Finally: Kill The Noise – Occult Classic has officially landed. We’ve waiting on this one for years. Further back than our UKF Meets video, further back than BLVCK MVGIC.
Hells; some of us have wondered what a full Jake Stanczak album would sound like way back during his Ewun days.
Timing is everything, though. We were never going to hear anything but the best he can possibly make. Whichever intersection you started cruising the Kill The Noise freeway on, you’ll know that there are many twists and turns en-route; and he’ll never take the easy path.
No ’12 track banger attack’, no ‘identikit drop circle jerk’, no ‘bandwagon fondling hype machine’… Jake’s all too aware of the throwaway, mindless clichés electronic music albums can fall in to and has invested years in this opportunity to show people more about himself, his musical passions, his perception of electronic music and sound design and his thoughts on certain aspects of electronic music and internet culture.
Everything, down to the smallest details of the artwork and the 10 tracks he decided to use (of the 100s that have been started since his last full release three years ago) has been meticulously considered. And you can really feel that during the album…
Well, you can if you listen to the real deal and not the leaked version that emerged a few weeks back. It seemed like a good place to start the conversation when we caught up with Jake earlier this week…
In the end I’m still an underdog in the scheme of things, so is OWSLA, we aren’t selling millions of records, we are still doing things on an indie level.
Let’s talk about the leak…
Yeah let’s talk about the leak. It’s a very interesting topic. All artists experience leaks. It’s sign of the times. I’ve said this many times: if you don’t want something to leak, don’t put it on the internet. Even an email to a friend. Mistakes happen, hacks happen, shit gets into the wrong hands. What’s interesting is that the version that leaked is an old version of the record.
So the source was pretty trusted? That early version wasn’t sent out to anyone and everyone!
I’m not gonna say what I think happened. It doesn’t matter. I have my suspicions, but I’m not gonna jump to any conclusions. I talked with the label and some close music friends of mine about the leaking situation, and it’s crazy the kind of stories I’ve heard about people having things leaked. Even kids going so far as to run up and snatch USB keys right out of the CDJs in the middle of a show!
I know! It’s particularly bold. Luckily that’s not happened with me. But anyway, the plus side about leaking – and there is a plus side – is that there are fans out there who literally can’t wait. They will do everything they can to get their hands on the music. And I get that. I know some guys like that who have defended me. The minute they saw the leak they told me about it. So there’s something to be said about those guys and that community. The feedback I’ve seen about the leaked version of the album is really positive so there is a positive perspective on all of this. There’s been some great feedback on it which adds another layer to the discussion running underneath the usual marketing and PR hype.
A more authentic layer?
Yeah totally, it’s legit. It’s another layer of hype. I’ve seen it before. In this age stuff leaking is becoming more common. Even with movies and video games stuff leaks. I usually notice in an online discussion when people seem to know so much about something… It’s like ‘woah! How do you know so much?’ I think that’s exciting. It’s funny, I was playing in Toronto the other day and two kids came up to me and said ‘dude, do you know the album has leaked? We love it.’ I explained I knew about it and thanked them.
I have to admit it hurts to have seen the record floating around the past couple weeks. I try to remember the other side of it, though. The fact that people are re-uploading the links and still pushing the leaks means that people give a shit. I know a lot of artists get really hung-up about it and get really angry but I’m not that type of guy. That said, I really would appreciate if a certain portion of fans were to support the record. In the end I’m still an underdog in the scheme of things, so is OWSLA, we aren’t selling millions of records, we are still doing things on an indie level. We all really rely on our fan base to support us.
Amen. So let’s talk about the album. All your EPs have been close to album level in size anyway, so was there a big difference in terms of pressure, workload and mindset behind it?
It was bigger in terms of the amount of tracks, but no… I’ve been on this road before. What I love is that magic moment when you realise, after months and months of trying ideas and going crazy in the studio, you have a project – a proper project – on your hands. Tracks are starting to have a personality. They might not have a name but they’re real. They have lives. Like a pregnancy; you can see the pictures and hear the baby and you know that it’s going to become real very soon. I love that moment when it all falls into place like that.
How about the album title? Getting some illuminati feels from the artwork!
