If you’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing Cape Town’s local band Face Jackson perform live, you’ll know that their brilliant instrumentals, great vocals, and overall groovy vibe make this band an unforgettable experience. Thanks to the release of their self-titled debut EP on 24 September, this same experience is now available to you, in the comfort of your home. 

The six songs on this EP are all unique in their own right, but they also play their part in creating a coherent sound throughout Face Jackson. It is an excellent showcase of the band’s musical abilities as well as the dedication to honing their own distinct sound. The EP is a journey that is well worth taking.

Face Jackson’s sound is upbeat and infectious. Their signature style is fun, high-energy performances featuring a unique blend of reggae, rock, hip-hop, and funk that defies categorisation. Their sound has been compared to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Sticky Fingers, Bumpin Uglies, and Slightly Stoopid, but they still possess their own unique sound.

Unpacking the Tracks 

The single ‘Dr. Groove’ was pre-released on 8 July in anticipation of the EP release. They chose this specific song because out of all the songs on the EP, they felt that it was “really strong and catchy”. “It always received a great reception at live shows. So it kind of chose itself to be the single,” they said.

[Face Jackson performing their crowd pleaser ‘Dr. Groove’ at their recent EP launch held at Armchair Theatre in Observatory, Cape Town. PHOTO: Pierre-Louis Bredenkamp]

The two standout songs on this EP are without a doubt ‘Lonely Crowd’ and ‘On The Road’. When listening to ‘Lonely Crowd’ it is clear that Face Jackson had a story to tell. This is expertly done against the backdrop of reggae-style instrumentals while incorporating a spoken-word style hip-hop element — true to the band’s overall sound. Lead singer, Riccardo Da Naya, coins it as his favourite track on the EP. 

Bassist, Joss de Villiers, and guitarist James Vincent both went with ‘On The Road’ as their number one. In comparison to the rest, this song has a more relaxed and jazzy feel to it. Even so, Face Jackson maintains their high-energy sound and vocals throughout. This is also the only track that features an organ and keys, making it one of the rare songs that can pass both the ‘Sunday Morning’ and ‘Late Night Drive’ tests. 

[Joss de Villiers, guitarist and composer for Face Jackson jamming out at their EP Launch. PHOTO: Pierre-Louis Bredenkamp]

Face Jackson Share Their Highlight Reel

We asked the band to share a highlight reel of each song on the EP. Here is what they had to say:

  1. Big Mr Reggae – “The catchy chorus.”
  2. Harmony Dub – “The guitar solo to the end of the track.”
  3. Dr Groove – “This is our single and catchiest song”. 
  4. Lonely Crowd – “The chorus and little breaks.”
  5. Ms McHale – “The bridge is especially dreamy.”
  6. On The Road – “The simplicity of it is the key ingredient.” 

Not Forcing It

The making of this EP was “totally unforced,” as described by Face Jackson. Many of its songs were written spontaneously when the band was jamming out. “Sometimes at rehearsal or soundcheck, someone will do something cool that everyone feels and we start jamming on,” says Joss. If this happens during a soundcheck, the band often writes most of the song then and there — leaving the final polishing for later. Band members will occasionally share the results of personal projects with the rest, whereafter they will develop it further till everyone is happy with it.

Face Jackson loves everything related to the music side of music — so not “the admin and social media and blah blah blah”. This naturally pushed them to get the music that they loved making recorded and out into the world. “It also functions as part of the ‘business card’ you give to people. Like, hey, this is us and our product, we hope you dig it as much as we do,” says James.  

[Face Jackson’s newest T-shirts with the same design as their EP cover — done by Mia Andrews— are available at all their live shows. PHOTO: Pierre-Louis Bredenkamp]

There’s no denying that when Face Jackson performs, people will be on their feet and moving to their music. This theme is echoed throughout the EP in a similar fashion. Their music is both interesting and undoubtedly captivating due to the unique combination of genres they explore. “It’s pretty feel-good, and we think it’s a dope sonic journey,” they say, adding that it shows how they are finding their own sound. “It leans a lot towards the reggae and hip-hop side of things and we think it showcases that quite well,” says Joss. Face Jackson is excited for a wide variety of music — that “shows a different side” of them — soon to come.

Listen to Face Jackson Here:


It’s a good thing I’m better at my job than I am at driving. Otherwise, we’d all be in big trouble. On the note of things I enjoy more than driving, the local music scene is very dear to my heart — put me in a crowd in front of a band instead of behind the steering wheel any day of the week.


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