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10 minutes with Jake Bugg

July 24, 2014

This interview appeared in The Ibizan, on July 24th

Jake Bugg ScreenshotJake Bugg played at Ibiza Rocks last week and I was lucky enough to get a quick interview with him in the lush surroundings of the Ibiza Rocks House at Pikes hotel before the gig. A talented singer-songwriter, Jake started touring at the tender age of 17 years old and he’s become Ibiza Rocks’ youngest veteran performer. He was 18 when he supported Ben Howard in 2012 and returned the following year to headline at the opening party, having reached number one in the charts with his self-titled debut album ‘Jake Bugg’ in the meantime. This year he’s back again after releasing his second album ‘Shangri La’ in November and embarking on another rigorous touring and festival schedule, including headlining the ‘Other’ stage at Glastonbury on Saturday night, holding his own whilst Metallica headlined over on the ‘Pyramid’ stage. He’s now 20, and openly gave some insights into what it’s like to be on the road, his disappointment in the musical output of his contemporaries, who he’s listening to at the moment and who he wanted to see at Glastonbury. His passion for music is clear and he’s incredibly level-headed about the ups and downs of the industry he works in. He also talked about the dreaded but inevitable Pikes hangover, something many of us (me included) have experienced! So sit back, read and enjoy what he has to say.

Claire B: This is your third time at Ibiza Rocks. How does it feel to be back?

Jake: It feels nice. It’s routine now, but it’s nice to be back, and have sunshine, but it’s a bit too hot today though. I’m looking forward to it tonight, it should be good.

Claire B: How was last night’s gig at Mallorca Rocks?

Jake: It was good. It’s always a bit of a party isn’t it, you have just got to treat it like that rather than a gig and enjoy yourselves and play the songs that people want to listen to and have a dance to.

Claire B: Do you ever get chance to see any of the island when you come here?

Jake: Not really, no, to be honest. Every time it’s always been in and out and I’ve always got a bad hangover when I leave here, every time.

Claire B: And is that good or not?

Jake: No, well it’s good the night before but the next day you feel like death, it’s horrible.

Claire B: So what have you got planned for tonight then after the gig?

Jake: Well we’re going to have a little party here again, but we haven’t got to leave so early tomorrow. We’ve got a bit of time to lie in, so that will help I think.

Claire B: I was going to ask you, where’s your next gig?

Jake: My next gig is in Lisbon tomorrow, so I can’t get too, like, the last time I’ve been really hungover I haven’t had a show, so I’ve got to watch myself this time as I’ve got a show tomorrow.

Claire B: Are you going to get to see any of Lisbon? That’s a lovely city.

Jake: Yeah, I’ve only been there once before, I’ve seen a little bit but I didn’t get to see much. There’s some great graffiti there that I recall on walls, based on politics, stuff like that, clever little ideas and funny things – I haven’t seen a lot, I hope I get more chance to look around.

Claire B: You reached adulthood on the road didn’t you and you’ve grown up whilst you were touring? Do you think that accelerated the process or do you think you’ve missed out on anything?

Jake: No, I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on anything. What I feel I’ve missed out on is probably the best thing. I missed out on going, because I went out on the road when I was 17, I missed out on going out to those clubs with all the people who live for the weekend back home in Nottingham which was probably a good thing because you just see pictures on their Facebooks every weekend of carnage, so I’m glad I missed that. I’ve been surrounded by people that have experienced a lot more, and being in the industry as well, my band and crew, they’re a good bunch, so I feel like I’ve been lucky. I think doing this, the people who you surround yourself with is very important. Sometimes I take my best mates on the road with me and that’s always a good laugh, and it’s amazing, they’re not ever like, they just take to it, they’re never like in awe of it – I think they were a bit in awe of it when Wayne Rooney came to one of the gigs and I didn’t tell them, but that was about it to be honest.

Claire B: Which team do you support?

Jake: I support Notts County.

Claire B: Do you go and see them?

Jake: I’m going training for them next month actually so that should be pretty cool. I’m looking forward to that. I’ve been getting back into my football.

Claire B: So if you hadn’t have become a musician you might have gone down the football route?

Jake: Well that’s what I was doing before, but I don’t think I would have made it as a professional, you know, it takes a lot of dedication doesn’t it? But, you know, I just picked up the guitar and, yeah, and then I just fell in love with it. It became my first love. But I was obsessed with football.

Claire B: What do you miss most when you’re away from home?

Jake: Errm, I miss my mates to be honest. It’s funny because you reminisce about those good laughs that you had in certain places where you come from, or in your room when you’re messing around having a few drinks, you know, and you think, they were great. You know, I’d love to go back, but you also have to think well what would happen if everything changed and I did have to go back and you had nothing, would you enjoy it then? Probably not, so, you know, you take those good times and you move on and just keep them embedded in your memory I suppose.

