Catching Up With Jacob Banks

The singer-songwriter known for his soul-searching sound is back with a new EP to combat the gloom of pandemic life.

With his tender, soul-stirring singles Jacob Banks has been pulling on our heartstrings since his breakthrough some 9 years ago. In the intervening years, he’s become known for a series of mammoth singles, such as “Unknown (To You)” and “Chainsmoking”, that have found their way onto the soundtracks of some of television’s biggest titles. Now, with new EP For My Friends, Jacob has taken his sound in new directions, interweaving a new, joyful spirit into his  tracks to create perfect listening  for the current climate. 

To celebrate the EP’s release, we dialled Jacob up to talk about how he keeps his home life private and alternative career paths.

What was your entry into music?

I got into music because I was bored as shit. It was really the only thing I was good at… that’s a lie, I was good at many other things, but it was what I was best at, at the time. Looking back, it was a deluded decision because I was shit. But… we’re here now.


How would you describe your sound?

I don’t know if I have a sound… I would describe my sound as ‘tries to be honest’. Tries to be honest, and honesty is uncomfortable, so I guess it’s uncomfortable.


If you weren’t a musician, you’d be…?

I would probably work in something to do with film, more visuals. Or something to do with sports at a competitive level.


How hard is it to keep your public and private lives separate when you’re in the music industry?

I really separate the two. I think it’s pretty easy for me because when I take my beanie off, no one knows who I am. It’s important for me to keep my private life private because I need somewhere to run to when all this goes to shit.

What’s your biggest achievement so far?

That I get to be myself for a living. I think that’s pretty dope.


Tell us about your recent track “Stranger”?

I released “Stranger” produced by a friend of mine, Silkey. It’s the one I wanted to put out first because I think how you open a campaign is important. I wanted to put something like that out, that’s a proper journey and would be surprising for a lot of people. It talks about the fact that everything comes to an end, and it can still be wonderful. I’m just looking forward to continuing making people uncomfortable and having to have tough conversations.


And what about your new track “Parade”?

“Parade” was written based on my feelings of what we experienced in 2020 socially across the world, and about the need to feel seen and that somehow in spite of everything we’re still able to keep all our magic and the world still doesn’t move without all of us.


How does your new EP follow on from your 2018 album?

I think this one’s a little bit happier in certain moments, it’s a little bit more upbeat in certain moments. This one’s a lot more organic across the board, there are a lot more organic sounds and there are a lot more songs that use production than on Village.


What do you want listeners to take away from the project?

I just want people out there to know that we’re all going through the same emotions and I want people to feel seen.


“Parade” and new EP For My Friends are out now.

12 March 2021