Ezzah Rafique | September 11, 2021
Photo by: Paris Mumpower
Jake Herring, better known by his stage name BabyJake, artistically blends rock and roll with indie, folk, and other genres into one creative masterpiece. With his debut album- 'The Sun Wakes Up Earlier Now'- out now, HAZZE MEDIA sits with BabyJake to dive into the creative process behind the new release, his single 'My Anxiety,' and rock and roll.
E: Thank you so much for taking the time out to sit and do this!
J: Yeah, of course, I'm excited.
E: So how's your day been?
J: Um, that's a great question, actually, that's one of the best interview questions I've ever heard. I'm being totally serious. Nobody ever asked that question. My day's been great. I went to the gym at seven 7:30 and I got home and I had to take care of my dog. I have a puppy that's six months old, so I'm kind of she's still like, you know, growing up and stuff. But but yeah, I went to the gym, I got home, took care of my dog, made a little bit food, showered, relaxed, still haven't had my coffee cup of coffee, but that's OK. And now I'm here.
E: How was the process like creating your debut album, you're about to release? It comes out in September.
J: It was lengthy. I was pulling records from like two years ago and some of the records I was pulling from like we were doing records down to. You know, two months ago, like really, I have records that are two and a half years old and I have records that we made two months ago. You know what I mean? So it's like it was just like it was a little bit all over the place. I decided kind of last-minute that I wanted to do an album. It wasn't last minute. I always had it like in my hopes to do an album. But, you know, I kind of just threw a whole bunch of stuff that I really liked together because I had a whole bunch of records. I have way more records than that that I actually didn't throw on the album because I didn't feel like they fit. But it was kind of like going through the pandemic and all that. I was like, Man, when I come out of this, I got to like, drop a project. I just feel like it's time, you know, I want to start shifting the sound into alt-rock direction and more into the rock and roll space. So I just feel like it was kind of like. A long process, but also a quick process, if that makes sense. At the same time, it was easy, it wasn't like hard, it didn't feel like work. It just felt like we were just making music and also had music that was already made that we just threw together on a project.
E: What is your average day look like when you're working compared to like when you have it off?
J: I work, I try to work every day, so I don't really like it's not work for me. It's like it is work and some of it sucks, but. Most of it, I enjoy. So I try to work every day when I can, maybe like two days a week, I take off for one day and I couldn't tell you what that day looks like. It changes, you know? I recently got in a relationship, so a lot of my free time I've been spending with my girlfriend...I mean, I'm kind of a boring guy when it comes outside of music, you know,.
E: Did COVID affect your process in creating the album like when it came to adding new songs?
J: What affected me in COVID is I got really sick, I actually got COVID and then. After I got I wasn't sick from COVID, I was sick for like two days and three days, but it sparked an autoimmune disorder in me that I didn't know I had at the time. So I got really, really sick for like three or four months, and that shifted my entire change in music to like. I started thinking about why I'm doing this, why I got into music in the first place and why I'm doing it. So it wasn't like COVID, really. The pandemic and the isolation stuff didn't really make that big of an impact on me. It was more like being sick and being like it was the first time in a while that I felt like life is not abundant. It's not like you're not going to live forever because you get on this like you get signed as an artist. I was working so hard to get signed as an artist, and then I have like a little bit of success and I'm like on a high horse. And you think you kind of forget you're living in a world that does have a due date eventually. So that's really what made me kind of dive in and be like, OK, what do I want to do? F*ck what everybody else wants to do. F*ck every manager, label, whatever else is telling me to do, what do I want to do? Thankfully, I have a pretty supportive label and management situation, so there hasn't been too many bumps in the road, maybe a couple.
E: That's nice. Was there any time in the process of creating the album where you felt like maybe you not couldn't get through it, but like what helped you get through any tough time you had while creating this?
J: I never felt like I had a tough time creating it. I think I just if I did, I mean, I'm the type of person that's like if if something bothered me about a record and I couldn't get it right, I would just cut the record. I would just say, All right, fuck it. Let's move on to the next record. That's it. You know, that's writing and. Yeah. I mean, like I've written so much music in my life, there's you have no idea there's probably 50 songs that are in my Dropbox right now that are fully like mixed out records that just probably will never come out. So like for me, it's I've been doing it so long and writing so many records that I'm like, OK, this isn't working out perfectly cool. We cut it. Go to the next one. Maybe the next one works out perfectly and maybe even better for this particular project, you know? So I was never really like stressed. The only time that I was stressed is whenever we were mixing and mastering it and the label's like, OK, we have a due date. We need it done by here needs to be done like that's when it gets a little stressed. Ok, we need the photoshoot done right. It's all the other shit. Making the music is the easy part. The photoshoots, the videos, the due dates, the social media, like all that stuff, is that's where the work is. And being an artist, it's not really making the music-making. Well, at least for me, making the music is the joyful part, you know?
