JACOB HUBBARD (LEVELS): “To Say We’re Ready To Go Is An Understatement”

Levels band photo
Photo: Alex Bemis.

Arkansas Metalcore band Levels are set to release a new EP entitled Pulse on February 2nd. The band’s bassist Jacob Hubbard took the time to talk with Metal Express Radio about their upcoming EP, being a DIY band, his hopes to tour with Post Malone, and more. Check out the chat below!

Metal Express Radio: Your band, Levels are set to release a new EP entitled Pulse on February 2nd, what can you tell fans about the upcoming release?

Hubbard: Pulse is electric, eccentric, eclectic and even a little erotic. From its grooves and catchy choruses to its riffs and breakdowns, it really has something for everyone. We couldn’t be more excited to share it with the world.

MER: How would you compare Levels to your 2018 self titled release?

Hubbard: It couldn’t have been a more different experience. The self-titled was recorded and produced entirely in the garage of our drummer, Dalton Kennerly, including a vocal booth in a water heater closet. We weren’t always all together for writing and tracking, and we were just fitting it in our schedules however we could. Dalton lived a few hours away from me and due to scheduling, we only had 24 hours to track all the bass for the album in time to get it mastered for the release. So, we split a six pack, tracked until we couldn’t stay up any longer, slept briefly and then woke up to finish tracking. We did 11 tracks in that time, it was crazy. Things are much different now that we’ve started working with Jonathan Dolese at Konkrete Studios in Nashville, TN. We’re together as a band for days or weeks at a time in the studio focused on the music instead of us all being apart and piecemealing things together. Jonathan has also been the missing piece of the band. He’s been instrumental in bringing our ideas to life and establishing the theme of this music. We’re so grateful to get to work with him.

MER: Do you feel Pulse gives the fans an idea on what to expect from your next full album?

Hubbard: Pulse is like a mission statement for where we’re taking things. We already knew we had a great vocalist in Kolby Carignan, but Jonathan helped us utilize his voice in our music in ways we never imagined. It’s really allowed Kolby’s talent to shine, and we’ve structured parts of these songs to give him a platform to showcase his abilities. We’re bringing together elements of all our favorite kinds of music in new ways for this next release. It’s going to deliver catchy choruses that’ll be stuck in your head and unexpected moments that keep you on the edge of your seat start to finish.

MER: What do you see as plans for you and the band after the EP release?

Hubbard: We want to tour as much as possible. We’ve spent the last couple of years focusing on creating the Pulse EP and getting everything in place to get things off the ground. To say we’re ready to go would be an understatement. We’re looking forward to expanding the Levels family and having an opportunity to represent the incredible and often overlooked bands of Arkansas.

MER: What are some of the challenges you face when it comes to self producing, mixing, and recording your songs, as well as editing your own videos?

Hubbard: The biggest challenge is always going to be time, followed by resources and experience. You need to weigh what’s worth outsourcing vs. doing in house based on how much time and experience you have as a band. For example, you can do your own marketing and cut out the expenses of a middleman, but are your marketing dollars going to go further with the experience and connections of the middleman vs. doing it yourself? Just because you’re DIY doesn’t mean you need to do everything yourself.

MER: What is some advice you would give to an up and coming band that would want to take a DIY approach?

Hubbard: Maybe a little on the nose, but I’d say the most important thing is to not trust anything that seems too good to be true. There’s a lot of people out there that will, intentionally or not, take advantage of your band and your hunger for success. Always thoroughly vet people before you trust them with the future of your band. Your best bet is to reach out to other bands that have worked with the person you’re thinking about.

MER: Who do you hope to tour with and why?

Hubbard: I’d love for us to tour with Post Malone. We want to break the mold of metal bands only touring with metal bands and I think the energy of this music would be a perfect fit with the energy of his.

MER: What were some of your favorite releases of 2023?

Hubbard: MSPAINT’s Post-American is such a bop. I still catch myself singing “Hardwired” around the house months later. The unexpected Balance and Composure comeback in “Too Quick to Forgive” was a nice nostalgic itch for me. They’re as good as ever and I’m really looking forward to their next release. Speaking of unexpected comebacks, Goodnight, God Bless, I Love U, Delete by Crosses (†††) is a full spectrum experience that I keep going back to. The production is incredible.

MER: What have been some highlights of the year for you and the band?

Hubbard: The number one highlight was obviously signing with SharpTone Records. SharpTone and Levels were both started in 2016 and we never could’ve imagined back then that we’d end up signing with them. It’s been a truly humbling experience and we’re so ready to make the most of this opportunity. It was also a blast getting to work with Landon Tewers (The Plot in You) on Siren Hymn and Pulse. He’s as good as they come, and he felt like another member of the band right off the bat. Getting to further develop our sound with Jonathan has also been a great experience.

MER: What are your hopes for the band’s future?

Hubbard: We want to use our music to help bring people together and relate, regardless of who they are or where they come from. We hope to create shared experiences and a community through our music that makes positive impacts on people. There’s also so many people that have helped us make it to this point and we want to bring them up with us too. Levels is bigger than just us, it’s a family of incredible people that we’ve been lucky to have the support of, and this wouldn’t be possible without them.


  • Matt Zaniboni

    Matthew is an interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He started his passion for music journalism back in his college radio days serving as the Heavy Metal Director at WKKL out of Hyannis Massachusetts. During Matt’s tenure in radio, he has had time working for commercial stations in Boston Massachusetts such as WAAF, WZLX AND 98.5 The Sports Hub before landing with Metal Express Radio. Anytime you want to talk heavy Metal, hockey, Guiness, and dad life, Matt is your guy m/

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