With his second album less than two months away and his latest single, ‘Milestones’, unveiled today – we spoke to Jasper Wijnands, better known as Shook, about his new album, what he did differently this time around and what he would change about the music industry if he could.
Hello Jasper, what’s the weather like in Holland?
Hello Andrew, It’s raining now. It’s getting colder. Summer here is nice though. But when it gets hot in the summer, my studio is too hot to breathe! It’s not pleasant warm like say in the south of France. I was in Annecy near Genève a few weeks ago to perform outside, it was the perfect weather, not too hot & with a soft breeze, it was perfect for my live set!
So you’ve just announced your second album, personally we weren’t expecting a new one so soon, so why so soon?
I don’t know really. It just happened. When it’s done it’s done, and I don’t want it to collect dust and not release it or release it the next year! I want it to be fresh from the oven. But, man I don’t know. I mean, I’m always creating something. I had a lot on my mind these last few months. A lot of stuff happened in my life. Times like that you just want to sit down, relax, hit record and play music. When I don’t make music I get nervous, irritated and unhappy with myself. Creating music is kind of like a medicine for me.
So what have you done differently this time around?
I think it’s deeper for me on a personal level but also musically. I think it’s a natural progression from my first album. Looking back now, I think the first album was sort of the gateway that brought me to another dimension and freed me to explore different directions with the music. It’s pretty hippy. Hahah. But I do believe it’s very dangerous as an artist to be stuck in this routine where you don’t really progress in your art. Like, doing the same thing over and over again and recycling the same old formula. Releasing the same old stuff. I think when you really put effort and heart into anything; you are able to really move forward.
Do you see the album as a continuation of your previous work or something completely new?
I think it’s a bit of both. I already was inspired by things like Funk, Disco & sounds from the 70’s & 80’s, but I think I dived a bit deeper now and explored more. I think overall it’s more melodic and more progressive in chord structures and so on. When I was writing tracks for “Spectrum” I was inspired by loads of those old Jazz-funk records with crazy chord structures and that really show off musicianship. But I’m also very much inspired by themes like futurism, space music, minimal music, anime and all that kind of stuff.
Did you have an idea of how you wanted it to sound before you started?
No not really. I just pressed record. But some tracks didn’t make it on the album, because I didn’t think they matched with the rest. But that’s okay, I might use them for something else.
How long has it taken to make?
I think writing process was probably a few months. Maybe 4 to 5 months? Some tracks like ‘Time Runners’ needed guitars and I am not a really good guitarist, so my brother helped me out to record some guitar. Some tracks were done in a few days, others took way longer.
Did you enjoy the writing process more or less this time?
I think I always enjoy it. But I think I enjoyed it more on an emotional level this time around.
Why do you think that was?
I think the writing process went a bit deeper for me this time around. For instance, when I was recording “Violet Hues” and listened back to it in the studio, it suddenly really hit a nerve and I actually cried like a baby! When I get those deep feelings it’s very special for me and I really cherish those moments.
Seeing you play live is still a bit of a rarity – might this change with the second album?
Ha! I am a bit shy, but I love to play more of the new stuff live for sure.
As far as I am aware you don’t let people remix your work – why is that?
Oh, I am definitely open towards it! But I am not very much into releasing one new track with 10 remixes and calling it an EP and stuff like that.
Will we maybe see some remixes from this album then?
Oh yeah. I am doing a remix competition in collaboration with high end audio studio gear company: Audient for my third single: “Milestones” for all my musician fans. Hopefully they will get creative with all my piano & synthesizer tracks, EQ the hell out of my bass lines and cut the funk guitars to little tiny pieces and re-arrange them like however they want.
If you could change one thing about the music industry – what would it be and why?
Firstly, I am lucky to have such awesome and dedicated fans. Without them, I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing now and I am so thankful for that. But this isn’t an easy time for independent artists. I mean, I haven’t lived in the 60’s or 70’s, but I think that during these times artists were leading the way and people in the music industry such as record companies and radio programmers would follow. Artists were open to experimentation, were adventurous and dared to explore. Today, I think it’s the big industry that is leading the way and the artists should ‘fit’ in. But it really should be the other way around. Of course there are artists nowadays that have a vision, but it’s not easy.
What’s next for shook, a tour? A live album? A holiday?
Next, I will eat some fine cheese & sip some wine that I got from France. I always try to smuggle some cheese and wine when I go there to perform.,