“People don’t know what they want, I’ll make what I want to..” - hmv.com talks to Jake Bugg
After arriving with two albums in two years the singer-songwriter took a little more time to put together third LP On My One, but it’s finally in stores today (you can preview and purchase it on the right-hand side of the page).
Speaking to hmv.com a few weeks before release, Bugg opens up about why he decided to write this album largely on his one (all but three songs are written and produced solely by him), why he doesn’t think too deeply about his lyrics and why he’ll never try and second-guess what his fans want from him...
How did making On My One compare to Shangri-La? Was it a longer process?
“It was about a year to write it and to have it produced. That’s not bad, it was probably about the same time as the second record, but I wasn’t touring this time, so people probably think I’ve been gone for longer.”
You wrote this album almost entirely on your own, whereas your first two had co-writers, was that something you felt was important to do?
“I wanted to write this record for me, I thought it was as important for my growth as a writer and it was something I was very happy to do.”
Did anyone try and talk you out of working like that?
“My manager, who’s been there since the beginning, was behind me, but a few others had their doubts. It was a rocky road and it almost didn’t come together, but that’s the way you learn, if it had been plain sailing I wouldn’t have come out as a better artist.”
Did you write a lot of songs for this album?
“I wrote about 20 songs. I was hoping I might try the Stevie Wonder vibe and write 80 songs and then pick the 10 or 12, but I’ve realised I’m too lazy for that. I’m pretty good at dropping tunes, I don’t go too far on things that aren’t working.”
You did three tracks with Jacknife Lee, who’s worked with Snow Patrol, U2 etc, what was he like?
“He was very cool. He worked on a lot of records that I personally wouldn’t purchase, but I knew his pedigree. I’d written these old fashioned songs and he gave them this modern pop coating. I think if the whole record had been like that it might have been a bit scary for people, but this is a new mixture.”
How did you find producing the majority of the album yourself? Was it something you enjoyed?
“It wasn’t intentional, but because I wanted to write on my own I was in the studio on my own and I was pleased with how things came out.”
Last time you worked with Rick Rubin, were you able to learn much from him about producing?
“I learned how simplistic it can be, how to create good sounds in simple ways, just using your ears rather than getting too technical.”
Can you sum up the album lyrically?
“People have said that it’s got a lot of loneliness, but I don’t know about that. I tend to bury my emotions, but it might be there subconsciously.”
Do you enjoy writing lyrics? Or is it a necessary evil for you?
“I have to force myself to sit down and write, I like it once I do it, but I have to force myself to get to that place.”
When did you settle on the title?
“That was quite late on, I couldn’t think of anything for ages, I wanted something that brought the titles together and spoke for all of them, eventually it dawned on me that On My One was very relevant, making it was a solitary experience so it fitted.”
Do you think you’ll work on your own next time again? Or try something different?
“I’ll try something different next time, just because something works doesn’t mean you should do it again, people don’t know what they want, I’ll make what I want to.”
How long do you think you’ll tour the album for? And how’s the new live set coming together? Are you playing many new songs?
“It depends on how it goes, hopefully it’ll be two years if it goes really well. There’s quite a few new songs in the set, it starts more mellow and it gets more rock and roll as the set goes on. It works very well.”
What’s your favourite of the new ones to play live?
“‘Gimme The Love’, it’s so much fun, it’s also the one we’ve been playing last, so it’s beer o’clock once we play that!”
Finally, you’re known for being quite prolific, have you already moved on to album number four?
“I’ve been messing around with some synthesisers and keyboards at home, maybe that’ll go somewhere, but I’m not getting serious about it yet.”