- Words Aimee Phillips
Kick off your weekend with the premiere of Jake Bugg's trippy "Rabbit Hole" music video. We spoke to the British rocker about the new visuals, experimenting with his sound, and loving 60s psychadelia.
There’s no one quite like Jake Bugg these days. The British rocker was catapulted into the bright lights back in 2012 with his eponymous debut album, which produced a string of wry hits – most notably “Lightning Bolt,” “Two Fingers” and “Broken.” Vaulting on his immediate success, Bugg then released a second album just a year later, played more shows than you can shake a stick at, and birthed two more albums – again one year after the next (2016 and 2017).
Jake Bugg then seemed to retreat from the limelight and a take a well-earned break, popping back into the public consciousness for a collaboration with electronic giants, Camelphat. “Be Someone” quickly racked up tens of millions of streams, radio play, and signalled a new direction for Bugg as an artist who was willing to mix things up a bit and get inventive with his sound.
Now, following a run of U.K. dates earlier this year (before lockdown knocked them off the agenda), Bugg is back with his one of the live show favourites, “Rabbit Hole,” a salacious and addictive psych-rock track written with Tobias Jesso Jr. It marks his first solo studio track in three years – and has already been met with a warming embrace.
The frankly mesmerising visuals, which today premiere with Notion Online, were shot in isolation from Jake’s home, in partnership with directing collective High Art.
We caught up with Jake Bugg to see how he’s been getting on (quite busy apparently), what inspired the visuals, the highs and lows of releasing music, and much more below:
First of all, how are you doing? How have you been spending lockdown?
I’ve been quite busy to be honest. I’ve got a little set up at home so I can work and do a few bits.
So you’ve managed to stay creative? Or have you found lockdown a bit stifling?
I’ve actually got a little project I’m working on. I can’t say too much but I’ve been working on some music for a documentary, so I’ve been excited about that. It’s given me something to do.
You’ve just released the psychedelic music video for your single “Rabbit Hole.” Where did the idea come from?
One of my favourite bands growing up was Jefferson Airplane. I love Jimi Hendrix and things. So I love a lot of old 60s psychedelia. I wanted to try and incorporate that into something a little more modern in my music. I did it as I was writing the track, but I was really excited about doing it in the video. It had such room for that psychedelic and trippy thing going on.
You worked with directing collective High Art on the visuals. How did that collab come about? What made you want to work with them in particular?
I’ve been working with them for a while now. I think the first time was when I did a song with Camelphat, the “Be Someone” video. We just loved what they did. They understood what I was after; that the video should be open for interpretation and there shouldn’t be any cheesy dialogue or scripts. What they did in post-production as really smart, really clever.
The song was written in recorded in L.A. last year, but as it’s being released now, has it taken on a new meaning for you?
I don’t think it’s taken on a different meaning, if anything I think it’s just become more apt for the situation we’re going through. It’s given it a lot more relevance. Something that I was going through and feeling at the time, everyone is feeling right now.
What gets you most excited and scared when releasing new music?
The excitement is to have something different out in the world for the fans to listen to. The fear is if they’re gonna like it or not. But at the end of the day, my fans know that they’re not always gonna get the same thing but I’m always gonna give them my DNA in there whatever I do. In this day and age, where everything’s on social media, you worry that you’re not going to get the response that the labels and yourself desire. It can be a little bit stressful. And now it’s even more frustrating because that’s all we have to rely on as we can’t exactly go out and gig those songs. We were playing “Rabbit Hole” in the last few days at The Forum and it went down great. It’s just a shame we won’t be able to play it again for a while.
Well hopefully you’ll be able to play live again soon.
Yeah definitely. I’m hoping that something can evolve to get a safe way of bringing entertainment back to the people. In times like this, it’s what people need the most.
You signed to RCA at the end of last year. Do you think the move to a new label influenced your music at all? Has your creative process changed since signing?
Funnily enough, I was already quite ahead working on this album before I got signed. So they signed me on the material I already had to be honest, which was great. It meant that I didn’t have to compromise on anything. They liked what I was about and a lot of the people who work at my label now worked at my original label when I first got signed. So it’s nice to go back round in a full circle and have their full support and just keep doing what I love doing. It’s been great.
You’re 26 with four studio albums under your belt. Does the pressure of keeping up momentum ever get to you?
Artists are always gonna feel that pressure. Me personally, more for myself, I wanna have music out there. Also, I don’t wanna rush and put something half-heartedly out, I wanna get it right and really good. So there’s that compromise as well. Again, with the situation, everything’s gonna be a bit delayed. Luckily for me, I’m ok with my process as I have a set up at home. I can’t imagine what it would be like for someone with just a guitar who wants to get into the studio and work on the production. It must be really frustrating.
Have you always had a self-sufficient approach to making music as your career have evolved?
I think a lot’s changed. When I first started out, it was just me and my guitar. I didn’t have a clue about production or playing piano or any other instruments. Luckily, I’ve worked with some great people over the years and been taught quite a lot. I feel like now, because I’m in a position where I can be self-sufficient, there’s some comfort in that, so I’m a lot more happy to be more diverse in who I work with and the things I experiment and try. For this record I wanted to work with a load of different kinds of people, more pop producers, things I never would have done before. To be honest, I’ve had a great time making this album.
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing at the start of your career, what would it be?
If I could change one thing, I’d probably wish I didn’t say so many mean things when I was in my teenager years. That’s probably one thing I regret. You know when someone asks you a question and you’re tryna to be smart… it’s just one of those things. You make mistakes and you learn from them.
Looking back at the records you’ve made how do you feel about them now?
I’m happy with how things have gone. The first two records did very well. The third and the fourth were a lot more difficult for me. Again, that’s part of the moving experience. I loved the last record I did actually but the third one… I loved the songs but I wish we had got the production right. To be honest, when we play the shows, people know songs from all the records and they sing along, which is great.
Dive into the music video premiere for Jake Bugg’s latest single “Rabbit Hole” below: