A little over a month ago, Jake Rollins dropped one of the better guitar albums in years, Spend a Few, Make a Few. The Boston area native crafted a refreshing rock and roll record unafraid of turning the amp to 11 and ripping into a string bending guitar solo. However, there's enough contrast too, by masterfully ordering the album, mixing unabashed full throttle supercharged rockers with kicked back slow burners, the album manages to not run out of gas at the end. And, it's lyrically rich; repeated listens yield a body of work sprinkled with relationship metaphors, and plenty of bullshit free straight talking about the hot topic. It's the perfect blend of cool and striking confidence. This is an album that you'll come back to again and again, day after day.
I spoke to Jake last week about the album, 80N7 Records, and his influences. Here's what he had to say.
(Aimless Skylarking) Tell me a bit about yourself.
(Jake Rollins) I grew up in Rockland, Massachusetts, a suburb just South of Boston. My parents gave me a guitar when I was young but I never knew how to play it until I was in high school. I spent every chance I had trying to teach myself what to do with it, I play mostly by ear now. I study Entertainment Management at Bay State College in the Back Bay of Boston. My dad Bill, my mom Joanne, my sister Josie, and my girlfriend Rachael have been supporting me non-stop, and I couldn't be more thankful for them.
(AS) How did you get hooked up with 80n7 Records?
(JR) I started my Soundcloud page about 2 years ago. About this time last year, Emmy Feldman (co-owner of 80N7) approached me about my music. They were getting ready to put out their second compilation tape, and she was wondering if I wanted to have a song featured on it. I said yes of course.
(AS) So they found you?
(JR) Yeah, Emmy scouts out the artists; before that I wasn't really aware of many labels.
(AS) They are cool like that, they really dig deep on Soundcloud and Bandcamp.
(JR) Yeah it's endless, there are too many deserving bands on Soundcloud and Bandcamp.
(AS) You're also affiliated with Sleeper Radio, how did that come about?
(JR) Yeah actually my roommate and I created Sleeper Radio, it's every Thursday from 1-3pm and can be streamed at Sleeper Radio. To stream past episodes it's Past Episodes. The account of course can be found @sleeperradio on Twitter.
(AS) You've received lots of positive attention about your LP. Did you have any idea it would be so well received?
(JR) Not at all. This is just a hobby that I really love to work on, I had no idea what it would turn into. I've gotten a lot of amazing feedback from really genuine people.
(AS) Being in NME is a big deal.
(JR) Yeah, it was a shock to me, never expected to be in NME for an LP that was released through Bandcamp. I'm so grateful for it though, I'm gonna buy a few copies when it comes out on the 31st.
(AS) I hear lots of late 70's and early 80's rock and roll in the album, did you hear a lot of that kind of music in your house growing up?
(JR) Oh yeah, I have songs burned into my memory from hearing them so much. I remember hearing 'Ramble On' by Led Zeppelin, that's what made me want to pay closer attention to music. My parents are responsible for most of what I'm influenced by.
(AS) What did they listen to?
(JR) My dad is a big Springsteen fan, but he listens to everything from AC/DC to the Who, and even the White Stripes, which he got me into. He also showed me Zeppelin, thank god. My mom likes Bon Jovi, Elton John, Rod Stewart, and so many others. Our shared music library is pretty stacked and I listen to almost everything.
(AS) Good parents, mine listened to country music.
(JR) Well, my parents are now dipping into country a little bit, not really my thing but that's okay.
(AS) Was there a universal theme on the LP? It sounds like a break up album, but done at that point when you stop feeling sorry for yourself and are a bit mad about it all.
(JR) Since all of the songs were recorded at different times I can't really say I tried to keep a theme. I can see it now, but I couldn't when I was writing it. Sometimes it was easier to write about things that people could relate to easily, not every song is about my own thoughts or feelings.
(AS) Did you record it all at home?
(JR) Yeah, I recorded everything in the basement of my house.
(AS) Did you play all instruments too?
(JR) Yes sir I do.
(AS) Do you have any live shows planned?
(JR) Not as of yet, I need to corral a few musicians to rehearse with.
(AS) Have you ever played live before?
(JR) Not really, just for a few friends here and there if I'm hanging out in my dorm.
(AS) If you play a few live dates, it might turn into more than a hobby.
(JR) That's what I'm thinking, my dad tells me the same thing. It's inevitable at this point!
(AS) If it's something you like and want to do, don't wait around for 5-10 years.
(JR) Exactly, I can't let it fizzle out
(AS) Some of the tracks would even sound good acoustically, that's a possibility if you just want to get some live time under your belt.
(JR) I usually play around with chords on the acoustic when I'm trying to come up with each song, I've practiced them acoustically in my dorm too. I guess that's an option, gotta start somewhere!
(AS) The big appeal is that hard charging electric guitar, it comes on strong. But the lyrics are good enough to stand on their own.
(JR) Thanks a lot, Casey. Most of the artists I listen to have the music and amazing lyrics to go with it, that's why I tried to keep things simple, but also interesting at the same time. I always ask myself if I would actually listen to my own songs.
(AS) That said, which of your songs is your favorite?
(JR) That's a tough one, it probably comes between 'Out of Tune' or 'Fool Around'.
(AS) 'Fool Around is my favorite on the album.
(AS) So what's next? Are you recording new material soon?
(JR) I never stop thinking about new melodies, so I'll be recording more as soon as I get the chance.
Spend A Few, Make A Few was mixed and mastered by Dan E Brown.
For more information on 80N7 Records:
For more information on Jake Rollins: