Interview: Jack Driffer

Published on 17 January 2022 at 08:20

1: What inspires you to create?

What inspires me is my passion for the process of creating music. I enjoy it all. The composing, the writing, the recording, the mixing, buying gear that I don’t need, haha. I get excitement out of every stage of the process. It distracts me from the heartache of the real world I suppose. The further I go down the rabbit hole of creating, the more I feel at home. Each song is like an experiment and each experiment teaches me something new. I guess at the core of it, my inspiration stems from curiosity; the wanting to learn something new and hoping that what I’ve learned takes me off planet for a few minutes.

2: What advice would you give to someone who wants to be in a creative profession?

You shouldn’t be discouraged from being a creative on the basis of your societal status. In other words, the only thing holding yourself (myself included) back from being a creative is how you think everyone else will perceive you as an individual in society. Your age, race, gender, ethnicity, life experiences and so on shouldn’t inform your decision to be a creative or just create things. That being said, please be prepared to be met with criticism for your choice and your work.

How you choose to handle this criticism will define you as a creative.

We are all artists at heart. No one’s opinion about your art and to a larger degree, your life, should dictate what you decide to do with your art and life. Don’t change yourself to meet the expectations of people who are not you and aren’t even invested in what you do.

If you remain honest with yourself about your work and the creativity of it, people will have no choice but to acknowledge it, even if they don’t like it. As artists we have to accept that not everyone will like what we do, but that only means we’re doing something different and in the long run, doing something right. Be true to yourself because originality will always outshine conformity.

3: Do you feel open minded about what you listen to? Do you like going out of your comfort zone?

I’ve been into all kinds of music since a very young age. Since around 8 years old, I’ve heavily enjoyed reggae, classic rock, heavy metal and punk music. That being said, my taste never really ventured outside of those respective genres.

Now, I make an effort to expose myself to more niche and less accessible genres of music such as industrial noise, post-bop, and anything lo-fi haha. I won’t lie, it does make me feel very uncomfortable at times, but I know I’ll just be a better and more well-rounded artist for it.

As a rock musician, I find it’s easy to let your bias influence your listening habits and that’s something I try to combat every day; steering my ship out of 80s thrash and hair metal and into the seas of slow core for example.

Overall, I’ve learned to enjoy going out of my comfort zone even if it’s something I know I probably I won’t like at all.

4: What outlets do you find out about music from? (Record stores, magazines, samplers, etc.)

For me social media, Instagram in particular, has played a major role in finding and learning about new artists, tour dates, album dates, single releases and so on, but the main tool I use on a daily basis for all thing’s music is Spotify. Not only does it have all the music I’d already listen to, but it brings me to new music I end up liking more often than not.

5: What is your favorite format to listen to music on? (CD, Vinyl, etc.)

My absolute favorite format is Vinyl. Nothing beats the visceral and physical experience of sifting through, opening and listening to Vinyl. It’s been debated time and time again, but to me vinyl just sounds better, a true analog press that is. In my opinion, if you listen to a digital master on vinyl you might as well buy the CD or stream it on Spotify. True analog recordings just have a certain warmth and depth that digital simply cannot replicate.

Don’t get me wrong I still love the bright, clean and crystal-clear sound of an mp3. After all you can’t beat the convenience of streaming, but if I had to choose just one, it’d be vinyl. Plus, who doesn’t love the crate digging experience?! Yes, I’m that analog/vinyl snob in the back of the coffee shop.

6: How do you feel the internet has impacted the music business?

The internet has given every independent musician the ability to be heard on their own platform by their respective audiences. As artists, we no longer have to rely on record labels and their executives to give us an opportunity to be seen. Now, we make our own opportunities by way of social media and streaming. Sure, us independent artists may not have a whole team behind us, but we have the same powerful tool the big wigs use every single day to expand their audience reach. The beautiful thing about the internet is that there is no way to really regulate what an audience is drawn to. The people come to the artists now. In other words, since the people have the power, they’ll just gravitate toward something they genuinely like regardless of its “label” or status.

Before, people were pretty much forced to consume programmed media like radio, so it made sense for signed artists to be taken much more seriously back then because they were the standard for what a musician had to be for that time. Now, if you’re a musician, signed or not signed, with a great social media following, you have the chance to compete with big record label artists on the same platforms. If you choose to be independent like me, you can most certainly do so with confidence (for the most part). Just don’t go into anything uninformed.

7: What motivates you to check out a new artist?

Their personality, music and message especially when I see them perform live. For me, personality and music go hand in hand because I believe your music should reflect your personality in some way or another. For instance, when I saw Pallbearer live for the first time, I’d never heard of them before. I literally listened to a snippet of one of their singles on the train to the show. When I saw how passionate they were on stage and how powerful their music is, I was emotionally taken. The lyrics were clear to me and hit home in a very personal way.

I knew from their songwriting that they were speaking to the human condition on a whole new level and I appreciated their creativity.  The music was brilliant, and the brutal honesty of the performance had me on the verge of tears. I’ve yet to have that kind of an experience again; where a band/artist elicits such an emotional response out of me. 
8: Who was the first band/artist that became your favorite band?

Guns n’ Roses.
9: Do you have any hobbies outside of music?

Outside of music, I enjoy helping my neighbors with construction and yard work for their homes. Nothing beats the feeling of contentment after a day’s work and knowing that the neighborhood is just a little better for it. Since we experience all four seasons, there’s no shortage of that kind of work- which is great because I find a different form of escapism through it as well. I can just focus on one task and be left to ponder on simpler things I suppose. I’ve had my hands in wood and tools before I even learned how to tie my own shoes so it’s a gratifying pass time for sure. Other than that, I enjoy collecting vinyl’s and finding deals on random vintage gear that I probably “don’t need” as some of my friends say.
10: What was the inspiration for your song “Control!”?

The inspiration came from my battle with mental health disorders.

You see, I deal with extreme anxiety and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) so my main focus with “Control!” was to speak from own perspective about my struggles with both. I wanted to tell people (through telling myself lyrically) that there’s no real point in trying to control anything because none of us have any actual control in this world, even if we’d like to believe that we do. The only thing we have any control over is how we react to the uncontrollable. I guess you could say that’s the main message and driving force of the song.

For the longest time, I felt robbed of so much because of my OCD. I had to unwillingly sacrifice much of my innocence as a child and adolescent because of how my brain was (and still is) wired to operate. I realized that many people have struggled with this in some way or another at some point their lives, so I figured I’d write a song about it.

I also wanted to speak to the idea of media influence on people who believe that they’re truly in charge of what they consume.

The chorus, “You think you’re in control?” is not only directed to me, but to the listener as well. I’m asking the listener (rhetorically) to really think about what’s being shoved in front of their face on a daily basis. To think about the importance of someone or a company telling them what to like, what to buy, what to crave especially on social media. To me, all of it seems like one big messed up joke the secret suits are playing on all of us. To make us chase this idea of complete authority over ourselves and the people around us. Call me crazy, but I think they’re just trying to divide us as a people. Division through mass control If you will.

Hopefully, I can inspire a few people to liberate themselves from the constraints of this dog eat dog world through my music.

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