I had all these ideas and tried a bunch of things and wrote names and had it pretty much decided. I went through so many ideas over the last year and a half. I wanted something that lasted and was a bit clever. The thing is, if you follow my Kill The Noise stuff since 2007 you’ll know it’s always changing. They’re never a huge departures but they’re clearly different directions.
I had a conversation with Skrillex years ago about who our favourite artists were and how they change their creative path and how it’s best done without alienating or losing your fans. We get very excited about new ideas and move in different directions; he pulls that off really well. Both of us get so excited about new ideas. It’s the same with Knife Party. People have polarised opinions about artists making those big changes it but at the end of the day if the ideas and quality is there then your core fan base will understand what you are trying to do.
What clinches it for me is always authenticity; you can tell when an artist is genuinely excited about a new sound or idea… And the guys who just jump ship and chase the dollar on a popular genre.
Authenticity is the biggest thing for me. People do just seem to follow the hype train wherever it goes now. It’s like the only thing they give a shit about is playing shows; there’s no dedication to a scene or culture or ideology. In one way I get that; I don’t identify with just one scene exclusively but I do have a code: the commitment to quality, staying true to yourself as an artist and the level of dedication to the craft. It’s a chance for me to continue on this path, exploring some ideas but keeping it cohesive so I don’t alienate people.
So is that why we get some classic references on the album. Like the dubstep drop on Without A Trace or some D&B on Spitfire Riddim?
I’m trying to step away in a sense from being known mostly for the overt aggressiveness of my identity. I keep getting pigeonholed as a dubstep or aggressive dance music guy. It’s all about presentation. So I’d have some ideas for videos with people getting their heads blown off or a big flaming skull. People were like ‘if you don’t want people to think of you as some super aggressive dude then stop using that imagery!’ So I’ve opened up a little and shown more facets of my personality. I want people to know it’s a different record to Black Magic… But people need to know it’s not a total departure too.
It’s not just DJ guys playing tunes; some of us are artists who are putting life energy into our songs… We’re trying to tell a story about ourselves and our lives.
Dolphin noises are a bit of a departure, mind…
Haha! I’ve never been the man to take myself too seriously. I’m just a dude, a guy who makes music. I’ve always loved the kind of artists that let their audience know that they’re a normal person having fun with it. There’s a certain type of confidence that comes with that. You know, just trying to get better, trying to have fun, trying to be happy.
Some people are like ‘what the fuck is this dolphin bullshit?’ and other people can laugh at the joke. If I kept putting the same kinds of records out, I would end up pretty uninspired, just bored you know? I like it when there’s this back and forth though; I like strong opinions, doing weird stuff is exciting, its fun! Even though I catch shit from people online sometimes, they might think the stuff I do is funny. That’s great; that’s part of the plan. I’m trying to stir up those type of conversations with my work sometimes!
Job done. Final shout… Did you sample yourself in our UKF Meets video for your last track All In My Head?
Ha! No… But it was a very similar conversation with my brother. The UKF video was incredible for me to do; getting a chance to explain what’s going on inside my head was really important at that time. It forced me to explain some of the stuff I was thinking about. When you put those ideas into words, it just forces you to understand more completely how you really feel. People are always going to have opinions on what you do. But if you’re on the right path and you’re genuinely excited and engaged in what you do then you gotta have faith in yourself. Even if it’s important to you that’s enough; if I stop and look at my life and think about my friends and what I do then I realise I’m happy. It’s very easy to get lost in the hustle. It’s very easy to get caught up in it all and think ‘why the fuck am I doing this?’
If I want people to emotionally connect to the music then people need to hear the person behind the songs. Sometimes that means that they are on a record singing, sometimes its the music itself. I talk to my brother a lot about life. We are both similar age, going through changes in our lives. I think a lot of the shit we talk about is probably relevant to a lot of other people out there. It just think to put that kinda honest energy into the music is important. It’s very easy to forget that in electronic music; it’s like people only want electronic music for the quick fix: for getting loose or working out or raging out. But it’s not just DJ guys playing tunes; some of us are artists who are putting life energy into our songs… We’re trying to tell a story about ourselves and our lives. I hope you can hear that too.