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The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College's student newspaper

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College's student newspaper

The Berkeley Beacon

Exclusive: The “beach meets internet” fusion of Jakobs Castle

Photo: Clara Faulkner

Jakobs Castle, a new fusion band, embodies the convergence of two seemingly disparate worlds, aptly described as “beach meets internet”— a term ingeniously coined by its visionary lead artist, Jakob Nowell.

This innovative concept stands as a testament to Nowell’s unique artistic vision and his desire to blend the nostalgia of his father’s (late Sublime vocalist Bradley Nowell) music with the contemporary digital era. 

Conversely, ‘internet music’ is the soundscape of today’s digital age, where a diverse array of genres, styles, and influences are accessible at the click of a button. It represents a world of innovation where artists can draw inspiration from an endless wellspring of digital resources and collaborate across geographic boundaries.

Jakobs Castle serves as the meeting point for these two worlds. It’s a place where beachy music’s timeless melodies harmonize with internet music’s cutting-edge sounds. Here, the past and present coexist, resulting in a musical journey that is both nostalgic and forward-thinking. 

Nowell delved into the intersection of the past and the present, discussing how he incorporates these elements into the creation of his own music. Nowell’s musical journey began with his involvement in the Southern California rock band LAW. However, Jakobs Castle represents a bold departure from his past endeavors, offering an unfiltered glimpse into his personal musical identity.

“When I was a singer in my old band, LAW, it was all so new,” Nowell said. “I knew I wanted to perform and be gregarious and theatrical, larger than life on stage. I couldn’t tell you the difference between the mids and lows and highs, and I couldn’t hear certain things musically, and didn’t know how we should sound mixed and which gear and all that.” 

As Nowell’s sound evolved, so has he, both as an individual and an artist. Crafting Jakobs Castle forced him to confront new horizons and explore uncharted territories within himself. Within this creative transformation, Jakob Nowell has emerged as a multi-hyphenate artist, embodying roles and responsibilities beyond conventional boundaries. He’s not just a musician; he’s a visionary, curator, storyteller, and innovator. 

This multifaceted approach to his craft allows him to infuse a rich tapestry of influences and experiences into his music and the essence of Jakobs Castle.

“When I wanted to make my own project, it forced me to evolve out of necessity. I resisted it for so long because I used to play with musicians who were so technically proficient. But when I worked on a project experimenting with artificiality, I got to figure out how to be my own sound guy and make the sounds I want.” 

Nowell’s artistic journey also intersects with a legacy deeply rooted in Southern California’s reggae rock scene. He candidly acknowledges that his history has left an impact on his approach to his new sound.

“Everyone wants to have their cake and eat it too. I come from a well-known Southern California reggae rock band called Sublime.” Nowell said. “I go into this line of work, which I’ve been doing for the last ten years. The entertainment industry is going to expect my music to sound like that. I knew I was going to carry that torch. I had a problem with that, but I don’t see it as [much of a] problem now.” 

Under the banner of Epitaph Records, Nowell made his label debut with the laid-back single “Time Traveler,” co-written in collaboration with Tim Armstrong. Following this milestone, Nowell is actively engaged in the creative process, working on new music after his recent single release, “Lights Out.” In his creative process, Nowell’s goal extends beyond crafting a distinctive sound: he aspires to cultivate a diverse audience that bridges generations and transcends genres.

“I made these songs with Jon Joseph. Even if nobody else likes them in the entire world, I know that I succeeded at least in what I was trying to do and the sound I was trying to create. These are 14 songs of something that I’m intensely proud of.”

What sets Jakobs Castle apart is its unique ability to draw in a multifaceted audience. It welcomes both young, Sublime-loving enthusiasts who appreciate the unconventional twists in his music and older Sublime fans who embraced the evolution of his sound. It’s a testament to his goal of capturing the cross-section of people who may have grown up amidst the backdrop of parties, uncertainty, and chaos, and yet, in their own unique way, they found their place within the music that Jakob Nowell creates.

“Young kids come to the shows who like Sublime and all the weird stuff I’m into. I’ve also seen old Sublime fans come to the shows and be accepting of all the weird stuff that I’m. My goal is to try to nail the cross-section of people who maybe grew up around a lot of partying, uncertainty, and craziness and fit in nowhere.”

Jakob’s Castle is embarking on a tour supporting reggae band Common Kings, infusing their live performances with an entirely fresh and refreshing perspective. This collaboration is not just about sharing the stage; it’s about redefining how audiences experience music in a live setting.

“I hope that we can thrill, confuse and excite you and that the recorded versions will be more like soundtracks to day-to-day life. But live we are high energy. We are high weirdness, and we are high,” said Nowell. “I’m just kidding. We’re not high. But it’s okay if you get high at our shows. It’s perfectly legal to get high on anything when you’re watching Jakobs Castle. Quote it. That’s legally true.”

Nowell’s growing fan base mirrors the ever-expanding horizons of his musical journey. However, it’s not just about numbers; it’s about shared passion that fuels the band’s mission. With each new listener, Jakobs Castle tries to create a haven where people of all ages and musical tastes find common ground. The castle isn’t just a physical place; it’s a symbolic space where the magic of music unites hearts and souls.

“Jakobs Castle is your castle. It is not my castle. It is a castle for everyone to be a part of for 1000 years. I hope to both honor my family, but also stay true to the music that I love to make.”

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About the Contributor
Clara Faulkner, Managing Editor and Living Arts Editor
Clara Faulkner holds dual roles at the Beacon, serving as both the Business Director and the Living Arts Editor. Before taking up these positions, she showcased her expertise as an assistant editor, specializing in living arts—a field she is deeply passionate about, driven by her love for pop culture and entertainment. Aside from her editorial work, Clara actively engages in multiple campus organizations, including SPJ, CPLA, WECB, and AEPHI. Moreover, she takes on the role of marketing director at Emertainment. Beyond her writing endeavors, Clara delves into the realms of culinary exploration, cinematic indulgence, and language acquisition, constantly seeking new experiences and knowledge.

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