Meet Jake Aaron Ward of Watch Me Breathe
Meet Jake Aaron Ward of Watch Me Breathe
Watch Me Breathe is the progressive pop rock creation of Jake Aaron Ward, presenting compositions filled with depth and imagination. Along with co-conspirators Ryan Green on bass and baby brother Carl Ward on drums, Jake and Watch Me Breathe are garnering a good deal of attention above and beyond their Santa Cruz home base. Recent single releases include Cruel Machine and Garden Of Eden, and there is a third full-length album well on the way. Highwire Daze magazine recently interviewed Jake Aaron Ward to discuss the world of Watch Me Breathe, Cruel Machines, the poet scholar Rumi, plain donuts, and a whole lot more. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Watch Me Breathe, and how long the band has been together.
Hey, I’m Jake! I play guitar and sing in the band. It originally started as a side solo project of mine, but before releasing our first album in 2018, I decided to rebrand as a band instead. I consider that the start of the project!
Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there?
Santa Cruz, California! There’s definitely a music scene here, and some great venues, but it’s largely music unlike ours. There’s a lot of indie, experimental, reggae, ska punk – basically anything you’d associate with skateboarding, surfing, and/or being stoned all the time.
Is there any overall story or concept behind your new single Cruel Machine?
Definitely. Briefly, it is a song about alienated labor. I wouldn’t describe myself as a Marxist, but he was dead right about that.
Another recent song is entitled Garden Of Eden. Tell me a little about the inspiration behind that song.
I’ve been very much influenced by my reading of people like Rumi, Alan Watts, Terence McKenna, and others who have explored what one could simply call “the human experience.” For me, Rumi is often the most direct and striking in his thoughts. The song has several references to his poetry, for example the “field beyond what’s right and wrong” or “the breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you – don’t go back to sleep!” which I, with no intended desecration, paraphrased in order to fit the rhyme scheme. The central idea of the song is that we built a world that is different than we are, and we have to lie and play pretend roles to function in it; the “Garden of Eden” from my perspective is just a conceptual world where human beings can truly be what they are without hiding anything.
Your current album is titled The Strange Pull Of What You Really Love. Is there any story behind the title?
Yup – another Rumi reference. “Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”
How close are you to writing a recording a third full length?
Making big progress! We’ve released two singles already, and we’re working on music videos, many new songs, artwork – the whole deal!
What could one expect from a live Watch Me Breathe show?
3 weird dudes and our own brand of worldly groovy pop rock that I think translates perfectly live and that I absolutely love playing.
If Watch Me Breathe could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Peter Gabriel. In all the truly important ways, this project is probably most closely aligned with him, out of any artist I know of – plus then I’d get to watch a Peter Gabriel show after our set!
If the music of Watch Me Breathe was a donut, what kind would it be and why?
Alright, now we’re talking. I’m going to go with an old fashioned. Not just because those are my favorite, although they are, but because everyone likes them even though they are weird looking and different from the other donuts. I think that’s probably true of us, but time will tell.
What’s the best and possible worst part about having your younger brother Carl in the band with you?
Best part is he’s the coolest guy ever and plays drums perfectly. Worst part is for sure the fact that everybody thinks he’s older than me – but someday, the tables will turn on that I think!
Are you or any of the other band members involved with any other bands or projects outside of Watch Me Breathe?
Both Ryan and Carl do their own solo music. I don’t play in any other bands, but I produce other artists so I have my hands in all kinds of different projects all the time, which is awesome.
What’s up next for Watch Me Breathe?
More music, more videos, more shows and plans to tour at least once this year (LA would be on the list, for sure)!
Any final words of wisdom?
(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Natalie Sweeting – Through the Bird’s Eye Photography)
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