As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow hundreds of years ago said “Music is the universal language of mankind”.
All around the world people listen to the same songs even if they do not speak the same language. Music often creates special memories, brings people together and makes them want dance.
You may not think that you are familiar with the music of Jack Garratt but who can forget the song Surprise Yourself from the soundtrack to movie Me Before You, starring Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin, or Water from the Netflix original movie To The Bone starring Lily Collins.
Making people dance just happens to be one of the intentions Jack Garratt had in mind when writing his new album “Love, Death & Dancing”. I had the pleasure of interviewing Jack and getting to know a little bit more about this new album or, as Jack likes to describe it, ‘dance music for people that don’t like to go out’. The talented musician let me in on how he has changed in the past four years since releasing his debut album “Phase”.
Jack knows Buckinghamshire very well, having grown up in Little Chalfont. He fondly remembers visits to his local fish and chip shop where he says “it was the best fish and chips in the whole world”. He was brought up in a house that was always full of music. With instruments everywhere (his Mum was a music teacher) he would just pick them up and play. His parents noticed his love of music early on and always supported him.
I asked Jack what his favourite song on the album was; he had to think for a few seconds before saying “that is a very, very, very hard question”. After a moment he said the song that means a lot to him is called “She will lay my body on the stone”. He refers to it as the best song he has ever written.
“Love, Death & Dancing“ is his second studio album and it comes with a visual piece that shows the story the music on the album is telling. “The visual piece is kind of strange, abstract and a bit weird” Jack told us. It is supposed to tell the story of his inner most insecurities, about how those insecurities can grow and manifest and turn into different emotions. From Jack’s point of view they can turn into arrogance and fear, but ultimately they are cyclical, they can repeat themselves and therefore the visual piece starts and ends with the same frame.
The lead character, Jack, learns the same things every time, he goes through the same hero’s journey, he just repeats the same steps because that is what life is in his opinion. He learnt lessons from mistakes that he made that he thinks he will make again in the future. Jack says he is not perfect. He thinks that it is impossible to learn and live by the same lesson and rules for your entire life. This is what the visual piece is supposed to represent.
The name of the album “Love, Death & Dancing“ comprises all the things the album is about and Jack just thought that it was a great sounding title. Since he decided on the title it’s created a new meaning to him because love, death and dancing are all things he is scared to do himself; scared to love himself, scared of dying and scared of dancing. At least he was before he started putting this album together. He says that this whole album was about facing those fears in himself.
This new album is a new sound, quite different to debut album “Phase”; a new album for a new part of his life, for a new part of his career. It represents a lot of different things, but he is equally proud of both albums.
Describing his new music as ‘dance music for people that don’t like to go out’ Jack himself says that he is a socially introverted person who stands on a stage and sings into a microphone for his living. It seems hypocritical. But that is just who he is, a very anxious person, and a very nervous person, that loves dance music but doesn’t love clubbing.
All he ever wanted to do was make music that makes him feel something; happy, sad, scared or celebratory – he just wants to make music that makes him feel. That was the biggest challenge with this album, making music from an honest place that still makes him feel something overwhelming. “It’s music that will make you want to move, but you can enjoy it from the comfort of your own living room. It can feel like a safety blanket, but it can also feel like throwing furniture into the air.”
I would highly recommend that you stop what you are doing and listen to “Love, Death & Dancing”. Throw your own little dance party and just enjoy yourself.
If you ever get the chance to see Jack perform live, you definitely should! His concerts are a breath-taking experience (I was lucky to see him perform live at Hammersmith Apollo). He lives for his music on stage and the energy he puts in definitely spreads to the audience. He plays all the instruments himself and just gives his all, saying that he doesn’t want to walk off stage thinking he could have done more. Jack further doesn’t want his audience to leave and not be as sweaty and exhausted as he is after a concert.
So, for as long as this pandemic goes on, enjoy the music in your own home and get a taste of a new kind of Jack Garratt, because even if I wanted to I couldn’t compare his music to anyone else’s.
You can download Jack Garratt’s new album “Love, Death & Dancing” NOW with the link below:
Photo Credit: Jake Wangner