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INTERVIEW: Jake Etheridge

Hi Jake, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Thanks for having me, I’ve been really great, currently fueled by plenty of Dutch coffee on the highway in Holland on the way to a showtonight in Vlissingen.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “You Found Me First”?

“You Found Me First” is a little interesting because it sounds so sad but it happens to be one of the only happy songs that i’ve written.  I’ve written others but not too many, sad songs make me happy. Very happy!

Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?

Yea! A ton of times I’ll write a song about a story I might make up if i’m inspired by a film or some other narrative in my head but in this case I wrote this song about meeting my girlfriend. I remember one of the first times that I saw her we ended up having a few drinks at a restaurant in Nashville, she was drinking wine and wearing a grey and blue dress with a cat on the front haha a few months later I wrote the first verse to the song starting with “with you right there in that grey and blue dress, smiling at me through your wineglass, finally feels as if I found myself” and that’s kinda exactly how it felt.

Any plans to release a video to go along with the single?

No plans at the moment, although I may record a live session of the song soon here in Amsterdam. We’ve got a cozy little apartment downtown where I think a live session could be beautiful.

How was the recording and writing process?

Some songs come easy and this was one of them, one of my good friends and cowriters named Olivia Rudeen were new to each other, having only written one other song together before, “Summer Storms” which is also included on my upcoming EP.  For me if I really like an idea i’ll be patient about who I share it with but she and I had an immediate connection from the start. I played her what I had and we sunk into the idea, I think it took about 10 seconds before she said what would be the first line of the chorus and title of the song “You found me first”.  She’s a pretty righteous writer.

As for recording, we worked at Taylor Bray’s studio in Nashville, 4415. It’s this badass little studio in East Nashville renovated from a 100 year old house.  The bee’s knees for sure. You can easily find that sad,happy,cozy vibe there.

What was it like work with Taylor Bray and how did that relationship develop?

Oddly enough Taylor Bray and I are both from South Carolina but we never really hung out before Nashville. I remember years back I’d send him Myspace messages talking about recording for my then band, CherryCase. Those plans never came to fruition but as soon as I made it to Nashville we started recording random songs and things that I had.  I’m not sure if it was the South Carolina blood in our veins but we’ve been best friends since then.  He’ll actually be flying over to Holland in about a month to write and record an “Amsterdam” EP together!

How much did he get to influence the album?

Taylor Bray is a beast and for the songs that he worked on I let him fly and do what he wanted. I come in with the song I know I want to record and show him the vibe we’re chasing and then he sets off with crazy production tactics that always seem to pay off. He had a great deal to do with how things ended up sounding.  “you found me first” has this little sad Christmas sound to it that I adore. he’s responsible.

How has Nashville influence your sound?

I’d say it’s had a fair amount of influence.  I write weekly with all types of writers and artists and I think it’s been that openness creating for other’s projects that has broadened me a little. In the end my sound is still me and true to the songs that I wrote as a 16 year old in my parents house in my room above the garage but too, bits of what i’ve learned and been exposed to have certainly crept in.  I’ve written a lot of country songs in the past 5 years and had never done that before moving to Nashville. My songs don’t sound country but lyrically they’re more cohesive to what you might find in a country song, they tell a story. Or at least they do their best to.

How’s your new EP coming along?

She’s coming along beautifully. There are 5 songs, 3 of which I recorded with Taylor Bray at 4115 Studios in Nashville, and 2 I recorded at my house in Nashville and finished in Amsterdam. As a writer i’m always falling in love with new songs and out of love with the old ones.  The songs “To Me” and “I Can Take It” are the latest arrivals to the catalogue but they ended up fitting too perfectly into the story of the EP that I couldn’t pass them up.

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

As for titles I think for my first EP a self title’s going to be the route, and we’re currently looking at sometime in late May! It’s been a long time in the making.  The last song “getting over you” was written and started recording nearly 4 years ago right after I moved to Nashville.

What personal experiences tend to inspire your lyrics?

I usually write about love and making mistakes, I’ll sometimes think about past relationships and who I am now compared to who I was, you know the cliche standard deeply poetic earnestness of a romantic ha. I try to be honest. Lyrically the 5 songs on the EP come together to tell the story of a full relationship. From “you found me first” to “getting over you”.  To a listener hearing the songs coupled together it has continuity but for me the songs all arrived at different times and from different people, it’s nice to remember those people and to remember me and where I was when that particular song was written.

Any plans to hit the road?

No concrete plans but eventually yes.  I’m playing a few shows here and there in Nashville and Amsterdam but I love the idea of hitting the road for a good run sometime next year.

What else is happening next in Jake Etheridge’s world?

Sidebar, I’m also in a Dutch band called the Common Linnets.  Folks always wonder how I found myself in a Dutch band, in the beginning it was Nashville that brought us together.  A friend set me up to write with this band when they flew over to Nashville to write for their first record.  I ended up flying over here to help finish up the rest of the record…  Long story short, they asked me to be in the band, so here I am! A Dutch/American band out of Holland and  just starting a 2 month long European Theatre tour.  I’m actually tucked away in the backseat on the way to our 2nd show of the tour right now.

Listen here

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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