Debut Album ‘Many Fish To Fry’ out February 2011
Hi Jake, how are you?
Terrific thanks. How are you Mr/Ms Somojo?
Which instruments do you play?
Anything I can get my hands on. I learned piano and drums when I was young, but it wasn’t until I hit my teens that I realised the ultimate truth: guitars are the coolest most awesome instruments ever.
What made you decide to be a solo artist and not want to be in a band?
Probably just the usual control freakery I guess. It's part of the reason I developed my guitar style where I smash out drum beats on the guitar and play lots of notes - I was trying to compensate for the lack of a band.
Do you work with the same musicians when recording as you do when performing live?
Absolutely. It's about developing a bond between each other so everyone can perform to their potential. My set-up is just perfect right now - I get to make music with the best musicians I've ever played with, yet still call all the shots.
How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t yet heard you?
I'm pretty bad at describing my music, so I'd probably stutter and then mumble something about being a singer/songwriter. My record has a big choir on it though, and lots of double bass, and it's full of charm and soul.
What can your fans look forward to in the next 12 months?
A rollercoaster ride of pleasure and frustration, with an almost imperceptible increase in experience and wisdom.
Did you always want to be in a musician/singer when younger?
Once you get taken in by the awe of it, it's hard to imagine doing anything else.
What music did you listen to while growing up?
Bob Marley, The Joseph & His Amazing Technicolor Dream coat Soundtrack, The Cats Soundtrack, Michael Jackson (ages 4-11), Oasis, Blur and The Beatles (ages 11-15), Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam and Rage Against The Machine (ages 15-19), Everything else (19-present)
How long have you been involved with writing & performing music?
Ever since I drunkenly stood on Vidisha's balcony playing Oasis songs on her brother's guitar whilst all my friends sang along.
What was your first music making experience?
Sitting on my dad's lap as he played boogie-woogie piano classics by Dr John.
What is your current equipment?
I'm a big fan of £300 guitars and hours and hours of practice. I've just got a new Stonebridge guitar and I love it to bits.
Are you self-taught or did you have lessons?
Self-taught on the guitar - lessons are useful but what you really need is the will to learn. With that you can do pretty much anything.
If you had an unlimited equipment budget what would be on your shopping list?
My drummer really wants a sparkly 50s Gretsch drum kit, so I'd get him one of those.
Would you sign with a major record company?
Maybe. But I'd want to retain the freedom to write honest, authentic music. And I'd want Jacuzzi with a limo in it. And 10,000 brown M&Ms in a brandy glass before I go on stage.
How much involvement do you have with the arranging and production of the songs when recording?
Quite a lot. Luckily I've been working with some phenomenal producers like Phill Brown and Calum MacColl. It's been a fantastic collaboration built upon trust and respect of each others abilities.
Do you find the process of recording enjoyable and does it get easier the more you do?
I love it. My favourite bit is about 70% of the way through a great take where you're riding on a wave of nowness.
Do you have any favourite tracks on your album?
Yep, but I'm not telling you which.
Do you write songs/tracks only about personal experiences?
It's important to me that a lot of myself goes into the music, but that doesn't mean it always has to be autobiographical.
Do you find song writing easy or difficult?
I'd bet everyone answers this the same - it depends on the song.
Which countries would be at the top of your list to tour?
Japan baby! My bags are packed just in case!
Do you think music promotion sites and the internet are good tools for independent and unsigned artists?
It's almost impossible to be an independent or unsigned artist without the internet these days. It's obviously massively important and beneficial, but also kinda sad really. Not all artists are born with the desire to share their lives directly with their fans, in fact some show them nothing but contempt. Which artists will never make classic albums because they weren't active enough at social networking to build a fan base?
How do you relax?
Doing Rubik's cubes, learning the saxophone, playing football, chasing my dog Mango.
What's your best/worst experience at a gig?
A guitar string snapped while I supported Scroobius Pip and the ground could have ate me up. Gladly the amazing moments completely overshadow the bad ones. One of the best gigs I ever did was filmed and recorded and is up on my YouTube channel.
Do you get nervous before a gig- how do you calm down?
I don't get nervous before gigs unless my equipment's not working properly, which happens now and again when you spend your time beating up your guitar.
What else do you do apart from being a singer/songwriter?
I make excellent sandwiches. If you ever fancy one just pop by.
Would you like to be a full time working musician or are you happy with things as they are?
I think about it full time, so I might as well get paid for it please.
Is there anything you'd like to add?
Never eat the yellow snow.