“If I knew how to write the perfect song I’d be writing it now!”, Jake Bugg
Jake Bugg has been enjoying a remarkable year. 12 months ago the 18-year-old from Clifton in Nottingham was playing tiny club gigs up and down the country. More recently he’s toured with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, supported the Stone Roses on their comeback shows and now his debut album has gone straight in at Number One Album in the UK. As you can see, things are happening very fast, but no so fast that Jake couldn’t make time to come into the Spotify office to play four songs – Taste It, Two Fingers, Country Song and Lightning Bolt – from that really rather brilliant debut.
“I really enjoyed that,” he said afterwards. “That was cool!”
Hello Jake, tell us, what music was playing in your house when you were growing up?
My mum used to play everything from Beethoven to Take That. It was a huge mix, but it was my uncle who introduced me to Beatles and Dylan and I started tracing the music back on the internet. I’d read books and pick up on names and then people would tell me about other things and off I’d go.
What was the first record you fell in love with?
Don McLean’s American Pie album – that’s great. When I was 13 or 14 I fell for that, particularly Vincent. That’s an amazing track, so well written and it sounds amazing. That was the first record I bought too.
What made you want to pick up the guitar?
My uncle really, he showed me the basic chords. I was playing cover versions of things at 14 or 15 and that taught me about songs, how they fit together, their structure and melody. I learnt from them. The first songs I wrote weren’t that great, but some I still play. I have old demos of some really rough, terrible recordings! I still play Someplace occasionally, that’s on the album and one called I See Her Cryin’ – that’s an old tune.
What five records couldn’t Jake Bugg exist without?
Please, Please Me by The Beatles, Fairytale by Donovan, Jimi Hendrix Bold As Love, Nick Drake Pink Moon and John Martyn’s Solid Air.
What connects all those records for you?
I think it’s just that they sound so good. I can stick each one on and enjoy every moment. So they all stand out to my ears, but I couldn’t tell you why!
Does the perfect song exist?
Yeah – there’s a few. Don McLean’s Vincent is perfect. Might not be for everyone else, but it is for me. Smells Like Teen Spirit is a perfect song and the perfect performance too. If I knew how to write the perfect song I’d be writing it now!
Trouble Town is quite hard on your hometown, has anyone from there ever come back to you on that?
No, not really. That’s about where I grew up and there’s loads of places like it. Most of my friends – most people I’ve spoken to – agree with my on it.
What have you learnt from playing with Noel Gallagher, or the Stone Roses?
Just practice! That’s all it is. Noel’s such a real inspiration, everything he’s done is cool.
Finally, and most importantly, what’s your favourite noise?
Ha! Well, I love the sound of Table Tennis. I love playing it and the sound is so good. If you get a good rhythm going it’s quite hypnotic – but you need to have someone with some real skill playing it to get to that point!