Jakob Martin


Tea
July 1, 2010, 5:34 pm
Filed under: Blog, Uncategorized

Woke up with a cold that has me sounding like Fran Drescher, so we had to cancel the vocal session today. The good news is I could finally star in a remake of The Nanny.

It can be frustrating as a singer when anything voice-related happens. The quickest solution is complete vocal rest – no talking or singing – combined with lots of water and tea, and actual rest – all of which I’m trying to do, although the no-talking is tough. I end up with all these pent up words that have to get out somehow – even if through long, winding, pointless journal entries (see Here). Fortunately, this cold shouldn’t set us back more than a couple of days. Dan and I are both much more concerned with doing things well than with doing them quickly, and this is no exception. We’ll wait.

Instead of spending today in the studio, I’ve been able to catch up on some reading and prepare some things for our album release campaign, which is starting soon, and which I’ll definitely tell you more about soon. The release isn’t until this fall, but you probably won’t be surprised to know that there’s a great deal of preparation and pre-release shenanigan…This is the first time I’ll be working with such a dedicated team, including a publicist, street team, event planner, etc, and I feel so lucky to be working with such brilliant people on this record. There seems to be a collective sense among all of us that this album is going to be an important one, and that it’s going to be reaching a lot more people than any project I’ve done in the past – which is obviously very exciting, but in the moment, it just means that we’re all trying to stay focused and at our best. My priority now is making the best album I possibly can, an album I can be proud of. We’ve given so much love and attention to every aspect of the record – from choosing the songs, to the recording of each individual track and sound, to the design of the artwork, the fall tour, and even the new website. A work of art can have so many dimensions, and it’s exciting to realize that nothing we’re doing is a throwaway or an afterthought. Still, nothing is guaranteed, and we go to work every day with the intention of doing our best and hopefully creating something beautiful and real.

Before I get back to drinking copious amounts of tea, here’s something I read today that spoke to me:

“Deification of success is truly commensurate with human meanness…It is mad that success is supposed to be worth more than the beautiful possibility which was still there immediately before.”

-Nietzsche

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Heaven
June 30, 2010, 12:52 am
Filed under: Blog

Heaven exists in at least two forms.  The first is a giant piano brownie. Or a Piowny, as it’s known in the industry. All I can say is that Dan picked the right girl to marry. I’ve learned that if I ‘happen’ to come around at the right times, I get to share the overflow of amazing baked goods that she makes. I think I ate the F, the F#, and the G this afternoon.

The second form of heaven is called Vibe Night. Vibe night started as this small, underground event, and has evolved into a phenomenon in San Diego that so many of us (both artists and fans) look forward to. Even though I’ve moved, I still drive down to play at Vibe, no questions asked. I hope you get to experience it someday, if you haven’t already. Check out what our good friend Kate wrote about it yesterday:

http://katedaigneault.blogspot.com/2010/06/christmas-comes-once-month.html



Songalities
June 29, 2010, 12:51 am
Filed under: Blog, Uncategorized

There’s a section of Venice Boulevard near the studio with a lot of Brazilian restaurants, and today when I walked by on my way to the recording session, it was all-out World Cup mayhem. There were street drummers banging away, people in bright yellow and green shirts dancing and shouting, and an overall sense of celebration and alcoholism in the air.

I haven’t been following the World Cup, though my roommate Cassanova Joe is usually in the living room with the TV on when I get up in the morning, and I occasionally get a few glances at a game during breakfast.  I’ve never really been able to focus on sports on TV; I have to be there in person to stay focused. For me, watching games on TV is a lot like flipping through a Where’s Waldo book – I know I’m supposed to be following something, but I end up getting distracted by something else more interesting in the background – a wizard, an obscure celebrity, or some topless fat guy with body paint. Plus those constantly blaring air horns during the soccer games make it feel like you’re being chased by a swarm of bees the whole time.

Nevertheless, the excitement I felt on the street translated well in the studio, where we spent most of today doing vocals on “Leave the Light on”, a new song with a lot of promise.  This is the first record I’ve made where the songs and the recordings feel like they tie themselves together with very little effort. The songs each have their own personalities (songalities?) but they all belong together, and they all compliment each other.

