August, 2011
By: Amy Aiello

I had a pleasant time meeting Jacob of Young the Giant, and distinctly remember him as being humble, appreciative, compliment-giving, and sweet. He spoke fondly and much of his family, and adores his younger brother, who came with him on his trip to Chicago. Jacob wasted no time pointing out how talented his brother was in both soccer (at 16 years of age, he’s already playing at a pro level) and on drums. “I was always really sad because he’d do soccer more than he’d do music. Maybe once the soccer career takes a turn… I think he’ll find himself in a reggae band before anything. A white English dude that likes to play reggae music. Pretty hilarious.”

Jacob and the other members of YTG have been to Chicago on a couple of occasions prior to Lollapalooza. “The first time we really played out of state, we won a competition to play with the Kings of Leon at the House of Blues; it was quite frigid. It was like negative 10 or something… We were here twice this winter, too, and it was freezing. We actually got caught in that snow storm.”

Aside from minor technical difficulties, perhaps due to the humidity, the band had a great Lollapalooza experience. “When we were sound checking there were only maybe a hundred or so people there, but by the time we were playing it was saturated with people. It was amazing; I can’t really describe it.”

Lollapalooza isn’t the only big achievement for the band this year. They’ve just announced their invitation to perform on this years VMA’s, and also plan on writing an acoustic EP during their winter break. Jacob told me, “We’ve done a lot of indie open sessions, and it’s been one of our best attributes. It’s really helped us. I think people really want to hear more of our acoustic stuff.”

Jacob expressed openness and applause for new online media developments like Spotify: “I think it’s great that people are figuring out a way to adapt to the online world now. It’s good for musicians because so many people for such a long time were just strictly downloading (referring to ascap). Also it’s great that people are bridging the gap between radio and digital radio.”

I learned that this recently turned 21 year old musician is afraid of heights (we talked of sky diving), loves surfing and skiing, grew up with the French Alps very nearby, and thinks that our drinking age in the states isn’t the best idea. “I found in my college experience people drank so much heavier because of the age limit thing.”

When on tour, Jacob likes to bring little reminders of home along with him: “I miss naked juice when I travel out of the states, because it’s not quite the same anywhere else. I must say I really do enjoy traveling to Europe, because the food is so great over there. I usually bring my ukulele with me. A lot of people bring their acoustics, but they’re so big and bulky. I bring my laptop… and I have this little statue of an elephant, Ellie. I bring her with me.”

Young the Giant Official Website