Jacob, thanks for speaking with us today about your band, SOJA.
Q1: At what age did you first start listening to reggae music? Who were some of the artists you first listened to and did their music influence the music you make with SOJA?
I was in middle school, my cousins played me bob marley and steel pulse and ub40 at a family reunion. I started playing the songs with my dad on guitar that week and when I got home I played them with bobby. That’s the start of the band
Q2: The American reggae scene seems to be very tight as far as relationships amongst band members of various groups, like SOJA, Rebelution, 311, Slightly Stoopid, etc. Even as friends, do you feel that these bands influence each other when writing music?
We support each other in the grand scheme of things. We want everyone to do better as a whole, so that we can break through to te mainstream. People need reggae right now- our government is horrible, pollution is killing the earth, and no one sings about it. This is kind of an opportunity for reggae to be taken seriously in America, and the more people on board, the better.
Q3: When SOJA first formed, did you ever imagine that your music would be so well-received around the world?
Q4: SOJA’s latest release, Strength to Survive, reached the top of Billboard’s Reggae charts along with Rebelution’s Peace of Mind album. Congratulations. Can you describe the feeling you had when you saw how many people were buying the album?
It’s awesome, but we won’t really be satisfied until we’re up in the millions. Ha.
Q5: What have been some of your most memorable moments of your music career? What do you love about creating music?
Because music is what separates us from beasts. It separates our instinct from our mind but also in a way connects the two. To me, music represents the fact that we can design our future- the intro, the verses, the recurring theme, all of it. It’s up to us.
Q6: This summer SOJA has an upcoming tour with 311 and Slightly Stoopid that includes stops in Philly, Holmdel NJ, Wantagh NY, and Mansfield MA. How did this lineup come to be?
311 is on ATO records and we’ve known the guys in SS for a while. It’s gonna be a great tour for sure.
Q7: Where do you find the inspiration behind your lyrics when writing music?
All around me. Songs are how I deal with what’s going on in my life. They’re all about things that’ve happened to me or someone I love.
Q8: What is it about reggae music that you feel connects you with so many others around the world?
The thing that people like about reggae is that it unifies the members of the world into one group. It’s like folk music, which is local, and making it global. At least that’s how it was when I was growing up.
Jacob, thanks again for taking the time to discuss your musical career with us. Congratulations again on the success of the new album Strength to Survive and we look forward to seeing you in Mansfield, MA with 311 and Slightly Stoopid!
Strength to Survive can be purchased on iTunes for only $7.99. SOJA, 311 + Slightly Stoopid will be at the Comcast Theatre in Mansfield, MA on 8/4. Tickets are available via www.ticketmaster.com.