Hi Neil, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Thanks very much, I’m doing my best to keep kickin’. At this point it’s more sheer will and luck than anything else. One foot in front of the other and trying to just stumble and fall in soft places!
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Laugh Out Loud!”?
Last year, the news and the politics just got unbearable, and drinking my breakfast was never a good idea. So I decided that having a good sense of humor is probably the best protection we can have. Laughter seems to be the armor that gets us through these trying times.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Not one particular event, just the whole frustrating nature of the world.
How was the filming process and experience behind the video?
I wrote and recorded LOL right before all the health mess, so recording was easy. The video was another matter. All of my action was filmed at home, but the other actors needed to be protected. Our Director of Production took every precaution to ensure that everyone stayed healthy, so those scenes took quite a bit of time, a case of Lysol wipes, and tons of patience.
The single comes off your new album Sliver Park – what’s the story behind the title?
It seems that, as humans, we screw up everything we touch. It’s just a matter of time before this poor planet bites back even harder. And considering our options, I think that it’s high time that we get our shit together. I admit it, I’m not just the solution, I’m a big cause of the problem. That fact also inspired the song “What The Animal Looks Like.” I’m trying to change, I really am, but it’s like making a turn on the Titanic, really SLOW.
How was the recording and writing process?
Anyone that writes, be it music or literature, will tell you that there are only two ways that it can go. Either it’s a slow painful process that feels like your tripping while walking up the stairs, or it’s a minor miracle that appears out of nowhere. Sliver Park had both, depending on the song. As far as the recording goes, since I have my own space and I play all the instruments, I only had to deal with one asshole, me. I guess that that is a luxury but in some ways, it could be considered a curse. There are times that I would write and record a song and get ready to sing it, only to find out the it’s completely out of my vocal range. That usually requires another month of redoing all the parts. These days, I try to make slightly smaller mistakes!
What role does New York play in your music?
New York is a special place filled with garbage, rats, and filth. But don’t get me wrong, it has it’s downside, too. NYC has a certain energy that is inescapable, and that can be either good or not so good. Living in NY is as much an act of defiance as it is a choice. Besides, where else can you get great food at 4am?
Having worked with so many other talents – do you tend to take a different approach when you are collaborating with someone else rather than working on your own?
I love collaborating and have been lucky to get work with some really talented musicians, but I’m always looking to stretch out by writing with different partners. When you collaborate you have to be fearless. I’ve been at this a while and early on you have to overcome your fear of failure. It’s falling down that gives you the strength to get up and try again, and I sure have the battle scars to prove it.
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
Much of my inspiration comes from my slightly skewed sense of reality. I try to write from my own perspective which changes daily. Either I’m deliriously happy or insanely pissed off for no apparent reason. I might hear an interesting phrase that inspires a whole new world, or, while sitting down with the guitar, I find a groove or riff that triggers off different thoughts and feelings. For myself, it’s not a matter of finding inspiration, it’s a matter of wrestling it to the ground to get a cohesive song. A song is like a planet-fly by. A planet has its own feel, atmosphere, and gravity. A great song makes you want to check it out further, go in for a closer look and live in that space for a while.
What else is happening next in Neil Jacobson’s world?
I have a new video in production and that will be a departure for me because I won’t be making an appearance. I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag, but keep in mind that no puppets were injured in the making of the film. . . . Look, I’m really happy with Sliver Park, its concept, its direction, its songs, and its artwork. But I always feel that my best song is the one that I’m about to write. I have a new album in the works, so please stay tuned for more action-packed music, and thanks so much for asking!