Jacob Deboer – Ontario, Canada

I came across Jacob’s music not long after I first started on Soundcloud. My first thoughts on hearing his music was that this was EXACTLY the kind of thing that once upon a time, I might have heard on the radio and then rushed out to buy at the local music store. His guitar based music has a dark feel to it and reminds me a little of “The Bends” era Radiohead, something reinforced by his voice which has just a tiny touch of Thom Yorke about it at times. What I think Jacob does really well is mood. His songs often have a dreamy and atmospheric feel to them – music full of texture and nuance. He plays guitar the way I like it – every note actually seems to mean and convey something and his playing pushes and pulls you along with the story that his songs are telling. And now without further ado, let’s hear more from Jacob himself!

How did you get into music?

I started off playing drums when I was six or seven years old, and that was my introduction to playing music. I didn’t really get into music on a personal, experiential level until I was thirteen years old or so though, when I actually started to find artists and songs that I enjoyed and could relate to. In the next couple years I started teaching myself some guitar and piano so I could play some of those songs myself, and by the time I was eighteen that somehow transformed into trying to write my own songs. I pretty much started uploading to Soundcloud as soon as I started writing — so in many ways my brief musical history is archived right here in .wav files. I also briefly tried to join a band with my friends in early 2020 (they should be launching soon after some Covid induced delays) but due to border issues and Covid, those plans went awry for myself. So now I’m continuing to write solo while I’m in university.

Your musical influences?

My initial influences as a young teenager were a lot of alternative/indie rock bands, namely British groups like The Maccabees, Bombay Bicycle Club, Foals, or Mystery Jets. A big influence on my own writing was when I got turned onto dream pop through bands like Alvvays, Wild Nothing, Beach House, Her’s, Mac DeMarco, Crumb… and many others. Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Radiohead as a formative influence. From a lyrical standpoint, the early work of twenty øne piløts probably remains my biggest influence. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of MUTEMATH.

Your favourite song that you’ve written?

That’s a difficult thing to decide, but if I had to choose, I think ‘solar eclipse’ would take the top spot. I wrote this song around March, 2020, just after I’d purchased some recording equipment for the first time. Lyrically the verses are kind of dark, detailing this feeling of unshakeable darkness, but I really like this song because the choruses carry a sort of hopeful undertone, pushing back. It’s one of my more simple songs, but I just really like every element of it.

Your favourite Soundcloud artist?

I’d have to say that Francois Cormier, the endless fountain of creativity, is my favourite artist on Soundcloud. His ability to craft creative poetry, wrought not only with thought-provoking meaning, but very often clever double meaning and puns, is absolutely delightful. He’s a great producer, and a great musician who isn’t ever afraid to let his creativity loose and knock out an eclectic, unique, and inspired track. Choosing just one track of his seems difficult, but I think I’d elect “Hard Day-Life’s Journey, Nuit Blanche”…emotive and real, fantastic chord progressions, carefully crafted dynamics and syncopated percussion, and an excellent palette of sounds.

Thoughts on the Soundcloud community?

The words that come to mind are ‘supportive’, ‘encouraging’, and ‘warm’. I initially uploaded my music without thinking that anybody would ever hear it, and not really believing it was worth listening to. Positive, encouraging comments from other Soundcloud artists propelled me to keep writing and recording, and have more confidence in my creative impulses, lyrics, and voice — shoutout especially to Los Sketches and Francois Cormier, my two initial fans who provided lots of this positivity, and without whom I may not have continued to write. For me, uploading music is all about personal catharsis and giving an external outlet to my internal world, and so to have that be affirmed and enjoyed by other artists (who make their own really cool, incredible music) has been a fantastic experience that I’m grateful for.

Lastly, just below is my favourite song by Jacob. You can also find a selection of his music on Bandcamp. I hope you have enjoyed his story and I hope that his music finds a place in people’s daily little worlds.

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