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February 2018

Trunk Stubs

Black Panther

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Movie: Black Panther

Rated: PG-13

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Release Date: February 16, 2018

Run Time: 2h 14m

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, Sterling K. Brown, Angela Bassett

Directed By: Ryan Coogler

Written By: Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole (Based on Marvel Comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby)

Reason We’re Watching It: We were introduced to the Black Panther character in “Captain America: Civil War.” Seeing such an iconic comic book character finally brought to life on the big screen left everyone wanting more. “Black Panther” delivers that and so much more with a mighty roar of a back story and action-packed battle scenes with shining performances by the impressive cast.

What It’s About: “Black Panther” chronicles T’Challa’s (Boseman) rise to the throne of Wakanda, a technologically-advanced civilization hidden from the rest of the world. T’Challa struggles with wanting to help the world by offering their resources to those in need, but he faces opposition from those within Wakanda. An outsider, Erik Killmonger (Jordan), appears in Wakanda to not only reveal the dark past of T’Challa’s father, but challenge for the throne in an attempt to rule Wakanda and spread mayhem and violence across the globe.

Whoah! Rewind That!: There are SO many moments you will want to see again and again, but what really stole the show for us was the car chase scene. Black Panther rides atop a Lexus that is driven remotely by his sister, Shuri (Wright). You really get to see just how bad ass Black Panther can be and why his suit would even make Batman jealous. Okoye (Gurira), also shines in this fast-paced chase scene, riding on top of a car and stopping an SUV dead in its tracks with a throw from her vibranium-powered spear. You thought Gurira’s portrayal as Michonne on “The Walking Dead” was intense? Wait until you see her tackle the role of Okoye!

Watercooler-Worthy Tidbit: Wakanda is mentioned on a S.H.I.E.L.D. monitor in “Iron Man 2.” The location, according to the monitor, is centered around Lake Turkana on the border of Kenya and Ethiopia. In reality this region is known for holding rare mineral deposits much like Wakanda in “Black Panther.”

And that’s why we’re giving it…

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Sit and Spin

El Perro Del Mar’s We Are History

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Artist: El Perro Del Mar

Album: “We Are History”

Label: The Control Group/Ging Ging Recordings

Reason We’re Cranking It: A smattering of genres and techniques, “We Are History” is a delectable stew featuring ingredients of only the highest quality. If there were one complaint to be had about this sonic dish it’s that because it is an EP (six songs), it feels more like an appetizer than a meal and we were left craving more El Perro Del Mar.

What The Album Tells Us About Her: Sarah Assbring is El Perro Del Mar, and whether the two identities share the same POV or not, it makes no difference because the emotions delivered are as raw and as real as you can find on a record. Unlike the great and powerful Wizard of Oz, Assbring, even under the guise of El Perro Del Mar, isn’t afraid to let us peek behind the curtain to see who she really is.

Track Stuck On Repeat: In “Mirrors” the talented songwriter holds a mirror up to all of us, forcing us to look beyond the physical and to consider the those things larger than ourselves – the ripple effect in all of humanity’s reflection.

Coming To A City Near You: El Perro Del Mar tour dates can be found here.

And that means…

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Trunk Bubbles

Marcus Williams

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Name: Marcus Williams

Website: www.marcusthevisual.com

Favorite Comic Book Character Growing Up: Wolverine

Favorite Comic Book Character Now: Wolverine (Laughter)

Latest Work: (Title/Publisher/Release Date) “Tuskegee Heirs”/Self-Published/ December 2016

TrunkSpace: How would you describe your art style?
Williams: An amalgamation of all of my influences from animation, comics and video game art.

TrunkSpace: How important were comic books in your life growing up and is that where you discovered your love and inspiration for drawing?
Williams: Comics served as a mind-blowing artistic experience for me as a young artist. It pushed what I believed was possible with illustration and action. Video games and cartoons were my first artistic inspiration.

TrunkSpace: Was there a particular artist or title from your childhood that you remember being drawn to and inspired by?
Williams: Jim Lee was the first comic I received as a young boy. His art featured Wolverine vs. Omega Red and it was unlike anything I’d seen before. So X-Men was my introduction to comics.

