Photo Credit: Mark Kartarik
In conversation with Jacob Pavek we talk about his latest release NOME, his background as a musician as well as his influences. We also talk about the NOME release show which Jacob is hosting in his on studio on February 23, more information on the poster below.
Could you tell us a little more about yourself as a musician? How did you get into music and what instruments do you play?
I grew up surrounded by music and musicians. My father has been playing bass in a cover band with the same guys since the early 70s (still going strong). He taught me to play guitar at age 12 and I started writing my own music and have been playing in the same band ever since grade school. My last day of High School, my choir performed a piece that I had written and it was such a rush that It inspired me to pursue a degree in music composition. I started to learn the piano and became a music theory nerd. I wrote a handful of piano pieces throughout college, some including strings. In 2012, I decided to release them as an album like how I had been previously releasing my band’s music and called it “Bloom”. I’ve been exploring this instrumental vibe ever since, while still playing lead guitar with my alt-folk band for some contrast.
What has the process for creating your new album NOME been like?
I released my last record Illume in early 2015. I wrote a few of the tunes from NOME shortly after but wanted to be patient to see what other inspiration may come my way before rushing into an album. I took on a few other projects in the meantime, a few documentary soundtracks, some commercial work, and recording a new record for my band. In 2016, I was asked to open for Johann Johannsson here in town which was an extremely humbling experience. It motivated me to start writing some more material to play at the show and ended up being the catalyst for the remaining content on NOME. Violinist Joshua Misner performed the string arrangements and was incredible to work with. Francesco Donadello was gracious enough to master the record. It’s been a long process refining it into something that I am really proud of and so I am beyond excited to finally release it.
As a composer, what influences you the most to create? It’s so easy in this day and age to be distracted by our phones, social media, etc – do you have ways of combating this?
Creating music is really cathartic for me. I feel like when I’m writing music, I’m cleaning out my subconscious in a way. Most of what’s going on inside that I’m unable to really put into words or even identify in the first place seems to come out when playing the piano and crafting something new. It’s therapeutic.
You must be excited for your NOME album release show! Could you tell us a little more about this please?
SO excited! I’ve been wanting to throw a show in my studio ever since I moved in three years ago. It’s such a cool space and it’s where all of my pianos live. Better yet, I’ve been able to connect with some of the most amazing musicians I know who happen to live close by. John Hayes will be opening up the night with some intimate solo piano. Elskavon will follow with his ethereal soundscapes. Philip Daniel will perform some of his virtuosic compositions and I will close up the evening with some new and old pieces accompanied by the Laurels String Quartet. We’ll also mix and match and play on each other’s tunes throughout. I’m really grateful to be able to share the stage with these guys and excited about collaboration. We’re expecting it to be quite a special evening and if you can’t make it to Minnesota, video of the performance will be featured on Contemplative Classical’s website.
What is the meaning of music to you?
I think I’m internally wired by music. As in, even when I’m not writing music, I’m still… writing… music. Whether I’m watching a movie and paying attention to the score as much as the plot, or even walking around outside thinking, “that’s a cool sound – I should record and sample that.” Whenever I’m listening to others’ music, my mind is constantly jumping to what I like about the song itself – the production, the instrumentation, the dynamics. It’s a blessing, and a curse. That’s why songs or albums that do emotionally connect with me, or remind me of seasons of my life, are so special. So to me, music is part of my daily walk – it’s intertwined with nearly everything for me.
Beethoven’s 9th is the meaning of music.
That is a hard question to answer. To me music is a way to connect with ourselves. It has the unique ability to capture emotions and paint a picture that otherwise might not be able to be put into words.
Music is therapy.