Deanie Chen

PREMIERE: Getting to Know Jake Thistle, ‘The Dreamer’ Himself

You can tell a lot about someone by their taste in music, so when you meet a fellow Springsteen fan or an LDR fan, there could very easily be an instant connection. That connection may be furthered by spending time with them, hearing what they have to say about their life and art and the world at large.

Consider this premiere that – you’ve heard that Jake Thistle has talent and you know he likes a good storyteller, so now you can put a real, substantial person to those traits. The music video for “The Dreamer,” Thistle’s latest single, lets you into the sights and sounds of this up-and-comer in new, intimate, and local ways. We are honored to be part of that with this premiere and our quick fire Q&A with the young singer-songwriter.

How much of a hand in the creation of “The Dreamer” video did you have? I would believe that, as a singer-songwriter, the visual accompaniment must be just as connecting for you and just as intimate as the song itself – and it does align beautifully.

This being my first music video, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I didn’t know how ambitious I should be in terms of shots and concepts, so we had the director, Alex Collins, put down some ideas first before I jumped in with my thoughts, just so I could gauge what this first video was going to be. As the writer of the song, there were certainly visualizations I’ve had since the very conception and it was such a pleasure to work with Alex to make sure those images and aesthetics came to light.

There is a subtly grainy, ultimately cozy, and early autumn vibe to this video. When did you shoot it and what was the experience like?

It was such a great experience to film this video! We shot it in one day on a cloudy and chilly (but not uncomfortably cold) day at the end of March. I think it was the perfect weather to capture the tone of the record. We started with interior shots and eventually made our way outside by the afternoon. The grayness of the sky, paired with the brighter coloring of the video in post, really blended together nicely to match the song’s lyrical content paired with its more upbeat melody.

Montclair is right in our own backyard and acts as your own backdrop to “The Dreamer.” At what point did you know that this song would be getting a music video? And set in and around Montclair, at that?

We knew this song would be getting a music video from the moment it was first listened to in the studio. Some folks at my label, Gold’n Retriever, and I decided that it made sense to put this out as the single following December’s “Ghosted Road,” which had a performance video released with it. We knew we wanted to make this single more ambitious than the first in every aspect; in terms of production, recording, and, of course, visually, which is where the music video was decided on over a performance video. My label’s office is in Montclair, so knowing we have such a beautiful backdrop just outside the window, it’s hard not to film there! 

Your music thus far is sort of a combination of the late work of Tom Petty and the early work of Shawn Mendes. What do you listen to usually? And does it differ to what you’re listening to when putting together a song like this one?

First of all, I really appreciate those comparisons! Lately, my music taste has been growing broader and more eclectic by the day and I’m very proud of that! I got into music when I saw Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers play the Super Bowl Halftime show in 2008 when I was three, so that Petty, Jackson Browne, Springsteen style of classic rock has always appealed to me. As I’ve begun to grow as a songwriter, I’ve started listening to all corners of rock, pop, and indie – both classic and more modern – which is where the Mendes, Harry Styles, Lana Del Rey part of me is. I don’t think my music taste changes much when I’m putting together a record, but it does certainly become more intense. I begin to deep dive into these artists. I love to immerse myself in different types of sound and production to know where to take whatever original I’m working on at the moment.

We know that this song is sort of bridging the gap between your LP release and what’s to come next. Anything to tell on how everything is going and sounding stylistically? If anything like this, we’re extremely excited.

I’m super excited for the music that’s coming out next! I’m doing my best to find a really unique and appealing balance between my classic rock influences and my modern pop influences. That music is a lot more alike than they get credit for, so I’m just trying to find where I fit on that line. Writing and playing are my favorite things to do, so I’m having so much fun getting the new music together and hearing the evolution in my writing and production.