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Omaha, NE | Established. Jan 01, 2016

Omaha, NE
Established on Jan, 2016
Band Rock Pop




"Omaha's JAGAJA Debuts Self-Titled Album"

Those living outside of Omaha, Nebraska might quickly associate its music scene with Midwestern emo. Think Bright Eyes, the Faint, and Cursive. While it’s certainly the home to Conor Oberst and his label, Saddle Creek Records, the surrounding music community offers so much more diversity.

Take JAGAJA, an upcoming indie pop act of two twin brothers: Gabriel (bass) and Graham Burkum (guitar). Their self-titled debut, which features both brothers’s vocals, will be released this weekend. The band will perform (for the first time ever) a release show tomorrow night at the Waiting Room, located in the town’s Benson neighborhood. The album will be for sale on CD and vinyl starting at midnight.

JAGAJA is all about symmetry. While the identical twins have spent their entire lives together, they couldn’t be more different at the moment. One is raising a family while the other lives in a single, independent household. Melodically, the record equally divides the twin’s distinct sounds, with half songs written by Gabe and the other six by Graham. Check out their new music video for their single, “Hypno Girl.”

Although they plan to perform locally, they have high aspirations to tour internationally. I recently sat down with Gabe and Graham at Krug Park, a bar across the street from the Waiting Room. They discussed JAGAJA’s beginning, the local music scene, and of course, the much anticipated release.

How did the band come about?

Graham: It’s a new incarnation of our older band. Gabe and I were in a band called Skypiper for about nine years. The style changed a lot. [Skypiper] started off bluegrass and folk, no drums. As we recorded our record, it became more of a rock band, progressed into more pop, and then moved towards more heavier themes. After the first record, we didn’t think the name fit anymore and it kept getting hard with five band members.

Gabe: It’s not only inconvenient to work with five guys’ schedules, but with Skypiper, you had five different people with equal input in the music. [With JAGAJA,] Graham and I are the band. We made the record we wanted to make.

Tell me about the upcoming release.

Graham: We recorded outside of Minneapolis at Summer-Winter Studio with our friend and engineer, Levi Stugelmeyer, for about a week. Guys from Skypiper helped play some instruments on it. We wrote and produced the entire album. We also came back and tracked some vocals in Omaha at StudioB. Then, Gabe drove down to Nashville and mixed it over a week with Eddie Spear. We then called Chris Athens in Austin, Texas to master it.

Gabe: Graham and I don’t really talk about this, but it’s important to get out of your city whenever you make an album, so there aren’t any distractions. If we travel to record or mix, none of us can run an errand for his wife or babysit or something. You’re stuck there. That’s not just for us, but for everyone helping make the record. You’re forced to focus.

What themes are embedded into your songs?

Gabe: What’s cool about JAGAJA is that Graham and I are split on the record. He wrote six songs. I wrote the other six. We’re identical twins and we grew up together, but right now, our lives could not be more different. On the album, there’s a lot about Graham’s first-born son, his wife, and his struggles. Also, there’s a polar opposite from essentially his physical clone, which is recently divorced with no children that’s angry, sad, and lonely.

How do you describe the local music scene?

Graham: It’s familial and intimate. Omaha isn’t big.

Gabe: We think Omaha is a small city with a big town mentality. The music scene is tightly knit and everyone knows and plays with everybody. I personally think there’s not enough musicians in Omaha. I feel like the musician scene could be bigger. Also, there’s a lot of different sects within the scene. Sometimes, each little bit keeps to themselves. At our release show, the two bands opening for us are from different smaller music scenes [within Omaha]. We want to start bringing these bands together because there are so many cool people and sounds here. It could be a better scene for everybody. - Impose Magazine

"Jagaja Album Release Concert Review"

It was hot (as usual) on Friday night for Jagaja’s inaugural show/album release party; thankfully, the AC was cranked up at The Waiting Room for what turned out to be a full crowd.

