Carving out a place among the Legends | MUSIC
ST-GEORGES-DE-BEAUCE | OCTOBER 2018
Even though he’s only 21 years old, Jacob Deraps is already drawing the attention of rock stars around the globe. For example, he shared the stage many times with Dweezil Zappa, jammed with the group Toto, and met with the famous photographer Robert K. Knight, who invited him to join the “Brotherhood of the Guitar”, which earned him sponsorships from companies as renowned as Ernie Ball Music Man and Germino Amplification. If the name of this guitar prodigy is now on everyone’s lips, it’s of course thanks to his undeniable talent, but also because of his judicious use of social media. Indeed, what these various marks of recognition have in common is that they all came after people viewed his performance videos on YouTube.
“Back in the 70’s, people from the music industry would go out in bars and clubs to discover new bands they had heard about, and would sign them to a record deal. These days most people don’t go out to see new bands, unless they have discovered them on social media. [That’s why] I find it very important to use social media professionally, to spread the word about the band, and help build a fan base”, says the man that’s active on every web platform. First known for his covers of Van Halen’s songs, his most popular videos now have no less than 192 000 views, a visibility that gave him the opportunity to play on radio and on TV (MusiquePlus), in addition to being an opening act for Simple Plan, and to be the object of many articles for the Van Halen News Desk.
His relationship with music goes far back. Born into a family of musicians – his mother is a pianist and saxophonist, and his father is a guitarist –, he’s been exposed to the 1980’s music while he was growing up. It is by searching through his father’s CD that he discovered Van Halen, his biggest musical influence, alongside Stevie Ray Vaughan, AC/DC and Toto. At 4, he tried drums, but because of his young age, he lacked interest and discipline. It’s only at the age of 12 that he discovered and developed his passion for guitar, which motivated him to make fast progress. Two years later, he published his first video on his YouTube channel, which now has nearly a hundred in total.
It’s thanks to his videos that he became acquainted with the Australian Josh Gallagher, who has been the official drummer of his band for the last two years. After many years of correspondence, friendship and virtual collaboration, they played for the first time together on the same stage last year. Today, they cumulate every kind of performances, from small bars to the Montreal Jazz Festival, and work on their first album: “The album should be very classic sounding and unique, totally out of today’s norm. Right now, I am focusing more on recording the songs one at a time, and releasing them when they’re ready, then at some point it will be time to pick songs to release a full album.” To this day, two singles are available: “Fuck Off” and “Live Fast Die Slow”, both composed by Deraps and co-written by Gallagher. A long-term job that will hopefully open doors for them, and perhaps even get them a career in the United States.