JAKE KELLY has just released his sophomore EP The Mandolin Tapes.
Residing in Germany, having lived in China, Vietnam, England and his home country, Jake’s new EP is an amalgamation of diverse cultures, backgrounds and worldviews coming together perfectly to capture what seems like a lifetime of experiences that he has accumulated in his very young 20 years of age.
AC: Let’s talk about your upcoming EP The Mandolin Tapes. What does this body of work mean to you?
JAKE KELLY – The Mandolin Tapes is the second EP I have released, however, it is the first body of work I have made with the end goal of creating a final product in mind. I wanted this album to be a collection of short stories, representing various prominent facets of my life at the time. In it, I discuss alcohol and drug addiction, fleeting love and romances, life changes, moving countries, loneliness, and more feelings that came to overwhelm me before composing this EP. I began this EP, perhaps, at my lowest in life so far. The Mandolin Tapes began a journey to rediscovering myself; a catalyst to getting my life back on track.
AC: In the studio, do you have a fear you’d like to conquer?
JAKE KELLY – My biggest fear in the studio, aka my bedroom, is thinking I’m making meaningful and impressive music that people want to listen to, when in reality I’m making mediocre, “just okay” music. It’s a weird fear, I know.
AC: What about outside of the studio?
JAKE KELLY – Outside of the studio, my biggest fear is spending my life unhappy, unproductive, and unloving of myself and others.
AC: Where does the creation of a song begin for you?
JAKE KELLY – Generally, it starts with a single lyric that resonates with me, and comes to me seemingly from nowhere. I write down the lyric on my phone, and when I sit down to write or edit songs, I come back to it, along with any other recent lyrics that may relate. From there, I expand with more lyrics, melodies, chord progressions, etc.
AC: You’ve lived in many different countries. How has this informed your musical tastes?
JAKE KELLY – My life has been an amalgamation of many different cultures, to say the least. Being a European living in South East Asia and traveling the world for most of my life, I’ve made friends from America, England, Ireland, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and more. Sharing music with many of these friends, and bouncing off some of them creatively has blessed me with a quite a wide taste in music. From The Dubliners, to Post Malone, the artists and styles that I like are all over the place.
AC: Who do you feel inspired by in the music industry?
JAKE KELLY – I feel inspired by seeing people do what they love for a living. Being a successful artist takes hardwork, faith and vision. Nothing moves and inspires me the way my favourite music and artists do.
AC: As a music artist, what are you still trying to learn?
JAKE KELLY – I have a lot to learn. From navigating the music space, to creating better sounds, I truly feel like a novice at everything in music. I have faith in myself, and I believe I’ll get what I want out of this journey, so I’m doing my thing with an open mind, seeing how far I can go.
AC: Everyone seems to have an app idea at the moment, what’s yours?
JAKE KELLY – To be totally honest, I can’t think of one. Not sure what that says about me, but there you go. If I was getting one made, selfishly, I’d make a simple addictive game that makes billions of dollars.
AC: How important is social media to you right now?
JAKE KELLY – Social Media, to me, is another way to express yourself artistically. Whether it be playing my music, uploading skateboarding clips, or making “funny” Tik Toks, I see it all as a fun way to keep my mind active, interact with people, and try to create something with a hint of meaning.
AC: Ahead of a gig, do you have any pre-show rituals?
JAKE KELLY – I haven’t played many gigs, but the times that I have, I had a close, musical friend with me. Having another musician there, even just to watch, helps me relax. A whiskey also helps.
AC: What do you want the world to look like in 10 years?
JAKE KELLY – I’d love to see a healthier earth, and healthier inhabitants, both physically and mentally. I want people to express love over fear, and treat others with the human connection in mind.
AC: If you had the chance to put something on billboards worldwide next week, what would it be? Or what would it say?
JAKE KELLY – I’d put up a meaningful piece of art to advertise The Mandolin Tapes, and a charity or foundation. An even split between something selfish, and a good cause.
INTERVIEW: ADAM CROOKES