The soul man from Denmark with crystal clear pipes, celebrating the diversity inherent in sound and life.
Mont Jake is just more proof (if we really needed any) that Danish music is on the up and up. The young soul singer doesn’t hold back when it comes to getting his name around town: he always carries around a USB full of songs, and one time even sneaking backstage at a concert to casually hand Blood Orange that very USB. He’s nothing if not a go-getter. It’s that same tenacity that’s gotten him collaborations with Masta Killa (Wu Tang-clan) and Assassin (Kanye and Kendrick), not bad at all for a new kid on the scene. He’s got a fresh R&B style and a delicate, crystal clear register. His voice is rich and layered and fills out his slick, thumping backtracks fluidly.
His latest release, “Daydreaming”, is an energetic track inspired by 70s soul music, full of playful trumpet blasts, lively brass and jazzy chord progressions, giving off some low key Jungle vibes at times. The music video features crisp, energetic cinematography and a mix of flavourful characters (he’s got something not too dissimilar to a collective in the works) and spaces, filmed around Brixton, Dalston and Tokyo. With his glossy, infectious tracks and honeyed voice, Mont Jake is undoubtedly one to watch.
What made you make the move from Denmark to London? How do the music scenes differ?
As an artist I want to keep evolving all the time, and I had to move away from Copenhagen to do that. The music scene in Copenhagen didn’t inspire me. I felt it was very one-sided. Coming to London was amazing for me. I am able to experience one of the world’s most diverse music scenes. It’s such a big music metropolis, and the way things are merged together across genres and cultures here is limitless. It’s all pinned up on a mutual love for music and art. It is amazing to be a part of, and has definitely expanded my mind as an artist.
What influences do you think have forged your sound the most?
A combination of different things. First of all my song writing is very influenced by 70s soul music like Marvin Gaye, Isley Brothers, Sly and the family stone, Curtis Mayfield, Otis Redding, just to name a few. Production wise I’m very into 90s hip hop and Rnb. My main heroes are Pete Rock and J Dilla.
Can you talk about your creative process a little? How do you go about communicating your ideas through your music?
The first step in my writing process always has a point of departure in my diary. I’ve kept a diary for about two years now, and it’s full of weird sentences, reflections, poems, and small stories. I start with short inspirational narratives or stories. From there, I arrange the music around my inspiration. Usually I’ll make sure that the song itself works with only a melody and piano, before I start messing with beats. Earlier in my life I’ve experienced how much time you can spend on producing a cool beat, but if you don’t have a song to fill in, It’s really nothing but an empty shell.
Your video for “Daydreaming” is really visually arresting and seems focused on ideas of multiculturalism. What are some of the messages in your work?
Thank you for this question, because it really shows that I’m communicating a message that intrigues me. I work with the themes of inclusion/exclusion on a cultural level and creative level, and translate into sounds, melodies, and spaces. There is always a level of extreme fusion and simultaneously a level of loneliness in the way multiculturalism inspires me and in the way I experience it. The diversity of sounds is as important as the diversity of the people I work with, create with, and socialise with. By representing the multiplicity of my desired expression, I can create a whole collective story that makes sense to me. So yes, including different races, genders, religions, sizes, sounds, colours… and so on and so on is so extremely important to me and my music.
“In my late teens I found out that song writing and producing was what I wanted to do. Before that I wanted to be a gardener.”
You seem like you’re really a go-getter when it comes to getting your name out there, hence the pretty amazing collaborations with Masta Killa and Assassin. How do you go about it?
Not to mention NoName! 🙂 I like to pick artists that I really feel can contribute to the music. I don’t pick my collaborations based on a name or hype; I need to be a fan of the artist before I even consider a feature. I also make sure that the artist’s style would fit into the environment of my music. I’ve learned that it’s important for an artist to be able to connect and identify with the music if you want them on board. So I study my collaborations to get a picture of what they like before ever approaching.
Have you always been pushing toward a career in music?
Not always. In my late teens I found out that song writing and producing was what I wanted to do. Before that I wanted to be a gardener.
What tracks are you super into at the moment?
I’m super into Brazilian music. Especially Milton Narscimento and Gil Gilberto. I love the energy of Brazilian music and how unpredictable the chord changes and structures are. I’m also currently in a producing/beatmaking mode, so I listen a lot of beat instrumentals from my favourite producers; mostly oldschool beatmakers from the 90s but also newer LA producers like Knxwledge and Mndsgn.
What are some personal goals you have career wise? Where would you like to see yourself in a few years?
My main goal in life right now, is to be able to create music full-time. As long as that’s possible, anything else to me is a bonus. Hopefully I’ll be working on my third album in a few years and live a life in a city that inspires me and feeds me creatively.
Any exciting projects going on? What are you most psyched about in the future?
I’m extremely excited about finishing up my debut album which I’m working out at the moment. I’ve been taking some writing trips to Ireland, France, and Denmark to be able to isolate myself and focus on the music. It feels incredible that I’m finally doing this album. Something that I’ve wanted to do for so long. And hopefully I’ll get a chance to tour a bit in Europe during 2017.