Jacobthewilliam

Story

[An excerpt from inside my first album's CD booklet] This is the first ever solo album released by Portlands own multi-faceted artist/producer Jacobthewilliam (Explorers of the Dreamworld, Lindsey Hall, The Vernons) at the young age of 18. This was his first attempt at writing the material for a rock album of which he would be entirely responsible for. Playing every instrument. Capturing Every sound. Writing every lyric and singing every vocal. As well being responsible for all aspects of production.       "This was that time of my life - my first real confrontation with loneliness. This was that time after graduating high school when all my friends/music buddies left town to go off to college in many different far away lands. And me? Well, I stayed home & I was literally the only one to do so. i can remember having resentment towards my music partners for making the decision of disembarking the musical path and succumbing to university, a degree, and later a career. This fueled my fire to prove to them the mistake they'd made by de-committing to me, and everything we had built. I suppose that was a selfish outlook to have, but It became a personal challenge for me.         I quickly found out how much I would miss our late night jam sessions, our friendship, and camaraderie. And i became jealous that i was missing out on all the parties and girls and all that college life entails. But then, on the other hand, I believed all that to be a distraction toward my creative development. All those feelings I had - I decided I was going to use them to my benefit.... I was going to combat those feelings by consuming myself with music. I turned it all into a 'me against the world' mentality and i used it as an endless flood of inspiration. And it really worked. To say I was inspired Is an understatement. I felt a creative freedom i had never felt before until then. I made sure to 'bite off more than i could chew' so to speak,  just to see how far i could go - and being confident that i really had no limits.          I would wake up every morning around 7am, make some coffee, and head straight to the studio. I would just play freely on guitar or piano until I came up with something. Then I would record a scratch take/quickly improvised version of me playing and singing whatever i wanted to focus on. Then I would cook myself breakfast and work out the entire song in my head - the melody, the structure, the instrumentation and production. And while I sat down to eat breakfast, I would write out all the lyrics - everything. Then I would go back into the studio and listen to the scratch version i had recorded a bit earlier and make a note to myself to notice how the song is developing/taking shape. At this point I had a very clear vision of how the song was going to sound in the end, and each step it would take along the way. It was my job to carefully craft it layer by layer, all the while making sure not to lose its essence. I would start out with a metronome which i would play either guitar or keys over with the only intention of mapping out the structure - if it sounded like shit or whatever - this was a non-issue at this point. Using it as a template to guide me, I would first record drums. I did this by turning off the metronome and playing to my guide track. This was to give it more of a human-like touch in considering a 'pocket' or groove"        One by one I layered all the instruments till I felt was enough. None of these songs were ever more than 10 tracks, I imagine. I didn’t spend too much time perfecting any single element of instrumentation. Most solos were done in less than 5 takes. However, I remember particularly taking my time on the vocals...         by this time it usually around mid afternoon. This was when i took a break. Not a quick 15 minute smoke break or whatever - i mean,  a few hour long break. I'd actually shut off all the studio equipment and go about my day. Normal people stuff. Completely resetting my mind so i could literally not even remember the song i had been working on all that morning. This was a very important aspect of my approach. In keeping my ears fresh, my soul was fresh, and therefore the song retained its fresh too. Nothing worse than locking yourself up inside a studio for hours on end slaving away trying to get every fine detail right. I was learning about my own workflow: the fastest possible ways I could go from step A to B, then from C to D with the limited gear I had setup. Being that I used one of the early recording software programs at its time, Cool Edit Pro, with its “destructive recording” allowed for very basic operations which leads to decisions being made on the spot. This was important for me because I came to terms that I was going to play every take all the way through from start to finish (which meant no looping things over and over.) This is a key factor in my approach and artist development. Now, up until this album, I had never honestly attempted singing. Not like this. Not even close. I would wait until nightfall and I had a nice buzz going, then I would rendezvous back to the studio to complete my mission. I'd set everything up and get the song ready and hit record before listening back at what I had so far. I let it all come to me, then let it all go. " 


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What is music to you? What does it give you?

I did not start making music as a way of gaining fame. The reason I started making music is because it is a central part of who I am and what I do. Being a social introvert most my life growing up, it was a tool from which allowed me to simply just let it all out. In fact, it took several years before I even built up enough courage to share my music with anyone else. I have no other way of putting it - I have to make music or I would burst. That's why I make music. Of all the things that music has taught me, is that it comes at a price. If you want it enough and don't care how long it takes, you can have it. But it comes at a price. The price is that you have to be totally single minded. Completely driven. And that you have to value small successes above security, stability, peace of mind, certainty, comfort, having money in your pocket, friendship, love, or family. Because those are the very things you're competing against. You're also competing against a million of other monsters who are so driven that that's the thing that they do. And that's why the big stars are all divorced, are drug addicts, have breakdowns or even commit suicide. I've been there. The pressures of living that kind of life are enormous. All you want is for people to love you through your music. But my advice to you based on my experience: I can tell you that that kind of love isn't worth that kind of price, and I personally would recommend to you that you should aim for a balanced life and making great relationships, and great art - because through great relationships comes great art. And let the other stuff take care of itself. If you can focus on integrity, creativity, innovation, originality, staying positive, finding your strength, and pushing your boundaries -That's the way to make the best possible music. You must be a rounded human being and you have a balanced life... and it starts from being true to yourself and those who care about you most. Anyway, that's my advice to you. Take it or leave it - I would like to share one more thing. This is probably my favorite quote by probably my favorite creator of all time: "This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright #154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ours, cause we don't give a dern! Publish it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that's all we wanted to do." - Woody Guthrie To fellowship & adventure, love & beyond - Jacob

What is your music dream?

I did not start making music as a way of gaining fame. The reason I started making music is because it is a central part of who I am and what I do. Being a social introvert most my life growing up, it was a tool from which allowed me to simply just let it all out. In fact, it took several years before I even built up enough courage to share my music with anyone else. I have no other way of putting it - I have to make music or I would burst. That's why I make music. Of all the things that music has taught me, is that it comes at a price. If you want it enough and don't care how long it takes, you can have it. But it comes at a price. The price is that you have to be totally single minded. Completely driven. And that you have to value small successes above security, stability, peace of mind, certainty, comfort, having money in your pocket, friendship, love, or family. Because those are the very things you're competing against. You're also competing against a million of other monsters who are so driven that that's the thing that they do. And that's why the big stars are all divorced, are drug addicts, have breakdowns or even commit suicide. I've been there. The pressures of living that kind of life are enormous. All you want is for people to love you through your music. But my advice to you based on my experience: I can tell you that that kind of love isn't worth that kind of price, and I personally would recommend to you that you should aim for a balanced life and making great relationships, and great art - because through great relationships comes great art. And let the other stuff take care of itself. If you can focus on integrity, creativity, innovation, originality, staying positive, finding your strength, and pushing your boundaries -That's the way to make the best possible music. You must be a rounded human being and you have a balanced life... and it starts from being true to yourself and those who care about you most. Anyway, that's my advice to you. Take it or leave it - I would like to share one more thing. This is probably my favorite quote by probably my favorite creator of all time: "This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright #154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ours, cause we don't give a dern! Publish it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that's all we wanted to do." - Woody Guthrie To fellowship & adventure, love & beyond - Jacob