TrunkSpace: How did you decide to approach your career in comics? Did you formulate a plan of how you wanted to attack what is known for being a hard industry to crack?
Williams: I was lucky to find a comic book retailer that wanted to start his own comic series, and had the resources to actually publish the book himself. Oddly enough, I wasn’t hired to draw traditional superheroes, but rather heroic felines. I was hired to draw cats on “Hero Cats of Stellar City” (Action Lab). I was the penciler for the project and it taught me a lot about the entire comic making process as a whole, from production to publishing.

TrunkSpace: What was your biggest break in terms of a job that opened more doors for you?
Williams: I can say working on “Hero Cats” opened a lot of opportunity for educating myself on the actual comic industry. Self-marketing myself as an artist was actually something I did over the years that actually benefited my career most.

TrunkSpace: A lot of people say that breaking into comics is the hardest part of working in comics. How long did it take you before you started to see your comic book dreams become a reality?
Williams: I would honestly say the hardest part is gathering the appropriate and correct information about the business of comics. I found the comic industry in a time when independent comic artists have virtually the same chance to create themselves and market their work as major publishers do (if done right). Social networks have made it possible for aspiring comic artists to share their work with potentially thousands of people every day, which is huge! Unfortunately, it is something that many aspiring artists still don’t know how to leverage correctly. For me personally, the moment I found all the business info to create my own intellectual property (“Tuskegee Heirs”), it wasn’t necessarily hard because the only thing holding me back was myself (well, that and life stuff).

TrunkSpace: Is there a particular character or universe you always find yourself returning to when you’re sketching or doing warm-ups?
Williams: Not necessarily a character, but if the term “universe” can encompass artistic apps and reference, then I use Pinterest and Instagram quite often to look at other artists for inspiration.

TrunkSpace: Is there a specific title or character that you’d like to work on in the future and why?
Williams: Yeah, there’s plenty of black superheroes that live in both Marvel and DC that need some full top to bottom facelifts. The list is pretty long though, so to start, perhaps Storm, Blade, and Bishop. DC heroes would come after – Val-zod, Nubia and Batwing.

TrunkSpace: What is your ultimate dream when it comes to your career in comics? Where would you like your path to lead?
Williams: Being a comic publisher of great stories that changes the industry’s take on characters of color by crafting new approaches yet to be seen in comics. Make stories for young children of color that show powerful and confident images of heroes that look like they do. I’m not a passionate comic artist, so I’m not planning to be in the seat for another 10 years, but I’ll still be drawing comic covers and poster art for sure. I think animation and video games are calling me.

TrunkSpace: What would you say is the greatest strength as an artist?
Williams: Constantly pushing one’s self to improve beyond one’s comfort zones.

TrunkSpace: How has technology changed your process of putting ideas/script to page? Do you use the classic paper/pencil approach at all anymore?
Williams: I definitely still use pencil and paper when planning out the comic scripts. My writing partner and co-creator of “Tuskegee Heirs,” Greg Burnham, and myself usually have a conversation about what’s going to happen as I’m drawing small thumbnails. Google Docs however does make it easy for us both to update the script and the images on the go.

TrunkSpace: What advice would you give another young aspiring artist who is considering a career in the comic industry?
Williams: Definitely spend your first steps gathering the business information you’ll need to actually stay afloat as a comic artist/creator. This is a career bred from passion, but nothing hits you in the gut harder than putting your heart and soul into a project only to let it die from lack of understanding of how to make money. It’s the equivalent of opening a restaurant and not knowing how to get customers in the place to enjoy your food. It’s not always the funnest part, but learn the tools you’ll need to make positive cash flow before diving into the industry.

TrunkSpace: Making appearances at conventions: Love it, leave it, or a combination of both?
Williams: Love it! It’s honestly the most effective way to directly market yourself as a creative to your target audience. If you can succeed in selling yourself first (your art second), you can make a fan for life of all your work moving forward. That, and it allows for pure feedback for all the work you’ve put in. We stay in front of our workstations for weeks and months at a time, and rarely get the opportunity to actually “hear” feedback from the intended audience. Going to cons gives you the chance to be filled with positive (also not so positive) feedback which can help focus you.

TrunkSpace: What is the craziest/oddest thing you’ve ever been asked to draw as a commission?
Williams: Easy answer. Steve Harvey laughing maniacally overlooking some original superhero characters from the client.

TrunkSpace: What else can fans of your work look forward to in 2018?
Williams: More comics from “Tuskegee Heirs,” animation, other comic self-published titles from myself (“The Super Natural Woman”) and Burnham (“The Search for Sadiqah”).
You can order “Tuskegee Heirs” directly from www.tuskegeeheirs.com
You can find me and my art on www.marcusthevisual.com
Search Marcusthevisual on Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

 

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Trunk Stubs

Black Hollow Cage

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Movie: Black Hollow Cage

Rated: NR

Genre: Horror, Drama, Sci-Fi

Release Date: February 9, 2018

Run Time: 105 minutes

Starring: Julian Nicholson, Lowena McDonell, Daniel M. Jacobs

Written & Directed by: Sadrac González-Perellón

Reason We’re Watching It: Winter is coming to an end soon, but this movie could chill you to the bone in the dead of summer. González-Perellón has crafted a reality-bending horror flick that challenges your mind and its ability to ingest some very provocative and horrifying circumstances.

What It’s About: Alice (McDonell) is the 13-year-old daughter of Adam (Nicholson). They live in a stunningly modern house, so secluded that it is surrounded by a plush forest that happens to also contain a black cube that acts as a time machine of sorts. Alice is trying to become accustomed to using her new prosthetic arm and her dog has a voice emulator that allows her to speak, and the pup is not just screaming, “Squirrel!” (Shout out to the Pixar fans!) When a pair of strangers show up, things begin to unravel quickly and a terrible set of events play out, BUT, there is the opportunity to change things thanks to the cube in the forest… or maybe a chance to make those things even worse.

Whoah! Rewind That!: Without giving too much away, we’ll just say there is an edge-of-your-seat moment where you just want to yell out, “TURN AROUND!” We tend to do that when someone is in full-on stalk mode with a very shiny knife.

Watercooler-Worthy Tidbit: González-Perellón uses silence and an intentional lack of dialogue in areas of the film to evoke a sense of uneasiness and to create a more realistic feeling of suspense.

And that’s why we’re giving it…

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Sit and Spin

Born Ruffians’ Uncle, Duke & the Chief

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Artist: Born Ruffians

Album: “Uncle, Duke & the Chief”

Label: Yep Roc

Reason We’re Cranking It: Five albums in, Born Ruffians are born again, reintroducing the original three-piece lineup that we last heard on 2013’s “Birthmarks.” The rekindled creative bromance pays off because we have discovered no natural immunity to the infectious hand clapping, toe tapping and head bopping.

What The Album Tells Us About Them: Absence makes the rock grow fonder. In their time away from each other, the trio has honed and perfected their individual perspectives and reconvened with a collective musical consciousness. As listeners, we’re plugged into that state of creative being.

Track Stuck On Repeat: “Fade to Black” brings the feel-good vibe of a high school party spinning every-so-slightly out of control, but when you look beneath the surface of the pervasive percussion that is almost addictive, you discover a camouflaged melancholy that emphasizes suffering and loss.

Coming To A City Near You: Born Ruffians tour dates can be found here.

And that means…

 

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Listen Up

Marlon Williams

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Photo By: Steve Gullick

Marlon Williams’ sophomore album “Make Way For Love” reaches the masses today, and as we made pretty clear in our review, it’s one of the best complete, start to finish collection of songs that we have heard in some time. Singular in a multitude of ways while being familiar enough to be reminiscent, Williams is a game changer, the kind of artist you make regular social media check-ins with just to see when new music is dropping. He isn’t just to be heard, he’s to be followed, because you don’t want to miss what comes next.

We recently sat down with Williams to discuss the process of marrying visuals to his music, squaring off with the wind for the “What’s Chasing You” video, and why he feels that it is not his right to assume what the audience will take from his music.

 

TrunkSpace: You recently released videos for the singles “What’s Chasing You” and “Come to Me.” Do you enjoy the process of marrying your music with visuals? Is it something you labor over in terms of finding the right “fit” between the two?
Williams: It’s something I’ve grown to enjoy more and more. I’m starting to frame it as an extension of the songwriting process, a way of muddying the waters.

TrunkSpace: The video for “What’s Chasing You” features you grooving back and forth on a beach. What did you like about the concept and how it ultimately fit with “What’s Chasing You?”
Williams: I like the confrontation of the video. There’s no cutting away, and once you realize that it’s one long unedited shot, as a viewer, you’re more forgiving, you buy into the limitations.

TrunkSpace: How long were you out there in the sand, shirtless and dodging kites?
Williams: Well, we did about eight continuous takes and I was so windburnt by the end I didn’t know up from down.

TrunkSpace: The song itself has been on repeat here since we first heard it. It will appear on your new album, “Make Way For Love,” arriving today on Dead Oceans. How do you personally choose the singles prior to an album’s release, because in many ways, for the consumer, that single becomes the representation of the album, does it not?
Williams: Because the writing and recording was such an unconscious process for me this time around, it really was a lot of feeling it out as I went. A lot of allowing things to sit where they naturally fell. That’s totally true, and you have to be resigned to that reality and not impose too much on the way a listener fits the puzzle together.

TrunkSpace: Do you have emotional connections to individual songs or do they all sort of become parts and pieces to a larger emotional connection to the album? For example, what do you feel when you listen back to “Make Way For Love” and is your hope that listeners find a similar connection to it, either musically or through the lyrics?
Williams: I have no preconceived ideas about what I expect an audience to take away from it, I feel like it’s not my right. Of course I long to be understood, but I’m also aware that I’m learning from the songs as they’re out in the world too.

TrunkSpace: How have you personally changed between the songwriting that ultimately became your debut album and the songwriting on “Make Way For Love,” and how has it impacted your music? Has your songwriting POV changed at all?
Williams: I used to think I could hide behind my songs. I don’t feel that so much anymore, or I don’t feel the need to. However, I’m only two albums in and who knows if and when I’ll change again?

TrunkSpace: You have described your approach to lyrics as “newspaper storytelling.” Are you someone who has a difficult time shutting off that storytelling part of your brain? Do you see someone in a cafe or on a street and find yourself creating a fictional origin around them?
Williams: I do definitely like to create narratives for passing strangers. It can get a bit much. Sometimes I’ll watch an old person eating alone and imagine what Proustian memories of their mother’s cooking they’re conjuring up and hope it’s not making them too sad about mum being gone. Unnecessary.

TrunkSpace: You’re kicking off an extensive international tour on February 22 in Bristol, UK. What are you most looking forward to while out on the road?
Williams: I’m looking forward to going through all the stages of tiredness and overdoneness with the songs and being forced to find new angles of self-entertainment.

“Make Way For Love” is available today on Dead Oceans.

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The Featured Presentation

Caitlin Leahy

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It’s not every day that such a historically significant role, one steeped in Biblical lore and legend, comes along, so when Caitlin Leahy was given the opportunity to portray Delilah in the new movie “Samson,” she opted to take a different approach to the character than we have seen in the past. Yes, Delilah tempts Samson, as is her destiny, but her motivation for setting him on such a pernicious path is not as clean cut as we have been lead to believe.

We recently sat down with Leahy to discuss Delilah’s emotional tug-o-war, how she hopes the audience views the character’s personal journey, and why she’d love to be able to pursue a career in acting and still call Chi-Town her home.

TrunkSpace: In the new film “Samson,” you’re playing the iconic Biblical character Delilah. For those familiar with her story, where does this latest version venture off? What aspects of her are entirely new?
Leahy: Delilah is generally known as Samson’s wicked temptress. In the film, Delilah’s storyline is more complex. She is pitted between Samson and Prince Rallah and walks a fine line between good and bad.