Medlock opened up the show with a set that reminded me of 90s style slacker rock. Lead singer Joshua Medlock’s vocals were perfect for the style, and the guitar riffs were simultaneously refreshing and rooted in classic alt rock. Bass player John Knobbe was solid, and contributed excellent backing vocals. The harmonies were especially nice.

Lot Walks took the middle set. Fronted by vocalist Jaiden Maneman, the group has a chill, beachy/retro sort of vibe. The bass and drum rhythm section was exceptional, and the two guitar players traded off lead and rhythm duties. I was struck especially by Maneman’s outstanding vocal phrasing and delivery, not something always heard in pop/rock music; each line of lyrics seemed specially crafted for maximum impact.

Headliner Jagaja took the stage as the crowd started to fill in and push toward the front of the room and put on a searing set of psych-tinged pop rock. The group is fronted by identical twins Gabriel Burkum on bass and vocals and Graham Burkum on guitar and vocals. The sound of Jagaja, to say the least, is big.

Even though it was their first live show, you wouldn’t have known it. The group was comfortable on stage and the songs were tight. Fuzzed out bass, jangly guitars and pounding drums made for a unique sound, combining more traditional rock with dance rhythms and a heavily layered guitar sound. The new album’s lead single “Hypno Girl” stood out with tight harmonies combined with an infectious beat. The crowd was fully engaged with the group, cheering after every song and swaying to the upbeat rhythms. - Hear Nebraska

"JAGAJA: Two Parts Equal the Whole"

We’re literally like clones,” says Gabriel Burkum, describing what it is like to be in a band with his twin brother, Graham. The 29-year-old, Council Bluffs-born twins are the musical duo behind JAGAJA (pronounced jag-uhh-jaw).

Their sound breaks away from what many expect from the Omaha scene. Dense guitar riffs, played by Graham, cascade over layers of rhythm, melody, and reverb. Then comes Gabriel with the bass line. Mixed with instruments and vocals, the brothers blend modern pop with tinges of psychedelia. Gabriel described it as if early 2000s Flaming Lips were recording in New York with the Strokes. In their terms, they’re happy to be from the Omaha area, but they claim to be an “American band” and try their best to take “all our influences and make them ours.”

jagaja2They started playing together in a band called Skypiper, their first official band (from 2007 to 2015). “Skypiper was more folky, or adult contemporary,” recalls Gabriel. It began as an acoustic project, but became more elaborate once they hit the studio. When Skypiper called it quits last year, Graham and Gabriel trudged on and formed JAGAJA. They are the only official members of JAGAJA with an ever-changing lineup of drums, synthesizers, and other instruments that they add into the mix. “It has to be just me and Graham,” says Gabriel. Graham plays guitar, Gabriel plays bass, and they share vocal duties. They try to keep JAGAJA small and between the two of them because “we want to make the record we want.”

“The best part about being in a band with your twin brother is you can (want to) kill them, but like 10 minutes later you’re still twin brothers and can get back to business,” Gabriel says. Their close work relationship is assisted by time apart. The brothers write songs separately and collaborate later. “Half of the album was written by me, and the other half was written by Graham,” says Gabriel. When it comes to process, Graham says, “Maybe I’ll have a hook, and we’ll build on that…We like hooks.”

They have been steadily touring and hope to play an Omaha homecoming show in December. Graham says, “When we play a show, we want it to be an event.”

The band self-released their first, self-titled album in June, which is available on streaming services and at many record stores in Omaha.

Visit jagajamusic.com for more information. - Omaha Magazine

"JAGAJA – JAGAJA [New Album]"

El dúo psych pop JAGAJA ha liberado su nuevo álbum homónimo de estudio, 12 pistas con mucho sintetizador y un ritmo muy pegadizo.

Si lo que estás necesitando es un disco que pueda acompañarte durante una mañana de trabajo, una tarde de facultad o una noche de ejercicios, este es el indicado.

