ABOVE: JAKE LORE. PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER GABELLO
After working with Abe Seiferth (Yeasayer) and Matt Thornley (LCD Soundsystem) on a set of occult-sounding demos last year, the singer-songwriter Jake Lore had a musical epiphany: it was time to go full-tilt into pop. For Born To Believe, his debut EP under his new moniker (he was formally known as KOORTWAH), this meant enlisting producer Eric Ronick (Panic! At The Disco) to sample the sonic rainbow. On the title track, Lore skates across an icy club groove that would feel right at home during a set at the storied East Village club Pyramid. For “Himalayan,” he floats through an existential synth soundscape yearning for a “blade to cut these ropes.” And on the bombastic mid-tempo track “Charlie,” a personal favorite of Lore, he sounds so positively anthemic that you would think it was the lead single from an ’80s blockbuster.
The cuts on Born To Believe are rooted in the populist appeal of the Euro-centric synth-pop of Depeche Mode or the Eurythmics, but paired liberally with the moodier undertones of Brits like Massive Attack. (Lore, for what’s worth, hails from Canada.) Only five tracks long, the EP moves with equal aplomb toward darkness and messages of salvation met with unexpected sociocultural turns, such as treading gingerly over the thin line between masculine and feminine tropes. (See: “Your Girl.”) Above all else, Born To Believe is a fresh reminder of the redemptive power of pop with a capital P. We’re pleased to premiere its title track here.
HOMETOWN: Montreal, Québec
CURRENT CITY: Brooklyn, NY
THE BALLAD OF JAKE LORE: Is it cliché for an artist to like the ballad the most? Who cares? “Charlie” is my favorite song. I mean, obviously I’m in love with them all, and “Himalayan” is a close second. While the others are all marrying the emotional content with a higher-tempo, club-ready vibe, “Charlie” just sits back and really marinates in that bombastic sense of tragedy that is somehow still triumphant.
OF MICE AND MAN: I chose to take a portrait —shot by the amazing Jason Rodgers—with rats and by extension mice for the album art because rats are one of my favorite animals and honestly one of the perks of living in New York! I’ve always felt that rats were misunderstood. When you learn about them, you discover they are these incredibly intelligent, resourceful, and surprising little creatures. A rat can tread water for three days! White rats or mice almost seem like a contradiction—a pure, innocent version of something we often associate with dirt and disease.
EVERYTHING BUT THE GIRL: A dream collaboration for me would be an electronic pop album produced by Daniel Lanois and mixed by François K, featuring at least one duet with Tracey Thorn.
STUDIO INSTINCTS: Working with producer Eric Ronick on this EP has been amazing. We do a bit of back-and-forth file sharing before actually getting together in the studio. In the past I’ve spent a great deal of time programming myself, but this time around he’s been sending me tracks, and I’ve been focusing my efforts on the top lines and lyrics. Once we’re in the studio, it’s really a matter of getting the best vocal performance out of me, and fine-tuning the little details. To be honest, these songs have come together very organically, and very fast. We’ve stuck with our instincts, and really avoided nitpicking unnecessarily.
THE SKIN HE’S IN: I have a big plan for a back tattoo piece, but I’m a broke artist. Up to now, I’ve mostly gotten by on free or very discounted tattoos from friends. For the most part, I’ve gotten smaller things here and there, and really approached it from an instant gratification perspective. My back, however, is a large piece of real estate, and one that I don’t see myself most of the time.
TO TWEET OR NOT TO TWEET: I’ve only just recently gotten back on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Soundcloud. I think social media can be an incredible way of getting yourself out there, and it’s also fun and instant. It’s clearly having a huge effect on how we package ourselves, and is responsible in a large way for our generation’s aesthetic. That being said, I think that as an artist, it’s important to make sure that social media is supporting your foundation career, and not the other way around. After all, 10,000 Twitter followers doesn’t mean 10,000 people are going to come to your shows.
CAT PRACTICE: I follow a number of remarkable cats online, mostly exotic shorthairs and Scottish Folds. Let’s face it, those cats are famous for a reason. But Maru will always have a special place in my heart, because he gets it. He’s basically the Oliver Hardy of the cat world. Nobody else could fall off a scratching tower with such panache and desirability. He makes hiding in a dustbin seem cunning and has made an art form out of napping. I don’t believe in god, but I believe in Maru.