Quick Q & A with Jakals

Jakals

Jakals is a dynamic duo comprised of vocalist Katie Solomon and guitarist Jack Lewis. They met during their college years at Wesleyan University and discovered that that they had a certain “something” that translated to a pure sound. Boston area music lovers are thrilled to have Jakals join this vibrant community of songwriters and musicians.

To learn more about Jakals visit their website. Watch this captivating video of their song “Homesick.”


Your bio states that your musical partnership evolved to what it is today because of how effortless it has been. Does this easy flow help you to push the envelope in terms of new ideas and concepts in your music? Tell us about your songwriting process. Who does what? Do you have a regular songwriting regime?
We definitely believe that our closeness as friends helps us to be a lot more open and adventurous when writing together. We are super comfortable bringing ideas to each other that aren’t fleshed out and making mistakes and sounding bad. . . There isn’t any part of us that worries we are being judged and therefore, we are much more creatively uninhibited. Additionally, because we each fill different roles in the songwriting process (Katie writes the lyrics and melody while Jack writes the music), we both have a lot of freedom in our own realm. Katie can explore very intimate emotional experiences and anxieties through words and Jack can do the same musically. Being close friends makes it much easier to reveal such personal sentiments, especially when those sentiments are being worked through and explored as we are writing the song.
How would you describe your sound?
Regardless of whether we are playing as a duo or a full band, we definitely gravitate towards darker, more dissonant sounds. All of our songs are written for guitar and voice first and foremost. We have quiet, intimate moments in most of our songs, as well as loud, jarring, rocky moments in most of our songs. We’ve been switching between defining ourselves as indie rock, indie folk, indie folk/rock. . . . But, to be totally honest, we don’t know exactly which label we fit into. What we can say is that we try to be as honest as possible in our music and that often means experimenting musically with sounds (chords, dynamics, timing, etc.). that might not be inherently pleasing because much of what we write about explores the difficult aspects of our lives (and life in general).
Do you have any big musical influences?
Something that (we think) makes us unique as a duo is how vastly different our musical influences and musical tastes are. Sometimes it makes it difficult because our visions for songs are often quite different in the beginning but it also allows us to bring in very distinct ideas which we think helps us to create more original material. Jack’s musical influences include Ben Howard, Andy McKee, and Death Cab for Cutie. Katie’s include The National, Father John Misty, and (if you asked her younger self) Sara Bareilles.
You recorded a CD as Jack and Katie called Quiet Pleas. How was that experience? Was it your first time in a studio?
Yes, we did! Recording Quiet Pleas was our first time recording an album and it was a really interesting experience for us. Jack was a music major and Wesleyan’s music program required a senior project. Luckily for both of us, Jack decided that he would record an album as his project. He had been taking audio engineering lessons at a nearby studio and the director was incredibly generous and let us record as part of Jack’s class time instead of paying for the studio time. One of the unique challenges we faced was that we could only record at specific times. We decided to track live because the album was only guitar and voice. Part of the project involved Jack mixing the album himself, which gave us a lot of artistic control, but also meant that the album wasn’t professionally mixed (Jack was still learning a lot about mixing). It was a really exciting process and we learned so much but the experience was vastly different from our experience recording now and our musical style has definitely changed significantly since Quiet Pleas.
Is it true that you’re recording a new CD? How would you compare this effort to your previous recording.
We are in the process of recording a new album called Keep Mother Sane. This effort is totally incomparable to our previous album. First off, we aren’t recording in a studio. We are so lucky to have found an engineer who is incredible and actually affordable, Nico Rivers, who uses a mobile rig. So, we have been recording in a variety of different places (Katie’s basement, Nico’s room, Studio B at the record company, etc.). Additionally, we are recording this album with a full band, which makes this process a great deal more complicated than our previous album, which was just voice and guitar. Neither of us can fully articulate how much this album means to us. The past year and a half has been pretty hard and these songs are our way of articulating some of that pain and of hopefully connecting with others who might be experiencing similar things. We have spent so much time writing and performing these songs and we are both so emotionally invested in the outcome. Hopefully, that really shows when we release it in May.
What are your thoughts about the Boston music scene?
We feel INCREDIBLY lucky that we ended up in Boston because the people in this music scene are truly wonderful. When we went to our first open mic in Boston last January (2016), we immediately felt the warmth and support of everyone in the room and since then have continually been amazed by the kindness and camaraderie of the musicians in this community. When we began performing in Boston last year, we were terrified. The support of so many talented, welcoming people has allowed us to grow so much and gain so much confidence in the last year and we are so so so grateful.

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