day and age. Indie rockers The Jakes took this last suggestion to heart, entering a contest on Sonicbids to open for Kings of Leon at their Chicago House of Blues benefit show this upcoming weekend (which Gapers Block will be spotlighting later today). They'll be flying out from sunny California this weekend to open the sold out show Saturday night, but before they head to the Midwest we spoke to lead singer Sameer Gadhia about their trek to our fair city, what the band is listening to these days, and winning their pretty swank weekend gig.
Gapers Block: Transmission: First off congratulations on the winning the opening spot for the Kings of Leon show here in Chicago. I understand you guys won the spot through a SonicBids contest? Could you just explain how you guys won the spot?
Sameer Gadhia: We were online and saw the contest and just thought that we should do it, so we submitted our profile, Sonicbids sent the entries to Kings of Leon, and the band picked their favorite top five. From there it was an online public vote and we won.
GB: So you guys are based in California and tour mainly around there. Have you guys ever played the Midwest before?
SG: No we haven't toured across country, we've just been playing up and down the coast in California. We've been doing a tour this week and the next, then we'll be going to Chicago for the show, then back out to California.
GB: Any plans to do anything while in Chicago?
SG: We're going to try and do some walking around and see some stuff, but there isn't really much we can do because we have to get on a plane again the next morning for an LA show. We'd actually like to stay there for the weekend, but we're only going to be there for the night. But we'll try to do as much as we can. Hopefully we'll get to hang out with the Kings of Leon for a bit.
GB: So how did the Jakes start and how long have you guys been a band?
SG: We met through a bunch of different friends in high school our freshman and sophomore year and we've been playing ever since. We're still pretty young, we range from 18 to 21. Originally it was kind of a hobby, and we all went to college separately. Then we did some recording, some shows, then it kind of escalated this summer when the cd got some good reviews, and we went on tour.
GB: Speaking of touring, I saw your tour schedule and you've got a lot of gigs coming up. Are you guys one of those jump in a van, sleep on someones floor, and constantly tour type of bands?
SG: Yeah, now that we've got some time off we're just trying to get to as many places as we can. And we love playing at colleges because we are all in college.
GB: Do you guys enjoy being in a band in the current state of the record industry? Do you feel like you have more power and control over your careers as an independent band, or would you like to work with a label at all?
SG: I feel like we'd like to work with a record label but in a way that we'd mutually see fit. We just signed on with a new management company and we're really happy with that. I feel like management companies are a very instrumental process in developing bands, so this way we can eventually kind of gain an organic following. We're going to do it the good old fashion way.
GB: Last but not least, what was some of your favorite albums last year?
SG: All of us have very dynamic music taste. Actually a lot of Kings of Leon, they're a big one of our influences the past couple of years. We listen to a lot of their earlier stuff, and we actually play some of their covers just for fun sometimes. A lot of Radiohead, a lot of In Rainbows. Animal Collective, their new one is really good. Department of Eagles. It's very expansive. We pretty much try to devour every type of music, from hip hop to indie rock. We've just been trying to consume everything.