home     who?     sounds     gigs     studio   radical notes  discography    contact


Jacob Creel

Vann Hardin

I initially encountered Jacob Creel at one of the monthly Songwriters Nights that Mike Shackelford hosts in Atlantic Beach. He was young, still feeling his way around musically, still searching for his voice. After a few years I could tell he was getting there--he just kept getting better each time: Tighter, more focused songwriting, clearer guitar playing and more confident with his voice. He recorded a number of songs at my home studio and I could tell he was dedicated to his art in ways I wish more musicians were.

Roy: Okay, for those not hip enough to be in the know, just who is Jacob Creel?

Jacob: Well, I was born in Jacksonville, Florida in 1994 and started playing guitar, writing, and performing when I was 16. I perform mostly solo although I am currently looking for some band mates. I'm kind of an introvert, I guess, I spend most of my days either working on my music or thinking about various situations and people I know, or have known. I'm sarcastic, generally light hearted, and I can find a way to laugh at almost anything - which I guess is why people consider me to be very dark humored. But, I try to be open and kind to people and I always enjoy being in good company.

Roy: Who was a major influence on you as a songwriter?

Jacob: When I first began writing, I believe Nick Drake was my main influence and so a lot of my earlier work is focused mainly on finger picking and softer vocal tones for the more ' Contemporary-Folk ' sound. I developed my own lyrical and musical stylings during this time, thankfully, but as I grew further and further away from the Folk sound, I began to write more fast paced and energetic, almost angry, songs.

A small portion of my work, but probably the most popular songs, were influenced by Warren Zevon, the more witty lyrics and small touches of vocal inflictions here and there are a couple of the things I've picked up from him by listening to him since I was just a little boy.

So, in the years that I've been composing, and even with my own style being created, Warren Zevon has been my biggest musical influence - Followed by Nick Drake close in second.

Roy: That age-old question: Are you a words-first or music-first kind of songwriter?

Jacob: Music First! Always. At least 99% of my songs are written by spewing rhymes over a chord progression.

Roy: What besides music influences your songwriting?

Jacob: My family, mostly. And social issues and political matters. Politically, I'm a centrist, and so watching the news and even my news feed over Facebook and such can be pretty hilarious at times. Everything most people say is so black and white that they seem to forget that they're being exactly what they hate - hateful bigots. It's just as hilarious to me as it is sad and confusing. All day to day politics and social matters are always taken from a left and right standpoint so, in a few of my songs at least, I try and give a third party perspective - a voice that isn't speaking for the left or right, but also isn't speaking against either one. Usually, I try to throw in some sort of comedic value to the game of grab-ass that politics has become.

And I can come from a very loving and hard working family. I live with both of my parents, my sister and my Nephew. My mother being retired from working, and my father being a third generation master brick and stone mason. I don't talk too much to my moms' side of the family, so, I don't know much about them - other than the fact that I'm a carbon copy of my mothers' Father. My Dads' side of the family is another story, I stayed up one night and counted over 86 relatives that I know from the Creels. I'm very close to the Creels and use to visit Lake City (Creelville) almost every weekend. I still enjoy it out there, always very relaxing and calm.

Roy: So tell me about some of the more political elements of some of your songs.

Jacob: Due to my more 'radical' political opinions, I don't really perform or showcase many of my politically influenced songs. Even though they're mostly written in a neutral standpoint, I try and keep politics out of my set list as much as I can because I don't agree, or disagree with many political opinions - I only disagree with how they're expressed at times.

My song ' Pour ' which appears on the album ' Real Ugly (Because You're Worth It) ' for instance takes place from the viewpoint of a Florida Nationalist. Which is an idea that has always greatly struck up my curiosity.

In the song, the story teller remarks and thinks back to how he believes Florida should be compared to how it is, and makes a few remarks on different problems that he sees with the way Florida is.

Another song of mine which wont be performed anytime soon, is actually a love song for two Communists.

The last examples I can think of at the moment is ' Pyongyang ' which is a North Korean tune I wrote back when Korea was in the news all the time and I just wanted to parody the situation in a light hearted manner by glamoring East Asian communist, and ex-communist states.

' Lifetime Warranty ' Was written specifically to mirror U.S. Economics, the Welfare system, and the failing Construction industry.

Roy: Books, movies, current events?

Jacob: Books? I like educational books. I'm a huge fan of Biology and Organic Chemistry, as well as Philosophy, History, and Astronomy.

Movies? I like Steam Punk based movies and music A LOT. But I really enjoy Comedies and WW2 shooters.

Current Events? Russia annexing Crimea. They should've seen that one coming.

Roy: How do you feel your writing has changed over the years?

Jacob: As I mentioned before, I first started writing softer, more finger picking based Folk songs, or just songs that didn't require any heavy strumming. My lyrics were more nostalgic in a way, as I was away from home at the time and I didn't really see much hope of returning any time soon. It also wasn't too long after my first real break up with a girl I loved, so quite a few of the songs I composed early on were love based, or about break ups.

As the year and next year went by, I began to grow out of the finger picking and started picking up my guitar work faster and faster. The Vocals became more out going and my lyrics began to revolve more around Life and Death. Two things that have always confused the complete hell out of me.