Su descarga ya se encuentra disponible en digital vía iTunes.

Si no lo escuchaste todavía, acá te dejamos el full álbum.

No olvides subir el volumen.

Enjoy! - Zone Nights (Argentina)

"Jagaja debuts video, releases full-length album this weekend"

Gabriel and Graham Burkum announced a new project in late 2015, after spending years with the likes of Skypiper and its own namesake Burkum Boys.

That new project, Jagaja, debuted its first track, “Hypno Girl,” in video format yesterday via YouTube. The bouncy, danceable number is featured on the band’s forthcoming self-titled album, which it will release Friday, June 24 at The Waiting Room (RSVP here).

There’s a sheen on this first look, from the production of “Hypno Girl” itself right down to the video details. The brothers Burkum recorded the album in Omaha and Minneapolis, and went big in the album’s finish. It was mixed in Nashville by Eddie Spear (Jack White, Arctic Monkeys, Neil Young) and mastered in Austin, Texas by Chris Athens (Nada Surf, Sleigh Bells, Drake).

The result, at least here, is a glistening, pop-oriented dance track and a video that seems to draw sleek inspiration from Bond film opening credits to iPod commercial.

Watch “Hypno Girl” below: https://youtu.be/p2Qbr-OT7SE - Hear Nebraska

"Band of the Week: Jagaja"

Last year, brothers Gabriel and Graham Burkum wanted to start a new band. They wrote some songs. They decamped to St. Paul, Minnesota, to record. They sent the record to Nashville and Austin to be mixed. They named the project Jagaja (officially pronounced “jag-guh-jaw”). And now they’re ready to play. Friday’s show will be a debut of the pop rock band as well as a release for an album full of catchy new tunes such as lead-off track “Puzzle People.”

Genre: Pop rock

The show: Jagaja album release show with Lot Walks, Medlock at 9 p.m. Friday at The Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. Tickets, $10 in advance or $12 day of show, are available at etix.com or Homer’s Music. - Omaha World-Herald

"Album of the Week: Jagaja (Self Titled)"

As soon as I looked at the artwork for this album, I knew I was in for a trip. The entire album is reminiscent of later Beatles tunes. Jagaja, Hailing from Nebraska, consists of twin brothers Gabriel (bass) and Graham (guitar) Burkum; with support from a variety of musicians. The album is a team effort by both brothers; each contributed about half the material. My favorite track would have to be “Puzzle People,” hands down. It’s a true psych-pop tune right down to the core. I’m looking forward to hearing more from this group in the future. Check out the new record here: https://jagajamusic.bandcamp.com/releases - The BIRN (Berklee College of Music)



MVカットもされているM-2「Hypno Girl」なんかは結構王道的サイケパワーポップだし、ちょっとWeezerっぽさもあるM-3「Crash and Learn」、サビのリフレインが中毒的なM-5「Mother Cobra」あたりおすすめ! - THISTIME Records


JAGAJA (self-titled), 2016

  1. Puzzle People
  2. Hypno Girl
  3. Crash and Learn
  4. Anything At All
  5. Mother Cobra
  6. The Racket
  7. Land of Slumber
  8. What Do Ya Got?
  9. When We're Free
  10. Even If
  11. She Moves
  12. Blue



JAGAJA (jăg-guh-jaw) is the musical co-op of twin brothers Gabriel (bass) and Graham Burkum (guitar). The frontmen split lead vocals and harmonies, creating a sound that is best described as hypnotic yet aggressive, sometimes anthemic, psych-pop punctuated with ruminating, day-dreamy riffs.

The Burkum twins define JAGAJA with a balance between sun-drenched reverie and true earthly aggression. The act is anchored firmly by the two brothers, and realized with support by a variety of musicians.

JAGAJA’s self-titled album was released in June 2016 to positive acclaim from Argentina to Japan, as well as College Radio across the US. 

Band Members