TrunkSpace: From a performance standpoint, is there a level of intimidation on your part portraying such a well-known figure? With so much history involved with Delilah, does it put pressure on you to deliver on previous perceptions of the character?
Leahy: I went in entirely with my own perspective of Delilah. My goal was to humanize her and not play her as a one-dimensional character. The weight of playing such an iconic role didn’t sink in until the film started getting a lot of buzz.

TrunkSpace: The character as it has been told for centuries deceives Samson. Her own motivations aside, did you present her as someone who enjoys her deception or are her actions a product of her circumstances? Does she have redeeming qualities that will make audiences sympathize with her?
Leahy: Her actions are most definitely a product of her circumstances. She does what she has to in order to survive. Her motivations are mostly pure throughout the film, but ultimately has to choose between love and betrayal. I hope audiences empathize with her.

TrunkSpace: There’s something “Classic Hollywood” to the look and feel of the film. The sets and wardrobe have that great Golden Age of Hollywood vibe to them. Does working on a film like “Samson” help achieve any childhood goals in terms of how you viewed the movie-making experience when you were little?
Leahy: Working on “Samson” surpassed all the dreams an actress could have about Hollywood. From filming in South Africa to the massive sets, every intricate detail really allowed this elaborate world to come to life.

TrunkSpace: How do you personally view “Samson” as it relates to your career moving forward? Do you see it as a bit of a game changer for you in terms of the size and scope of the film/role opening more doors in the future?
Leahy: I certainly hope it opens doors for me, and I think it already has. Since shooting “Samson,” I have filmed several other projects. Most recently, I play a role in “God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness” coming to theaters March 30 and next I film an episode of “Grace and Frankie.”

TrunkSpace: How are you approaching your career as a whole? Are you someone who works through detailed plans on approach and initiates them, or do you let life and fate take control? In this industry in particular, is it difficult to plan too far in advance?
Leahy: I love to be in control of what the future holds, but as the expression goes, “Man plans, God laughs.” I work very hard and do everything in my power to seize opportunities as they come. That being said, I have to constantly remind myself that I can only do so much. What’s meant to be will happen.

TrunkSpace: What do you believe is your biggest strength as an actress is? What are you most comfortable with throughout the process of finding and portraying a character?
Leahy: My biggest strength is my work ethic and attention to detail. I like being prepared enough with a role that I can find the fun. There are many talented actors, but the ones that have success and longevity never lose their work ethic and are very versatile actors.

TrunkSpace: On the opposite side of that creative coin, where are you hardest on yourself as it relates to your career?
Leahy: I am harder on myself than anyone else will ever be. It is difficult to watch myself on screen and be objective about my performance. I nitpick and always find areas to improve.

Leahy in “Samson”

TrunkSpace: You’re also a model. Was it difficult to break into acting having already established yourself as a model? We would imagine that perceptions can sometimes work against you in that those in positions to cast may view you as a model who wants to act as opposed to an actor who happens to model.
Leahy: I started acting when I young and fell into modeling when I moved to Los Angeles. Modeling has provided me with a lot of great opportunities, but my passion and dedication has always been with acting.

TrunkSpace: When you’re modeling, are you also playing a character? Do you tap into different personalities for specific shoots?
Leahy: My experience with modeling is mostly “Lifestyle” modeling which centers around selling a brand or product. Occasionally I get the opportunity to play a character, but it’s mostly smiles and likeability that they are looking for on Lifestyle shoots.

TrunkSpace: When you decided to relocate to Los Angeles from Chicago, was that a difficult decision? Did it take some soul searching to leap head first into the great unknown that is Hollywood?
Leahy: Most of the opportunities to act in film and television are in Los Angeles. I knew from a young age that moving to LA was inevitable. I have an extremely close family and leaving them was the hardest thing I have ever done. I would love to be able to live in Chicago and still act.

