Video Premiere: 'Whispering' by Jake Lore
Draped in over 40 tattoos, Jake Lore isn’t your average pop artist, nor does he want to be. The Canadian born-Brooklyn based musician, formerly known as KOORTWAH, didn’t always think that he would be making music, which makes his story all the more interesting. Last year, Lore dropped his first EP Born to Believe, which featured samplings of Eurythmics and Depeche Mode, reincarnating 80s synth pop to create his own unique sound.
Today, Lore is debuting his first music video for ‘Whispering’, a track off his sophomore EP, which is due for release next month. The video is directed by our own LEGS Media‘s Lewis Meyer. Lore spoke to Milk Made’s Natasha Frid about his unexpected entrance into the music world, his love of cats and his intent to make pop music smart.
Can you tell me about yourself and how you got into music?
When I first moved to New York, I was working more on visual art. A friend of mine had a really shitty bedroom studio so we decided to make demos together, really bad demos [laughs]. But, a friend of a friend was a manager and he saw potential and was encouraging. Then just through a random series of events I ended up recording more demos at LCD Soundsystem’s studio in the village and the guy who mixed them was great. Through those, I met Eric who made music for Panic! At the Disco and we made two EP’s, one of which is where ‘Whispering’ comes from.
Did you always know that you wanted to go into music?
I didn’t grow up in a household that was nurturing of the arts. I don’t think when I was a kid I really thought of music as a realistic path. I went to college, design school, and none of that was particularly interesting to me. I kind of moved to New York with no plan and was fortunate to bump into some decent people.
You used to go by another name. How has going by ‘Jake’ changed your sound? Has it liberated you in any way?
I actually think it has. I used to go under KOORTWAH, which was the phonetic spelling of my last name. I thought it would make it easier for people to pronounce my name, but I think the name actually confused people. I think by using my first name, the idea was to make the basic name identity of the act a little more personal. I think the music has as a result, or in conjunction with, become more open. I hesitate to use the word personal because there’s a desire to write according to your own experience of things, and I have noticed that people listening to me want that. But I don’t approach lyrics that way. I think that if the great writers in the world restricted themselves to only writing about their own experiences, there wouldn’t be much great literature.
How would you describe ‘Whispering’? Is ‘Whispering’ inspired by personal experience?
There’s certainly a grain of personal experience within everything I write, I think that’s true for most writers. I like the idea of love songs. When I write a love song, I think the immediate assumption is that you’re writing about another person and that they did you wrong, but I think when we are writing about other people we are often writing about ourselves. ‘Whispering’ in a way is someone pleading to be loved, but–this is going to sound so trite–but I think we need to love ourselves first. It’s often harder to love yourself than to feel like you love somebody else. If you can’t love yourself, than any love you have for someone else must be incredibly skewed.
Do you think the video in anyway projected that idea?
I don’t want to take credit for the video’s conception or story. I think for me, the video was interesting because it was my first proper video and what I wanted most out of the video was to see myself through other people’s eyes. I didn’t want to make the video in a controlling way, I didn’t want to control how I looked or how I was represented. For me, the video is looking at myself in the way that another person must have seen me as opposed to trying to convey to the world how I see myself.
You identify as a pop artist. What does ‘pop music’ mean to you?
‘Pop’ to me on some level is really structural. A song is pop song if it’s structured that way musically. You can take a pop song and make it stylistically super dark and heavy and some people won’t identify that as pop, but underneath it all, it’s a pop song. There’s a lot of music that people don’t classify as pop, that I still think of as pop. I think it’s unfortunate that a lot of people identify pop music as being disposable and not particularly intelligent. I started thinking that it would be great to make pop music that was accessible, fun, catchy, attractive, and appealing without being terrible. I wanted to make pop that wasn’t a guilty pleasure, but something that was smart and emotionally connected.
Do you think that’s why some artists refrain from calling their music ‘pop’?
I think there’s a fear among musicians that in order to become more successful that they’ll have to sell out and make pop music. But I think that ones that do were already making pop music. My experience is that the people who are serious musicians have reluctance to associate themselves with pop music. But I think there’s an unfortunate association between music being pop and music being bad.
If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life and never get sick of it, what would it be?
Whenever I get a massage [laughs], I always play Peter Gabriel’s soundtrack for The Last Temptation of Christ. I don’t know if I would want to listen to if for the rest of my life, but I could listen to that one a lot.
Is there anything unexpected about you that want the readers of Milk Made to know?
I love cats, but I think that’s common knowledge.
Do you have cats?
No, I refuse to get an animal because all I want to do right now is music. I’m really in love with Devonshire Rex cats though. Dita Von Teese owns one, he has his own instagram that I follow. They’re an amazing breed.
So cats over dogs?
I feel like as a person, my own traits are much more cat-like. I feel like I’m a friendly cat. [laughs]
Check out Jake Lore’s website