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The Hot Sweat
Tamar Kaprelian
Hana Pestle
By Ann Frohoff--I Assistant Regional Head, West/Southwest

Every artist has a story, every musician pulls from their fantasies and imaginations or their life’s moments, to weave together songs which will touch us in some fantastic way making us yearn for more, compelling us to hit play over and over again; Jake Johnson of The Record Life, his capacity to do just this is masterful .Jake's is overwhelmingly authentic in his ability to translate very personal and poignant moments in his life into something we can all relate to in one way or another. Jake’s story behind his upcoming EP release, The Souldier on May 12th along with his planned album release later this year will bring everyone who hears it into his private conflicts and resolutions. The story behind the songs is a direct connection between his real life dramatic moments. I can tell you I was riveted as he shared his story with me. I must have listened to our interview 20 times, and I’m still blown away by his honesty. In turn, I listened to the 2 songs which are on his music player on My Space – taking a better listen to the lyrics and I can’t wait to hear the entire album to see how he’s rendered the entire story musically.

Well, first off, I want to say you definitely have a unique story to tell. I’ve been reading a little bit about your journey thus far. Very interesting facts that will compel people, your fans to know you better. The story behind the album is very, very poignant.

Well, yeah, its super relevant right now, it was a horrible thing that happened; I’m not the only person it’s happened to…I could have taken it one of two ways. I could have been embarrassed about it and hidden it from the world or I could have shared my story with anyone that would listen. Hopefully more people than just me learn from it.

So, you are from a little town in Arizona? How does that compare to living in Los Angeles?

Oh man, uh, it’s a different world, it’s a completely different environment, the attitude of people (here) is the most jarring thing for me, just the way people act, and the way people talk and the way trends are started and the way trends are followed, the way people interact with each other. Back home everything is very real and from the heart, there is an element of that here in L.A.; but what I’ve found is that you have to work a lot harder to find people that are like that (back home). That are genuine and aren’t ultimately out for (themselves).

Did you always know you wanted to be a musician? What’s the story behind Jake?

Actually I grew up loving music….my dad plays guitar and I always admired that, he constantly had a guitar in his hand; when he went to work he even had a guitar hanging on the wall in his office. So when he was stressed out he could pick it up and play. I would always go to his office after school and watch him do that and I was just always taken with it. I was like this is such a cool way to express yourself; and my mom played piano so I grew up in a super musical household. My grandpa was actually a bassist for a jazz band in Chicago back in the 20’s and 30’s, so everybody in my family, our family gatherings were always really musical…always around it. I didn’t really figure out that I wanted to pursue music professionally until I was 16 or 17, just because I was so involved, my parents always got me into other things, I was in sports, theater and actually I was going to college on a acting scholarship, a theater scholarship. It was really there, I was going to Arizona State, and that I made my final decision that I don’t want to really do anything but music. There was always other options, I was gonna pursue theater just because I happened to be good at it, I just got lucky. I also wanted to do marine biology to for the longest time. Music just always made sense. It was always behind everything, everything that I did was centered around music and when I did theater I would slide to the music, I was always replacing the words with lyrics, from the script. When I was studying I using music, it was always behind everything, I couldn’t get away from it. So finally I just gave into it.

Onto the video I watched of you explaining the start of your journey in L.A.; you say you came out to L.A. for meetings and you missed your flight and with that missed flight, you got to make a record. Can you please elaborate; tell us how that went down?

I got to Hollywood, to Los Angeles on September 15th, 2007 all I had was a couple of shirts, an extra pair of jeans and a toothbrush stuffed into a backpack; because I was only expecting to be here a couple of days. I was here to meet with a record label and scheduled to fly out the next day and I missed my flight. So after I missed my flight, the label was like let’s make some demos and they paid for me to make some demo’s, which was like huge. I’ve never had anyone pay for me to do anything. I was amped, it was my ticket. This is my record deal, I’m signing with this label, it’s gonna be great. What happened was, I made demos for a bunch of songs, songs that already existed. I didn’t have any new songs written yet. We shopped the demos and everyone was like, we need that song that “hit” song…and I was like, what is that? What is that song? I never geared myself as a song writer to write hit songs, I just wrote honest songs. So I was really confused, I was like, I don’t even know if I can write a hit song, I’m not sure if I know how. Basically, I stayed in Los Angeles. I landed in a house in Hollywood with 9 other people, in a 2 bedroom house and I slept on the floor in the dining room, the dining room was my bedroom. There was a piano in the house, and I would sit down every day and I would dissect every song that was considered a hit song. I learned as much as I could about the structure of a hit song….I wrote about 10 to 15 songs in a 3 month period…it’s a lot of songs; and on about December 16th, 2007, I was told by my management company that they were gonna help me make a record. They shopped the record, helped me put together a band, cause I didn’t have a band – and that’s what we did.

Now, back to this unique take on how your life experiences influenced this album – The Sea of Something Big – now let me get this straight, you met someone online and she ended up being fake…a fake girlfriend, meaning she was a real person, but pretended to be somebody that she wasn’t (stealing someones identity).


And you actually fell in love with this person?

I completely became smitten with this person, it was over, I was ready to call it a day, completely done with dating, and I was ready to give my heart to her; over a 5 month period on the phone and over the computer.

Did you ever come to realize who this person really was?

