When the saucer-shaped spaceship called Jupiter 2 launched into the vast void on the ’60s television show Lost in Space, the fate of its previous ship Jupiter 1 remained a mystery.
But four individuals decided to bring this anonymity to life — by naming their band Jupiter One after the ship.
“But after doing more research we found out that it was a failed mission,” frontman K Ishibashi said. “How ironic.”
The irony is unmistakable, for the band’s journey has been anything but a failure.
The New York indie-rock band started off with humble beginnings as a two-person gig with singer and multi-instrumentalist Ishibashi and guitarist Zac Colwell.
Now, nine years later with its sophomore album Sunshower freshly released on Ryko records, the complete four-member group is on tour as the opening band with the talented and quirky female artist Regina Spektor.
Tonight, Jupiter One will perform in front of nearly 6,000 audience members at the Greek Theatre.
This sudden mainstream exposure might faze others, but Ishibashi has a quirk that gives him an edge: He has been playing the violin in Spektor’s band for her European tour since May of this year.
In fact, it was through this very relationship that Ishibashi scored the highly coveted position for his band.
“We became friends, so I just gave her our new album that was coming out,” Ishibashi said. “She really liked it and now we’re opening for her.”
According to Ishibashi, his unconventional turn of events spurred by coincidence was precisely what the band needed.
“Touring as an opener for Regina Spektor is a huge deal for us,” said Ishibashi, who still plays in Spektor’s band following Jupiter One’s opening act. “[When I found out], I wasn’t sure if it was real or not. It was just perfect because our album was about to come out. It was a really great opportunity for exposure.”
Without a doubt, the band has come a long way. Ishibashi and Colwell first met as touring musicians in a traveling circus, with Ishibashi playing the violin and Colwell, the saxophone.
The two started playing music together in the early 2000s, traveling around New York City to play at small local venues. It was during this journey that the duo met previous STOMP member and drummer Dave Heilman, who took the group’s music to a whole new level.
“Simply put, the drummer joined and turned it into a rock band,” Ishibashi said.
The rest of the pieces naturally fell together after that. The newest addition is bassist Pat Dougherty, who hopped on the bandwagon a few years ago. Ishibashi’s wife, Mocha, a fellow violinist, joined the band as a somewhat honorary member after the two met at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Although Mocha is not traveling with the band, Ishibashi said she has contributed regularly as keyboardist and back-up singer in the last two albums.
The new album is heavily influenced by the band’s love of both old and modern music. Through the album, Ishibashi said the band defies tradition and strives to embrace the diverse nature of its sound.
“We really want to remind people of the great music of the ’60s and ’70s, [the time of] rock and roll,” he said. “We will constantly try to make this old sound and render it in a modern way. Since when do albums have to be in one place?”
Prior to this tour, the band has traveled across the country, playing in small rock clubs and living off foot-long Subway sandwiches, according to Ishibashi. Its cross-country trek definitely seemed to spread word about its music, as many of its tracks have been featured in video games, commercials and TV shows such as Heroes and Kyle XY.
“It’s kind of been a slow burn for us,” Ishibashi said. “There have been a lot of exposures here and there that were pretty exciting.”
But with this new opportunity of being on tour with Spektor, that slow burn might just have been lit back into a fresh roaring fire.
After regularly playing in front of 200 to 300 people in previous gigs, the band now plays for audiences that are exponentially larger. Two weeks ago, the band opened for the sold-out show at Radio City Music Hall in New York City’s Rockefeller Center before 7,000 fans.
“We definitely do get stage fright,” Ishibashi said. “But we’re really excited because we’ve come this far, and we just want to show people what we can do.”