Sara Jameson: Most bands come together from various other projects before they find the perfect mesh and it just vibes. What were some of your past bands and projects before coming together?
Jake Aaron Ward: Ryan (bassist) and I were in a band called Urban Theory before this. It’s pretty much how we met, and funny enough, the roles were reversed. Ryan played guitar and sang, I played bass.
Before that, I played in a metalcore band based in San Jose, California, now called Anever. That was a really formative time for me as a musician because I got exposed to all kinds of challenging progressive metal music that shaped how I play guitar, how I approach harmony, and to some extent how I write songs as a whole.
Carl (drummer) and I are brothers, so we’ve been jamming together all our lives.
Sara Jameson: Do you all feel Watch Me Breathe as a band has finally reached that level of being the right and tight fit it needs to reach your music goals?
Jake Aaron Ward: I would say so, yeah! Everyone’s having a good time and the music keeps getting better and better. I see no reason to slow down.
Sara Jameson: From our beginnings, we can learn so much. What have each of you learned that has become of great value to each of you personally as musicians and friends?
Jake Aaron Ward: The biggest thing I’ve learned is that the music the industry is completely infested with phoniness and self-deception, and that this is to be avoided at all costs. I started Watch Me Breathe with a singular mission to be as honest and authentic as possible and to just see where it went. It’s really been quite a thrill so far.
Sara Jameson: Each single from this release feels as if it is building one on top of the other. Is there a thread?
Jake Aaron Ward: You know, looking back now, I think there is. But I didn’t do it on purpose. I generally just write what I feel and try to create music that excites me personally, but it’s interesting to observe in hindsight how the 9 songs on the album form a kind of portrait of a particular phase of my life, and more importantly, a particular point on this journey into the unknown that Watch Me Breathe is for me.
Sara Jameson: Do you personally Jake have a favorite track from this album?
Jake Aaron Ward: The opening track is a song called “Pain” that I think might be my overall favorite. But I’m proud of different songs for different reasons. “Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It” is probably my favorite as a songwriter; it is perhaps my proudest creation so far. “Feel Alright” is likely my favorite as a producer/arranger. “The Other Side” maybe my best lyrics on the album. Overall I’m really stoked on how the album seems to showcase different things at different points.
Sara Jameson: Will we expect more of this sound and style from Watch Me Breathe in the future, what is coming?
Jake Aaron Ward: Definitely. Album #3 is already well in the works, and it is already clearly a continuation of the same journey. I’m still just doing what I believe and what I love most, so that’s going to sound relatively in line with what we’ve done already; just hopefully further and deeper and just… more.
How important is it do you think to pull out as much as possible from each single before going to the next single? (Some bands choose to market one single at a time, others choose to push several all at once. How did you all come to your decision on strategy?)
Jake Aaron Ward: The way I see it, there’s really a balance point that is different for every artist. We chose to do singles leading up to an album and that really has to do with the amount fans we started with and what we thought would best reach the people most likely to receive it. If you don’t have a huge fanbase, nobody is just going to spontaneously listen to your whole album. But if they stumble across a single they love (and I mean love, not just like) they will scour the internet to find every album you’ve ever made. I believe (perhaps with excess hubris) that the honest, undesigned way in which I’m writing and creating the material means there are people out there somewhere who will fall in love with it. I want to reach those people with singles, but have a catalog of albums waiting for them once they go looking.