Hi Jak, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Hey guys! Happy to be talking to ya’ll. I’ve been busy, but a super positive type of busy. Just spent months and months getting this EP ready in every sense and aspect. It’s work, but fun work for sure.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Quality of Life”?
Sure thing. Quality Of Life was written in a super organic way with my co-writer and co-producer of the project Itamar Gov-Ari. Itamar had just this completely beautiful chord progression. He played it and immediately I knew, what he was playing totally lent itself to making a statement. Taking spiritual roots, gospel vibes, soul and hip hop vibes as well, and mixing them all together into what is truly one of my favorite tracks to date.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
You know, literally life inspired this song. I think a lot of us find ourselves in this existential dilemma. The space where we can be self aware enough to know that money and capital via social media presence is vein and whack, but we certainly participate in the system that upholds it all. Being an active participant in the world is pretty good lyrical fodder.
How was the filming process and experience behind the video?
Sweaty! Haha, multiple days of running and singing which is definitely a good day of cardio. The cast is all friends. Some actors, some just good sports. The videographer Jeffrey Samuels is so easy and amazing to work with. He’s going places.
The single comes off your new album Shine To Rise – what’s the story behind the title?
Shine to Rise is all about attitude and effort. The “shine” is the active decision to be positive and act in love and not fear. The “rise” I view as the elevation of soul you achieve when you make it point to be a friend and you know, let your best self show up. All very corny and sentimental haha, but thats kinda my zone.
How was the recording and writing process?
So the bulk of the project was written when me and Itamar took a few days in the woods of Pennsylvania. We got straight to business and really fell in love with the songs we were writing. We sort of went into it without any intentions and by the end of that long weekend, I think we both knew in our hearts that these songs were something special.
What was it like to work with Ivan Jackson and how did that relationship develop?
Ivan Jackson is just simply dope. He really helped steer the production of the whole project and really helped define the intention of the songs. By that I mean, that he knew what we were going for with the demos we wrote, and he heard in his head how to get them to a further evolved form. He’s been integral in helping with my efforts to bring a soul hip hop vibe to life. The more I work with that dude, the more grateful I am for meeting him. Straight up.
How much did he get to influence the album?
Once I heard how he was working with the songs, I said that he could do whatever he wanted haha. Yeah, I mean, look, Ivan and Brasstracks to me, have an unmistakable soul and quality, so if anything I’d hope the influence is evident.
What role does NYC play in your music?
I mean for my entire life NYC has been my home and at bare minimum my next door neighbor, when I grew up on Long Island. It has an incalculable effect on me. The energy and activity in this city feed the imagination truly. New York experiences have written many a song with me.
Do you tend to take a different approach when you are collaborating with someone else rather than in your own?
I like it when everyone in the room is happy and comfortable. If that’s the vibe, then I am good to go.
How do you go on balancing all your different influences together?
I truly believe that all music is interwoven and everything blends into everything on its own. I think you can connect a Bob Dylan vibe to an A Tribe Called Quest vibe to an Amy Winehouse Vibe to a Chance vibe easily. Soul is everywhere, good lyrics are everywhere. You just need to be aware of your history and your music’s history in my opinion. The more informed you are, the more likely you are to find the magical connections.
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
People I love, people I miss, places I’ve loved and hated, experiences I’m proud of and ones I regret, my goals and the attitude I’m trying to have while I’m out here going for it.
Any plans to hit the road?