• Luke McCarthy
  • James Ryan
  • Holly Speirs
  • Stephen Healy
Few artists offer a truly emotive narrative in every release quite like Jacob Banks does. Ever since his first EP, The Monologue, Mr Banks has caught the attention of some of the biggest artists, labels and tastemakers in music. Now boasting a near cult following, Jacob’s managed to work with the likes of Chase & Status and Avelino whilst still staying humble in attitude and distinctly grass roots in his sound.
Now, with the release of his latest EP, The Boy Who Cried Freedom, we see Jacob’s sound developing even further in maturity and diversity. His powerful, emotive vocals are now a given but the progress he’s made as a lyricist and the variation in production on the EP is what has seen Jacob really push his sound forward. There’s definitely a reason why The New York Times hailed him as the best act of SXSW, so, if you’re not yet familiar with his sound, it’s time you discovered your new favourite artist.
We were lucky enough to get a morning of Jacob’s time to talk summer, his new EP and style, whilst shooting him in some choice modern tailoring from the NEW LOOK MEN Horizon collection.
You've had the release of your latest EP, 'The Boy Who Cried Freedom', how long has that been in the making? What's the story behind the music?
The EP took about a month for my team and I to put the music together. I had such a great time writing the music, it mixes digital sounds with traditional melodies.
You've sold out gigs in London and the States, how have you found the reaction to your new material so far?
The reaction so far has been incredible; it’s such a blessing.
Any favourite shows so far? What are the main differences between the UK and US crowds?
I really enjoyed New Orleans a lot and Philadelphia purely for their philly cheesesteak. The main difference between the two countries is the consumption of alcohol. The U.K. needs to be drunk to enjoy anything.
You performed at SXSW, capturing the attention of some of the biggest publications in the US, how was it?
It was really fun, I love getting the opportunity to share my story and exchanging energies with people and that's what we took away from it. All the rest was a bonus.
Do you prefer the more intimate or festival gigs? And why?
I prefer a more intimate setting, it just feels more real to me. It feels less like a show and more like a conversation with the crowd.
Your lyrics and music always a really emotive feel to it, how or where do you gain inspiration for your songwriting?
My biggest inspiration is life, as there are so many magical moments that happen. I just have to stay open to know when those moments happen and write them down.
We've been listening to your own personal playlist today on shoot, what are some of your favourite artists on there at the moment?
I’m loving the Afrobeats world right now. Some artists I like are Maleek Berry , Wizkid, J Hus and Jo Saxe (he’s not an afrobeats artist but he is special).
You've been wearing a few of our Horizon pieces today, what are some of your favourite pieces?
The pink/salmon two piece suit was my favourite.
What does style mean to you?
Style to me means being comfortable and content in who you are.
What's the most personal thing about your style? And any advice for someone out there trying to develop theirs?
I do what works for me, if you wear anything with enough confidence it will work. Style is also more of a state of mind than it is clothes. Wear what reflects you and remember that you are a real life G.