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Jake Bugg

March 2012

IT all started with an interview for EG’s online music show, This Is Live when he was just 16. That was 18-months ago and Jake Bugg told interviewer Zoe Kirk how he was: “currently recording an EP for a small label.”
Within a year he had been signed to a major record label, Mercury Records and next week releases his debut single for them, Trouble Town.
“Yes, it started with This Is Live,” says Jake, who has just turned 18.
“My manager Jay (Hart, a local musician) saw it and got in touch. He invited me to his studio and we got on really well.
Then he knew a guy who knew a guy... it went from there really.”
In the past six months, since signing to the home of Rihanna, Kanye West and Maria Carey, Jake has been busy writing his debut album, which is due out by the end of the year .
“I’m quite close to finishing writing it. It’s taken me about six months which I’m really pleased about because it takes some about a year or two years to finish an album.”
Then admits: “Although some of the songs I already had. They were the ones that helped me get the deal.”
The first single from the album is Trouble Town, a raw slice of classic folk that recalls sixties Bob Dylan.
Or rather Donovan...
Says Jake: “People have been comparing me to Bob Dylan and he is amazing, don’t get me wrong, but maybe a lot of people say that because they don’t really know Donovan.
“My mum always played Catch The Wind. Some of the songs he wrote are just phenomenal; so gorgeous; just really mellow and nice to listen to.”
He adds: “I started writing at 14 and I didn’t really notice that my voice was developing in a particular way. At first, to be honest, I couldn’t sing a note. But I worked and worked at it.
“I’m not deliberately trying to sound like anyone else.”
The song is about his desire to escape from Clifton, where he grew up.
“It’s also about any other council estate because people do want to get out of those places.”
He adds: “I love Nottingham, actually. But when you’re growing up, you want to get away, don’t you? I think that’s a feeling that everyone’s experienced as a teenager.
“You want to go out, travel the world, see things for yourself. And luckily, I’m doing that through my music.”
Although not every stop on his current tour is to his taste.
“We went to John O’Groats the other day and that was awful. There’s nothing to see. There’s only the sign and that’s not there any more because someone had pinched it.”
He recorded the song the very day he wrote it, with former Snow Patrol songwriter Iain Ar cher.
“I thought it was just a demo but it turned out to be the one the (record label) wanted to use,” says Jake, who played for Nottingham City Boys, the cream of schoolboy football talent.
Zane Lowe made Trouble Town his Record of the Week on Radio 1 and it earned praise from Mick Smith, head of Columbia Records and DJ Jo Whiley when it was reviewed on BBC Radio 6 Music’s Roundtable.
Whiley described it as: “a little bit genius... I can’t believe he’s 17.”
6 Music presenter Tom Robinson was also on the show and complained that when he’d found Jake “moody” when he’d played Glastonbury last summer on the BBC Introducing Stage.
Robinson said: “You can take moody a bit too far. The only one who scowled all the way through, didn’t exchange a friendly word with anybody was Jake Bugg. Good luck to him with his music but you can at least be nice to people, for goodness sake!”
Laughs Jake: “He said how I was being the moody one and didn’t come and say ‘hi’ to him but he was the one looking like he was the Don. I didn’t want to go say hello to him because he looked like he wouldn’t appreciate it.
“If anyone speaks to me I’m sound with them.”
He then adds: “If there’s one person who is going to dislike you, I’d rather it be Tom Robinson than someone like Zane Lowe.”
The Glastonbury experience wasn’t a good one, he says.
“I hated it because there was so much mud and I didn’t take any wellies.
“But it was fantastic to play there. I’d auditioned for this event called Glastonbudget, which is a tribute festival to Glastonbury, and they turned me down. Then the next day Radio 1 rang and asked me to play the actual thing. It was mad.”
He performed Trouble Town BBC 2’s Review Show last month. Who else was on there?
He has to ask Jay, who is more than twice is age, because Jake had never heard of fellow guests Maureen Lipman and David Morrissey.
He also needs help when I ask what his mum, who he still lives with in Clifton, does for a living.
“She works in an office,” he says.
“I can’t even think where. I think she sells things.
“Oh, she works in IT,” he adds when prompted by a voice in the background.
“That’s my drummer. How do you know what she does? What’s going on?”
He has an XFM session lined up this week, plans to release a new EP in May and plays the Main Stage at Splendour in July.
“That was a shock. I wasn’t expecting that at all. It shows that the town is getting behind you.”

Trouble Town is out March 26.

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