Last summer on the festival circuit I caught up with Jake Isaac, a singer-songwriter from South London who has supported the likes of Ella Eyre and Paloma Faith and collaborated with Josh Record. We had a chat about all things music, touring and then more music.
Hi, I’m here backstage at the Communion Stage with Jake Isaac. So you’ve just come off stage how did it go?
Fantastic. Well, we really liked it, I hope everyone else did too.
And how was the journey here? You had a bit of a trek to come didn’t you?
Yeah, it took four hours. I could have been in Malaga by now but it’s worth it definitely, it’s a beautiful festival. Really cool. I’d love to come back and do it as a punter, I haven’t been to a festival in ages.
You’ve been playing a lot of them this summer though, how has the festival circuit gone?
It’s been really cool but hectic. We’ve done Glastonbury, Reading/Leeds, Truck, YNot, Secret Garden Party, a few in Europe… We’ve had about 35 bookings in total. It’s been insane. I can’t complain though I love it.
Wow, you’re clearly the man of the hour.
Thanks, that’s very kind.
I first saw you perform when you supported Ella Eyre in Shoreditch, you had some technical issues and lost all the lighting, how were you feeling at that point?
Yeah, I feel like when the power cut, it actually helped me gain some favour with the crowd. Like they felt kind of sorry for me. I felt kind of sorry for me. (laughs). So I just kept on singing. In the end some people were like well done for playing on but you have to. I think it worked out alright, she had me back on the tour at least.
You’ve supported Ella Eyre a couple of times now, how did that come about?
I met her maybe like three years ago and she was on the way up the climbing ladder of her career. We were both playing this festival called The Great Escape just doing our thing and one of my mates plays drums for her so he introduced us, and I didn’t realise it but she’d bought my music and been listening to it and following me and what I was doing and so when her tour came round out of a long list of people she could have picked she was like “Yeah I want that guy Jake” and I was like “Are you sure?” (laughs) But it’s cool, it’s an absolute privilege and a pleasure.
And that was the turning point for her as well. She’d originally booked a lot of smaller venues then the Brit Award happened and suddenly she got massive and had to quickly upsize everything. Seeing someone go through that point in their career, do you think that will prepare you for what’s going to come?
Mate, I don’t have a Scooby Doo clue. But I feel like every experience counts in this whole music thing. I just take everything as it comes and am thankful for every moment. Even in two years’ time I’d love to just still be hanging out and having a chat like this. It’s so important just to value every moment and never feel like you are too big for your boots.
Now we’re here at Somersault festival. Josh Record performed here last year on the same stage, and in fact in almost an identical slot as you did just now.
Really? That’s wicked.
You did a collaboration with Josh a year or so back. How did that come to happen?
We had a few mutual friends, and I just realised he was a lunatic, and we were both lunatics and so I was just like hey dude do you wanna do a tune? And he was like yeah. And at the time I was a nobody, and like I still am, but he had went up massive for a singer-songwriter and he was still willing to invest and say I wanna be featured on one of your EPs which was really cool of him. He’s just such a good role model for artists, there is so much a lot of artists could learn from him, he’s just such a humble guy.
Humble is the perfect word to describe Josh. So do you have any more collaborations planned for the future?
I don’t know yet. I’ve just been working on lots of new music, and it looks like I am going down that road of labels which is all so new for me, I’ve always been unsigned. So I’m just head down working on music and having fun meeting people and I feel like when the time comes the powers that be will suggest something. As long as it’s authentic though, not just like “Oh do something with them because they’re big”, that’s just not really what I’m about.
Is there anyone who you would just really love to collaborate with? Someone who you’ve got your eye on?
Oh man… I’d love to do a collaboration with… (pauses) I’m too scared to ask her, but I’d love to do something with Paloma Faith.
That would be cool though.
Yeah, just something chilled out, maybe on the guitar. A string quartet and then just me and her.
You’ve been on tour with her as well though haven’t you?
Yeah, and that’s why I respect her so much. She’s amazing. Oh or Lucy Rose. She’s great.
So if you were putting together a festival, who would you have playing?
I’d have Lucy (Rose). I’d have Ben Howard. I’d have Half Moon Run.
You’d basically have Somersault last year.
(laughs) Yeah basically. The Communion guys are amazing. They put on the best of singer-songwriter guitar music and so this festival is just amazing.
I bloody love Communion.
They’re just too good!
So we had you on our ‘Ones To Watch’ for this year…
Really? Thank you very much.
You’re very welcome. Now looking to next year who would be your picks?
A girl called Rae. She’s a singer-songwriter from London. She plays piano and does some more kind of hard-beat sort of stuff. She’s such a sweetheart and her voice is amazing, I just want her to win. Like even more than I want it for myself.
The South London music scene in general is just doing pretty well at the moment, there’s you, Kimberley Anne, A.O.S.O.O.N…
Kimberley Anne is so cool.
Is there big support for live music where you’re from? Do you guys all get behind each other?
Like the National South London Musician Community? (laughs) Nah.
That’d be sweet though.
Honestly, it mostly just works when we meet at gigs like this or on the road and then we meet and we’re like “(GASP) I’ve listened to all your music” or “I’ve watched all your videos online”. And then Kimberley Anne looks at you like you’re a stalker.
Good to know I’m not the only one that massively fangirled out on Kimberley.
You are definitely not alone.
Unfortunately at this point the next band took to the stage and all hope of conversation was totally lost. To make up for the lack of end to this interview here’s a video of Jake singing some music.