by Sarah Daniella Dickman
Local outfit, Jumero, is made up of brothers, Jared and Michael, and childhood friend, Ryan. These three young men comprise arguably one of the best Indie-Pop trios that Malaysia has seen in awhile. We had the privilege of having a chat with Jared and Michael one rainy Saturday afternoon (seeing as Ryan wasn’t available), to talk about music, direction, life and all things Jumero.
Tell us about the birth of Jumero
M: It was very organic for us, nothing was really planned. When most of our friends in the music scene started, we realised that they actually went out and actively looked for drummers or guitarists and stuff. But for us it was nothing like that. It basically started when we were supposed to play football one evening and it started raining and we were stuck in the house and the three of us started jamming. And we thought “Hey Cool! This sounds nice”.
Jared started writing his own songs, but this was way before we ever even thought of forming a band. But as things took its natural course, we went on from there, with the original material that Jared was writing or had written by that point. And we thought to ourselves “This sounds good, we should look for some gigs” and thus, Jumero was born.
Who were the original members of the band?
M: It has always been the three of us – Jared and I are brothers and Ryan is our neighbor. So it has always been a close-knit relationship between the three of us.
How did you come up with your name?
J: Well, when we were younger and couldn’t drive yet, we had to take the bus everywhere. So we would find ourselves at a particular bus stop near our house, and since we spent a lot of time waiting for the bus, chillin’ out, killing time, ‘cos you know busses (Haha!), we decided to name it. JUMERO is technically the initials of our three names and we placed random vowels between them. Our bus stop’s name is now our band’s name.
How would you describe your individual musical tastes? And how does this influence the sound of Jumero?
J: I listen to a lot of stuff. Accoustic, some electronic, funk, blues. But in terms of my songwriting, my first real influence would be Jason Mraz, then it moved on to John Mayer, Jack Johnson, Jack Butler and some others.
M: I listen to all sorts of stuff too. Jazz, hardrock, heavy metal. It really depends on what kind of mood I’m in. Recently I’ve been listening to more electronic stuff, which is very different from what I initially starting listening to like Matchbox 20 and John Mayer and all. I appreciate most types of music though.
What genre would you classify Jumero as?
J: That’s a really difficult question to answer! Haha. It kinda changes with each song, and as each song goes. We would say Acoustic-Chill-Pop? or Indie-Pop?
M: You know we have songs like “Dancing With The Stars” that has a Bossa feel, and “Free” with a more upbeat pop sound to it.
J: There’s definitely a pop feel to it, but I wouldn’t say it’s your typical pop sound.
So you guys won the R.A.G.E Open Mic, which was basically like the blast-off point right? What were yall up to before that?
J: It’s basically when we formed Jumero, this thing was going on. And we thought it would be a great idea to join it, and if we could play at Urbanscapes, that would show that we are legit. Before that, we were just jamming at Ryan’s house, just working on our music. We did play open mics here and there.
What would you say was a critical point that changed the direction that Jumero was going in?
M: Urbanscapes in 2012 did give us a boost. But from the start, we make sure we play our original songs. So we did get known for that, always performing our original music. We’ve even turned down shows that don’t allow us to play our originals.
What is your song writing process?
J: I write the song,and the basic composition. And I bring it to them and we arrange it, and they give their input and it comes together.
M: Most of the time, Jared comes to us with a rough structure. Ryan and I will help arrange but most of it is done by Jared. Our process of songwriting is very flexible.
What is your own favourite song?
J: At the moment, it’s our new song.
M: It’s called Mind Games, but its so new, we don’t even have a recording of it yet.
J: But I like all our songs. Haha.
What’s the one song that always comes up in all your set lists?
M: I guess it would be Fantasy Killer is the one that appears in all our set lists. It did get some air time and people are familiar with that song. So we make sure to play this at most of our gigs.
Tell us about your EP that you put out.
J: We did put out a 7-track EP. We worked with a guy called Alex from StarMount Studios, and he produced the mini-album for us. It was a long learning process for us because we were all unfamiliar with the production side of an album. But now it’s out and it was released in August last year. We printed about 500 copies and have almost sold-out, so I guess we did pretty well.
Are you guys heading back into the studio anytime soon?
J: We’ve already hit the studio now. But we’re not really looking to go down the album route again. We’re really planning to release it single by single, that way each song gains more traction and a longer shelf-life. We knew this before we even did our first mini-album but as a personal thing, we wanted to have an album as a band.
What are your plans for the year?
J: If all goes well, this year will be our travelling year. Trying to organize.
M: This month we’ll be travelling to Penang and Kuching, we have a number of shows lined up there. And we’re hoping to travel outside of Malaysia as well this year if all goes well for us.
Are you guys excited about playing at Goodvibes this year?
J: Yeah! We’re super excited about it! We would have actually played at Goodvibes 2015 but since it wasn’t a good year for events that year, we’re playing this year. It’s a huge opportunity for us and we’re really excited.
What has been your best performance memory thus far?
M: Our album launch was definitely our best experience. The support was overwhelming. Everyone is there to watch us and support us. And there were about 450 people who showed up, everyone was singing along to our songs and stuff. It was amazing.
What was the worst thing that happened while you were performing?
M: It’s kinda lame when you’re performing and people start “yam-seng”ing and singing Happy Birthday during your set. There was one incident where there was a girl who wanted to sing Happy Birthday to herself on stage. That was quite weird. Haha!
Any advice for musicians starting out?
J: Focus on your artistry. Concentrate on bettering yourself.
M: What you do onstage and offstage is equally important. After your performance, stick around and mingle with people. At the end of the day, it’s whether people like you or not.
J: Basically be a good human being, and concentrate on your music!
These talented, driven artistes are going places. With their distinct sound and exciting originals, Jumero wins the hearts of music lovers and the people in general. Easy on the ears, and easy on the eyes, we believe that these boys are headed in the direction of greatness and are excited to see what they have in store for us next.