Singer-songwriter Jacob Augustine has a lot to say, as evidenced by the recent simultaneous release of the full-length CDs “The Original Love” and “Frontier,” along with the live EP “Goldyhymns.” He sings with a set-fire-to-the-world voice, and is a thought-provoking wordsmith. GO asked for access into his inner sanctum, and Augustine graciously obliged. 

How old were you when you first started singing, and what were your first instruments?

I started playing music when I was 8. I was in the elementary chorus group, and I was the only kid who could shake a tambourine in time. When I was 12, I picked up the bass and started writing hardcore songs. So it was tambourine, bass, guitar, and somewhere in the middle of that, I started screaming. At around 17, I started singing melodically. 

What did you grow up listening to?

The first record I ever bought was Faith No More’s “The Real Thing.” I grew up on mostly heavy stuff, and I cut my teeth learning Rage Against the Machine riffs. I also played a lot of Pantera, Sepultura, Helmet and Biohazard. I dug B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix and even Yanni and Michael Jackson around the same time. I was also into my father’s recordings he made for us kids. I listened to my dad’s stuff just as much as anything. He is a folkie. My heavier side left me shortly after I first heard Radiohead’s “OK Computer” and Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon,” and has since never returned. 

Why did you opt to release three things all at once versus staggering them?

I’m going to steal this answer from Tom Waits and say, “When you got the griddle hot, you may as well throw on a couple more pancakes.”  

Is jacobaugustine.bandcamp.com the best place for people to get your music?

Bandcamp is THE ONLY place you can get this music. There are no physical copies. I don’t expect there to be any, either, unless someone out there wants to pay for them to be pressed.   

How has the “pay-what-you-want” approach worked out so far?

It has worked out very well. Some people take them for free, and some people will pay twice as much as you would expect. The best part of free downloads is you obtain an email address. This helps you find out who has the albums, and gives you a way to let them know what’s going on, and it gives them an opportunity to spread the word. Spreading the word about music is much more important than any money you would make off sales in the long run. Musicians have always made the bulk of their money off of touring, and that is still true today.   

Is getting signed something that interests you?

Would I be interested in doing this for a living? Sure. Do I try to catch that slippery fish? No. One time at a club, a woman came up to me and thanked me for what I did. Her exact words were, “Thank you for teaching my kids something that I cannot teach them.” So far in my musical life, that is the most I have ever gotten paid. The only reason I would ever want to get big and become well known around the world or around the States would be because of that statement. I know there is a message in what I do. Knowing that what I’m doing helps people get through their days is the biggest reason I would ever entertain being a signed artist. 

Can you describe your emotions when you’re performing?

An image that comes to my mind is a man standing in front of a mass of people and he sees a train headed right at them on the horizon. He screams at them to warn them, but they cannot hear him ’cause they are too loud. And no matter how much he tries to help them hear the inevitable danger thundering down the track behind them, they just can’t hear the train. That man’s frustration and panic and inevitable melancholy is my emotional landscape when performing.   

Your music is quite striking and passionate. What inspires you?

My own anger towards everything: Wall Street, religious fanaticism, media control, sports obsession, Hollywood obsession, television, fashion, perfection, pollution, ignorance, pop culture, prescription drug culture, Western medicine, big pharm, free lunch, GMOs, assisted living, love of money, idols, black gold, the war machine, biotechnology, the war on drugs, apathy, drunk culture, party culture, homelessness, the American dream and anyone who actually thinks their vote is going to change the way the world works when the only thing that will really change the way the world works is where you spend your money.

So yeah: anger.

Staff Writer Aimsel Ponti can be contacted at 791-6455 or at:

[email protected]

TURN YOUR RADIO DIAL to 102.9 WBLM every Friday at 8:30 a.m. to hear Aimsel Ponti wax poetic about her top three live music picks for the week with the Captain and Celeste.

 

filed under: