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CHERUB Interview and Photo Essay

Photo by Daniel Stier
Jordan and Jason of Cherub having fun at The Bourbon in Lincoln on Wednesday. Photo by Daniel Stier | Seeds Entertainment

“We make our music to make people feel good,” said Jason Huber of Cherub in a recent interview with Seeds Entertainment. On Wednesday at the Bourbon, Cherub made the audience feel ‘good’ to say the least.

Although Jordan Kelley is originally from Lincoln, Nebraska and Jason Huber from North Carolina, the two individuals that together make up the music-making, music-loving, music-sharing duo called Cherub refer to Nashville, Tennessee as their home. Both members studied music production at Middle Tennessee State University. The two formed Cherub in 2010 and have since accomplished two albums as well as 100 Bottles, their EP released earlier this year.

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Cherub drew a very impressive amount of people to the Bourbon for a Wednesday night–this may partly be because Jordan grew up in Lincoln and has an extra special following here and partly because Cherub is doing well and has a decently solid following throughout most of the country.

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Officially, if you will (see cherublamusica.com), Cherub is described as a “sexy electro-­pop duo that is the dance love-­child of 80’s funk and pop music from the future,” which is quite possibly the greatest and most specific description of a band’s music I have heard—and it’s pretty dead on.

“We generalize our music as pop,” said Jason, also using the words “sing-along” and “catchy” to describe their sound. The two members said they listen to a lot of pop as well as many other types of music. “It [our music] is a whole bunch of genres melted into each other.

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As commonly as they are described as ‘pop,’ Cherub is also acclaimed as dance music. Cherub layers their guitar parts with musical patterns made from synthesizers with the help of their knowledge and use of computer programs to create a polished product that makes the body move.  Add the vocals—specifically Jordan’s signature and impressively fitting falsetto—and Cherub’s product is like a package with a neatly tied bow.

In my opinion, these vocals (how can you not dig that falsetto?!) that Cherub brings to the table is the little extra something that distinguishes them and sets them apart from other electronic/pop/dance duos, DJs and groups. That little extra something can make—instead of break—a musical artist in today’s world. Cherub broke from their beginnings and are now making it.

The fusion of their elements cause for mild difficulty in defining their ‘genre’—a phenomena becoming more and more common in today’s age of computer-aided music. This phenomena is not negative, however. Music cultures are stepping outside of boundaries and confines of singular labels such as “pop,” “electronic,”  “dance” and “funk.” Fortunately for Cherub, they reach into all of these labels, and then some. More to love.

Cherub’s music as well as their philosophy behind the making, playing and performing of music is full of energy and fun. It is no surprise that their performance at The Bourbon radiated and transmitted energy and fun to everyone in the room. Dancing does come naturally to Cherub’s music. There was lots of jumping up and down and hands and fists in the air–in a lively, youthful, excited sort of way rather than a hard, harsh, heavy kind of way.

ProbCause, who opened for Cherub on Wednesday, is also a two-man power-duo. All photos by Daniel Stier | Seeds Entertainment
ProbCause, who opened for Cherub on Wednesday, is also a two-man power-duo. All photos by Daniel Stier | Seeds Entertainment

ProbCause went on before Cherub and cannot go without mentioning. ProbCause consists of a drummer and white-guy rapper and they are total crowd pleasers. Not many artists can get on stage and get even the audience members unfamiliar with their music to echo their band name on que, but ProbCause did it with ease and coolness on Wednesday. ProbCause is organic, smooth, talented and a truly entertaining act worth seeing again. They’re the ideal sort of opening act that festered energy and excitement in the audience, transitioning perfectly into Cherub.

ProbCause, who opened for Cherub on Wednesday, is also a two-man power-duo. All photos by Daniel Stier | Seeds Entertainment
ProbCause, who opened for Cherub on Wednesday, is also a two-man power-duo. All photos by Daniel Stier | Seeds Entertainment

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Jason and Jordan are as fun as their music is.

From the interview, I gathered that two of Jason’s favorite words are sensual and horny—but used in contexts outside of their typical restrictions. He said he uses the word horny in the same way that someone might use the word cool to describe something. The same can be said for the use of the word sensual.

Jason said their new EP 100 Bottles is “sensual.” In this case, his word works both to describe the sexy-sounding tracks on the EP and the smoothness and coolness of the album as a whole. He also agrees that the music is good to dance to. “Jordan and I both agree that we should tell you that you should include in the article that you can get it [our music] all on our website for free,” said Jason. “Or on iTunes. But that’s not for free.”

Cherub has been touring since December of 2010. “It’s been good,” said Jason. “It’s been horny.” Cherub has been a part of the lineup in an impressive amount of festivals last summer and this past summer, including 2013 Lollapalooza. Both members called the festival-playing experiences awesome and crazy—and sensual. “We wish we could thank each and every person that made it to those early shows [at the festivals],” said Jordan.

Neither of the guys could choose just one festival-playing experience as their favorite. “They each had their individual charm and they were all great,” said Jordan.

Due to technical difficulties, as the phrase and excuse goes, I ended up not being able to record the phone-interview in order to get accurate quotes and apologized to Jason and Jordan that the interview process would be a little unconventional on my end but that I wouldn’t misquote them or make them sound ridiculous. In response, Jason said, “We give pretty ridiculous interviews. We’re pretty ridiculous people. We like to keep it fun. People [interviewers] get mad like, ‘Why won’t you give me a real answer?’ and I’m like, ‘Why do you want that? Why do you want the same boring answer I’ve given to 50 other people?”

Here’s a good example of what he means: I brought up the spiritual and biblical connotation of the word ‘cherub’ as I understood it, wondering why or how they chose it as their name—a question they have been asked far too many times. “Yeah, a cherub is a baby angel,” said Jason. “Well, Jordan was born with wings, but they cut them off at circumcision. I told him, ‘You’re a cherub,’ and he’s like, ‘You’re a cherub,’ and we’re like, ‘Hey let’s name our band that!’ And it stuck.”

If you want a fun—and perhaps literally sensual and horny—music video by Cherub, check out “Jazzercise ’95″ from 100 Bottles. Jason and Jordan said that they usually come up with general concepts for ideas (for things like visuals and videos) together. They enjoy trying to stay really involved in the creative process outside of music making alone “It’s really awesome…to see an idea go from A to Z without having to dilute your ideas with somebody else’s,” said Jason. Cherub played “Jazzercise ’95” on Wednesday and the crowd seemed both familiar and enthusiastic, including myself. It was the song stuck in my head until Friday.

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