At a time in life when our next generation of young and talented artists and musicians are graduating school and chomping at the bit to build their careers, get touring and share their music live and grow their fanbase, the world goes on lockdown. Jacob was dreaming of recording and touring after almost 4 years of hard work and preparation plus eagerly waiting to become “legal” (18 yrs. old) and a high school grad.  Everything was lined up; tons of songs written, sharpening guitar skills, vocal lessons, endorsements, promo photos, promo tour poster design, daily posts on all social media, EP recording lined up – then BAM….LOCKDOWN!

Instead of laying dormant until the nightmare was over, Jacob was finding new ways to keep moving forward.  Fortunate to have already tasted the excitement of playing live (prior to the pandemic) by invitation to play on a big stage at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Festival 2019, he also performed with Bruce Kulick (Kiss & Grand Funk Railroad), Todd Kerns and Brent Fitz (from Slash & The Conspirators) at a pre-Kiss Kruise VIII benefit concert in So. Florida, and a collaboration with bass legend Tony Franklin (The Firm, Jimmy Page & Paul Rodgers) on a searing cover of “I Can See For Miles” by The Who – Watch HERE 

Legendary rock photographer, Robert M. Knight had been helping develop Jacob’s career but needed to move back to his wife’s homeland of New Zealand when the pandemic kicked in for family reasons.  But before leaving, he aligned Jacob with a new manager and put the word out to those early industry supporters and believers in Jacob’s music and guitar slinging talents “Keep Going – Don’t Stop.  Use this time as a gift.  Find the positive in what appears negative.” And that is exactly what Jacob and his team are doing. Robert generously continues to “What’s App” and email offering advise and introductions from afar.

Jacob shares the driving force behind his upcoming EP release. “While it might not have been a conscious effort, when I listen back on these songs, I’m hearing my own inner-dialogue. All the universal emotions that come with trying to find your purpose and place in the world. I’m a true believer in the idea that everything put in front of you is there for a reason, and that you have to follow your signal and embrace the path that calls you. That’s a driving force behind many of my songs.”

There are tastemakers out there who are one to three generations older than Jacob, and when they discover his Instagram and Youtube performances,  they are quick to “like” and/or reach out and let him know they are digging what he’s doing.  Jacob’s pandemic activities included, recording an EP, relocating to Nashville from So. Florida, signed up for online college courses and kept writing and posting his music and performances on socials.  He’s released three singles since January ’21 that lead up to his September 20 EP release “THE SKY IS ALL I NEED TO GET HIGH” HERE .  He’s networking, sharpening his tools and has built a work ethic that would make any artist, manager,or agent envious. Moving to Nashville was a conscious decision.  He shares “If there’s another lockdown I’d much rather be surrounded by musicians I can play and record with and perform livestream shows if touring is not possible.“  Jacob is one of those people who can make the best of any situation.  For only being 18 years old, it’s a wonder to imagine where Jacob might be a few years from now.  He hopes it’s on tour.

Hi Jacob, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Great! I relocated to Nashville last month and love it here.  Been doing promo for my debut EP, “The Sky Is All I Need to Get High,” which releases September 20th.  The EP has been in the can for a while so I am beyond excited to finally share it!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single? 

I wrote and produced “Swan Dive” in late 2020 over lockdown and it’s the third single that was released in July leading up to the EP’s Sept 20 release date. That song came quickly, in one session.  In fact, the vocal ‘take’ that made the final cut is the initial demo guide track.  With Swan Dive, I started experimenting with synths and soundscape layers under the traditional ‘rock production’.  I was listening to R.E.M.’s “Reveal” album at the time.  I think subconsciously some of those elements found their way into this EP.  Lyrically, Swan Dive has a pretty universal message.  It’s about throwing caution to the wind and overcoming fears that hold you back, but also being careful what you wish for.

Can you talk to us more about your upcoming single and the title track of your debut EP “The Sky Is All I Need To Get High”?

