Watch Me Breathe is a brainchild of songwriter Jake Ward, who has just launched an album entitled “The Lighter Side of Darkness.” In an interview for Rocking Charts, Jake talks about his musical upbringing, starting off his career, the album, and more.
Let’s start from your early music beginnings. How did your musical career begin? When did you start playing? Which groups have been your favorites? Please tell us something more about your early life.
When I was a tiny kid, like 2 or 3, I would drum on pots and pans with spoons and act like I was singing, and I used to grab my dad’s guitars and just strum the open strings because I liked how it sounded. I think the first time I actually started learning how to play an instrument was when I was about 6 and my dad bought me this mini electronic drum kit, so I guess that’s technically when I started playing. I’ve had lots and lots of favorite bands throughout different periods in my life but my most important influences are probably 90’s-2000’s bands like Switchfoot, The Goo Goo Dolls, Counting Crows, Jimmy Eat World, Paramore etc. That’s really the music I grew up on.
How did you go about forming Watch Me Breathe? Who was the most influential when the band started its musical journey?
Originally, this was a solo project I had been working on for some time in my home studio. At some point I decided that all I wanted to do was write music that was exactly how I wanted it, and not worry about making it “good” or something that I thought would be popular. I also got tired of using my own name all the time. It felt a bit uncomfortable for me after a while, as if it was all about me and not the music I was making. I’d rather be the man behind the music and not the other way round. I’m honestly not sure what influenced me to make that change, but I’m extremely glad that I did and I’m excited for the future.
In the beginning, did you have some “fixed” tempo in composing songs or everything was a product of jamming, improvising?
Virtually every song I’ve ever written has been written on acoustic guitar, and I don’t think I’ve ever set a tempo and then tried to write to it. I always just pick up my guitar and start playing random things, and then sometimes I realize that I’m playing something I like and I turn it into a song with lyrics and melody.
How would you describe Watch Me Breathe’ music on your own?
As far as I can tell, it’s really a modern version of 90’s-2000’s pop rock and emo.
Have you felt any pressure while working on the upcoming album “The Lighter Side of Darkness”?
Yeah, sure! I work basically to my own schedule and I recorded/produced the entire album on my own, so there are some ways that I think the process was less stressful than it could have been if more people were involved. That being said, it meant that I had to do literally all the work from start to finish, and I definitely felt some pressure of my own just to make sure I stayed focused. It took me over a year!
How do you see the rock scene today?
We live in a time where there aren’t many guitars, basses, or drums to be heard on the Billboard charts. I actually like that, because it means innovation is coming. Just look at what Linkin Park did in 2000. When a genre is dominating the mainstream, it gets boring. When a genre is no longer mainstream and is fighting to stay alive, that’s when the most creative and exciting new music gets born.
Do you consider yourself a part of any specific cultural movement, however peripheral?
There’s this wonderful little feeling I have that people all over the world are starting to realize how full of shit every institution actually is. School is bullshit, work is bullshit, the government is bullshit, money and the distribution of wealth is bullshit…the entire conventional narrative from birth until death is bullshit. What if everyone just forgets why they should go to work or why they shouldn’t pursue what they really care about? I hope I can be part of whatever movement that is.
Are you also involved in any other projects or bands beside Watch Me Breathe?
Yes! I produce music for a “living” *haha* and I play bass in another local band called Urban Theory, who actually plan to release an EP this year that we’re recording in my studio. I’m also looking into starting a deathcore side project with some friends in the metal scene.
So, what comes next for Watch Me Breathe?
I have already started working on the next album, and hopefully we will be able to go on tour in the US pretty soon. We shall see!
Order “The Lighter Side of Darkness” from Bandcamp here.