Interviews

Jacob Lee talks us through his visceral new single ‘Silhouette’ and album number three

Gold Coast singer-songwriter Jacob Lee has just released his latest piece of visceral mastery, his new single Silhouette boasting a dreamy fusion of balladry and electronica.

He sat down with us to run us through the behind the scenes.

Between his heart-on-sleeve lyricism and acute self awareness, Jacob Lee has established himself as poetic and intrinsic songwriter.

HAPPY: Hey Jacob, how’s it going? What are you up to at the moment?

JACOB: Despite the weirdness of isolation, I’m doing well. Nikki, my partner, could go into labour at any minute with our little boy, so we’re making sure we’re prepared for his cute arrival. He has WAY too many clothes already, but if the classes we’ve been taking have taught us anything, it’s that the fun times come out both ends, so we may actually not have enough haha. Apart from that, I’ve just been writing the third album. Seeing as touring has now been postponed to 2021, I’ve reclaimed the rest of the year to do nothing but create music and adjust to being a dad.

HAPPY: Congratulations! We’ve been loving the new track! How does it feel having it out there in the world?

JACOB: Feels fab. Even though the sadness in this song doesn’t translate to my current mentality, Silhouette is possibly my favourite track from the record. I’ve found that when you’re down or depressed, oftentimes you don’t feel like switching on uplifting music. Silhouette is a story that doesn’t pretend everything is fine. It sits within its sorrow, riding it out until it’s ready to move on. I feel as though acknowledging sadness, depression or anxiety is always the most effective therapy and luckily we have music to help us do that when we’re lost.

HAPPY: Could you tell us a bit about the song?

JACOB: I wrote Silhouette early 2019 on my acoustic guitar, about two hours before anyone had woken up in the house. I wasn’t sad in the slightest, though I do remember feeling present. It was one of those mornings where you only realise you were inspired after you’ve secured the result of the inspiration. I’d say I finished 90% of the song that morning and knew straight away that it was going to be a single. The song is slow and melancholic and a powerful piece in the way of production. It speaks of the wish to be someone else and doesn’t shy away from staying sad throughout the entire five minute duration. Silhouette is unquestionably the most electronic track out of the ten songs of Conscience, and a subtle Easter egg into how we’ll be approaching the third project.

HAPPY: There are some pretty personal lyrics woven throughout the song. Is this kind of introspection ever difficult to sing about for you?

JACOB: To be real, I thrive off of deeper stories. I always have. The more subconscious the lyric, the more it seems to resonate with the public. Articulating emotion is perhaps one of the most difficult tasks we face when writing something intimate or personal and it’s only ever not cheesy when you aren’t trying to write it. Positioning myself in an environment where those emotions are welcomed and accepted is essential. Otherwise, I tend to sit for hours upon hours coming up with words that have no relevance.

I’ve always loved sharing contemplative music and I feel it comes natural to me. There are so many individuals suffering on this planet and art has, and always will, be one of those things that provides solace. I simply hope to create things that penetrate the surface.

HAPPY: Over the past number of years, you’ve never really stopped releasing music. What does your songwriting process look like? Is it generally a quick process?

JACOB: It honestly varies. Prior to 2020, all of my songwriting occurred on an acoustic guitar, completely isolated, in my father’s garage. Songs like Silhouette arose within a 60-minute window, whilst tracks like Black Sheep, Gone the Days and Reality took a number of months to finalise. I’ve realised that my capacity to eliminate distraction is what determines the speed in which I can create. As of the last twelve or so months, I’ve veered quite a distance from acoustic music. It’s been super rewarding diving into production and keys, and I’ve now reached a point where I’ve pre-produced my entire third record. We’re days away from sending the first single off to mastering, which is absolutely unbelievable.

As I’ve established myself further as an artist, I’ve become so much more aware of the importance of comprehending an array of software and instrumentation – whilst simultaneously injecting a sense of spirituality into it. Acoustic instruments always seem to have more soul than that of synthesis, or software. Yet, as I delve further into that world, I’m consistently striving to locate a similar level of consciousness within it. I’m a self-proclaimed emotional writer, and feeling a connection with the tools I use is possibly one of the most important parts of the process.

HAPPY: When your releasing music so frequently, is inspiration ever hard to find?

JACOB: Always. For example, I’ve just wrapped the entire vibe of my third full-length album. Fourteen songs I’m hugely proud of, yet only one track has lyrics. Anyone who’s followed my journey thus far is aware of how obsessed I am with philosophy and lyricism. To put it in perspective, my indie label is called Philosophical Records and I’m developing a clothing brand called Lowly Lyricist… so I’m definitely not trying to be ambiguous about it haha. I think the energy I usually put into crafting the perfect storyline has this time been instilled into the production and I’m finding myself somewhat depleted when I sit down to write words. It’s a welcome challenge, as I know artistic blockages always have a solution. As I write this interview I’m currently in the midst of locating that solution, which I’ll be excited to tell you all about the next time we chat.

HAPPY: Where there any particular artists you were listening to while writing/recording this song?

JACOB: Frank Ocean, Childish Gambino, Freddie Joachim, Billie Eilish.

HAPPY: What’s next for Jacob Lee? Any other exciting plans in the works?

JACOB: Quite a few honestly… 2020 was always predicted to be the year I’d release an absurd amount of music. Despite the finishing of my second album, Conscience. I’ll be distributing the entire Conscious Sessions acoustic album, my eight-track remix, orchestral project for Philosophy, and the entirety of album three. If all goes to plan we should have just over forty tracks distributed this year.

HAPPY: That’s immense, can’t wait. Cheers for the chat!

JACOB: Thanks you for having me and being lovely humans x