The Sky Is All I Need to Get High”, the single will be released mid-October.  It’s my favorite track on the record, and the only one I’ve gotten to play live.  There is a lot of Brit-Rock influence on the track. 

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

I was lucky enough to be asked to play the outdoor stage at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival in 2019.  I wrote the music during rehearsals for that gig in Las Vegas.  I recorded the riff on my iPhone then promptly forgot about it.  Weeks later I was sifting through old voice recordings and rediscovered it. The rest of the song quickly fell into place that night. Lyrically, the song is about trusting your own instincts and not letting people dictate the path you take.

Any plans to release any sort of video for the track?

Yes, that is on the agenda for sure. There will also be a surprise B-side bonus track when the single is released in October.  I’ve always had a soft spot for the idea of the “B-side”.  I’m a huge Oasis fan, and so many of their best tracks were tucked away as B-sides.  I’d like to keep that tradition going!

Why naming the album after this song in particular?

The lyrical theme of the EP is summed up within the first 10 seconds of the song.

“The sky is all I need to get high

And a song is all I need to get by,

Dries up the rain…”

How did the pandemic influence the writing on this album?

A silver lining of so much writing time.   A lot of the songs I initially believed would make the final cut for this record ended up being replaced with songs I wrote over lockdown. “Traces” (the first single released in January) is an example of that.  We were supposed to begin production on the EP in March of 2020, but due to the pandemic, it ended up being postponed until later that summer.  About a week before heading to Nashville to cut the singles, I remember being on the phone with Bill Reynolds (the producer), discussing what tracks we wanted to record. We’d originally planned to cut “The Sky Is All I Need to Get High” and an older song called “No Magic”.  Right before we ended the call, he’d asked me if I had any new material I thought held up with the rest of the songs.  That got me thinking, and I wrote “Traces” a few days later. We cut it right away. If not for lockdown, the selection of songs on this EP would be very different.

How was the recording and writing process?

Some of the most inspiring studio sessions I’ve ever had. I recorded the title track and “Traces” with Bill at his “Fleetwood Shack” studio in Nashville, which is Jay Joyce’s prior studio.  The vibe of that place is killer. We cut the tracks in four days with zero stress.  Bill and engineer Jason Kingsland had a great synergy and we seemed to share the same production vision, so it seemed so easy.  I definitely learned a lot from the process.

What role does Nashville play in your music?

I think it will come through a lot on my next record.  I’ve only just moved here, but my great grandmother owned a small label and recording studio on Church Street in the late 60’s called Varsity Records.  Her daughter, my Great Aunt, made a living in the 70’s playing piano in the venues along Printer’s Alley.  I have family here and am definitely feeling and exploring my Nashville roots.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

Lyrically, I think songs should be about the listener and not too specific. Musically, it all starts with an acoustic guitar.  I always make sure to keep a guitar close by and capture ideas before they evaporate into the ether.   Sometimes it’ll be a turn of phrase I hear, or a certain accidental riff or tone that inspires me. I find that the special ones seem to just fall out of the sky (which is referenced in The Sky Is All I Need to Get High).  It’s like tapping into something that’s already there.  When you catch that, it is so invigorating.  Moments like those keep me inspired.

What else is happening next for Jacob Reese Thornton and for Jacob And The Dazey Chain’s world?

Ultimately, I’d love to be out playing and connecting with people live and face-to-face… and hopefully that’ll be able to happen again soon.  Until then, I’ll keep writing and introducing my music to as many listeners as I can via social media and super supportive music outlets like VENTS Magazine!   The last song recorded for this EP, “Color Me Blind,” is a bit of a turning point toward what will be The Dazey Chain’s next record.  We have already started pre-production and I think the songs show more growth as a writer, which makes me happy because it’s something I work really hard at.  They are also some of the most joyful and upbeat melodies I’ve ever written. 

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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