Want to listen to something that is positively uplifting, catchy and full of powerful guitar riffs? Well, look no further. Jake Evans is the man you are looking for. You may recognise him, either from his work with Bernard Sumner in Bar Lieutenant or spotted him playing alongside Jimi Goodwin at this year’s Glastonbury Festival or as the support act on Goodwin‘s tour. He has now spread his wings and his making his way on his own. Equipped with a collection of anthems and songs that warm your soul, take the magnificent ‘Easy On My Soul’ or the latest single ‘This Is Life’, the future is looking bright, so get listening and be ahead of the game and you will be similarly mesmerised by Evans’ songwriting style.
The Music Shepherd was fortunate enough to get hold of the talented fella and ask him about what it’s like working with the big names and where he sees himself in the future.
- You’ve worked with a lot of influential people in the last few years – in particular New Order’s Bernard Sumner in Bad Lieutenant – do you ever find it a daunting experience?
I did find it a little daunting at first, I’d only met Bernard once or twice briefly, but based upon what he’d heard of my stuff, he suggested getting a new band together. Of course, I accepted the invitation! The next thing I knew we were in Alex James’s house setting up and demoing some stuff with him in the earliest incarnation of Bad Lieutenant. I did think ‘how have I got here all of a sudden?’. I mean, the guy hasn’t just been in one extremely influential band, but two! Having said that, it doesn’t take long before you have to start working on a level with one another just so you can function as writers and as a band, so I settled into it naturally with time.
- What’s it like going solo? Do you prefer it?
It’s just different, really. It feels as though this is the right time for making my own record, and I’ve really enjoyed it. It can feel a little more daunting going solo logistically, as, when I started making the album there was no possibility of a label or any funding, meaning that I did everything myself pretty much. That means there’s more responsibility put upon you, but actually, that’s also quite liberating and exciting too.
- Is there anyone you would particularly like to work with in the future?
I was/am a huge fan of Doves before I started working with Jimi Goodwin, so that’s one ambition realised so far! I’m still waiting on that call from Bob Dylan, but I don’t think he got my email. Apart from that, I saw Courtney Barnett at Glastonbury whilst playing with Jimi, she’s really cool. I’d love to write a track with her.
- ‘This Is Life’ is your new single, what’s the story behind it?
I originally wrote that song with Bernard in mind on the chorus. It soon dawned on me that if I wanted to tour it, it wasn’t gonna be possible with his schedule, so I sang it all. but there’s an alternate version on the album that he sings. It’s a song about some sort of struggle, but the necessity of that struggle to appreciate what follows.
- What does the songwriting process involve for you?
I try not to overthink it, it can start from anything really. I often feel as though I trick myself into it by catching myself off guard, be it with a loop of some kind, a line, or a chord progression or something. It generally starts with a feeling that’s gotta come out. Sometimes it’s a case of turning that starter motor until it fires up and starts ticking over. Sometimes it just happens by itself.
- Who or what has been your biggest musical influence?
There are seriously too many musical influences to mention, and probably no-one singularly more influential than any other. In my formative years especially it depended on what month you asked me, when there was a whole world opening up to my ears. Through my teens when I really started getting stuck in, it was my parent’s records and all the 60’s greats – Beatles, Dylan, Hendrix The Stones – They really got me going. Other than that it’s life, observations and people I hold dear.
- You’ve just been on tour with Jimi Goodwin from Doves – how did that pan out? Any stories to share?
It was brilliant! To be playing with that guy in his band is a real privilege. He’s a great writer, musician, and all round top bloke. We’re still touring actually. We just played Glastonbury on the Park Stage and we had a really good time there. We supported Elbow throughout April in all of the UK megadomes, and even ended our support tour with them with the obligatory Who-esque cliché rock and roll bow on the final night at the 02 in London. Elbow are a great band and they really looked after Jimi and all of us.
Following the April tour we did a full UK tour in May – for which my own band supported on some dates to promote the new single. I did unfortunately break my finger with 10 dates left to go, after trapping it in a door, but with the power of Co-Codamol, I made it through. I wouldn’t have minded, had I been skydiving, but I was just getting out of a taxi! Following the tour and supports with Jimi, I did more of my own UK dates in June, which were really enjoyable too.
- Where is your favourite place in the country to play?
Scottish crowds have been ace, and so was Southern Ireland on this tour. They made us feel really special. All of the shows were fantastic though.
- What’s the aim for the future? Where do you hope to be in the next few years?
My immediate plan is for the next single, followed by the album towards the end of the year, and more dates to follow. As far as the next few years go, I want to be making music I believe in, and hoping that music connects with more and more people as time goes on.
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