I first had the privilege of reviewing The Cubes’ debut EP, Fall Out Last year. I fully enjoyed how refreshing and original the music was, so was happy to review it again for the band. The extra incentive this time was the opportunity to interview the multi-talented lead singer , Jacob Solarek. The Cubes are an Indie rock trio based in Liverpool , England. Solarek had formed as part of several projects he had written and performed on his own.
The lead singer/guitarist forged The Cubes out of a jamming session between friends back in 2012. After several line-up changes. He eventually settled with current members Chris Jones ( Bass) and Danny Kirkham (Drums.) The trio have appeared at such notable venues in the City as The Cavern, Zanzibar, The Lantern Theatre and Scoop event in the City of Liverpool College. They have continued to grace the famous City with further appearances at Liverpool Sound City Festival too in their quest to raise a profile.
Fall out is the five-track debut EP from the band that was recorded at Crosstown studios in Liverpool, which is available via Spotify and Deezer. The EP itself shows promises of an exciting prospect emerging from a city enriched in musical history. The listener is treated to a half-hour mix of poetic lyrics and a well-honed rhythm section that combines blues, pop, funk and acoustic fused with Solarek’s raw outpourings through every syllable that his tongue stretches beyond.
In opener Can you , This is no more evident in Solarek's stuttering sneer combined with a hypnotic riff that reflects the theme of forgiveness which climaxes with an exquisite solo that underlies his talents on vocals and guitar. This is a sweet and charming track to open proceedings with a catchy tune that will leave listeners humming it all day.
Next is the reminiscent About you, A Bob Dylan- esque acoustic track that evokes an image of somebody singing it on a beach. This gentle song will leave you drifting away with the waves. The spoken intro embeds well with the subtle guitar lines that creates more rounded melodic track that shares similarities with RHCP.
The upbeat chords of Too Bad sees Solarek contemplate the woes of a past lover that resonates with a tasty slide guitar that feels like a farewell song. The band express a versatility on guitar to create licks that follow basic chord patterns that empower contrasting tones, which is sampled here. This really feels like resolution!
On the standout track, Ron’s blow The talented Jones and Kirkham showcase their versatile range with a collective texture of thick bass and steady drumming that initiates building to a big finish with stark imagery that resolves with a dual bass/guitar solo that dazzles.
On the final track, Funky is four-minutes of what the title suggests converged with Solarek's pleas on vocals. The great pedal effects add definition to the young band’s arsenal of talents. This wraps up an enjoyable first outing for the band that can only grow going forward packed with the volume of lyrical content, polished production and musical craftsmanship that serves as a precursor for a promising future.
For fans of Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes, RHCP.
You can listen to track tasters HERE
The Cubes can also be found on several social media accounts.
https://en-gb.facebook.com/the.cubes.liverpool/ This is the band’s more accessible page that creates foresight into all the latest news, exclusive live videos, tracks , gig updates , and a thorough Biography on The Cubes inception.
https://twitter.com/jacobsolarek1 Listeners can follow the singer for updates on the band’s music.
https://jacobmusiccom.wordpress.com/ This is the new site that is currently under construction. Listeners still can watch Solarek’s solo videos performing at mic nights and covers. It certainly I worth a browse into Solarek’s other works.
Interview Jacob Solarek
Good Afternoon Jacob, How did you meet the Old School Project?
Good afternoon, I met the Old School Project thanks to you and your previous review of our EP. You enabled me to find few more places to promote our music. And the Old School Project is the first one I tried.
Could you please tell us how the cubes were formed, and why you wanted to start a band?
It’s a long story, but I’ll try to make it short. It all goes back before 2012 when I was living in Poland. Since I started playing the guitar I dreamed about being and playing in a band. So I tried to move towards beginning some sort of collective. And I went through a lot of collectives since then. Some of them were playing music I wouldn’t associate with myself very likely, but I thought it’s a good practice. Finally I started playing with one of my good friends as a duo, rather practicing some songs together and jamming than playing any gigs. Though, we’ve had similar interests and inspirations in music, so it was good and we’ve had a great time. As time went past we got the rest of the band and started gigging at some local events. Soon I realized that it wasn’t really what I wanted to do initially. I always wanted to sing and play the guitar in more power-trio oriented band. With the band I was in, it was possible to play the guitar and write music, but I thought it’s not what I aimed for. Therefore I started jamming with a couple of other friends, but it was rough. We hadn’t got any songs we jammed some free ideas and couple of covers. And this is the beginning of the cubes, though it wasn’t called like that. It wasn’t called at all. And then I moved to UK.
Whilst being in UK, I started writing my songs and performing them by myself. And then when I was going home for holidays I’d practiced this stuff with my old mates. Eventually we played few events in Poland. Though, I was living in England, so there was no way that this band was gonna last. Therefore, I started a new line up made up by friends from Uni in Liverpool. Then it started to become more like what I imagined as a band. Though, since then line up has changed again.
How would you describe your sound to new listeners?
A mixture of rock, indie, jazz, funk and blues. It’s rock in its core, but our influences coming out of us in many other styles; so it’s hard to stick a label to it.
Your music is eclectic in it incorporates various styles, Who have been your biggest influences in music?
There have been plenty of influences. To start off I have to mention Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Queens of the Stone Age, Motorhead and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Though, each one of us plays jazz. I play now with the Edge Hill University Big Band, Chris with Zingaro and Dan sometimes steps in for the EHU Big Band’s drummer. So as you can see we have jazz background too. If you consider jazz influences, I’d say Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk and Herbie Hancock.
What are your aims in the music industry?
Just to play, write, record new music and have fun.
