IMAGE CREDIT: Martijn van de Griendt
IT has been fantastic speaking with Marike Jager...
about her latest track, Wasted, and discovering how it came to be. I ask her whether there is anything planned for the year ahead and what sort of music she is inspired by – Jager recommends a rising artist that we should get behind.
I ask the Dutch artist what the scene is like where she is and what we can expect from her upcoming album; a few albums that mean a lot to her and where we can catch her play – she ends the interview by choosing a great song.
Hi, Marike. How are you? How has your week been?
I’m doing very well, thank you. It’s been quite an exciting week. I could finally announce my upcoming tour (The Electrifying Mini Tour) and I just cannot wait to get out and play. It has been a while since I played clubs but I still feel lots of support. Furthermore I celebrated my dad’s birthday - and my daughter got her first teeth.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m known as an adventurous singer/songwriter for years playing festivals, theatres; churches and Pop venues. Very recently, though, I felt this burst of energy and I wanted to make something different. This new record is so different then my earlier work. Less melancholy, more uplifting; quirky. It’s me playing and experimenting with sounds and vocals. I had so much fun. Really needed that. I guess the past years have been quite intense and it was time for something different.
I like working with other people to get inspired. For example, I got to meet Ron Sexsmith and we recorded a duet. I also performed with Hip-Hop dancer Shailesh Bahoran. Very inspiring. I toured with several orchestras and rediscovered my own music. And I worked with and ‘audiomachinist’: an artist who builds sounds. Very cool!
Last but not least, I got to meet the legendary mixer/producer Tchad Blake. He mixed my album. Another passionate and inspiring person. Furthermore...I love Gretsch and Fender guitars; Polaroid cameras, red wine and running in the rain.
Wasted is your new track. Can you talk about its background and inspiration?
I got myself a new guitar and it inspired me to write a guitar riff, a bassline to go along with it; some more guitar melodies. The song is about two people catching up after years. They share a history but nobody knows exactly what they’ve gone through together. It is obvious that they cannot be together, nor can they live without one another. They’re both wasted but still attracted to each other. The whole song has a trailer-thrash-kinda-‘80’s vibe to me. It’s like a movie scene with two oddball characters. I’m often inspired by oddballs…loners.
I understand an album is coming next year. What can you reveal about the stories and themes addressed?
I guess the major theme is ‘imperfection’.
Though I am a perfectionist, I’ve always been attracted by imperfection. So, when it came to writing this album, I’ve managed to really have fun and let go of my perfectionism. I just played and experimented with sounds and vocals. So much fun and so much energy! When it comes to lyrics and themes, I like to write about imperfect people, oddballs and their unique stories.
Trying to crawl into the heads of wanderers, loners; vulnerable and odd people. I get inspired when a certain situation is just a bit off; when a character is a bit of a misfit.
PHOTO CREDIT: Lieke Romeijn
Are there particular artists that inspired you to get into music?
It all started with The Beatles. As a kid, I couldn’t stop listening to their music and I kept watching them play guitar and sing. It always hit me big-time. Although I was a big fan of Ringo Starr, I was more attracted to playing guitar. So, I started playing and writing my first sketches when I was fifteen-years-old.
Much later, I got the chance to support Feist (Canada). That was so wonderfully overwhelming! This strong and adventurous woman playing a beautiful electric guitar! I was blown away and bought myself an electric guitar (Gretsch) right away. Her voice and artistic vision as an artist still inspire me a lot.
As a Dutch artist; what is the scene like there at the moment?
We educate a lot of musicians - at the moment there are so many music schools in Holland. So, I see many new bands and lots of talents pop up everywhere which is wonderful. At the same time, there has been a huge increase of festivals through the whole country. What worries me though is that our Government doesn’t support the music industry, talented bands or individual careers. It is very hard to build up a career; to get to play live and really focus on music.
PHOTO CREDIT: Martijn van de Griendt
Do you already have plans for 2019?
I’m releasing my new album! And I hope to play many clubs and festivals! (Smiles).
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
Tchad Blake mixed my third album and the one coming up. I’m such a big fan of his skills and his sound. He is awesome!
PHOTO CREDIT: Lieke Romeijn
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Fiona Apple – When the Pawn... She immediately blew me away with her strength, her vocal passion and emotional songwriting.
Lisa Germano – Magic Neighbor. Sound-wise: beautiful, very adventurous.
David Byrne and St. Vincent - Love This Giant. Hits me every time I play it. What a record! Great arrangements, two great songwriters; obviously inspired by each other.
As Christmas is here; if you had to ask for one present (that you haven’t already received) what would it be?
I’d love to go for a walk along the Dutch coast together with Mark Everett and then bump into Beck Hansen. We’d talk about life and seek beautiful shells...then write a song together. A song so beautiful that the whole world would sing a long and live happily ever after.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
I would love to join David Byrne’s live band and sing a duet with him.
PHOTO CREDIT: Anne Reitsma
Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?
April 9th – Paradiso, Amsterdam (NL)
April 10th – Ekko, Utrecht (NL)
April 12th – Merleyn, Nijmegen (NL)
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Don’t let the socials fool you. Turn off your phone, get out and play; work hard and write a great song.
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I love to go for a run along the water. I totally unwind.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
AWKWARD i – Milkshakes Funnelcakes
Follow Marike Jager
PHOTO CREDIT: Anne Reitsma