I started playing with a little band called 'Hoobieu' in early 2012 and that experience really REALLY got me out of my shell. I began to stand up and play and with that came my voice dropping and growing more and more powerful. To put more focus on this, I began to write songs with more simple guitar work but with more complex and powerful vocal melodies. The songs shifted toward being more extroverted and almost took a more political tune.

I haven't been writing too many new songs lately, over the last four years I've written nearly 500 songs, but most of the which ( I currently have 80 songs in my set list ) have either been scrapped or retired altogether - A few dozen of which are saved to CDs somewhere in my house, probably never to be seen again like most of my socks and white T shirts.

I got into another relationship with a Girl, Amy, whom I love very dearly and so a lot of my new songs that I wrote last year have turned out to be more successful and more love-song based. Although the quantity of my writing has dropped significantly, I'm glad to say that, at least judging by the response of crowds, the quality has risen.

Roy: Can a song change after you've played it in front of an audience?

Jacob: Of course! Although not often, several of mine have changed since they were first composed - most of which have been minor lyrical changes, but in the cases of ' Take a Spin ' and a new crowd favorite ' An April Song ', the guitar work has been changed quite a bit since they were first introduced.

' Take a Spin ' first started out with a simple blues riff leading into the song, which after year or so, found itself preluded by a ' slapping ' of the 12th harmonic through the main chord progression. The Chorus used to just be an almost spoken word ' Come take a spin with me ', but after playing the song with lead guitar by Nick Solorzano of (Now) Gravity Dog productions, the Vocal melody for the chorus changed dramatically into what it is today.

' An April Song ' started originally with a simple guitar riff mimicking the vocal melody of the song. After that failed to hold attention during its' first live performance, I added an almost Irish sounding lead into that jumped into the song - This of course has been added to with Trumpet by Dennis Negrin of the Crescendo Amelia Big Band.

Roy: Okay, you just woke up, you have an idea for a song in your head--what happens next?

Jacob: Usually, I fall back asleep and hope to god I remember it when I wake up for real. No good nights' sleep is complete without the power nap that follows after it.

If its' still in my head by time I'm ready to grudge my way through the day, I'll sit down and try to figure out a Chord Progression or riff to match the, if any, lyrics with. If I'm successful, I'll write the song. If I'm not successful, I cry profusely while balled up in the fetal position. At the very least, if I come up with any lyrics, I try and save them somewhere for later use.

Roy: Give us a little bit about your songwriting process?

Jacob: It's kind of hard to explain, really. I usually always start off by practicing or just messing around with some chord progressions, and if anything stands out or feels right, I start just rhyming and singing over it - which usually starts as humming out a melody before adding lyrics in. Nearly all of my songs are composed this way in under 10 minutes or so. The lyrics, which usually just start as jumbled words focus around a main idea, usually somehow come together at the end to make a full song. I don't know what most of my songs are about until months later when something will happen which will make me realize why I wrote what i did. (Such as in the case of my semi-retired song ' Taste of Sweetness ' which was written almost 6 months before, but about, the break up I was about to go through).

After writing the song, I'll go through it a few times to smooth out any rough edges, and celebrate the birth of the song with a smoke.

Roy: Your song "Take A Spin" is a fan favorite as is "Angel Dust." Tell us how those came to be written.

Jacob: ' Take a Spin ' : I honestly don't know how, or why I wrote this song. But it really was one of the first fast paced ' Rock song ' I wrote way back when in 2011. To this day, I still have no clue what the hell the song is about - But, it's fun to perform and people really seem to enjoy it, so I guess I'll keep on playing it until I figure it out.

' Angel Dust ' : It's a love song. It's a 2010 song, which is when I was still going through my finger picking phase, and is about my feelings of losing the relationship I had been in before hand. I remember I was sitting on my bed writing it, and although i Had my fretting hand set in stone the way it was going to be, it wasn't until I dropped my picking hand down a figure until the song got its' ' pretty ' sound. I remember it was the first song I wrote where I actually felt like I had actually done something great. After that, the rest of the song fell smoothly and quickly into place and it has stayed in my set list ever since then.

Roy: So what do the fates have in store for Jacob Creel next?

Jacob: I really, really, really wish I knew. In February, I released two new albums which I had recorded by Roy Peak at Radical Recordings and had my CD Release show/party at Rain Dogs. So, that was a big step towards the rest of 2014 as I can now have a product that I can push and have for sale at every show I have until I'm ready to record another block of songs and release another Album or two next year.

I have also just recently signed a Manager from Killen Media, so, I'm really excited about that and it looks like this year will be very busy and productive for my career and I as we build my career to the next levels. I had been offered contracts and such before from a couple labels and management companies, but they just didn't feel right to me. So, I'm very glad to be a part of Killen Media and I'm excited to see what we can accomplish together for 2014.

I've also been in the process of looking for Band Mates. I've had a great time performing the last few months with Dennis Negrin and his Trumpet of wonder, and we've gotten really great response together - So all of that has me really wanting to get a Bassist and Drummer as well to see what exactly can be done. I'm also thinking of fixing up my Dads' old Electric guitar in the case of a band.

So, 2014 will be a year of great changes and advancements in my career, and I'm very excited and happy with where it seems to be going. Onward to victory, Hookers, and Heroin!