Jacoozy band

Courtesy of Will Fentress

Jacoozy, a North Carolina-based indie rock project, has been gaining traction in the Raleigh live music scene after getting their start playing house shows in Boone. The band consists of Will Fentress on guitar and vocals, Carter Hodl on bass, Killian Wright on guitar and Pauly Scott on drums.

Hodl said they started Jacoozy in June 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic. The group had known each other through various side projects and decided they wanted to start a more serious project. 

“Will was in a band in Raleigh at the time, and Pauly and I had a little side gig going,” Hodl said. “Killian and I had basically just met and had talked about making a bit of music together … We kind of wanted to get serious. I had texted Will because he was still in Raleigh and asked him if he wanted to start a band. I knew Pauly from the side project that we had during COVID with a couple other people, so I texted him to play drums. And then we had our first show that summer.”

The band put out their first single in February 2022 and released their self-titled EP, consisting of six tracks, the following month. The name Jacoozy came from a randomly assigned gamer tag Wright had used for a few weeks in 2021. 

“I had a gamertag back when I played Fortnite for two weeks,” Wright said. “It was ‘jacuzziveins,’ for some reason. I think it was a random one that was assigned to me and then we just kind of switched up the spelling of jacuzzi to j-a-c-o-o-z-y and looked on Spotify and that wasn't taken.”

Scott said the band receives the most support around the members’ home bases of Raleigh and Boone. Apart from playing the house show circuit in Boone, they’ve performed to packed audiences at The Pour House in Raleigh and Legends in Boone.

“I think it's hard to pick a favorite, just wherever the momentum is at the time,” Scott said. “Like when we first started that summer, Boone was the place to be with the house shows. When it kind of shut off, we moved into Raleigh and Chapel Hill a little bit. So wherever people are showing up, it's a fun time.”

When writing music, the group draws inspiration from many different genres and artists, from Mac Miller and Masayoshi Takenaka to Midwest emo. 

“I have these guys show me new music a decent amount of time,” Fentress said. “I've got some other friends show me new music. I've been listening to a lot of Japanese jazz fusion recently. It's just kind of all over the place, like MGMT, Daft Punk. It really depends on what the mood is and when.”

Since Scott is drums-oriented, he used to draw influences from bands such as Arctic Monkeys and My Chemical Romance. However, his preferences have changed over the years.

“For the past several years, I think I've been more hip-hop oriented,” Scott said. “Just because those are like group-based anyway, I'm drawn to the drums. Especially hip-hop that uses live instruments, like Mac Miller’s ‘Circles’ album.”

The group has thought about dropping their day jobs to make Jacoozy a full-time gig, Scott said. Rather than reaching a tangible number or goal, it’s more so about reaching a point where they can live comfortably without another job. 

“I think the goal there is not just survival, but really making the art where we don't have to worry about having side jobs or anything like that,” Scott said. “We can really sit down and have creative weekends and week-long studio times and really explore and push this the way we want to without the stress of scraping by.”

Hodl said new music is currently in the works, alongside completed material that isn’t yet recorded. The group is making plans to record this summer. 

“We got a couple things down the pipeline,” Hodl said. “I'm sure whenever we're together, we're going to just be bringing new things to the table. That's kind of been our whole new song process — to begin with somebody [writing] something and bringing it to the table, and everybody adding their own embellishments.”

The group is planning on playing more shows throughout North Carolina, Fentress said. Their goal is to tap into new crowds in different places and spread their name and music further, faster.

“We're just trying to get around the house circuit,” Fentress said. “We are thinking of shows we could plug nearby. But yeah, just trying to get the name out there and be as consistent as possible with the presence and playing. We just want to see new faces. I feel like we're palatable with a lot of people.” 

Jacoozy’s music can be found on Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music. For updates on live shows, follow them on Instagram @jacoozytheband.

Assistant News Editor

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