Jake “Jthrill” Bennett.
When looking at striving young, up and coming artists, humble beginnings are often not what you see. Any bit of success that is gained, is taken as something so far and extreme that they forget where they came from. Very soon “Thank you” becomes something forgotten.
I’ve had the pleasure of talking to Jake Bennett aka “Jthrill” a few times about music, and with the wrap up of his latest sophomore record “VS” so I thought it’d be good to chat with him again.
Jake just got done touring with Joplin MO band “Me Like Bees” who are also getting a lot of hype right, playing all over the place. He had a new take on music and how to view it, and from what I can see, a new found appreciation for the arts. Because that’s what it’s all about, people.
Read below for my Interview with Jake.
How was the tour?
Good. I was just on the road with Me Like Bees so it’s always a great time being out with those guys
What would you say is the biggest thing you’ve learned?
I think being on the road teaches you how much you have to love music and being around it so much. as an introvert, I ESPECIALLY have to love it because you literally get 0 time alone. It can be exhausting being around people 24/7 for 2-3 weeks but it teaches you that you really have to be passionate about what you’re doing.
How is VS coming along?
Great, man. just got the final masters from my producer so hoping to get it sent off to the vinyl pressing place and get the release rolling.
What’s the message of this record?
VS is really about the battle of being who you were made to be and trying to break out of peoples expectations for you. For me, personally, when I tell people I rap there are so many preconceived notions with that term. They immediately think of their cousin who hands out mixtapes at school or their friend who makes beats on SoundCloud, you know? I feel like it’s difficult being taken serious in this genre, so VS is really balancing what people expect from me and making the music that I know I want to make and have been called to me, at least in this season.
I just hope that message resonates with others and they can relate to that in their own way.
How was the recording process?
Recording process was a blast. I wrote the entirety of the record with one of my great friends Taylor Miller (who will hereon out be referred to as TMills). We started writing the record before he moved away, and kind of finished writing with the help of the internet. He lives in Wyoming now but flew back and we recorded drums and vocals in 2 days.
My band-mate Howard came over and knocked out the drums in the first day and then the second day was just vocals vocals vocals.
Describe your songwriting process?
It varies greatly. Sometimes songs will literally be born out of 1 or 2 lines I thought of while I was walking down the street (candy cigarette, blunt space, and a few off of VS) but then other times I will have an experience that affects me greatly that I feel needs to be made into a song. So for me, being so lyrically driven, that’s usually the start of every song is the idea of it or a few lines. That helps me dictate what it should sound like and stuff like that.
Other times it’s completely random. One of my favorite songs off the new record I wrote in its entirety immediately after finishing a movie called Begin Again. That movie just resonated with me so deeply and I knocked out the song completely. It was wild.
Do you and your band get along pretty well?
Man the dudes in my band are amazing, honestly. I will now take the time to introduce them:
Howard Nunnelly – the drummer in my band. he came to the show where I opened up for Andy Mineo and we chatted a bit then, but a year or so later I was looking to get a pretty standard live-band together and he was the first person I thought of. I already knew he was a great dude, which is the most important prerequisite for me, and it is just a big bonus that he’s an insane drummer. he’s also just as passionate about the music as I am and he truly believes in the product we’re making.
Nate Vainio – guitarist/pianist in my band. he was howard’s good friend initially and I had met him a few times at the coffee shop here in town. Howard told me one day that he was really talented and could play a few different instruments so one day I just snapchat’d Nate and asked if he wanted to jam w/ us and then after I could confirm what Howard told me myself, I asked him if he wanted to join the band. Nate’s insane. Learned all the songs by ear and never stops trying to get better.
so yes, we get along great. They’re still in HS…. so you can totally tell sometimes, haha but they remind me why I started all this in the first place. It’s a great crew to be a part of.
Has there been any big pressure to do really well on this record?
Oh absolutely. And I’m not even sure if it is just all from me or if anyone else actually cares about this record, ha. for me, I feel like a lot of artists come out with the sophomore release and completely disown their freshman effort, which isn’t what I’m going to do. Heroic is great. I love that record, and I think it’s got some really great tunes on it. My qualm with Heroic is that I didn’t really know what I was doing or how to release something at the time. So with VS what I really wanted to accomplish was having a cohesive project and release it in a way that catches people’s attention. It’s taking longer than I anticipated, definitely, but I think releasing it the correct way will be worth it.
Do you have a producer?
Yes. TMills and I wrote the record and he started mixing it. He had two immediate family emergencies within a month of each other so we had to shift all the mixing/mastering work to the producer who did Heroic, Ezra Jernigan in Oklahoma City.
Any plans to go on tour again?
We’re trying to string some stuff together this summer post-VS and still trying to figure all that out. we’d love to this summer, since that’s when the band homies are out of school.
What does VS stand for?
VS is literally just shorthand for versus. Like I said a little earlier, just that battle between being true to yourself and the temptation to be who others expect you to be.
What’s next after VS?
I’ve got a few EP ideas I’m excited to get working on but other than that, just playing shows and stuff.
Thanks for reading!