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A Dirty Dozen with JAKE NOVAK from OLD CURRENTS – March 2022

| 10 March 2022 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “New Jersey alt rockers, Old Currents, are releasing the third single off their highly anticipated album, The Glory, The Defeat, today. With influences from ska to folk, the rock ballad, titled “The Glory,” is a unique blend of genres formulated into their own novel sound. Riddled with nostalgia, the wistful melody will take you away to a place that once was. Inspired by his mom, Lead Singer Jake Novak took to music to share how he has been able to overcome adversity with the life lessons from his upbringing. Old Currents is more than just a band; it is a declaration of dedication and intent to turn one-off bands and jam sessions into something real and something to truly be proud of. Their inspirations span every facet of the musical universe from country to ska to hardcore and Old Currents prides themselves in seamlessly blending their diverse muses into a fresh iteration of alternative rock music.” We get Jake to discuss new music, influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

That these songs, or at least my contributions are at their core folk songs. If you strip away all the amazing musicianship added by my best friends and bandmates, it’s just a person and their guitar playing cowboy chords working out their thoughts and feelings via song. Some bands having running themes and characters (Turnpike Troubadours come to mind), but my writes don’t have those constants. That being said, I do frequently reference my all time favorite movie.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

What made me want to jump head first into music was a broken ankle I suffered playing baseball in the seventh grade. All my life up til that point, I wanted to be a baseball player. But being laid up that entire summer, I picked up the bass and started taking music more and more seriously. Once I finished up at community college, I decided that play music was all I really want to do. So I picked up a guitar, learned to sing and write songs, and it’s all I’ve done ever since.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Unquestionably The ‘59 Sound by The Gaslight Anthem. That album was truly a life changer for me. Until that point, I tried to emulate the writing of Tomas Kalonky and Streetlight Manifesto, but Tomas’ theological (or anti-theological) and literary inspired writing wasn’t inspiring for me, in fact it did the opposite. For me, it set a standard of writing so high, I didn’t think I could ever achieve anything even close to it, so I stopped trying. Then in the summer of 2010, I found The ‘59 Sound. 4 people, playing simple songs, singing about anything and everything that mattered to them. It should have been obvious all along but that’s when it clicked that I was overthinking music. Just shut my brain off and just let the writing happen. All that being said I loved Streetlight Manifesto, and still do to this day.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Dave Cobb. All the work he’s done with people like Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton and Sturgill Simpson could easily be applied to our brand of rock music. From his taste in gear, to his ear for songs, I think he’d be able to help us take our songs to a whole new level.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour?  What do you like to do to unwind?

My two favorite activities outside or music are fishing and sports. Joe and I took up fishing during the pandemic as a means to pass the time, and we’ve be hooked ever since.  And last year my friends and I put together a softball team, and I’ve missed organized sports and it’s been a great way to spend summer Sundays.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I always tell people we’re a rock band. Basic I know, but I’ve heard so many different comparisons and labels over the years that I just call it rock. We have influences from punk to folk to country to hip hop, but at the end of the day loud guitars + bass + drums = rock n roll! The most unusual comparison we’ve ever received was after a show in Philadelphia, PA. “I loved you guys! You know who you sound like? Imagine Dragons!” I don’t hear it myself, but to each their own, right?

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Joe is definitely the first person to start cooking, or grilling to be exact. In his older age, he’s fully embraced the grill master persona. First person to break out drinks would probably be me. You can always count on me to show up to any hang with my favorite beer of all time, Natural Light.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

I’ve never been one to be starstruck when meeting a hero, but the most I’ve ever been was being 16 and meeting Tomas Kalnoky after a show. As kids we OBSESSED over Streetlight Manifesto so meeting Tomas was probably the coolest moment of my year that year.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

The best part is meeting so many cool people. I am known amongst my friends for my love of strangers and playing music is the perfect icebreaker for talking to random people. As for my dream job, I touched on that before and that would be to be a professional baseball player. I’d love to pitch for the Boston Red Sox, but I’d gladly accept being a bench player for any team.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

The one question I’ve always wanted to hear would be “Congrats on having the #1 song in the country AND having a month long residency at Red Rocks Amphitheater! How do you guys maintain your cool, down to earth attitudes when bestowed with so much success!?” and I’d probably say something smooth like, “I don’t know… we’re just cool like that.” And I love being asked any all questions! Nothing has gotten too old or repetitive yet.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I think this with my life in general, but even in regards to music, I love life, music and my band, and I love everything we have accomplished to this point and I wouldn’t change a thing.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

I think if I could choose ANY album session, it’d be the sessions for the recording of The Highwaymen’s first album. Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson AND Marty Stuart played in it too! Getting to be in the same room with the Mount Rushmore of country music would be the coolest thing.





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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