Fourteen-year-old JackWest will release his debut album, For the Record on August 2 – a collaboration with renowned Seattle producer Barrett Jones (Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Jawbox) at his famed Laundry Room Studio. West has previously performed with Eddie Vedder before 30,000 at a concert in Nashville, and he and his five-piece band – which includes a number of local, veteran Rochester musicians – just performed at BottleRock festival and A2IM’s Indie Week in NYC before select East Coast dates.
1.) Hi Jack, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Thanks for having me, I’ve been good.
2.) Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Into This Lifetime”?
I wrote it like two years ago, and to me, it comes across with a Red Hot Chili Peppers vibe. The lyrics are based off of climate change.
3.) Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Climate change for the most part, because the track looks at the rising sea levels and the melting Arctic, as well as the sun.
4.) Do you have any plans to release a video for the single?
I plan on releasing a video for a new single in a few weeks that we filmed in NYC.
5.) The single comes off of your upcoming debut album For the Record – what’s the story behind the title?
“Into This Lifetime” means, that it’s now “our present lifetime” and things are changing including climate change. For the Record is about vinyl records and my first recordings available to the public.
6.) How was the recording and writing process?
I spent over three years writing about 20 songs, and when it came time to pick the best ones, me and Barrett Jones picked the best eight. I recorded all these songs on Logic, and laid down the drums, piano, guitars etc. Next, I sent them to Barrett Jones and he worked on them. Then, when I flew out to Seattle, we spent the first week rearranging all of my songs to make them the best of the best. We worked from 10am till 10pm everyday. Finally, the week after, we brought the band in and started recording.
7.) What was it like to work with Barrett Jones and how did that relationship develop?
I reached out to him on social media and he seemed to be interested. After a few phone calls, we had our tickets booked. He was cool, and wanted things to be perfect and took many takes for hours – which was exhausting, but worth it.
8.) How much did he get to influence the album?
He pretty much changed each song, whether it was completely or just one chord.
9.) What aspect(s) of classic rock did you get to explore on this record? How did you go about balancing the old school sound with the new?
Overall, I think I have songs like “Won’t Look Back” and “Flower City” that are compared to Pink Floyd, The Doors, and The Beatles. Then there are more modern tracks on the record, like “Unsinkable”, that’s a little more alt and mainstream.
10.) Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
I take a lot of inspiration from climate change, the ocean and environment, past global experiences, my life experience thus far, etc.
11.) Any plans to hit the road?
Not a tour, just scattered shows all summer. Some festivals, clubs, the Who Cares teen cancer organization in Boston, and hopefully some cool shows this Fall.
12.) What else is happening next in Jack West’s world?
Right now I’m just writing a lot, and practicing a lot with the band for these shows this summer.