TrunkSpace: We read that you hope to write a screenplay in 2018. If someone came to you tomorrow and said, “Caitlin, here is a blank check… go develop a project for yourself.” What kind of film or series would you put up on the board and greenlight?
Leahy: I love playing characters that are far removed from myself. Some of my favorites female roles are Charlize Theron in “Monster” and Marion Cotillard in “La Vie en Rose.” I would love to create something in that caliber. Most recently, I’ve been thinking about writing a lighter script based on two of my sisters’ travel adventures; something along the lines of “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.”

Samson” arrives in theaters today.

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Sit and Spin

Neal Morse’s Life & Times

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Artist: Neal Morse

Album: Life & Times

Label: Radiant Records

Reason We’re Cranking It: Prog rocker Morse is a classic storyteller, so this venture into singer/songwriter territory fits his creative POV perfectly. Each song off of the album is like flipping the page of a book that you can’t quite put down, and the controlled delivery of each chapter is a reminder that sometimes less is so much more, or in this case, so much Morse.

What The Album Tells Us About Him: Sometimes people get stuck in their ways. When things are working, it’s easy to get comfortable and stay that way. What Morse has done with “Life & Times” is proven that change can be a good thing, and at the same time, that it doesn’t need to be feared. Yes, this album may not appeal to all of the progressive rock fans who have followed Morse in his other musical endeavors (Spock’s Beard, The Neal Morse Band), but he’s growing as an artist at a time in his life when most of us find ourselves going static. That’s an inspiring thing to see… and hear.

Track Stuck On Repeat: The first song you’re introduced to upon hitting play, “Livin’ Lightly” immediately sets the tone for the album as a whole. An upbeat James Taylor-meets-Christopher Cross vibe, the track reminds you of days gone by, embracing your musically-curious youth by spinning dusty vinyl records in your bedroom as the summer sun sinks deep into the horizon. It’s the kind of music you can get lost in, and in the process, find so much more.

Coming To A City Near You: Neal Morse tour dates can be found here.

And that means…

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Sit and Spin

Loma

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Artist: Loma

Album: Self-Titled

Label: Sub Pop

Reason We’re Cranking It: The planet has less atmosphere than this self-titled debut. Fanciful with a real sense of heart that is grounded in the very fabric of a shared reality, this collection of songs has so many layers to them that you hear something different each time through.

What The Album Tells Us About Them: We’ve learned so much, and yet, we still have so many questions. The thing that strikes us most however is that beyond its previously-mentioned fanciful face value, this album is also steeped in such incredible potential. If this is what the band was capable of achieving their first time in the studio together, what could the future hold for their creative output?

Track Stuck On Repeat: “I Don’t Want Children” begins as an exercise in relaxation. Until Emily Cross’ beautiful vocals kick in, you feel a bit like you’ve been transported to a spa, sipping cucumber water while breathing in the therapeutic aroma of lavender and sage, but once that first line breaks – “I don’t want children, even though if I did, I would want them from you,” – the calm fades and you prepare for what is an emotional storm to come.

Coming To A City Near You: Loma tour dates can be found here.

And that means…

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Jake Wesley Rogers

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Artist/Band: Jake Wesley Rogers

Website: www.jakewesleyrogers.com

Hometown: Springfield, MO

Latest Album/Release: Evergreen EP

Influences: Fleetwood Mac, Carole King, Adele, The Rolling Stones, Simon & Garfunkel

TrunkSpace: How do you describe your music?
Rogers: I’d describe my music as a part of the spectrum of pop music, but on the low-key, darker and sadder side. I’m a big fan of writing songs with large dynamics and movement, and also ones that speak true to my story.

TrunkSpace: You moved to Nashville at age 18 to study songwriting at Belmont University. What have you learned as a songwriter outside of the classroom that you could have never uncovered in a formal setting?
Rogers: I feel really fortunate to have studied songwriting at Belmont. The program is set up in a way that encourages growth in individuals as well as working together as a songwriting community. It was really wild going from writing songs by myself for so long to moving to Nashville where co-writing and commercial songwriting is so prevalent. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned on my own is that not every song I’m going to write is going to be one that fulfills me as an artist and I have to be okay with that. I’ve also learned how vastly different songwriters can view writing songs – I tend to take each song so personally and get wrapped up in the introspection. But it’s easier for others to look at it much more objectively and linearly. I’m trying to find that balance.

