Midwest native Jake Coco is living his dream out in the City of Angels. A YouTube artist known for his acoustic covers of some of the best Top 40 hits has taken his love of music to the next level with producing. Jake is one of the masterminds behind some of YouTube’s best cover artists. I had the pleasure of getting to talk to Jake about his musical aspirations, his secret love for Hanson and even got to play two truths and a lie to share with his fans! Check out what Jake has to say below.
We’re really big fans of your covers over at Talk Nerdy With Us. I know you’ve worked with Corey Gray and Taylor Watts before, how did you guys meet?
“I started doing YouTube covers and everything and providing content for other YouTube cover artists about five or four years ago. A friend of mine saw what I was doing and wanted to introduce me to his friend, which turned out be Corey. He kept trying to set us up to hang out and talk about music, but we never got to get together and after about six months or so of missing each other we finally got together for a writing session that we were going to do for a different band, we really hit it off. We kind of got lost in the music and started working on Corey’s material and actually produced his first song that same day and produced a demo to show my partners to see if they wanted to work with him and they have been a fan of him ever since.
Taylor and I met actually through friends and started hearing his stuff. We were actually at his house for a party, talking music and playing guitar and ukulele and we just started talking about how he wanted to be in music. And then he actually starred in Madilyn Bailey’s first music video that I directed, so we’ve been friends since then and we started featuring him on our YouTube channel and about six months ago he started a YouTube channel of his own.”
That’s awesome. So you’re definitely doing stuff behind-the-scenes as well as performing yourself.
“Thanks! Yes, I run a company called Keep Your Soul Records, which is where a lot of YouTubers release their content. We’ve got albums from Madilyn Bailey, Savannah Outen, Caitlin Hart, Corey, a bunch of people that are in the YouTube world.”
I’m a huge fan of Savannah! I’ve come across the others as well on Spotify, but I wasn’t aware they were all from the same company so that’s great! So who is your biggest musical influence?
“My favorite songwriters are The Beatles, that’s kind of cliché but they’re great. I’m a big fan of Queen, I really like Butch Walker, he’s kind of more modern. Damien Rice, John Mayer and stuff. I do listen to a lot of Southern Rock Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd. I listen to a lot of jazz too, I did jazz drums when I was about 12 or 15, so I did jazzy for a little while too.”
So when you’re producing and helping put together songs what do you find is most difficult when doing a cover song versus an original?
“More recently I’ve moved toward doing songs that I want to do as opposed to trying to stay on top of the newest songs. I still do that but it’s more about being passionate about it now for me. One of the hardest things before I was doing that was just staying motivated when you really didn’t like a song. A lot of times I’ve been challenged where I’m like, “Oh man, I really don’t like this song so I’m going to make a version of it that I will like,” so just kind of staying motivated when a song isn’t really your cup of tea.”
What do you think it is about acoustic music that appeals so much to listeners?
“It’s interesting, a lot of these pop songs specifically have a great lyrics that’s written and they kind of get lost in translation when you overproduce the track and have the singer do 500 takes that are all doubled and all that stuff. You lose that raw passion and I think a lot of acoustic versions that exist on YouTube or on Spotify, transcend the musical production and move more into delivering the emotion of the lyrics that were written. You can actually feel what the writer was feeling as opposed to just hearing a song that’s catchy.”
I know you’ve done a bit of everything but what’s your favorite genre to cover?
“I have a sweet spot for Ke$ha songs! I love them! With Taylor, he’s been doing a lot of more intense rap type, he just did Trap Queen. For me I like doing a lot of older songs, I did an album called Some Older Ones, which has some Guns N’ Roses, Goo Goo Dolls, I like that one a lot. It depends on my mood and what kind of song works well with it.”
I’m a fan of the older stuff too. Give me a good Sam Cooke or Miles Davis cover and I’m sucker for those! I have a few questions now from your Twitter fans. Someone asked if you didn’t go into music, what do you think you’d be doing?
“Probably cooking, I love cooking! When I first moved to California I was a line cook, when I started doing music full time and stuff I tried to keep up with my cooking, delusion. I don’t know if I’m any good at it but I love doing it!”
What is your process when it comes to covering a song?
“I do my best to stay away from the song as much as possible until I start working. If I don’t hear the song a lot of times then it allows me to put my own spin on it. The less that I know about it, as hard as that is, the more I can kind of make it my own. I can sort of have an idea of the chord structure and an idea of the melody and then I’ll mess it up a bit, compare it to the original, but then make it my own type of version.”
If you could tour with another musical guest, who would it be?
“I’d love to tour with Corey and Taylor, that would be a fun group to go out with. We’ve been fooling around with the idea recently. I would love to be on the road with those guys. I’ve done a few shows with Corey, sort of on and off, but have done a whole tour.”
We’re doing this with Corey and Taylor as well, but I know you guys are really interactive with your fans on social media, so we wanted to ask you for two truths and lie that we can post and have the fans vote on which they think is the lie.
“I have nine toes. I love Hanson. My favorite Ninja Turtle is Donatello.”
Is Hanson the lie?
“[Laughs] I went to a random show like six years ago with a friend of mine who’s in the music industry who texted me and was like, “If you’re not doing anything tonight come to this show with me, it’s a secret show.” So I went and when I got there, it was at Hotel Café, which is a small venue out here, it was packed and it’s normally never that packed and all of a sudden Hanson came out they were doing a warm up show for their tour! I hadn’t heard of them since Mm Bop which was you know, forever ago, but they’ve been playing music ever since and they started when they were like six years old so they’re all so talented! They’re doing like acoustic blues rock almost, really interesting music. There’s an album called The Walk which is one of my favorite albums and worth checking out.”
That sounds great. Do you have any upcoming projects we can share with everybody?
“Just finishing my newest album, I don’t have any release date or anything yet so stay tuned! Hopefully some time this winter!”
For more on Jake you can check out his website www.jakecocomusic.com, follow him on Twitter @JakeCoco and check out this great covers on his YouTube channel. Just for kicks and giggles, I’ve added one of my personal favorite Jake covers below featuring Savannah Outen. It’s an oldie but a goodie, I promise!
Remember to stay tuned with @TalkNerdyWithUs on Twitter to find out Jake’s lie!