How difficult is it for unsigned acts, like yourself, to break into today’s industry?
I think it’s very difficult. It’s difficult to gain fans and build up a following , gather money for promotion, rehearsals, recording or anything else to do with the band is another story. Also getting gigs is not that easy. The venues usually want to make sure that we’ll sell some tickets, so they can earn. Whereas we don’t earn anything etc. You have to take care for everything by yourself. But from the other side it’s so much easier thanks to the internet. People, who could not hear about you, now can easily listen to your music etc. They can find you wherever you are, anytime!
You have been writing your own material for a while now, what inspires you to write lyrics?
Everyday’s life. Things I come across in everyday life. Situations, places, people.
How would you describe your song writing process?
First of all, I write down the ideas I have for lyrics. Then usually, I’d leave them for some time. I often change lyrics, add new lines or mix something what I wrote in the past with something new. I often have some musical ideas for lyrics that I wrote in the past and I like to try them together. If I think it fits, I stay with it and develop further. If I think it doesn’t, I change, rewrite lyrics or look for different musical ideas. Sometimes it takes a long time before I have a ready song, Sometimes it goes quickly.
You recorded your EP “ Fall Out” at Crosstown Studios in Liverpool, What impacts does the studio have on your recording process? And how important is it to self- produce your own music?
The main impact on me in the studio is to finish everything you want to do before time will run out and you’ll have to arrange additional sessions, which are linked with spending additional money. So it’s always time pressure in the studio. Also , it’s like you have to give yourself for 100% each track you’re recording, because again with limited budgets, you don’t want to mess things up. And it’s only up to us whether we’ll be happy with songs we’re recording or not. If we screw something up, we screw something up.
If it comes to self-producing my own music, it’s great to being able do what you want to do without anybody telling me how to record my own songs. But you have to know something about the song’s structure and music in general.
When I was looking for a studio, I didn’t think too much about a producer. I’ve always had a pretty good idea how I want these songs to sound before we entered the studio. Nevertheless we’ve hit great studio engineer/producer, who is Jon Lawton. We share similar music interests and we have mutual understanding. So we were open for little suggestions and solutions Jon offered.
You have performed at some memorable venues like The Cavern , Lantern , The Liverpool Sound City Festival etc, What confidence does this bring to you?
I don’t look into playing these memorable venues like they guarantee you something or make you feel sure about your career goals. It doesn’t mean that I’m not happy that I played there. I’m very happy and I appreciate I’ve had a chance, but it’s like with any other place. You should try your best, no matter where. Otherwise, it wouldn’t make sense.
What is a typical show for The Cubes?
This is a difficult question. I don’t know. And I think there’s nothing like a typical show, unless you consider not playing covers. Each show you play is different. When I play just by myself I don’t even make a set list. I decide what song I’m gonna do as the first one straight before I’m getting on and then I decide what’s gonna be next. Though, I can’t do it with the cubes. So we usually decide and make a set list. But what is typical for us is to be as good as possible, enjoy playing our music, shred some good guitar solos and go with the flow.
Do you have any venues you’d like to play at? And anyone you’d like to share the stage with?
I’d like to play Studio 2 on Parr Street ( Liverpool). I have just seen couple of my friends playing there with other acts and they were really good. Also, recently I was at Band on the Wall in Manchester and it seemed to be like a good venue to play. When I was a teenager I always dreamed about playing Woodstock festival in Poland (now the name of the festival has changed to Pol’ and’ Rock Festival), but we didn’t get through the eliminations ha ha. Why not Glastonbury? This would be great. Though at the end of the day we’re happy to play every fair gig we come across.
I’d like to share the stage with Queens of the Stone Age, Red Hot Chili Peppers or Foo Fighters. These are one of my favorite bands. But again there are lots of local bands/artists I’d like to share the stage too.
I understand you are making a new LP, How is that progressing?
It’s progressing right way. I can tell that we made a good beginning. We have 5 tracks recorded and now we need to find time to record the rest.
And Finally, What’s next for The Cubes?
The next step is definitely releasing the LP, getting gigs and just playing.
The cubes is a band covering different projects of Jacob Solarek who writes and performs his own music. The cubes were founded in 2012 through instrumental jamming with couple of friends. Later on, after a few life changing circumstances, the cubes made a few appearances in Poland. Those appearances were a result of meeting the frontman with a rhythm section (which at the time made up Mateusz Michalczak on bass guitar and Michał Śmierzchała on drums).
Unfortunately the band could only function on rare occasions while all the members got back home for Christmas break. Moreover, Jacob was living in the UK.
Therefore their next appearance took place several months later, during the “Experyment Festival” 2014 in Zbąszyń (Poland). This festival’s performance featured Nine Lives Thomas – Liverpool’s harmonica player. After couple of other performances, the band was facing another upcoming change. In 2015/16 bass guitarist Simon Smith joined who gave renewed life to the songs. Drum sticks and stool was given to Anthony Longworth. The band started gigging in Liverpool in places such as The Cavern Pub, Zanzibar, Lantern Theatre and the Soft Scoop event held in The City of Liverpool College. The cubes also appeared at Liverpool Sound City Festival 2016. Soon afterwards Julia Manley has joined the band to play the piano. This lineup then suspended its activity.
Jacob formed another version of the cubes, this time prioritizing making a record first. Therefore the band with Chris Jones on bass and Danny Kirkham on drums, started rehearsing.
After months of preparations, the cubes entered Crosstown Studio in Liverpool to make a debut EP. The EP is entitled “Fall Out” and it's released online as well as physical album.
Meanwhile, the cubes is working on their first LP.
We hope to see you at the gigs!
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