Introducing: Jake Houlsby

Hey Jake, you well?
I am indeed! I’m just about to leave to go to play a gig in Manchester, supporting Robert Ellis, so looking forward to that!

First up, can you introduce yourself to The Music Fix readers?
I’m a singer-songwriter from Newcastle Upon Tyne, whose music would probably/hopefully be filed alongside Sufjan Stevens, Nick Drake and Tallest Man On Earth.

How did things get started for you?
I started playing the guitar and piano at the age of ten and things just progressed from there. My music tastes changed dramatically over the years and eventually I settled into my skin. I found I had a lot to say so started writing.

What can you tell us about your new track ‘Bloom’?
I started writing the lyrics to the song on a solitary, 5am Boxing Day car journey from Newcastle to Dumfries. After an hour of sleep-deprived life-analysis and sky gazing, the lyrics started to flow. The music came in its own in time and the song went through different guises over a two year period before settling into the song it is now.

What have you been listening to that’s influenced you?
Recently, it would be Sufjan Stevens and Joni Mitchell. A few years ago it would be Nick Drake, Neil Young, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen.

What’s your process for writing songs, or choosing what to record?
My process for writing is always to start with the chords, then work on a melody and then write the lyrics. With recording, it’s just a matter of recording the songs you’re enjoying the most at the time.

What’s been your best experience so far this year?
It’s not music-related but I’d say going away in summer around Europe by myself for the first time - it was amazing.

You’ve supported some cool acts over the last year or so, what’s the most interesting thing you’ve picked up from another artist or act?
How important the live show is and how impressive it is to see a well-practiced, tight band perform.

What does 2017 hold for you?
I’ll be releasing an EP, also titled ‘Bloom’, and hitting a few festivals across the UK!

Social media for artists: pain in the butt or vital?
Social media is a vital pain in the butt.

We always like to check; is there a musical style you just don’t get?
I’d never listen to Death Metal but it’s not that I don’t ‘get it’ - I appreciate the genre and what they’re trying to do, I just wouldn’t listen to it.

We’re coming to the end of the year, and that means “album of the year” lists: what’s your fave album of 2016?
If you asked me next week, I’d probably say something different but I’ll say 22, A Million by Bon Iver.

If you could only listen to one song this week, what would it be?
Peter Gabriel’s version of 'Heroes'.

What’s the question we should have asked you today but haven’t?
The last song that made me cry.

Finally, how do you take your coffee? (Or alcohol?)
99% of the time I’ll take coffee over alcohol cause I’m boring... milk and no sugar, thanks!

Thanks so much for your time Jake, appreciate it.
My pleasure.

You can find out more about Jake, including details of his launch show, on his website.

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