Jakobs Castle: Sounds of a Lifetime

Alex H. Krinsky on February 16, 2024
Jakobs Castle: Sounds of a Lifetime

photo: Danin Jacquay


Jakob Nowell, the son of Sublime frontman Bradley Nowell, decided to take his time before following in his father’s footsteps. But now, at 28, he has finally embraced both his family’s legacy and his musical calling, stepping out on his own under the moniker Jakobs Castle.

“I didn’t want to just jump into the deep end and use the opportunity in the wrong ways,” he says of his decision to shy away from performing Sublime material for years. “I had to find this middle ground where I could be authentic.”

However, his newfound sense of self has not only fueled his solo endeavors but also enabled him to finally revisit his father’s catalog. Recently, he performed with Sublime’s surviving members at Los Angeles’ Teragram Ballroom, boldly showcasing his vocal prowess and he will take to the road with them in 2024, including an appearance at Coachella.

Jakob has been exploring his roots in different ways for years. From time to time, he makes a pilgrimage to the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma, Calif., the venue where his dad played his last show. With Bradley passing away when he was only 11 months old, Jakob has found that visiting the site helps him feel connected to his father. While at the venue one time, he heard voices in a side room—what once could’ve been a green room—and upon opening a door, he found an Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meeting. Sober for seven years, Jakob told them his story and performed some of his own music. “It all kind of came together,” he says.

That profound experience is embedded in his forthcoming solo debut for Epitaph, Enter the Castle. The set’s “beach-meets-internet” style takes inspiration from an eclectic collection of sources—Sublime’s loose, natural vibe, OutKast’s genre-defying party energy and the experimental beats of Gorillaz. Crafting a sonic palette that mirrors the sounds of his lifetime, Jakob aspires to create something that is simultaneously catchy and weird, accessible yet unique. 

The musician also continues to channel his energy into The Nowell Family Foundation. Established by Jakob’s family and spearheaded by his aunt, the organization works to combat addiction-related issues. Jakob’s commitment to the foundation underscores a broader purpose—a desire to make a positive impact beyond the realms of music.

“I do this not just to exalt myself or boost my own ego but because I genuinely think that there’s a duty that I have to uphold the Sublime legacy,” he says of his decision to pursue a career in music. “And in doing that, I find my genuine self.”