Interview with JAKE BUGG
Jake Bugg is set to release his stunning new album ‘Hearts That Strain’, recorded in Nashville, on September 1st via EM Music Australia. The first taste of which is the breezy single ‘How Soon The Dawn’, a collaboration with Dan Auerbach – view the video HERE.
Working with Grammy Award winning producer David Ferguson and Matt Sweeney, Jake recorded the album in Nashville with some of the best players in the history of popular music. As part of American Sound Studio’s legendary house band The Memphis Boys, Gene Chrisman and Bobby Woods provided the chops on such pivotal records as Dusty In Memphis, In The Ghetto, Suspicious Minds and Dark End Of The Street, cutting their teeth in sessions with Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin and Dionne Warwick.
“They’re old guys but they’re amazing,” Jake says. “It was ten to five and then that’s it. They’d pack up and we’d done two or three tunes. It was a mad vibe being from England and meeting these absolute legends and then cutting some tracks with them.”
Alongside the single, Dan Auerbach also played on shuffling rockabilly get-down I Can Burn Alone and In The Event Of My Demise, while rising star Noah Cyrus (younger sister of Miley) shares the vocals on one of the albums stand out moments ‘Waiting’.
As ever, Jake’s writing and singing shine on Hearts That Strain.
There’s a common thread running through its 11 songs, each one a gem waiting to be discovered.
Still only 23, Jake’s most recent album was last years acclaimed ‘On My One’, and it followed two multiplatinum selling albums his breakthrough self-titled debut and ‘Shangri La’.
We had the chance to catch up with the English songwriter just days before the release of “Hearts That Strain” with some questions about features on the new record & Australia
Your new record, ‘Hearts That Strain’, is set to be released in three days. What’s the week been like leading to the release?
Errr, what’s the week been like? Guess it’s pretty much getting ready and getting prepared. I had a great weekend which is always a good sign when you’ve got a new album out. But I’m a bit nervous really, I don’t know what to expect.
Are there any tracks you’re most excited or anxious to get out into the world?
I’m mostly excited to get the music out into the world but you just never know when you’ve got a new album out how people will respond to it and if they’ll connect to it or hate it. It’s the worst, ou just never know.
After working on your last album, ‘On My One’, almost entirely alone, how did it feel to change that up, even adding your first duet to the mix?
It was really good because I felt like I learned a lot from the last record doing it on my own. I learned a lot this time around too, with a new environment and new musicians. ‘On My One’ was a whole new experience for me and a very difficult process. I think this one was definitely a lot quicker and a lot easier than the last record.
You have a track called ‘Waiting’, featuring an unlikely collaboration with Noah Cyrus. What was it like working with her?
I didn’t meet her at the time. She recorded her vocals when I wasn’t there but when I heard the track after I returned from England back to Nashville, I thought it sounded great. It gave the whole song a new dynamic, her voice sounds great and makes the track a little more interesting, I think.
What would you say differentiates this album from your previous body of work?
I think just being in a room with a lot of musicians and keeping the same sound throughout the record. This one sounds more like a record than the last one, which sounded more like a compilation of songs. So I think that’s the difference. It’s more of a record than the last of albums. I wish the production would have been a little bit different, to be honest.
Oh, so you would have preferred On My One to sound more sonically cohesive?
Yeah, the production just differed too much from song to song and it throws people off a bit too much.
Do you have any personal favourites from the upcoming record? Anything that stands out?
I liked Southern Rain a lot and I like Man On Stage, I love the strings in that one.
Man on Stage was a stand out track for me, as well. Do you feel as if your stage persona is a lot different to your real personality?
Man on Stage isn’t written solely about myself. It’s just from my experience meeting people that I look up to, they aren’t always the same people that they are in the music and it’s a bit of a sad story of that relationship between the act and the fans. I’m sure a lot of other people experience that as well when they’ve met their idols.
Now you’ve recorded this album with musicians who’ve collaborated with the likes of Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan. What was it like working with them?
To be with those more experienced guys was incredible and because of them, I was listening to a bit of country music in the process of writing this record.
What was it like recording in Nashville as opposed to your other records which were done a little bit closer to home?
It was nice being in the same studio for a duration of it, because that didn’t happen in the last album, or the first one. So the only two albums recorded in the same studio were the second and this one. And both were in America, so it’s always a nice feeling to be working with the same people and not having to worry about trying to fit the album together, you just record the songs and it’s all sounding good. It’s good to just keep writing and writing, knowing that you’ll record the songs and it will come out in a way you’ll be happy.
The opening track, ‘How Soon The Dawn’ has a very relaxed vibe to it, that I feel the music video really compliments. What was it like just sitting in bed playing the song with your girlfriend, Roxy Horner?
It was great. She’s my girlfriend so it was pretty relaxed. I was worried about it being a bit cheesy, to be honest but the way it was done, I think it was quite tasteful and a relaxed vibe. It was really easy. One of the easiest music video shoots I’ve done, really.
I caught your show last year at The Palais Theatre in Melbourne. Would there be any chance of you coming back to Australia with this new release?
Yeah, I’m sure there are going to be some plans to come back. We always love coming back there and playing. You know, it’s pretty far but it’s worth it. Yeah, there’s definitely plans to come back, whether it be with festivals or a small Australian tour, I’m sure.
Well you’ll definitely be able to catch me there. Thanks for taking the time out of your day to talk to me.
No worries, mate. You’re welcome.
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