By Nicholas Jason Lopez
On his way home late one night after a studio session, Jacob Cade, 21, randomly sang out loud to keep himself entertained in the long car ride. By chance, he stumbled across a melody that’d later become the chorus of a song called “Your Existence,” the debut single for his punk rock band, The BRKN.
Usually, Cade never wrote songs with lyrics first, as they came with the music or guitar riffs, but this time was different. It popped out to him. He quickly wrote a chorus and added some progression to it. With some emotional inspiration, the whole song basically wrote itself.
“At the time I wasn’t going through it, but I have had a relationship that didn’t really go the way it had planned, so to speak,” Cade said. “I had just broken up with somebody and I was kind of in that place of writing about that and how I felt. I had all these emotions that were just built up about it and so that chorus, the words just kind of came out of my mouth. I was just speaking how I felt at that specific time.”
The BRKN currently consists of Cade (Vox/Lead Guitar), Kick Stevens (Rhythm Guitar) and Mike Bokenkamp (Drums). Their sound was inspired by the likes of Mayday Parade and Neck Deep, though Cade himself is also influenced by other acts like Aersomith, Guns N’ Roses and The 1975.
“A lot of the reason that I play music is because of bands like Guns N’ Roses, Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin, probably the biggest ones that kind of shape my whole world as a guitar player and as a vocalist as well,” said Cade.
Cade had already made a name for himself with a successful solo career, sharing bills with Steel Panther and Bobaflex. He has also worked with the likes of Winger’s Paul Taylor, Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale and Joe Hottinger and Skid Row’s Rachel Bolan. On Feb. 1, 2019, Cade released a solo EP called ‘Hunger,’ produced by Michael Wagener.
It wasn’t long before “Your Existence” made its way to everyone’s ears in Summer 2019 and amassed almost 80,000 Spotify playlist streams in a short time. Cade had a ball when they made the music video in Downtown Denver and successfully fulfilled his vision for what it’d look like, with help from Digital Myle.
“I guess it’s kind of like a “screw you” song, which was really good because that’s kind of how I felt and that’s how I’m sure everyone feels at some point when they’re going through that sort of thing in their life,” Cade said. “We were just like, ‘Let’s just go mess around, skate around and just have fun as dudes and kind of be carefree a little bit.’ Even though the song is pretty deep and kind of about some more heavier emotions, we thought it was kind of a cool idea, so that’s how we attacked it. I guess it’s not really hard to tell, but at the end of the video, there’s a shot of me blowing up a chair with an axe and that kind of also puts in there in the perspective of ‘I’m pissed, this is what this song is about.'”
On July 20, 2019, The BRKN played Rockfest in Cadott, Wis. to a standing-room only crowd and shared the stage with acts like Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, Five Finger Death Punch and Evanescence. Known for his fierce stage personality, Cade emphasized the ability to play a “killer live show.”
“We come out on stage no matter where we’re playing and we blow your mind every night, at least we do our best to. Some people are harder to please than others, but it’s actually the ‘bare bones, no-holding-back’ [type of] show and I’m really proud of ourselves for that and I think people should know that when they come to see us, we’re gonna give it all that we’ve got,” Cade said.
On Sep. 20, 2019, The BRKN premiered the video for single “The Motions” on Folk N’ Rock. Cade expressed that lyrically, the song deals with being “stuck in a life cycle that has been going on for so long, you’re just going through the motions.” He hopes listeners feel energized from the music, but also informed of his struggles. For him, there’s no better feeling than somebody identifying with his lyrics.
“I would want people to listen to it and kind of understand that they’re not alone,” said Cade. “Anybody who might be feeling like they’re alone and feeling like they’re going through these sort of situations on their own, that nobody else goes through ‘em, I think that I would really love if someone listened to our song and was like, ‘Oh wow, someone else gets it. Someone else has gone through this or is going through this.’ It’s not so much like, ‘Here’s a solution to your problems, but listen man, I know what you’re going through and yeah it sucks, but we’ll get it through it somehow, everyone does, you know?”
In October 2019, they embarked on a tour run that brought their music to high school students with on-campus performances with High School Nation, an organization dedicated to help public schools advance in music and art. The BRKN also joined The Dangerous Summer on their Fall tour and played 17 cities alongside Arm Akimbo and Locket. Recently announced via social media, the group will also join Doll Skin’s “Mark My Words” Tour along with Starbenders, which lasts from March 29, 2020 to April 10, 2020.
Produced by Glenn Sawyer and Rich Veltrop at The Spot Studios in Colorado, The BRKN’s debut EP, ‘No. 3’ is slated for a March 6, 2020 release. Named after the number his grandfather wore when he played soccer in Mexico, Cade expressed how eager he is for fans to hear what’s to come from the band.
“I think The BRKN tunes are by far the most in-depth and sensitive lyrics that I’ve ever done,” said Cade. “The whole EP that we recorded I feel like is lyrically and also musically the most meaningful stuff that I’ve ever done and I’m really proud of that. I would also say a good accomplishment for me is finally being able to have a band that has a name and members in it that are stagnant. I’ve always wanted that. I mean, all my inspirations are bands that have a name and that are kind of like a brotherhood, so I guess I’m really just stoked that I finally accomplished that dream of being in a band with some brothers.”