I found out in a really bazaar way, all my friends new about this girl, they all thought I was crazy. My friend from New York, *Sarah, lived in an apartment with other girls who she went to college with and I was video chatting with Sarah, and this was after the girl *Jessica, the girl I fell in love with, we actually had stopped talking just because she (was always saying)….she was coming home (back to L.A.), (saying) I coming, and then something would happen, then she would say I’m coming home in a month, and then something would happen….this was just being push backed and it was months. This girl *Jessica had a completely alternate life, there was a separate Face Book page, one with all her real information, one with a different phone number, different address, different email, different aim screen name, different music, different hobbies, different movies, everything was completely different. Then I went on the Face Book page with the all the “real” information on it, I got her aim screen name and when I looked her up she was online…..I wrote a novels worth of I hate yous, basically you are the worst person I never met….Jessica didn’t admit to this, she was asking who is this?....I told her don’t play games, I know everything….just tell me you’re sorry so we can move on. She was really freaked out. I was like, ok, can we video chat, cause I had never video chatted with Jessica the girl I had been in love with forever; she never had the video chat option on the screen. So I was like let’s do this now, I clicked the icon next to her name and up pops the screen….and it’s the same girl I’d been seeing in pictures for months and months with a different voice….at that moment I was like, this is other universe stuff that’s going on. Basically, I finally contacted the real Jessica the one who was (faking it, and called her out on it). (With this) I chose to take the positive road, the high road to learn from it.

Let’s talk about the album, the name of the album, and correct me if I’m wrong, is Into the Sea of Something Big, and there are 11 tracks on the album? Since your story is so entwined in this album and your life experiences make you who you are, this would be the reason why it’s so good.
Yes, there are actually a couple of new songs, so we may add more or we may take a couple out and replace them, but I’d say it will be 11. They are relevant experiences, its real, there’s just not one word on the record that wasn’t derived specifically from real emotion, and real events and real situations and real scenarios. The only one song on the record that really isn’t about me or anybody specific, it’s just my idea of the perfect relationship. Things happen for a reason, this happened so I can grow and others will be able to grow, I’m lucky that I’m allowed to have a soap box so to speak, a vehicle to drive this story home. I’m lucky, basically, right place right time, wrong place right time, everything.

Besides life experiences that influence your music, can you describe your creative process?

Jake's is usually driving, driving gets my creative juices going, it’s bazaar, I’m like never setting out to do it, I’m not like I’m gonna drive to write my next song. But I’m either driving or walking, I’ll be in one of those situations that a lyric or a note be there and I’ll need to go home to run with this, a lot of times what happens is I’ll get stuck, I’ll write a few lines and I’ll get stuck and I’ll put the song away in my head and I wait on it, I let it marinate. During that process I’ll workin other stuff…..there’s a lot of stuff in my head, a verse for one song, may be a chorus for another song, it all just fits together at some point, it just happens. I don’t know how it happens….I’m lucky.

Now, on to the producers who you worked with on this album – Kraig Tyler and Brett Mazur of The Pharmacy and Lee Miles of Tickle Me Pink – how much influence did they have with producing this album with you?

They were my band for the record…they were there to guide me along, I have a tendency to go above and beyond; overdo things, over play, and they would be there….musically they were there (to show me the way). Lyrically I had it done, but musically, instrumentally really is where they played a part.

I see you have done a few shows with Drake Bell – tell us a little bit about that, how that came about, what we have to look forward to with that.

Drake is actually a friend, we meet at a bar, Spaceland, I had been doing some co-writes with The Pharmacy and it just so happened they were submitting one for Drake Bell. So I had a song I had been sitting on for a while, and I was like let’s use this song. So the song made it to him. So literally, I’m behind a BMW, and I’m like wow, that’s a really nice BMW I wonder who’s gonna get out of that and low and behold Drake Bell gets out ….I didn’t want to be that guy, that creepy dude, so I just went up to him and I said Drake, and he was like yeah, and I said, I’m Jake I just submitted a song for your record, and he’s asked What’s it called, and I said, Can’t Live It Twice, and he was like, Dude I was just listening to that in my car on the way over here. It’s all happenstance. We went back to his house and the rest is history. We became friends and we’re hoping to do a tour soon together.

Who would you like to share the stage with and/or go on tour with?

I would really, really like to open for Paul McCartney, I know it’s a total hail Mary, but even if it was one show, even if I got to stand on the stage that we was on it would be enough, that’s a huge one of mine. But more realistically, I would love Death Cab for Cutie, it could be Train, Train is a great band, I would really like to go on tour with Coldplay.

Your album is due out this summer – can you tell us a little about that? Can you share a release date?

Well, not sure of the date, I didn’t know we were even going to release an EP until we did, and that one comes out on May 12th. To be honest with you, I think we’re gonna sit on it, we’re gonna see how the EP goes, I wanna tour the EP pretty extensively, I think we’re got a really good package, the four songs that best represent the record. I want to get out there and build a story and build a really personal fan base and then hopefully later this year, most definitely this year, we already have the record, we’ll just put it in a box and put it out, but I’m in no rush, in no hurry, I wanna be doing this the rest of my life, I don’t want to mess anything up.

Will there be a tour that we can look forward to? Will you be playing any shows locally?

We are working on dates, our booking agent is working on L.A dates and San Diego dates.

Is there anything that you’d like to say to your fans and fans to be?

I get a lot of feedback from fans saying that you inspire me, that you’re an inspirational musician, thank you for doing what you do. I don’t get to tell them as much as I’d like to, they’re just as inspiring if not more so than I am, and they’re the reason I do what I do. Without them there would be nothing for me to do. They’re my heroes.

For more on The Record Life please go to http://myspace.com/therecordlife.
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