After swooning audiences in coffee shops, bars, and opens mics, the LA-based singer-songwriter Daniel Blake felt all the more inspired to set out onto his solo career. Now releasing his sophomore EP, 'Jakarta,' Blake shares tragic heartbreak stories in all its forms.
Through his eclectic melodies, authentic finger-picking, and genuine lyricism, Daniel Blake caught the attention of Producer Bill Lefler, who later produced Blake's recent EP, 'Jakarta.' While sharing rather vulnerable and personal stories of heartbreak and navigating through the turmoil, Daniel Blake offers emotionally-rich performances throughout the EP that are more than memorable.
Opening the EP is the intro track, "Heartbreaker," setting the tone with lush drum patterns, short acoustic finger-picking, and Daniel Blake's velvet vocals. Originally written as a tribute to Tom Petty, Blake fuelled this song with incredible alt/folk instrumentation that drifts through with ease and solace. Moving through the song, a somber violin begins soaking our speakers in cinematic emotional catharsis alongside a bright and fluttery piano melody, emphasizing the tender and delicate emotions that continually linger within. As Daniel Blake's background vocals serenade us towards the ethereal outro, the song comes to a soothing and gentle end.
The EP's second track, "Goin' Home," softly begins with another lush and celestial sonic atmosphere with pulsating synth melodies, sparkling electric guitar hums, and a blissful lead piano. Once Daniel Blake's harmonically-rich vocals enter the song, he offers another compelling performance as he sways and drifts alongside the fluid sonics and instrumentals. While Blake begins singing of his roots and those who comfort him, he later reminds us of personal relationships and their importance, as they bring out our very best selves. Peacefully moving towards the outro, Daniel Blake vocally comforts his listeners until the song's very last beat.
Onto the EP's title track, "Jakarta," the song and project were named after the world's fastest sinking city, meant to represent the acceptance and fate of a plundering relationship. While the song opens with serene acoustic guitar picking, dreamy background pads, and soft piano melodies, Daniel Blake makes his vocal appearance. He begins depicting saddening scenes of a relationship that sinks deeper into the ground below. With the addition of a melancholy electric guitar melody, the song later transforms into this blend of folk, country, and alternative. As Daniel Blake leads us to the outro, the song ends with a heightened sense of emotion through each tender element.
Opening the next track, "Where'd You Go," are soft and transcendent synth melodies, a filtered electric guitar, and Daniel Blake's lush vocals. Moving deeper into the song, we're met with steady electronic drums at a down-tempo pace, emphasizing Blake's overwhelming emotions. While singing of a failed relationship told from two different and valid perspectives, Daniel Blake delivers deeply gut-wrenching and personal lyricism that pulls us towards the EP's concept and storyline. Once the song starts to close, Daniel Blake's layered vocals serenade us with the heavy emotions of a broken heart as we land upon the last track of the EP.
Reaching the project's last track, "Freeway," Daniel Blake ends the EP on a note of freedom and hope. Getting into a more profound and conceptual lyrical story through this piece, Blake mentioned that he was inspired to create this piece after noticing the various trailer parks on his long drives back to Pheonix. While singing of two lovers who desire freedom and getting away from their small town, we can't help but feel a greater sense of hope through Daniel Blake's uplifting vocals, lyricism, and serene instrumentation. A soothing and transcendent array of synths/pads heighten the song's delicate atmosphere while ending the project off with boundless hope throughout the last minute.
Catch Daniel Blake's emotional sophomore EP, 'Jakarta' on all digital streaming platforms, and allow the singer-songwriter to help you heal those tiresome inner wounds.
We highly appreciate the relatable concept you've developed for your recent EP, 'Jakarta.' When did you begin writing songs and creating ideas for the project?
The tracks we recorded for 'Jakarta' were sort of a mixed bag of old and newer songs that were all near and dear to my heart. ‘Goin’ Home’ was the oldest song. I had been playing it around LA for a couple of years which made it one of the more difficult songs to re-arrange.
What was it like working with producer Bill Lefler when creating your EP, 'Jakarta'? Since you've worked together before, would you say there's creative chemistry between the both of you?
Bill is great to work with and has become a really close friend. I trust his judgment and like to give him the opportunity to run free as much as possible. We both like to tinker around with different ideas—building off one another.
Seeing as the songs within 'Jakarta' are incredibly emotional and surround themes of heartbreak, is there a song that's your favorite and closest to your heart?
I had been thinking about the song ‘Freeway’ for a couple of years before committing to writing the lyrics. It took a long time before I felt satisfied with the story. It’s definitely a track I am most proud of.
What did the behind-the-scenes creative process look like for 'Jakarta' between you and your fellow creatives? How did you and your team find the most fitting instrumentals and atmospheres to match your lyrical themes?
It's sort of a balancing act. There is always the impulse to go with obvious instrumentation: drums, guitar keyboard, strings—which all are all fine choices for accompanying a song. At the same time, we wanted to create art within art. Sort of an organized chaos behind the lyrics that work to catch your attention. The process consisted of experimenting with a lot of different sounds thru various pedals, then organizing them in a way that made the most sense.
How does your debut EP 'Circle Mountain' contrast your recent EP, 'Jakarta'? Have you noticed any personal growth since the release of your debut project?
'Circle Mountain' was extremely scary for me. I think it had something to do with making decisions when you’re not sure if they are the right decisions. I wasn’t sure who I was as an artist and I felt like ‘Circle Mountain’ would be a defining moment. I am extremely proud of that EP and I feel like I learned a lot through the whole experience. 'Jakarta' was much easier because I didn’t feel all the same pressure. I was just creating more content for my fans.