Jack Sweeney shares his music-making process, from inspiration to production and review

Since you are a film major, do you feel like there are any similarities between making a film and making an album or single series?

Well, the thing about a movie is that nothing is really spontaneous, at least in fiction. And the thing with music, which is really great, is that you have a lot of opportunities to do post-production work if you want, or you can have a lot of opportunities to just sit down and get [the music] out. So that’s the difference. But the big similarity, or what I am really passionate about, is taking feelings and emotions and putting it into something like a package. At least for me it really helps me understand myself. That’s something I really enjoy about music and film—that they help you understand yourself, and then you can also watch someone else’s project and it’s authentic to what they are doing, whether it be music or some kind or art. There is a sort of catharsis in that. It’s a way to take human experience and put it in a box and look at it. So for this album the big thing would be understanding things that happened in my life and being able to look at them from the outside.

What is one of the things that you have learned about yourself from making this album?

I guess that time goes on. I don’t know… something like that.

What was your main inspiration for your EP?

Relationships with women is probably the biggest thing. Summer jobs. Yeah, just working shitty jobs. Women and jobs.

Have you made music with a group before?

Yeah. I’ve only done one show. I played live with Alan Hurbi and Oliver Strauss, Noah. I jammed for a long time with Alan in the basement of Mathias freshman year and with Cole Heathcott. He’s got a project that is going to be on this website too. It’s funny; we hated each other freshman year because we both wanted to just do our own thing. But it’s interesting, now, I have found out that what works best for me is to write and record almost everything alone, and then when it’s time to go live I am totally game for “collabbing.” Because a lot of what we play live are renditions that are a lot different then what is on the album. But In terms of packaging something, it’s got to be all-me kind of deal.

10q_phillipengh1What is it like to make music by yourself? 

It’s horrible. Well, parts of it are really bad. But the thing you hang onto is the idea that you are going to be happy with the result someday, just like anything that kind of sucks in the moment.

Do you get feedback from anyone?

No not really. At the end Thomas Euyang helped mix everything. And he actually helped me with the vocals because that is definitely my weakest point. So he coached me through that. But some of the more spontaneous stuff I recorded in a couple days, which was really quick for me. Because I am also just not that good a musician, like I couldn’t hold my own with pretty much anyone on campus. If someone was like, “Do you want to jam?” I don’t know if I could keep up. But the acoustics stuff was all written when I was living alone in LA, really hating life, drinking a lot. And I was in this really shitty apartment, and the only place that was really quiet was this closet, but there wasn’t any AC, so I was just sitting in this closet for what seemed like a couple days. But I hope people like it.

Would you consider yourself to be in the Colorado College music scene?

I’d like to be. I feel kind of weird. I am really not that good of a musician. That is the big reason why I turned to recording because you get an infinite amount of chances to get it right and get it perfect. I’ve gotten to the point where I think I can play pretty well live, but I don’t think I would fit into the scene as much because everyone is so much better—I don’t know if better is the right word. But I can’t read music, and I can’t read chords, and it’s sort of a different vibe on campus. It might be changing at CC, but I remember the Logjammers, The Raisins of course—they had a sort of jam band happy vibe which is cool. I like being happy. But I don’t think I fit into that as much.

What is your favorite winter holiday song?

Sting does a rendition of “I Saw Three Ships.” It’s just kind of goofy and fun.

Where did you get the idea for the Weber Rations website?

This was a thing Thomas, a couple other of my friends, and I had conversations about before. An example of this is with Instagram: you have the expectation that you are going to post on Instagram, and because of that expectation and because it is so streamlined, people actually do post pictures. And there is something about being an artist—you have this project you are trying to get out, but there’s a stigma of self-promotion that is kind of horrible. So we created Weber Rations as sort of a mediator for that. Like, “this is our stuff,” and it’s all in one easily accessible place. I want to create something where your profile showcases you as an artist and not your entire life. Facebook, for example, is supposed to be your entire life, whereas this is about putting your music and stuff out there.

What would you like people to know about you before they listen to your music?

Maybe that there is some hope out there. Like I said before, my music is very cathartic for me. That is how I work through stuff. I don’t think this album is my entire identity but it’s definitely the version of me that is sitting alone in a closet, kind of pissed off. So this is a very particular state of mind that I had living alone and working.

If you want to listen to Jack’s music, check out his Soundcloud!

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