JakoJako: “I have musical dreams, where I hear the most beautiful melodies my brain can imagine”
This interview with JakoJako is part of the ongoing photo-project “Electric Lights – Women in Electronic Music” by Hamburg based photographer Katja Ruge and Kaput co-publisher Thomas Venker focused on the role of women in electronic music. Each photoshoot is accompanied by a short interview, based on a personalised questionnaire. The interviews will be published on the kaput website on a monthly basis, before finding their way into a book.
Jako, for the last twelve months we experience the unimaginable: we are not able to gather socially to listen to music and dance together. How do you handle the situation so far?
The main things haven’t changed too much, I still go to work and make music. Since there’s no live shows to prepare for, I’m finishing more tracks in the studio and planning releases, which feels good. Finally there was time for some collaborations and remixes I’m normally too busy for.
What was your last public music moment?
There were a couple of nice events that happened last summer. Because of the restrictions, event formats have been unusual, and mostly seated. I played an ambient live set for Unrush in about:blank garden, and the dancefloor was set out with benches and cushions. There were limited tickets and the audience was really just focussed on the music.
I played an experimental closing set in this interesting new place called Spreehalle. On this event (SWARMS) artists like Iva Bittová, Marc Sinan und Oğuz Büyükberber performed improvised experimental music with a Violin, Clarinet, Guitar, Harp and Modular Synthesizers. That performance was just stunning. Generally it’s been interesting to see music audiences adapting and scenes evolving with these circumstances.
Whats your day job looking like?
I’m working four days a week in Schneidersladen, where the customers and my colleagues are all also making music, so there’s a lot of nerdy production talk in my daily life. I love learning about new gear and new techniques so its really nice to have this place to exchange.
Which music was the first to touch/inspire/move you? What made it so special and standing to you?
I am half vietnamese. In Vietnam, karaoke is very common. When I was a child, the family would get together every few weeks and all the uncles and aunts, cousins etc. would sing karaoke. I didn’t understand anything, but I still liked that music was the focus and that the family sang together without shame and just enjoyed the time.
Have there been people whose contribution to the development of your musical identity was of special importance?
All the people around me, of course. I exchange a lot and like to talk about music and gear. That certainly has an influence. I listen to criticism. Often from friends who don’t make music themselves. It is interesting to hear the opinion of people for whom the technical part and the creation of the music is secondary.
Which music did you buy recently that is special to you? Where?
Buying music is a special thing. I get sent tracks from people on SoundCloud, and if I like it then I’ll go buy it on Bandcamp, and this whole process brings me pleasure. The last thing I bought was an old Anthony Rother album called “Art is a Technology”, because a friend recommended it to me.
What do you hope to find in music? (both your own music and the ones of others?
Music is a miracle every time. So few minimal elements can trigger so much in you. A certain note comes on and you get goosebumps immediately because you associate it with some emotion or moment. Music can be a shelter and a retreat. It makes you come out and dance but can also make you cry. I normally can’t sit still and always have to do something, but the studio is the only place where I can sit on a chair and concentrate for many hours or even days at a time.
Most beautiful experience focussed on music?
I have musical dreams, where I hear the most beautiful melodies my brain can imagine.
Whats your relationship to Leisure System?
Leisure System was the first label to believe in me as an artist, enough to put out my first EP on vinyl. Sam Barker (Barker) and Lara Golz (Golden Medusa) gave me a lot of motivation and hope. I appreciate them very much for that. I guess you only take yourself seriously as an artist when others believe in it and take it serious too. In the end, the music you write is not only for you but also for other listeners. So feedback and the feeling of validation is important. I’m going to release my second EP with them in April/May, which I’m really excited about.
What do you prefer, the seclusive working process in a studio or the live presentation of your music in front of the audience?
And why so?
I’m a pretty social type of person. However, I can spend days alone in the studio. I just enjoy doing something and forgetting about time. Eventually I’ll finish something and I’m dying to show it to someone. So I either go to friends or send it to someone or I perform it live on stage. In the end, I do it to share it with others. A lot of the tracks I perform live no one has ever heard before. It’s quite an exciting moment then. And if the audience stays in the room and enjoys it then it’s a really good feeling and tension releases.
What is your favorite app/technology/instrument to create sounds with?
I use the Octatrack by Elektron a lot. I think this machine and a modular system is the best for me right now. I am sure it will change with time but at the moment I really enjoy this combination.
What is your ideal space/place to listen to music?
It really depends on the music.
Thank You Direktorenhaus Berlin for the stunning location.
Art by Kreadiano Objects