Check out our awesome exclusive chat with UK cutie Jake Hook -- where he dishes about his career, the transition from the pop world, future plans and streaking in France.
Jake has a passion for his music, a love of adventure and mischief, while being a truly nice guy at the core. Meet him, after the jump!
Chris M, Hunk du Jour: Jake Hook, thanks for talking with me today! You've been working lately on a new album, "The Butterfly Observations" -- what can you tell us about it?
Jake Hook: Well, it started a little while ago - I was working on a poppier album aimed for Europe, had released a single in Beligum had some promising response, so decided to bring it to the UK - where I was told - basically... NO! It seemed that the pop thing wasn't really where industry saw me. The record company at the time wanted something a little more introspective and a little more settled. So I started to write about myself a little more honestly... and writing about other people more honestly...
Jake Hook: I was always known by my friends as "the butterfly boy" so the title arrived from that... and I see people as butterflies... sometimes... the need to jump from flower to flower, always changing ideas, fluttering in the wind..
Chris M, Hunk du Jour: Has it been a difficult shift from the more pop-centric style you have previously worked in?
Jake Hook: totally! utterly! i was wearing crop tops before (laughing)
Jake Hook: before it was more like Justin meets Britney - (before marriages, babies and freakouts) now it's a little more George Michael meets james Blunt and has tea with Suzanne Vega. I've enjoyed the shift though... I think it allows me to be more myself - whatever that is. I find it easier to to write "you're a shit and I hate you," than "I'm Smooth and i know you like it..."
Chris M, Hunk du Jour: Hehe -- I did track down that music video of yours. :)
Jake Hook: (laughing) I looked like a bunny in headlights. I was so nervous then - totally didn't expect that kind of attention. It was 2004 and I think i was still a little unsure of myself. The attention was flattering, but sometimes hard to handle.
Jake Hook: For instance on the video we had hair and makeup and fitness people and dancers - just for me - i was the biggest pretender! ...well felt like it anyhow. So now, when I'm on the road - it's not about the dancers (there aren't any) my costume doesn't have whole cut in it - I'm just me and that's a lot easier.
Jake Hook: There's something to be said for dancing in plastic bags, strobing lights and huge great big rips and holes in the costumes!
Chris M, Hunk du Jour: Do you feel like your new material is safer? More risky?
Jake Hook: I'm not sure if I would say Risky... i think things only get risky, when you're not being true to yourself or your emotions... there's something not honest about it - I'd rather people know straight from the horse's mouth rather than gossip on something. I think the newer way that i write, allows people to 'be in touch' with me - but also 'be in touch with themselves' because i think for the most part we've all been through the same crap - i just like to sing about it... plus it's always nice to get a ranty email from an EX saying " you bastard - how could you reveal that..."
Chris M, Hunk du Jour: Haha -- how many of those have you gotten?
Jake Hook: humm... maybe 2? I always feel, hey you gave me that experience, it's now mine - and if i wanna share it... well tough tits!
Chris M, Hunk du Jour: Musicians draw a lot (sometimes entirely) from their personal experiences -- is anything off limits in your work?
Jake Hook: yeah, i never mention brands of underwear or lube...
Chris M, Hunk du Jour: Doing it for the art, not the endorsements -- good man!
Jake Hook: nothing is really off limits - maybe I'll just tackle "issue" more sensitively... but honestly i guess i probably wouldn't talk about.... actually nope think i've sung about everything - from sex to swimming naked...
Chris M, Hunk du Jour: Well, we'll endorse you... Now I just need to see where I can get a baby-blue satin jacket produced in the UK (laughing)
Chris M, Hunk du Jour: Tell us a bit how you got started in music, if you would!
Jake Hook: it started a long time - it's a story of a flute, a lying under a piano and music teachers who gave up on me... When i was around 6 I was fixated by playing the flute. I loved it - but i really wanted to play the piano - so to learn, i use to sit under the grand piano at this kid's theatre i was going to when i was 9 - and kinda learnt by the sounds...
Jake Hook: My folks took me to a few music teachers, but they all gave up on me - too unfocussed, butterfly ish - and i just couldn't read the music - later I found out that i had music dyslexia... ( didn't know it existed, but throw money at any analyst and they'll come up with something!)
Jake Hook: so that was the start... got involved with the music dept at school, because I HATED football - was bullied a lot for that - so i used to sneak around the music block.
Jake Hook: when i was 20, I went to get a job as tea boy in a recording studio - and the rest they say is history! Someone heard my songwriting and heard me singing, and got a producer who basically put me where i am today. It was all very lucky - although there have been loads of ups and downs - but hey life is about the journey, not the arrival...
Chris M, Hunk du Jour: Are you still unable to read music to this day?
Jake Hook: cannot - infact it gives me headaches just looking at... swiring black dots on a page... just looks like a piece of art or a printer malfunction - you know it spews out 100 pages of fffkkkkkaaa allllasdasd asdas 0000298882-1mm2.
Chris M, Hunk du Jour: Did I read you also had a theater background?
Jake Hook: back stage! love it (that's where the fun happens!) and you get to wear black!
Jake Hook: well, I was in this theatre company until i was 16 - used to perform in all the major london theatres, evening got the opportunities to backing sing for Meatloaf and at one stage the spice girls, at 19 I went to Uni to study performing arts...
Jake Hook: I was truly expecting a "FAME" moment everyday, dancing on taxis and doing "hard work." however.... what i actually got was a massive student debt and so many drunk nights - I actually can't remember finishing uni!
Chris M, Hunk du Jour: Oh my! Yeah, some of my theater nights are still a blur as well. :)
Chris M, Hunk du Jour: So, at what moment did you know that music was where it's at for you -- that it was what you wanted to do?
Jake Hook: one day, i was doing a job - working as a data imputter - same old same old - and when i finished for the day, I actually went out and beat the crap out of my car - it had made me so angry, so frustrated - I felt like i was totally wasting my life and from that moment on, i vowed to do what i wanted... told the universe - that's it - I'm here to do this one thing - I can't do anything else, but music - so i became a little music scavenger- trying to get management, a deal - and that's when i happened upon the tea-boy job...
Chris M, Hunk du Jour: "I'll let them hear my music, even if I have to slip my CD under their cup as a doily?"
Jake Hook: and use them as doily they did! (laughs) for a while until i just kept on about it... it's surprising I didn't get fired... persistence works y'all!
Chris M, Hunk du Jour: The tea must have been good! :)
Jake Hook: No, my tea sucks ass! (laughing)
Chris M, Hunk du Jour: You're on your journey now -- who is the artist or artists you'd most like to work with in the future?
Jake Hook: so many - definitely wanna get in there with Leona Lewis, but i'd love to lay some stuff down with Jason Mraz, George Michael and some one like Tina Turner, not sure why, but I love her survivor instincts, plus she rocks on stage
Chris M, Hunk du Jour: Is there a common thread amongst your choices that intrigues you? Or do your choices sort of fill different needs or interests?
Jake Hook: I'd like to work with anyone who inspires me, some people that's their spirt (say Tina) other's it's their lyrics ( jason) and voices (GM and LL)
Chris M, Hunk du Jour: So, I know it's on hiatus -- but what made you start broadcasting "The J Factor" on YouTube?? Those are so fun!
Jake Hook: Well I had some time off from working - the run to Christmas - and I though why not - here in the UK we've got a programme called: X FACTOR like POP IDOL - and i thought it'd be funny to copy it - but change it round - like I was the only contestant and everyone else could judge me... see how much a basket case i sound! I just got the camera out, made a few backing tracks and sung in my own talent competition!
Chris M, Hunk du Jour: Haha -- well, I suppose the pressure would be off as to whether you'd win or not!
Jake Hook: or whether I'd show up to final! I actually ran out of snazzy clothes to wear, that's why I've not done any more programmes!