The upheaval and disorientation of being in a new place have had a great effect on my performance. I used to be so concerned with little technical details in my singing, and it took me awhile to get to a place where I could sit back and let myself sing a song the way I felt it. Now I find that I’ll go into the studio and a lot of those feelings I have come out naturally through the music. It’s easy to feel lost in a new place, and ironically, I think it’s my acceptance of that feeling that has given these recordings confidence and depth. I’m not sure how I feel about people who say you have to suffer for your art, but I do know that inevitably, there is a great deal of intensity in life naturally, and the more we channel that deep honesty into the things we create, the more real the creation feels.  I’m at my best when I’m in the mood of the song and I can deliver it purely, and I know I’ve done my job when I leave the studio feeling completely depleted and exhausted –  but fulfilled. When I know I haven’t held anything back.



Takeoff
June 28, 2010, 9:37 am
Filed under: Blog, Uncategorized

It’s been almost two months since I moved up here, and they’ve been an eventful couple of months. I haven’t felt so alive in a long time, on so many sides of the spectrum. It’s been a harrowing and awe-some experience, and I’m so glad I’m keeping a journal. I’ve also been hearing from many of you lately, and it’s encouraging and wonderful, so keep it coming.

You may have noticed the lack of updates last week…Following my heart and mind, I got on a plane last Monday and disappeared for a few days.  I’d rather not talk about where I went this time (gotta leave some mystery) but I’m re-energized, happy, and have returned with one more stamp on my passport. I’m also ready to get back to work, and we’re going into the studio this week to record the final tracks for the new album. I can’t believe we’re so close. I’m going to miss walking over to the cave and getting creative with Dan every day. But I’m excited to get back on the road, too. Home/Away/Home/Away… Life in the balance.

One big piece of news is that this album is going to have a great shot at being heard – We now have an incredible publicist on our team. Laura Goldfarb and her company, Red Boot Publicity, will be working with us to make sure we can get news about the album and the tour into the media this fall. I’ve realized over the last few days that one has to be careful using the phrase ‘my publicist’ too much in conversation because it can have the tendency to make one sound like a douche. The fact is that she’s fantastic, I’m excited to be working with her, and for an independent artist, having someone to handle the press can make a giant difference in empowering your music to reach the world.

Oh! And the new website is also up, unofficially (the launch will be tomorrow) at jakobmartin.com …Feel free to take a look at the site and let me know what you think. I’m very thankful for the incredible Acacia Betancourt, who did the design, and for Root Riddle, who put the site together.

Hang onto your hats, everyone…Seriously though, it’s a little windy here. Hold on to your hats.



Rules
June 18, 2010, 1:07 am
Filed under: Blog, Uncategorized

I used to check my bed for spiders every night. It all stemmed back to what I called the “black widow incident”  – I woke up one night in elementary with a tickling sensation and realized that there was a black spider crawling on my leg, which I assumed was a black widow.  In retrospect, it definitely wasn’t. From then on, however, I’d vigorously shake out my sheets and blankets before getting into bed to cast out any vicious predators that might be lurking in the folds. What can I say? I was a child of the suburbs.

Who knows how I developed this ritual, and why it stuck. Maybe it had something to do with that statistic that the average person swallows 8 spiders a year while sleeping (common fact back in High School – now we know it was invented as an early example of the absurd things people will believe if they see them on the internet.) Whatever it was, girlfriends, friends, and family whose homes I slept at had to deal with my dramatic ruffling of the blankets before the lights went out, night after night. It became a thing in my circle. Friends would place rubber snakes or whatever else they could find in my bed to see if I’d notice. (it became like that scene from The Godfather in there). Finally, I realized that if a spider really wanted to come for me, he’d probably wait until I was asleep anyway. Suddenly, the whole thing seemed moot, and I started slipping into bed like a normal person, taking it on faith that there was nothing stalking me down there.

Of course, right after that, I started seeing black widows (real ones this time) everywhere. In my laundry, by the patio. One even crawled out from under my bed one afternoon. Screw it. I’m back to doing the spider shake – not as religiously, but at least when I remember to.

We all have these rules for our lives – quirks and rituals that make no logical sense. We’re all made up of these odd configurations of them. Sometimes we know where they come from; sometimes they’re complete mysteries.

I say enjoy them. I’ll tell you right now, the spider shake never went over well in romantic situations. But it makes me feel good about what I’m getting into every night, so to speak. So who cares?

