SATURDAY, Sept. 5 — Jake Ford’s Bandcamp page says that he just wants to be more successful than nu-metal band Trapt. And since lockdown started, he’s been working hard to make that ironic joke a reality. He’s released two singles and has one more on the way that will be released in October.
“My creativity has been kind of at an ebb and flow. The only difference is that I have so much free time that I can force myself to do the work,” said Ford. “There’s just nothing but boredom.”
Ford has been out of work since the pandemic began because he works at Powerhouse Gym. He expects to go back to work next week. But during the time he was out of work, he had plenty of time to work on his music and come up with new ideas.
“Lately, my influences are Hippocampus — this great indie rock band from Minnesota. And then, another big influence on me is The Districts from Philadelphia,” said Ford. “I was actually going to see them on Saint Patrick’s Day, but that was the day before everything shut down.”
The pandemic hasn’t had much of an influence on Ford’s music. He’s not going to have any COVID-themed songs. “It’s kind of the same as it’s always been,” he said. “I just start with an idea and then add layers to it.”
Right now, Ford is 3/4s of the way through a new EP that he hopes to release soon.
He started playing music when he was 13. When Ford was 15, he joined a post-hardcore screamo band as the guitarist. Eventually, he quit the band because he wanted to focus on school. But when Ford’s roommate asked him if he wanted to buy his uncle’s guitar, he restarted his music career.
“It was a really good deal,” he said. “After I got it, I just started playing again. And then I started buying recording equipment.
Ford said that a John Maus song with the same title inspired his recent single, “Hey Moon.” The Maus version is less upbeat than Ford’s, but the influence is obvious. They both utilize cryptic, evocative lyrics and vintage synthesizer sounds.
“I’m just writing about personal things,” said Ford. “‘Hey Moon’ is a great song. It’s like a synthwave song that’s actually a cover of an old song.
“It was actually a song my ex used to play all the time. After we broke up, it popped up in a movie and it just kind of caught me off guard,” he said.
To him, the song is about how something that you previously enjoyed is much harder to enjoy when it reminds you of someone that you used to know.
A song can take quite awhile to come together. Ford said that he tries to intricately layer his music. When he starts writing a tune, he begins with the guitar part and its basic structure. Then, he adds the drum parts with a MIDI drum kit. The lyrics and vocal melody come last.
“It’s a backwards process compared to the way a lot of people do it,” said Ford. “I write a lot of lyrics freeform just to keep them around. But it’s easier for me to write words to the vocal melody. If I don’t do that, I try to jam too many words into a melody.”
He said that he started working this way a year ago, when he started writing music again. The process just worked better for him.
Luckily, Ford has supportive roommates. He said that — living with anyone else — recording would be way too awkward. He also has the help of his friend, Will Carlson, who mixes and masters his music.
“I do all my vocals in my bedroom. Half the time, I don’t even think they hear anything,” said Ford. “But I don’t feel nervous at all around those guys.”