Chris M, Hunk du Jour: You also seem to have a bit of fascination with The Muppets.
Chris M, Hunk du Jour: (A fascination I share, by the way)
Jake Hook: LOVE THE MUPPETS! In fact I keep getting sent muppets by fans! (Which is why i have a fantastic collection of them!)
Chris M, Hunk du Jour: Who are some of your more recent additions?
Jake Hook: Miss Piggy and I got keyring kermit the other day...
Chris M, Hunk du Jour: Are Piggy & Kermit your favorites?
Jake Hook: i think Miss Piggy is a class act. I think that Kermit has been a little bit emasculated by her! He needs a little coaching in how to handle a woman like Miss Piggy....
Jake Hook: Ok seriously, did I just answer that question seriously and thoughtfully? Dammit!
Chris M, Hunk du Jour: So what is next for you, Jake?
Jake Hook: Well I've started writing for other artists - I've got two projects on the go - so it's keeping me nice and busy - when that dies down a little, I'll be releasing my own album, and along with that I'll be doing a tour around the UK - you never know I might also do my version of Fear Factor or The Real Houseboy of London...
Jake Hook: to go with the J FACTOR... shake it up a little
Chris M, Hunk du Jour: Haha -- we're Big Brother fans, I know that's pretty big in the UK too... maybe lock yourself in your house? Webcams in every room
Jake Hook: that would be worse nightmare!
Chris M, Hunk du Jour: Haha, yeah I couldn't do it either. Though (getting back to theater a bit) I think WORKING on that show would be very interesting.
Jake Hook: i think working on it, would be great - it's like being the zoo keepers... feed the inmates, observe the inmates, taunt the inmates... stick your fingers through the cage... and see what happens!
Chris M, Hunk du Jour: And of course, provide a steady stream of alcoholic beverages to keep everything loosened.
Jake Hook: totally... that's the only bit i could stay for... but then I'd totally regret it - i've done some stooopid things whilst under the influence...
Chris M, Hunk du Jour: Oh yeah? Could we twist your arm for an embarrassing pub story?
Jake Hook: I was staying in France for a few nights over new years - (new years day is my birthday, so i also do my bd thing on NYE) I went with 5 friends and we started drinking at 6 in the afternoon, no biggy, however it was something a friend had brought and well literally 3 minutes later we were dancing around like lunatics...
Jake Hook: What happened after that got progressly worse as the night went on.. and at mid night I said "Let's go run around the garden naked!" (bearing in mind, France is cold in the winter and there was frost on the ground.)
Jake Hook: everyone else was like "erm jake it's a little cold..." I was like "I don't care..." so... I proceeded to get my kit off.... and run around the garden, completely starkers ... whilst my friends looked bemused...
Jake Hook: well it was freezing - so i think the look was bemused... I was very drunk - and I tend to do things like that when - i've had a few too many - suddenly I just don't care what people think and I just go do it!
Chris M, Hunk du Jour: Haha -- streaking though... could be much worse!
Jake Hook: it did... but i won't go into that...
Chris M, Hunk du Jour: Finally, how might someone catch your eye romantically?
Jake Hook: make me laugh and I'll be yours forever... as corny as that sounds it's totally true... I love to laugh and be laughed at - so if you laugh at me (in a nice way) and you make me laugh - and pay for dinner - you'll catch my eye...
Chris M, Hunk du Jour: Well, Jake -- thanks so much for talking with us. Where can folks go to find out more about you and the upcoming album?
Jake Hook: well you can myspace me - www.myspace.com/jakehook or go to my website - there's loads to do there, including a free movie club and listening club website: www.jakehook.com thank you so much to chatting with me - and my insane ramblings!
Chris M, Hunk du Jour: It's our pleasure... You also have a gig this week, right?
Jake Hook: yep, the next is at the Regal Rooms in London tomorrow - Friday March 27th - it's a fanastic venue - really intimate and I always enjoy going there!
Chris M, Hunk du Jour: So if you're in the neighborhood, go check him out! Thanks so much, Jake!