TrunkSpace: You inked a songwriting deal with Sony/ATV while you were a freshman. What did that mean to you at that time in terms of justifying not only your abilities as a songwriter, but solidifying you within the Nashville scene, which, we would imagine is filled with seasoned guys and gals who may perceive newbies coming into the scene as competition?
Rogers: It was all so unexpected, for sure. I was just starting to get settled into school and Nashville. It was a goal of mine to have a publishing deal by the time I graduated, so getting one before then really felt like a dream. I think the best part of it all was that I found some people who believed in the music I was making. I really haven’t found much evidence here of people looking at others as competition. I honestly feel like people just like helping out other people here and let inspiration reign over jealousy.

TrunkSpace: As a songwriter, how do you decide what song is right for you as an artist, and what song might benefit from the skill set of another artist? Is it difficult to give a song up that you’ve put so much of yourself into?
Rogers: This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot as I try to find the right songs for my next project. I usually just know when a song is for me. It’s something where when I write it, I just want to listen to it a million times and sing it all day. If my reaction isn’t like that, then I know I probably won’t release the song. As far as giving up a song, that thought has never really bothered me. Carole King is one of my all time favorites and I love how she always had her own version of her songs she wrote for others. It’s like the best of both worlds.

TrunkSpace: What does your songwriting process look like? Can you walks us through how a song goes from core concept to completion?
Rogers: Songwriting is always so sporadic and spontaneous for me. Almost all the songs I’ve released started from a feeling of intense inspiration. From there, I either keep writing the song immediately, or if I’m busy with something else, I’ll record a voice memo of it and revisit it later either by myself or in a co-write. I usually finish most songs in one to two sessions. I tend to always write my song on piano first, and if it ends up being one I want to keep, then I’ll go in and produce it. Production doesn’t usually happen at the same time the song is happening.

TrunkSpace: Lyrically are you someone who likes to write from experience or do you take a more storyteller’s approach?
Rogers: I don’t really like writing songs that aren’t from some sort of personal experience. Once I realize I can’t relate to a song at all, it’s really hard for me to even finish it. With that said, I do love to embellish the truth.

TrunkSpace: What were your creative goals as an artist when you first set out to put together your EP “Evergreen” and did those goals change as you dove head first into the process?
Rogers: My initial goal of the “Evergreen” project was to put together the four songs I was most proud of after living in Nashville for a year. These songs all kinda represent the change I felt after moving to a new place. I knew I wanted to record this in a traditional “Nashville” way. On all of these tracks, we brought in studio musicians who played on all of the songs in one day. After that, I worked with a couple of different producers to arrange the rest of the tracks. I’m thankful because I think I ended up with an EP that fulfilled all of my expectations, and I do feel so proud of it.

TrunkSpace: Where are you hardest on yourself as an artist?
Rogers: I think I’m hardest on myself during the writing process. It’s been really difficult for me lately to be patient with the process of songwriting and creating music. So much of what I do depends on spontaneous intervention so it can be really frustrating to wait to find the songs I want to write. But I think I need to work on being more relaxed in the process and more curious with my creativity.

TrunkSpace: Totally unrelated to your music, but as a pop culture site we’d beat ourselves up if we didn’t ask this question. You’re from Ozark, Missouri. One of the hottest Netflix shows of last year was “Ozark.” Have you seen the series and if so, did they get the feel and vibe of the region down?
Rogers: (Laughter) Okay, so Ozark, Missouri isn’t actually in the Lake of the Ozarks, where the show is based, but I do have a lot of family near the Ozarks. I watched the first episode just because I feel like I had to. It wasn’t too far off actually, but I’m also really bad about watching shows so I don’t know if I’ll ever know how accurate it is. Lots to love about Missouri and lots to… not love.

TrunkSpace: What else can fans of Jake Wesley Rogers look forward to in 2018?
Rogers: New videos, new videos, new shows. I am so damn excited for this year.

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