Jakob Leventhal for The Meadow
interviewer: Sara Sharif (@sarangelic)
interviewee: Jakob Leventhal (@jakobleventhal)
New York, NY- Jakob Leventhal makes music for uncontrollably obsessive people. Writing out of New York, Jakob released his first single, “This Love is Sarcastic,” to praise from ANR Factory for its “cynical brands of love.” Soon after, Jakob’s first full-length album “Oh, So Bittersweet” embodied the songwriter’s experiences with depression, relationships, and growing up in New York. Elton John praised the album as “one of the most beautiful records [he’s] heard in a long time,” and Bill Flanagan called it “beautiful music with a lyrical edge.” In between planning world domination and smoking a lot, Jakob is working on his next full-length album, which he plans to release in late 2020.
Jakob shares a fear...
The people I love not being happy.
* in relevance to our issue #2 FEAR
t h e i n t e r v i e w
1. Please start with a little introduction about yourself!
I have literally no idea. I grew up in New York. 4 older sisters. Play some instruments. Write
2. What genre would you say your music belongs to?
For the amount of times I get asked that question I still don’t have a good answer. Indie rock I
3. What is the story behind your musical journey and your current management, BITCH
Um, I suppose it's not unlike many others. Slowly moving forward mixed in with wild leaps
and then back to being slow. BITCH reached out to me and then I responded probably after an
unprofessional amount of time.
5. Your latest single, “Purple Everywhere” is so beautiful. Tell us your meaning behind the
It's about losing someone and returning to places that used to be important in the context of that
person, and the immense amount of overwhelming feelings that come with that. Purple
everywhere references my synesthesia and the painful color associated with those memories.
6. Do share more about the making of the song, “Purple Everywhere”; a little BTS action!
If I recall I recorded almost the entire thing one night from like 8pm-4am. Then went back the
next day and added a few little things like the mandolin on the chorus. I played every
instrument and mixed and engineered, except the little reverb heavy electric that mirrors the
acoustics on the refrain, thats Dan Knobler, who also mastered the track. Honestly I think the
thing that took the longest and the thing I got the most manic about was trying to find the exact
way I wanted to record the acoustic guitars. I think I changed mics like 6 times.
7. Is there a general and maybe a more personal theme to your music?
Hard to say. My songwriting is very bursty. I don’t toil over songs, I just will sit down and write
it inn like 5 minutes like it just came out, then after the fact I’ll look back and go “huh, thats
what that was about”. So I suppose what I’m saying is that the themes are tied to what I’m
going through at the moment. Though I guess thats kinda every musician.
9. Who is your musical inspiration?
The list is infinite. I don’t have just one, how could you? Elliott Smith, Conor Oberst, the Beatles,
Big Thief, Blake Mills, Wes Montgomery, Aretha Franklin. I could sit here and write a list for
10. Any tips from your experience for our musicians out here?
Writing a good simple song is harder than a good complicated one.
11. Is there anything you would like to say about the current stresses all around world?
If you feel comfortable, go out and protest. If you feel financially comfortable, donate money to
bail funds and pro BLM organizations. Nothing changes on its own. I’m the most cynical person
I know, but you can’t let that cynicism extend to disinterest. Go vote.
12. So, what should we expect next, in the near future?
I have the full EP that these first two singles have been from coming out at the end of October. I
just finished another EP that will probably come out sometime in the near future, and I have
some stuff working up with some wonderful labels that hopefully I’ll get to talk about soon.
13. How do we gain access to your music?
It’s everywhere. All the usual places. Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon. The classics.
14. Any message for Pastel Serenity’s creative community and for all the musicians out there
Not everything needs to be your magnum opus.