Mustard had the pleasure of interviewing So Cal Jack (San Diego, California) about their aesthetic, traveling, their latest EP “In The Books”, and so much more! Check out the interview below!
1. Hello! Mustard appreciates you being here. How are you?
I’m good! I’m really excited to be interviewed by you!
2. Having a ‘brand’ or ‘aesthetic.’ is so important in these modern times. Could you share the origins of your backpack drum? You recently performed an open mic with it, how was that?
Yes! I first saw someone perform with a backpack drum at the San Diego County Fair when I was a kid and I always wanted to learn to perform with one. I finally found the parts to put one together at a goodwill and was able to make one for myself! I’ve played a few open mics with it lately, and also played my first full concert with it in April. They’ve all gone really well and I love getting to perform with it and give the audience a show that they don’t normally see!
3. You’re a world traveler with a uke in your hand. Do you have a favorite travel spot? What makes this travel spot special? Are there any locations you haven’t traveled to yet but would like too? Where do you recommend readers try to travel too?
I got to do a semester at sea when I was in college, where we went to Japan, China, Vietnam, Myanmar, India, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, South Africa, Ghana, Morocco, and England. I met my wife while on the voyage and since then we lived in Hong Kong for a 3 months and Switzerland for 4 months for work. In Switzerland we lived near Montreux which is a really beautiful city with a lot of music history, which I would highly recommend to your readers. My wife and I got engaged while we took a train from there to Gruyere, so that of course makes it very special to us! I love to take my ukulele with me when I travel cause it’s so portable and getting the chance to write, record, and perform songs around the world is really amazing and inspiring for me. I would love to get the chance to travel to Iceland, or to Bali.
4. Mustard wonders who (or what) influences you?
I have been a huge Beatles fan since I was a kid, and I learned to play guitar by learning their songs. Even now I love watching documentaries about them and covering their songs, and that inspires me to write more inventive songs like they did. I also get inspired by learning new instruments, because the new sounds help me see music in a new way.
5. Could you describe your creative process?
I used to write the music before the lyrics, but for the past few years I will usually come up with a lyric and melody while I’m in class, at work, or just out and about, and then I can usually pick up an instrument and create some music to go with the lyrics and melody. Writing lyrics is the hardest part for me, so when I come up with something I like, I really try and run with it.
6. You’ve released a collection of EPs such as Pre-Law, Study Break, and now your newest In The Books. Is this trilogy leading to an album? What inspired the academic theme for each?
I started releasing an EP every year since my first one in 2015, although I skipped 2021, because I love getting to capture my experience over the year in a collection of songs. They’re all self produced so the ones I made before Pre-Law are only on SoundCloud, but for these last 3 I’ve gotten better at producing so I put them on streaming platforms. I started law school right after I released Pre-Law so those 3 kind of capture my feelings before and during the law school experience. Pre-Law is mostly about wanting to move forward with my life, Study Break is about persevering through tough times in order to make the world a better place, and the most recent one, In the Books, is about stress and anxiety, and trying overcome those feelings by focusing on what you love. I just started writing the 4th and final of my law school themed EPs which I’m going to call Esquire!
7. How have social media platforms, such as TikTok, helped you as an artist?
Tiktok has been really great as a way to meet new musicians and get to share my music with new listeners. Especially while live music wasn’t happening I think it was crucial to a lot of musicians, myself included, to get the chance to express themselves. I’ve really loved getting to share videos of me playing my songs and covers with my backpack drum with a wider audience all around the world!
8. What is on the horizon for So Cal Jack?
I hope to continue writing, performing, and releasing new music throughout the coming years and sharing the process through social media!
9. Where can readers listen to your music?
My new EP “In the Books”, as well as my music from the past 5 years is available on all the main streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal! On Spotify it’s all under So Cal Jack, but for some reason on Apple Music and Tidal my songs from 2015-2020 are under SoCal Jack and from 2020-present are under So Cal Jack. Some weird distribution issue haha. If you’d like to listen to my even older songs, all of them are on SoundCloud!
Thanks for interviewing me!