Who knew a quick pit stop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia would end in a chance meet and a night of live music. After spotting these three guys busking in the mall we pulled up a stool, ordered a bottle of wine and stayed for the whole set. We are glad we did, London meet Jumero…
For those who don’t know Jumero introduce yourselves?
L to R: Michael Lim – bassist and back up vocalist Ryan Gomes – Percussionist/drummer and back up vocalist Jared Lim – Lead vocals and acoustic guitarist
Jumero are a trio consisting of two brothers (Jared and Michael) and a very close childhood friend (Ryan) who can be considered as a brother too.
If you had to liken your sound to another musician/band who would it be?
We’ve been compared to bands such as Hanson, Los lonely boys, Jack Johnson and Jason Mraz. But we all feel that we haven’t quite found a band that we really sound like yet, which could be because we just haven’t heard of them yet. Ultimately though, we’re kind of glad, because we prefer to sound as original as possible.
Who inspires you musically?
There are so many great inspirations to us out there. Two in particular that stand out to us though, would be Ed Sheeran and John Butler. Both of them started out by busking on the streets and worked towards getting their music heard the hard way, and John Butler still busks from time to time even though he has gained musical success. To name a few others would be John Mayer, Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz and Jamiroquai.
Describe your sound?
Over the past few years, our sound has definitely changed a lot, making it difficult to label us under one specific genre. But a good friend of ours once labelled us as “acoustic hippie beach pop”, if that even makes any sense. Other than that, we’d say we give off very easy listening chilled out vibes with a bit of groove here and there.
You guys have a great style, which is always important, however there are so many bands that are all style over substance. How do you make sure you get taken seriously as musicians?
As a band, we’ve always prioritised our music over looks. Not that appearance isn’t important. It’s just that for us, we concentrated more on the music rather than anything else. Also, I guess to be taken seriously as musicians, you have to take what you do seriously yourselves before other people will.
What does your band name mean and where did it come from?
Our band name has a pretty interesting origin actually. What happened was, years ago, before any of us owned a car, all three of us always happened to be stuck at this same bus stop for hours. You see, we lived a little far from the main city of Malaysia, and the only bus that would bring us back home could take up to two hours to come. With so much time to kill, we’d always come up with random games and stuff to do to help keep us occupied. Time would always pass a lot faster and good memories were made there, so much so that we even decided to name the bus stop after our own names.
Jumero is basically the first letter of each of our names with which we each of us got to choose a vowel to be placed after our respective letter. We didn’t tell each other the vowel till after all of us had already decided in our mind. Of course, at that time, we had no idea that we would be forming a band. So years later when we did form a band, we were racking our brain for a band name when one of us said, “Why don’t we name our band after our bus stop, Jumero!” And that’s how we got our name.
When did you start playing music? Has it always been in your blood?
Jared: I was introduced to the guitar when I was nine. A friend of ours taught me four basic chords. I kind of forgot about the guitar for a while after that and only started really playing at the age of 15, which was also when I wrote my first song. Music and Art has always been present in our family during Christmas and family occasions.
Ryan: I was born into a musical family, as both my parents are professional jazz musicians. At the age of eight I had started taking piano lessons, but was more interested in the drums. However, I never took drum or percussion classes, but picked it up on my own from observing how others did it; getting some pointers from professional drummers when my dad would have band practice. By the age of 16 though I had performed my first gig on the drums with my elder brother, who also writes and performs music.
Michael: The first instrument I ever played was the piano, which was when I was 10 years old. I was classically trained and continued to be so until I finished my grade eight at age 17. As for the bass guitar, I was self-taught and only picked it up at age 16. Jared and I weren’t born into a family of professional musicians. However, music has always played a great part in our family.
What’s the industry like for an unsigned band? What are the challenges you face?
To look at it one way, not being signed to a record label means you basically start from the bottom and work your own way up. Being a signed band would get you the financial backing you would need to expose yourselves, and the label would also have all the networking advantages that you don’t. So without being signed, you basically fund your own band in whatever way needed and promote yourself on whatever platform possible. On top of that, going out to events in hope to meet the right people and exchange contacts is vital for securing gigs. Like most industries, the music industry is very similar in the sense that it is greatly based on knowing the right people. In short, it’s pretty tough being an unsigned band, and those are just some of the challenges that we, as well as most other unsigned bands, face today. But for us, so far, we’re quite happy with our progress and will continue doing things the way we’ve done it before. But who knows? Perhaps we might consider signing under a label in the future; we’re always open to new ideas.
Do you think the power of social media is allowing unsigned acts to garner fans in a way that they weren’t able to before?
Yes, definitely. Social media has allowed us a much larger reach compared to musicians before the age of the Internet. Today, people can literally share their music with the whole world with the click of a mouse. Previously, musicians were almost “forced” to sign with record labels and managers in order to get the required exposure for their music. But thankfully today, social media has allowed people to give their art the necessary exposure it needs.
Where can we see you guys live?
We don’t have any fixed weekly or monthly gigs at venues, so it’s always different. The easiest way to keep updated on our performances and whereabouts would be on our Facebook page. Www.facebook.com/jumeromusic
Is there an album on the cards and what can we expect to hear?
Currently, our album is still in the making. If everything goes as planned, we’ll be releasing our seven track album sometime during August 2015. It’ll be our debut album, so we’re all quite excited about it. As for its sound, we’re keeping it as natural as possible with minimal effects. All the songs on the album have their own unique sound, and they are all different from each other. We hope to capture the attention of those that listen through the diversity of each song.
Do you all write the music together?
No. Jared writes our original music. But, we all arrange and finalize the songs together.
What’s the goal and where do you hope to be in five years time?
In five years time, we hope to be touring around the world sharing our original music with as many people as possible. As for the main goal, we’d love to keep doing what we do, with making music and performing it, as a career and to be as successful as we can get so that our music will be heard all over the world. Other than that, we’ve talked about our hopes of opening our own recording studio and maybe even a record label company if all goes well.
Interviewed by Sophie Maguire, KL Malaysia
From more from Jumero: