The Half Left Out by Jake Thistle | INTERVIEW
Author: Thommy Delaney
Hey there Jake Thistle! Congrats on your recent EP "The Half Left Out," which is available now on all streaming platforms! For those who may not be familiar with your music, tell us a bit about your influences growing up and how you got into songwriting overall.
Thanks! It's been a great journey; I'm excited about the EP coming out even as I look forward to what's next. In terms of influences, it's a very long, eclectic list of great artists... haha. But I'll hit some high notes, so to speak. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers got me into music when I was three through their incredible Super Bowl Halftime performance, so they definitely qualify at the top of the list. Jackson Browne has an unbelievable wealth of songs that have taught me quite a bit about the art, John Hiatt is another incredibly versatile, prolific (and highly-underrated) songwriter who I love and absorb as much as I can from, then there's Bruce Springsteen who has written some of the most amazing "story" songs in history. Speaking of history, there's also Mark Knopfler, who writes some of the most intricate and clever songs based ON history... haha. The common theme is that I get inspired by transcendent songwriters who have had the tenacity and talent to withstand the test of time while continuing to create important music for the world. That's certainly a lofty, but worthy goal to aspire to, I think. I've always been interested in contributing original music to the world- when I was younger I'd cover the greats of all generations to really get inside of what makes for a good song, so that I could better find and structure my personal creative voice. I wrote my first songs before I was ten years old. My heroes wrote great songs, and I always worked hard to learn from the best to do my best to emulate that special art. It's all about growth and evolution, and I'll keep working to put music out into the world.
Your latest album is called "The Half Left Out". How did you come across that particular title and what does it mean?
The Half Left Out comes from a line in my song Half Beats Nothing, which is on the EP. Since we were releasing an EP instead of a full LP, I had to do a lot of thinking about what songs to record as part of this release. So, while I thought The Half Left Out had the air of a phrase that could mean different things to my audience, I liked thinking about what that title meant in terms of what we put on the EP (and what we didn't).
"Brooklyn Can Wait" is an instant classic. Being that you're a Jersey boy, what is this song about and why did you write it?
Thanks for the kind words! For that song, I really wanted something that highlighted the importance of wanting to go somewhere because that's where you want to be, not because you don't like where you are. I think that's especially a common consideration for people my age, because most of us are in that tough middle ground of becoming fully-formed, responsible adults... yet are still a "teen", trying to figure out exactly what the future looks like. It's an idea that has resonated with me for a while and I'm hoping it does with everyone else, too. In terms of why Brooklyn, I had a line and a melody based on a visit there; I wrote that song quickly and it was one of those songs that came together at once almost fully formed. It's not about Brooklyn, specifically- it's making sense of balancing anywhere you want to be just because it's not where you are... because, at the end of the day, you have to bring yourself anywhere you go, with all that entails. For that character, it was Brooklyn- your Brooklyn may vary... haha.
"Ghosted Road" is for sure vibe central! What is this particular song about and where did the inspiration for the lyrics come from?
My extended family has a shore house that has been in the family for decades; we go there at different times of the year. The house is across the street from a bay, and a couple of blocks from the beach, and it's on the corner of a quiet road in and out of the island. There's a single light there that flashes red in the direction of the length of the island, and flashes yellow going from the beach to the bay. In the winter, when no one is around and everything is cold and completely still, I can stand in the middle of the street right by that light as it alternates that distinct slow flashing red and yellow glow around me. That's the inspiration for Ghosted Road, and that very light has a cameo in that song. Everything else was a story built around the feeling in the middle of that lonely road.
Another song that is another instant classic is called "The Dreamer." As I was reading the lyrics, I thought this song could be about someone going through a breakup or someone who has lost someone near and dear to them. Is this song related to any of those things or is it about something else completely?
This is an interesting question, because a lot of people have different interpretations of this song... and who am I to argue? I want people to bring their own experiences to my songs and find their own meaning in them. But what I can say is that, to me, it's tangentially about a breakup- but not in any traditional sense. Another person didn't leave that character- but the part of him that dreams did. He lost track of the Dreamer- the part of himself that has the ability to envision a better future and a way out of where he's stuck. That's why he's so frustrated, along the way he lost that and doesn't know how to get himself back. This was one of the first songs I wrote after I released my first album of demos, Down The Line. I released that over Covid when everything shut down and isolation was at its peak. Once I released the album, I had a tough period of writer's block. I had been so focused on those songs, I found it hard to get back into writing new music. Somehow, I'd lost that creative part of myself in that tough, isolated time, as I'm sure happens to many people to different degrees in their lives. So, in the absence of being able to dream of something to write about- I simply wrote about losing the dreamer. Once I did that, things opened back up for me.
Out of all the music artists out there today, who would you want to collaborate with and why?
That's an almost impossible question, because I have so much respect for so many artists out there at all levels of the industry! I've been very fortunate to have been able to meet and play with quite a few of my music heroes over the years, and the ability to do that has been formative and important. I never had any really regular, formal lessons, so I see them as teachers, more than anything. I've never really been starstruck, which has helped, and I always pay as much attention as I can to the music side of the equation, the songwriting side, the performance side, the business side... the list goes on and on- there's just so much that goes into that level of success. I could give you a thousand answers for a thousand different reasons, and all of them would be perfectly valid. What I can say is that I'm always open to opportunities to collaborate and learn as much as I can from any artist that's willing to invest the time with me.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out writing their own songs?
There's really only one major thing I wish I was told when I just started.There are no right answers in how anyone chooses to go about learning, writing, playing, etc. There can be such variety in the ways your musical 'education' works for you as an individual- so I think it's important to choose something that works on a personal basis and commit to it, as opposed to trying to pigeonhole yourself in a method you were 'told' works. Try different approaches and see what works for you. Beyond that, write honestly and believe what you're saying- people can feel genuinity and I think that's a critical element of any song. If you don't fully believe what you're saying in your song, your audience never will. If your songs ring true and touch on a universal feeling or truth, you're off to a great start. More than anything, keep writing. Not every song is going to be a winner, but you'll learn something from every song you write and you never know how even one line might lead to something great.
Are there any shows coming up that you are excited to announce?
I'm excited to announce every show... haha. It's always an honor to be able to play for audiences, and I always take that responsibility seriously. I'm grateful to be busy, and we're always in the process of planning great new places to take the music. The best place for people to check where I'll be is go visit www.jakethistle.com/events and if I'm playing near you, come on our and say hi. No matter where we're playing, we'll have a great time!
With 2024 just beginning, what are your plans for this year?
It's an exciting time! My label (Gold'n Retriever Entertainment) and I are still fresh off of releasing The Half Left Out, which dropped not that long ago- so, we're always working on spreading the word and supporting the album with shows. We're talking about some great tour ideas for later in the year, actually, which could help extend our musical reach to new audiences. And I'm actively writing new material and will be back in the studio to record our follow-up full album. These are busy times, and I'm enjoying the process. It'll be a GREAT year.
Is there anything you would like to share with our readers?
Yes- thank you. If you've been following along with any of my musical journey to this point, thank you for being a part of this musical ride. Your support means the world- I'm glad you like the songs, and keep streaming... haha. If you're new to me or my music, thank you for taking the time to get to know me a little. You can learn more about me and my music, and where you can find more, on www.jakethistle.com.
I truly appreciate everyone's time, support and passion for the music!
Nineteen-year-old singer-songwriter, Jake Thistle, releases his debut studio EP, The Half Left Out, via Gold'n Retriever Entertainment, today, November 17th. Recorded between New Jersey and Nashville, the EP boasts seven original guitar and piano driven songs from the young songwriter. Like his heroes, Thistle's performances are delivered genuinely with authenticity, sincerity and well honed craft.
In addition to Thistle's songwriting, singing, guitar and piano playing, The Half Left Out was produced by Tyler Sarfert, Jacob Kulick and April Rose Gabrielle and features performances from drummer Michael Santa Cruz, guitarist Nick Nella, and Michael Beresky on bass guitar.
"The Half Left Out is my first studio EP release, and I'm excited to get this batch of songs out through Gold'n Retriever Entertainment," enthuses the songwriter. "I couldn't be prouder of this album sonically, much in part due to the fantastic musicianship I was lucky enough to be surrounded by during its recording. We tracked almost everything in studio, which was a fantastic time. This entire process has taught me so much, and I can't wait to apply it all on the next release. I hope you enjoy it!"
About the Author: Thommy Delaney is a Senior Music Business Major at New
Jersey City University. He is also the lead guitarist and a vocalist in the Bayonne
Indie pop-rock band BreakTime: a four-piece writing modern pop tunes with
generous vintage allusions to artists such as The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. Looking for something new to listen to? Be sure
to follow BreakTime @breaktimelivenj on social media and stream their music on