Gene Reed

Jason Gould’s Mystical Experiences

Even with a brand new and already acclaimed EP out now, this artist remains grounded.

It’s something to behold, really.

Singer-songwriter Jason Gould makes music that highlights all he is and more: an expressionist, an advocate, an observer, a collaborator, a creative, and a kindred spirit to us here at The Aquarian.

He approaches music with an understanding that it is meant to be heard, experienced, and felt. Sure, he’s the talented offspring of two equally talented parents (Barbra Streisand and Elliott Gould), but that doesn’t mean creativity had to come as naturally as it does – and that ease there gives way to the songs released being authentic. Organic practicality, raw emotion, and earnest intrigue – all mixed in with that innate artistic skillset – is what makes Jason Gould, Jason Gould.

As both a phrase with a heartfelt sentiment and a collection of songs, what does the idea of Sacred Days mean to you? 

I think (for the most part) people have taken for granted the beauty and the bounty the Earth has provided for us. With the current political climate, wars in the Middle East and Ukraine, and the lack of action on greenhouse gasses and pollution, we are pushing our luck and the limits of the planet and its resources we all depend on to survive. So, for some of us, these are sacred days.

With that in mind, which came first – the title of the record itself or the title track?

“Sacred Days” was not the first song I/we wrote for the record, but it felt timely and appropriate and I loved it. It’s really a credit to Liz Vidal, who I co-wrote many of the lyrics with on this record. She came up with the title “Sacred Days.” It just felt right.

I’d argue that this is your most expansive piece of work to date, even if it is ‘only’ an EP. How did you come to the decision of Sacred Days being an EP over an LP, which may have further showcased your diverse talents and instinctual ability to inflect and emote through song. This is now your third EP.

I guess you could say it’s better to leave them wanting more than subject your audience to filler on a longer album. I also like the number five, so all of my EPs have five songs on them. It’s like half an album I suppose, but I don’t feel the need to be conventional. Had it been up to me, I would not have made Dangerous Man a full album, but I respected and trusted the great Quincy Jones and his vision for it that way. I’d have made two EPs out of it and cut a few songs [Laughs].

There’s a sort of exploration here, no matter how you cut it. The five songs weave in and out of each other in a way that is so smooth, and yet the tempo changes and musicality could give one whiplash (in the best way). What were you listening to while putting these songs together?

I listen to all types of music, but I was feeling inspired by Bon Iver at the time, I remember. Making music from it’s inception is a bit of a mystical experience. I like to come up with a melody I like first and then write the words to fit the emotion of the music.

Sébastien from Il Divo – who also have a new album out that we love – was one of the collaborators who helped this album come to life. What does it mean, to you, to have trusted, artistic heavyweights in your corner when embarking on new songs?

It’s so important and fulfilling to work with talented and inspired people. Sébastien is a good friend and great musician who brought in the dance element for “Laws of Desire” – ideas I wouldn’t have thought of in terms of production. He’s very gifted and it was a privilege to collaborate with him.

You’ve expressed before that your creative process is completely organic, all original and coming to you – and from you – authentically. That has always been heard in your work, and maybe even reaches new heights on Sacred Days. However, this has me curious – how do you feel about covering other people’s songs? I know you’ve done it before, so maybe a better question might be this: if someone were to cover one of your songs, which song do you hope it would be and by whom?

I always thought that unless I had something new or different to add to a previously recorded song, it didn’t make much sense to cover it, but it would be interesting to hear another artist cover my songs. I heard someone do “Morning Prayer” once and I liked it.

Like us, you were born in New York, which is arguably one of the most inspiring cities to be in as an artist. If you were to debut this EP, this era of your career, on one specific stage in the Big Apple, which would it be? There are many – from the wonderfully grandiose Carnegie Hall to the gorgeous and intimate Beacon Theatre to places with a bit more coolness, like Sony Hall!

The Beacon [Theatre] on the Upper West Side has always been a special place to experience music. I saw Sting there once, so, yeah, I choose that!