With an influx of regular gigs in the Destin area, 12Eleven have steadily made a name for themselves in the region. The average member age is only 22 and the five-piece also includes a sax to round out their lineup, culminating in a high energy night of music that can tackle any genre.
“So, it was my freshman year in college, and it had really just started out as a two or three-piece.” lead vocalist Jairuzniel “Jai” Rojas says.
One day, Rojas followed the sound of a guitar through the college dorms. “I knocked on their door and that’s how I met my lead guitarist, Daniel (Hunt). And so we basically started—it wasn’t even really a band, we just started playing music together for about a year. And we’d play a couple of gigs out at the bars and cafe shops or whatever up here in Troy.”
Now the 12Eleven lineup includes Rojas, Pierce Gilmore (drums), Daniel Hunt (lead guitar), Denver Wallace (bass), and Eric McCauley (sax/vocals).
“I would say (we’re) entertaining,” says Rojas. “We’re goofy. We mess around with each other, kind of bring that to the space. So me and Eric talk and then just try to be comedic. At least we think we’re funny.”
For the styles of music 12Eleven is apt to include, very little is out of reach. Rojas lists R&B, pop, and country before explaining, “We like to play a lot of genres because we all come from different genres, all five of us. And then we really just like playing. We like to play to the people, but we also like to play what we like to play.
“And then when it comes to our originals… That’s also a whole mix, because we’re just a whole bunch of genres. But the originals I write are mostly depression because for about a year and a half I was heartbroken by girls, I guess.”
Although Rojas says that period has mostly passed, the bulk of their originals are waiting to be unleashed upon the world. With two singles previously released across all platforms, 12Eleven is working towards a larger goal. “Over the summer and fall now, we’ve been recording an EP and it’s going to have a least six songs.”
The self-titled debut should receive the finishing touches soon, while they eye an early 2020 release date.
When it comes to the band’s memorable but simple moniker, Rojas says it originates after a party in Atlanta. “I just walked into a room and I said to Troy, ‘Eleven-twelve, twelve-eleven.’ I don’t even remember it, but apparently that’s what I said. And everyone was like, ‘Hey man, you said this last night. What did that mean?’ I was like, I have no idea.
“A week or two later, me and Daniel were thinking about what should we name the band (and) I was like, dude, just 12Eleven.”
From James Brown to Bruno Mars, and many surprises in between, a night out with 12Eleven will keep you dancing on those cool Florida nights.
Keep up with the band at 12elevenband.com.