E: Is there a specific song on the album that you have like a really strong connection to? Or maybe that like you have a memory that's really close to you?
J: Well, there's two when you talk about a memory that's really close to me, a numbers game, which is a record on the album is all about me being sick and me being like, I don't even want to look at myself because I'm disgusted and like, who I am. So that's a deep, definitely a deep, meaningful song. I mean, the lyrics are just totally about that. And then as far as a song that's like my favorite and that I really enjoyed writing and that I enjoy [the] performance. 'Daddy's Coming Home' is probably... my favorite to perform and my most favorite record. But I think the most meaningful one and the one that has the most meaning is numbers.
E: Do you have a favorite song on the album?
J: Yeah, I'd say it's 'Daddy's Coming Home'. Um, I like 'Numbers Game', I mean, I like them all. There's like, I really enjoy them all. But I think 'Daddy's Coming Home' to my favorite just because, like, I'm a rock and roll head, and that's the one that is closest to where I want the sound to go. So, yeah.
E: Your upcoming single, 'My Anxiety', comes on September 3rd. Do you have like, in your words, how would you describe the song to somebody who's like listening to it for the first time?
J: I would describe it as upbeat, but kind of sad if you listen to lyrics, I think most people don't really listen like maybe not most people, but there's definitely a percentage of people that don't listen to lyrics. They just listen to like the movement of the actual song and the instrumental. It might even be listening to lyrics, but they're not understanding what they mean like of those people. Yeah, if you're one of those people, you're going to be like, Oh great, this song is sick. It's like, it's like a mid-tempo, upbeat, like dance like kind of alt-rock dance record. But if you listen to the lyrics, it's really a sad song. It's me talking about my anxiety and like addiction problems I've had in the past and stuff like that. So there's kind of two sides to it. It's like, I think for the first time listening to it, some people might feel really amazing and feel like it's, Oh, wow, this is a great song, has a really good feeling to it. But then like on second, listen, if you listen to the lyrics, you're like, Man, he's kind of sad. You know, it's almost like the song itself and the way it sounds doesn't really present this sad. But when you listen to lyrics, it's a little bit more intense and emotional.
E: Would you say that song's also like when you're really looking forward to perform live?
J: Oh, yeah, totally. I mean, I've already performed it live to like a small crowd in Venice, California, for like this weekend thing and when I hit that one. It's just people feel it immediately because I'm like at the top of my register, I'm pushing my voice as much as I can. The band feels that it's very like it's kind of a little bit of a sloppy record when you take the pieces apart, but it just feels really good, you know?
E: For some of the people who maybe haven't listened to your songs before, you had a pretty big song 'Cigarettes on Patios' that came out in 2019. I want to touch on that really, really fast. What was your reaction like seeing it climb viral on charts?
J: It was great, it was amazing at the time, it was the best feeling in the world my whole life. All I wanted to do was be on my whole life. But like a majority of my life, all I wanted to do was get to the point where, like, I had a hit song, you know, and now I look at it and like, it's always like at the moment you really, really respect it and you're like, Oh my god, this is going, holy shit. This is like, you know, a hit record. But now I'm like, Now I look at it and I'm like, Man, I wish it was that. I wish I had a record that was doing five hundred million streams versus a million a hundred million streams, you know, so it's like there's always in the moment it feels great, but then you keep focusing on the future, you know, it's important to I've kind of learned. I don't think that I appreciated the present enough in that kind of like I wasn't really in the state of mind to appreciate it enough. I just wanted to keep going and going and going. I feel like now if I had that record, I appreciate it more than I did, but I still it was still an amazing feeling. You know, it was still like one of the greatest feelings in the world to have family members and friends call you and be like songs. I mean, it still happens. You know, it's like the record has been out for, what, three years, two and a half years now. And like, it still happens all the time. When friends call me, they're like, Oh, it's playing in the bar or whatever, you know, friends from Florida and stuff. So it's a pretty cool feeling. I mean, I never thought I would be here in a million years, so I cannot complain now.
E: And lastly, I want to ask, is there an artist who this could be an artist who is dead or alive, who would you most want to collaborate with?
J: Uh, the Rolling Stones back when they could actually like, I don't know how those dudes sound anymore, you know and rest in peace, Charlie Watts just died yesterday. The drummer, that guy was a legend, so rest in peace. But the Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin would have been really cool to collaborate with. Also, rest in peace. Bob Marley. Sister Nancy, like I'm into a lot of old school reggae stuff, even like some salsa artists like, I want to start when I start doing like rock and roll and also introducing different languages and different styles of music like salsa or merengue or things like that into my albums. I think that's really cool. But yeah, I think the biggest one would be Rolling Stones. I really look up to those guys, and I really appreciated what they did for four rock and roll.