By Jon Regen
Provo, Utah and Keith Jarrett might not be the first proper names
that come to mind when you think of indie rock’s next big thing—but for Jacob Jones, the keyboardist in Fictionist, reward lies in the unexpected.
“Our music is full of a wide array of influences,” Jones says, during a recent band promo stop in New York. “There’s a pop sensibility to it, but there are also elements pulled from jazz, prog, and singersongwriters. Everything comes together in our live shows. That’s where the music explodes.”
Jones and his fellow Fictionist bandmates have been riding an explosion of late as contestants in Rolling Stone’s “Choose the Cover” contest. Having made it all the way to the third round, the Provo-based band continues to impress critics and listeners alike with their renegade blend of dynamic, jazz-influenced rock. Like a mellifluous marriage of Led Zeppelin, Steely Dan, and Radiohead, Fictionist rocks with smarts and swagger. The band’s latest release Lasting Echo is a testament to their symbiotic, all-encompassing sound.
“I started taking classical piano lessons at age eight,” Jones says of his formative years. “I continued until I was a freshman in high school, when I began focusing on jazz trumpet. I had an amazing trumpet teacher in Sacramento, California who got me hooked on jazz, listening to people like Clifford Brown, Freddie Hubbard, and Miles Davis. The funny thing is, later when I returned to the piano, I was still mainly listening to and transcribing horn players—people like John Coltrane and Charlie Parker. To this day, that horn-like influence is still a big part of my playing. Later I would get heavily into pianists like Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, and Keith Jarrett.”
These days, Jones holds keyboard court with Fictionist behind a streamlined rig of an original Nord Stage 88, coupled with a Studiologic VMK-161 Plus Organ MIDI controller. “The Nord is great for me because I’m mostly playing piano, electric piano, organ, and the occasional pad. The Studiologic controller gives me manual drawbars for my organ sounds. I send everything through a Motion Sound KBR-3D keyboard amp. And that’s it. My setup is simple, but it sounds great.”
Jones and Fictionist plan to continue purveying their unique brand of independent rock, both live and on record, into the future. “We’re doing shows and recording new songs,” Jones says of the band’s plans at hand. “We’re ready to take this all the way.”