Here’s Cobary Jam !…
By being a passionate NBA fan I’m familiar with the city of Denver, capital of Colorado. Well, actually I’m familiar with it’s basketball team the ‘Denver Nuggets’. A good team, no more no less. Fighting every year to get to the playoffs and when they do they fire their ‘coach of the year’. Weird management. And what about rock & roll in the once upon a time city of gold diggers ? No idea at all. That is until I discovered this mighty noise rock band Cobary Jam some weeks ago. I remember hearing this track ‘Something Else’(on top) from their excellent self-titled debut EP. A slam dunk in the face ! Furious guitars, nasty drums and narrative male/female vocals turning into grunge screams before the grand finale. No real verse/chorus/verse structure. Superfluous concept here. No, it sounded like a growing thunderous menace of majestic noise. Titanic ! The authors got my attention and I’m sure yours too by now. Let’s meet guitarists and vocalists Jacob & Mary and drummer Chris.
When and where was the band conceived?
Jacob & Mary: We have been together since 2007 but Cobary Jam was officially born New Year’s Eve 2010. We had moved out of Denver for the year to a small farming town in Nebraska where Mary’s family is. We went with the intention of hiding away and writing to stockpile our material. We’ve collaborated with other drummers but Chris came on board last year in March and we knew it was the right fit.
What’s the story behind the band’s name?
Jacob & Mary: That New Year’s Eve 2010 we booked a show and the venue needed a name for the papers. So Cobary Jam (anagram of JacobMary) was settled on by default and has stuck with us ever since. Jacob didn’t like how it sounded at first but grew to appreciate the originality of the name and the meaning behind it. Also it’s nice when searched we’re the only thing that comes up.
You’ve been compared to Alice In Chains, Nirvana and The Smashing Pumpkins. Quite impressive. Do you agree and how would you describe your music yourselves?
All: Very flattering. Those are obviously kick ass bands that made a mark for themselves in the world of music. Yea we can see it because Jacob’s vocals and screams definitely emulate Kurt’s and our harmony switchbacks are similar to Alice in Chains. In general we’re a hard hitting, high intensity band like all three of them are in our minds. We describe our music as ‘us’. By that we mean it touches several genres from song to song. As individuals we relate to all different kinds of people and social scenes so sometimes our songs are grungy and in your face while others are more chill and light. We write what we feel and observe but have found a common theme of striving and fighting in our songs… most likely because we want a thriving career in music so badly that it comes out naturally in our writing. On paper, we classify ourselves as grunge rock with electronic infusions.
Your 5-track debut EP was released last September. The perfect mix of supersonic rock and intense vocals struck me immediately. When did you know “this is it”?
All: The original process began when we got our Mac and did a mock demo recording. To hear our songs being played back, our minds were constantly being hit with ideas of where to put samples and throw in beats and what not. I think that’s when we truly discovered our sound. It definitely prepared us for going into recording. The mixing process took us a long time because we’re so picky and there are endless creative possibilities when it comes to making a song. We eventually both got to a point where we were content enough.
The video for the awesome energetic track ‘Back In Action’ makes me want to catch a plane and fly to Denver to see you live on stage. What triggers that live power?
All: Nice, you should ! Or we may come to you. We’re passionate people in general so when we perform our art that we’ve put so much time and effort into on stage, that desire and those feelings shoot out of us. Our minds go back to that place and we re-connect with each lyric, feeling, time of life, etc. Especially if the vibes are on that night, we can’t help but rock.
Chris: Because it’s (Back in Action) such an aggressive song, I’m almost playing with a chip on my shoulder. It’s a fight song.
‘Back In Action’ – a fight song….
Your number one band to do your first world tour with?
Jacob & Mary: That’s a tough one. We would have to say Red Hot Chili Peppers. From a business standpoint, they’re pros in touring and have all their connections in place. Personally, we like their sound and writing and their music has been with us and helped us through some rough times in life. Also, we have a lot of respect for them as a band because they’ve stayed together and continue to re-invent themselves throughout the years. They have longevity.
Chris: Yea they would be cool, either them or Smashing Pumpkins. I like the creative aspect the Pumpkins bring.
Did any great bands come out of Denver ever? Is there a scene?
All: The Denver scene, or Colorado in general, has a lot of jam bands. So String Cheese and bands like that have made big names for themselves worldwide. Otherwise, One Republic and The Fray are two that come to mind. Whether they’re great or not. Denver’s cool though because it supports it’s own and has a booming art scene. As far as the rock scene today, there’s a lot of metal with some underground rock scattered throughout.
What’s the song you really want to cover?
Mary: Covers are hard for us because we never want to do a cool song injustice. A cool one would be Phantogram’s ‘Black Out Days’ because I like the vocals and effects. But we’d need another pad to trigger and cover all the sounds.
Jacob: Feverdog from Stillwater from the ‘Almost Famous’ movie would be fun.
Chris: A rap song, maybe some Tupac. Ha.
Tell us about the band’s ultimate ambitions?
All: Ultimate ambition is to build a brand for ourselves and have a sustainable career in music. For Cobary Jam to be a household name not just for music but for fashion, art, dance and any other form of entertainment. Hate to say star-status but that seems to be the way you make money with your art and actually have a voice and a platform for the masses to listen to. We want to be a light to the world and because we’re Christians a lot of our beliefs are counter-cultural. But we are what we are and we can’t deny it. What you see is what you get.
If you could travel back in time what artist would you jam with?
Mary: The Beatles. I’m a sucker for catchy tunes.
Jacob: I’ve got a soft spot for Nirvana so I’d probably have a lot of fun with them.
Chris: Jimmy Hendrix.
The social media. A blessing or pain in the ass?
All: Both. To be honest it’s been a pain in the ass for us to build ourselves up online. We’re not social people in life so putting ourselves out there and connecting with fans is not always easy for us. But it’s where people are at today so we’ve got to play the game and just try to be real doing it. It’s a great way to promote though and we’re getting used to it. And we’ll admit it’s nice to connect and know our fans no matter where they may be. Curious to see if it ever ruins the nostalgia between artist and fan though.
Track and album of 2014?
Another tough one because we’re not the average music listeners.
Mary: In my world, Cobary Jam self-titled debut EP. Pretty cheesy I know, but it’s what I listened to most in 2014. Fav track: ‘Something Else’.
Jacob: Like I said I have a soft spot for Nirvana… (lol).
Chris: Gregory Alan Isakov, The Weatherman. I can’t stop listening to it.
Will the Denver Nuggets play the NBA playoffs this season ?
Mary: Haha my mom is, or at least was, a huge Nuggets fan. I’m gonna go with what she says which is NO CHANCE! Also, she hates the ‘Stinkin Spurs’, as she calls them, so this one’s funny to me.
Jacob: Broncos lost.. that’s where I’m still at.
Chris: The Avalanche is my team.
What can we expect from Cobary Jam in 2015?
All: You can expect more cool videos, we’ve got a couple in progress now. We’re gonna play Colorado Music Party at SXSW this March. Then a few festivals, a tour we’re booking ourselves and licensing opportunities. Wishfully, a record deal and forward progress and relationships in the music industry. We plan to ride this EP for the year but have a lot of new material we’re playing live and look forward to recording. But we’re up for anything.
Many thanks Mary, Jakob and Chris. Really great to get to know you.
Get out of Denver ! The world is yours…