// Origin: Manchester, UK
// Genres: Chamber pop
// Years Active: 2019 - Present
// Website: jakehardman.com
Jake Hardman is a young chamber pop artist from Manchester, UK. who decided to go solo in 2019 after several years playing in local bands. With a variety of genres and instrumentation, there's a song for everyone in Hardman’s catalogue.
Jake often creates fictional characters that he weaves into everyday situations in his lyrically rich songs. Joyous, multi-layered vocals are accompanied by complex arrangements, interesting chord progressions and time signatures. If you hear brass in his songs, synth it's not - it's the real deal. Long time friend and talented session musician, Joe Cockx, lends his talents to Jake's recordings, as does drummer/percussionist, Tom Wildgust.
It’s often said that Jake writes upbeat and happy sounding music but it regularly accompanies somewhat dark narrative undertones in his lyrics. These frequently call to mind songs from Neil Hannon's The Divine Comedy, by his own admission one of Jake's favourite bands and main influences.
Q & A
I was born in Manchester in April 2000. I’m an Aries!
My first song:
I don’t remember when I wrote my very first song, but I know my oldest song is Only You. I wrote that song when I was 17. It took another 3 years before it was recorded in the studio.
My songwriting process:
I usually write my music first. I sit at the piano and play a bunch of random chords until I find something I like. After I have an interesting chord progression for the left hand, I’ll create a melody with my right hand. Then I’ll write my lyrics. It’s often said that I write upbeat and happy sounding music to accompany the dark undertones of my lyrics.
My favourite band and probably my biggest inspiration would be The Divine Comedy. Neil Hannon’s output inspired me to incorporate a wide variety of instruments in my recordings - such as brass, accordion and woodwind. My other musical influences would be Squeeze, Muse, Morrissey, Soft Cell, The Human League, David Bowie, Queen and... Barry Manilow (yes, I know - a guilty pleasure).
My first gig I did as Jake Hardman was like a trip to the dentist before attending a funeral. I can only put it down to experience as I look back now. I played a somewhat controversial song I had written... and proceeded to be booed and heckled off stage. On the other hand, I only see smiles on the faces of people dancing or enthusiastically sitting down at gigs I have played since.
I record my music at Oscillate Studios in Knutsford, near Manchester, UK. My songs are recorded, mixed and mastered by Chris Hughes who started Oscillate in 2011. I am accompanied on these recordings by my best friends Joe Cockx (bass, guitar, woodwind and brass) and Tom Wildgust (drums/ percussion). I play keys, glockenspiel and perform lead and backing vocals.
How many songs have I written:
Around 100. 22 of them will be included in my first two albums. I have an abundance of songs at the moment. It’s probably the easiest part of the job for me.
My debut album is based around the themes of growing up and entering adulthood. I wrote half of these songs whilst on the job-hunt; and the other half whilst being employed in a day job. Despite my youth, and being quite fortunate to come from a loving family, it was the first time in my life where I had to start taking responsibility. However, I found great amusement in my many tragic attempts to become a stable man - which made my songwriting process all the more fun. The album title will be “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Of course, named after the dreaded and ridiculous question everyone at some point has been asked at an interview. The album also features songs about the lives of some fictional characters, and these have loosely been based upon real people I’ve met over the years.
Music videos and photography:
I have worked with many different filmmakers and photographers over the years. My sister Chloe Hardman has shot some of my music videos, alongside Ryan Kells, Karl Livingstone and Adam Flynn.
The artwork accompanying my single releases is designed by Amy Heald. I will usually send her over a rough sketch as my brief and Amy brings it to life with detail, colour and charisma! Her artwork really captures the themes of my music. On the surface it’s quite quirky and peculiar, but on second look, there are some melancholic aspects to her art.
When restrictions are lifted, I plan to perform my new album, in its entirety, in a few different venues. I hope we don’t have to wait too long for that.
Management & Booking:
© 2020 by Jake Hardman