I’m heading to bed. Maybe I’ll give the blankets a good rustle first.



Work
June 16, 2010, 12:28 am
Filed under: Blog, Uncategorized

There’s one danger in deciding to make a profession out of your passion. The danger is that the profession- not the passion – will start to consume you, and you’ll end up confusing the two. In baby stages it may just stress you out. Full blown, this has claimed more than one brilliant artist.

I found myself more aware of this now more than ever as I explore life in LA. At first, my impulse was to spend all day hard at work, meeting and shmoozing and trying to ‘make things happen’, and of course you have to work for what you want. But I’ve recently been reminded that there’s a fine line between working hard and becoming your career. So much of being an effective artist is about being a real person, and experiencing life’s many angles and angels. Ironically, the fact that I’m here has put into perspective more than ever how important the human experience is, not only for my work, but also for my well-being. Whatever you’re trying to do, you’ve got one life to do it, and after you accomplish all your goals, you don’t get awarded with a bonus life to do all the other things you sacrificed along the way. We get what we get, 24/7, for as long as life allows. And there’s so much to do and explore.

I’m so happy and blessed to be doing what I love  in one of the most sunny and creative places in the country. And this new album keeps me excited every day. I’m just minding the balance now. This past weekend for me has been one of those rare times where it feels like New Years Day in the off-season, and I’ve had the opportunity to evaluate and make some resolutions.

Often I’ll hear people brag about being workaholics, and it perks my ears up because I’ve been there. It’s easy to buy into the image of what we’re selling, but it’s never really all of who we are.  If I thought I could fit all of me into a song or even an album, what would that say about my life?

To me a passionate life is one of courage, curiosity, love, and creativity. There is so much more to me than you’ll ever understand from just listening to my music. And yet, without my music, you’d never fully understand me either. The same goes for all of us – whatever form your music takes. Our work is a reflection of who we are, and if all we are is work, then our work is just a reflection of itself- like a mirror facing a mirror. To know what we want to create, we must know what we want to live in. And to know what we want to live in, we must let ourselves live.



Doom
June 11, 2010, 1:37 am
Filed under: Blog, Uncategorized

I want to talk to my fellow musicians and creative-types for a second.

Thom Yorke of Radiohead was recently quoted as saying that the record industry is a sinking ship and that it will be a matter of months, not years – before it collapses. He’s not the only one predicting doom for the music business. It’s incredible how many people in the industry I’ve spoken to since moving up here who are paranoid about the future of their jobs. And anytime I hear something like that, I can’t help but chuckle. First, because I just moved up here to be closer to this ‘crumbling’ industry. And secondly, because I don’t buy it.

This isn’t a blog about the music business. I’m an artist first. But it’s true that these days, building a career as a musician can seem like a work of art in itself. Not only do we have to challenge our hands and our hearts to make great music, but we also have to challenge our minds and imaginations to make sure our music finds the right ears. It’s harder for an artist to stand out against the 4+ million bands on Myspace and the glamorous Idols and Glee’rs. It’s harder to sell albums because most people now get their music for free. It’s always been hard, in general, to be a musician (or artist of any kind) who does something where you put your heart on the line with the knowledge that more people are going to say no than yes.

But we all still listen to music. It moves us to think, dream, feel, cry, and connect with each other. Music is such a valuable part of all of our lives, and we as a society won’t let that disappear. The landscapes and roadways are constantly changing, but the dream is still there, always on the horizon. And as long as the dream is there, we’ll always have a way to bring it to fruition. “Hard” is no match for that.

I’m in the process right now of working with a close-knit team of people to decide how we’re going to put out my next record and make sure it has a fair shot at being heard. I know without a doubt it’s the best work I’ve done yet. And it has still been challenging to figure out how we can get it to the world. But with every challenging moment comes a world of new ideas, creativity, and promise, if we’re willing to unlock it. And I have so much hope for the future, and so much excitement about this project, the projects of the artists around me, and the ways that our generation is going to change everything.

In short, I want to say to any of you who have read the news lately and gotten scared or discouraged: Don’t buy into the doom. Continue to be courageous, passionate, and creative. It’s a big world, but it’s made up of people just like us, individuals who are doing our best to use our gifts. Not only do I think we shouldn’t be discouraged – I think we couldn’t have picked a better time to be alive than right now, in this climate, with these challenges. It gives us something to rise to.