Claire B: Can you see yourself going back to live in Nottingham?

Jake: No I don’t think so, no. Just because, I love Nottingham, but …

Claire B: Have you got any thoughts at the moment about where you would like to live?

Jake: I’d like to live abroad somewhere, America or France or somewhere, but with the tax laws at the moment it’s probably not a wise decision, so the realistic thing to do would be to move to London I suppose. I love Nottingham, but you know, there’s a lot more of the world that I still want to see and I want to experience living in first. I might end up there when I’m really old, so we’ll see.

Claire B: Out of all the things that have happened to you so far, what are you most proud of?

Jake: Errm, [thinks for a few seconds] the fact that I’ve got this far to be honest, I didn’t think it would happen. I’m just proud that I’m getting to live my dream, getting to tour the world, write songs, record them and meet all the people that have influenced me to do it as well, well all the ones that are still alive. That’s pretty amazing, you know, I couldn’t think of anything better to do.

Claire B: And what else do you want to achieve musically?

Jake: Well, I think that the only thing to do is to try and maintain what I’ve achieved so far now. But I think if you look at anyone, and when I say this I’m not comparing myself to these people in any way, it’s just an example, people like Neil Young or like Johnny Cash or any of those guys’ careers on a chart or on a graph it doesn’t always go up, it goes up and it goes down and sometimes it plateaus a little bit, and so I think you’ve got to be prepared for that, it’s not always going to be great. You might make an album that is absolutely amazing and another one that’s not so great, but you know, that’s the journey that I’m really looking forward to, that’s the exciting bit, you just don’t know what’s going to happen. So, yeah, I’m just excited for what lies ahead.

Claire B: You’re working on the third album at the moment aren’t you?

Jake: I’m not like working on it or anything like that, but the thing is when you finish a project you go and work on the next thing don’t you. And it’s just, I love to write songs, it’s what I do, and when I’m doing it I’m not conscious of the third record, I’m just doing what I do and that’s writing the song. And I don’t have anything solid yet, it’s just ideas that I’m messing around with. I’m not under any pressure at all and I don’t know who I want to work with, so I just let the songs come and see what kind album it wants to be, you know. The songs will reveal themselves I’m sure, they’ll write themselves. So, yeah, I’m always working on something, that’s what I love to do.

Claire B: Do you write when you’re on the road?

Jake: Err yeah, I mean for the last album, that was the only opportunity I got to write, and yeah it’s really nice to, you know, have a bit of time off to write and collect your thoughts of course, but also being on the road is when the pressures of touring or when it gets really stressful, whatever, you know, music is my outlet, and that’s when I go into my own world and shut myself away from the world and pick up my guitar and go into the writing thing, so yeah, I mean, I love it.

Claire B: When you’re at festivals do you try and catch some of the other acts if you can?

Jake: No, not really to be honest. All the contemporary music around today, I’m not a fan. It’s not because I’m purposefully getting cynical about it, it’s just that it’s kind of frustrating in a way that I just want to find something, I just want to find a record that’s been released in the last few years that I can press play and not skip a track. I’m sure people would argue that there are albums like that, but none that are for me. But I think for the festivals if you’re a young kid or into the music, the festivals have amazing lineups, if you want to see all those contemporary artists, then they’re all there and it’s great for them. But just personally for me, there’s nothing that I want to see. I would have liked to have seen Metallica at Glastonbury but I was on at the same time.

Claire B: So who are you listening to at the moment then?

Jake: Quite a bit of soul, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, Bill Withers, and I’ve been listening to quite a lot of Roy Orbison as well, he’s an amazing singer, amazing singer. Some people find it a bit cheesy, but it’s not. I think Elvis said he was the best singer ever or something like that – Neil Young loves him, and you know, he’s just great, great songs, so yeah, I love Roy Orbison.

Claire B: So what’s next for you then?

Jake: Errm, what’s next? I suppose more touring till the end of the year, festivals in the summer and I don’t know. Wherever I end up at the end of the year, probably. I might just go travelling around and like work on some stuff and see what happens, go in the studio and just chill out. Because I think sometimes when you’re doing this, as much as I love touring and travelling the world you get into a routine and you think, you know, it’s not like you get ungrateful or anything like that, it’s just that when you do have that time off and you go to, like you know, when I was doing the second album I went to Sun Studios and Memphis and down to Mississippi and stuff like that, like the crossroads where I have a lot of musical influences coming from those places and it just really reminds you why you got in to music in the first place and it takes you back and it’s a great feeling to get that back. So I’ll probably just go and enjoy myself.

Claire B: Brilliant. Well thank you and have a great gig tonight, I’m sure it will be good.

Jake: Yeah, thank you, I’m looking forward to it.

jake bugg_claireb2_210714

Jake playing live, later that evening

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