March of 2021 saw a rush of new music from local artists. As April develops, the stream of original music has been steady, and we have another brand new EP to showcase today.
This week, we shine a light on Yeovil producer and musician Jake Lotus (real name Jake Denney), with his newly released 7 track EP “Nelson”. We spoke to him earlier this week.
Frazer Mitchell; Hi Jake, hope you’re keeping well, and congratulations on your EP.
Jake Lotus; Aloha Frazer! Thank you kindly. It’s a relief to finally get it out there.
FM; I was quite excited when I heard you were releasing an EP. I’ve always been a fan of your work, and the diversity of your music. From Murmur, a house banger (if you haven’t heard it, you really must!) to some of your layered vocals, Bon Iver style. It feels this is yet another step away from one particular genre for you?
Jake; Yeah, I would say so. I don’t really think in terms of genres anymore to be honest; sometimes the contrarian in me likes to deliberately work in opposition to a trend - like a genre or what-have-you - but more often than not I’m just making songs I’d like to hear.
FM; So talk to us Nelson. First off, why did you pick that name? How did the EP come about?
Jake; Nelson is very autobiographical. Me and my cousin moved into a flat on Nelson Way (hence the name), with hopes of creating a music project together, but various things (like work, schedules, personal issues and so on) meant we never actually collaborated. It genuinely made me despondent and I felt very lost, but then I listened to the audiobook of ‘Perfect Sound Whatever’ by James Acaster, about all these little known albums of 2016. Hearing all these stories - big and small - about their creations made me realise that THIS was what the EP should be about. THIS was the real story. Hope becomes frustration becomes despair becomes hope again. It was a blessing in disguise.
FM; It’s fair to say that the EP goes in completely different directions, in terms of genre. I first heard this properly on a late night drive, and it’s perfect for that atmosphere. Who were your influences when producing the EP?
Jake; Björk and Kate Bush are always there helping in some way or another. Björk’s adventurousness and eclecticism, and Kate Bush’s storytelling and sensitivity. They inform pretty much all my music. But also people like Bon Iver, Mount Eerie, 100 Gecs, and JPEGMAFIA in particular was a big inspiration. Unlike me, he makes very abrasive hip-hop, but he writes, produces, mixes and masters his own stuff. Proper in-house and singular. For better or worse, I wanted to do the same.
FM; What was the process behind producing the EP? Did you start with lyrics, or build the production up and work from there?
Jake; Before I worked out the structure and details of Nelson, I had four of the songs half-written as instrumentals/textures. Once I’d worked out the story arc, there were 3 tracks I needed to write to connect the others up. The actual writing of the songs didn’t take too long, and those new tracks effectively being written to a brief made them easier to do. I tend to go with my first set of written lyrics for a song. I rarely re-write or finesse them, overthinking lyrics can zap them of character sometimes. Same with melodies actually. If a melody sounds a bit different or vaguely interesting at least, I just go with it and don’t alter it too much. Really, it was producing it (and all the post-production) that took me forever.
FM; So where did you produce the EP? What instruments or software did you turn to most to create these sounds?
Jake; So it was pretty much all written in Logic Pro. Two of the tracks started on GarageBand on my phone, and then migrated to Logic, where I finished them. Drive has a little bit of actual fuzzed bass guitar, Pearls has multi-tracked acoustic guitars, and for the first two tracks I recorded household noises (my car keys, brushing my teeth, hitting my clothes horse with drum sticks, flicking light switches on and off, etc) and sampled them into beats. But all the synths are sounds you can find in Logic that I’d modified and coated with effects and things. I was definitely trying to avoid it sounding MIDI-y. All the vocals were recorded in the flat that the EP’s about as well, in different rooms. I think it would’ve been perverse to do the vocals in a professional booth. And yeah, I also mixed and mastered it in Logic as well. That was the real lesson of the project. It’s always good to remind yourself how little you know.
FM; Great chatting to you Jake, hopefully I’ll be seeing you soon once restrictions are lifted!
Jake; Cheers, you too! And hopefully the next few projects don’t take as long as this one!
You can check out Jake’s latest EP “Nelson” here.
Frazer Mitchell - Producer, DJ, and Events Coordinator at Antix Music Network