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Jacob On The Moon Shoots For The Stars With “APOGEE”

Written by on January 21, 2021

Jake Dinneen is Jacob on the Moon, a multi-genre-influenced indie musician and producer hailing from Chicago.

After releasing debut EP CAME UP FOR AIR in the summer of 2019, Jacob on the Moon released his sophomore album APOGEE on January 21, 2021, citing a wide range of influences spanning from Khruangbin to Childish Gambino to John Mayer. We chatted with Dinneen about getting into music, where he draws inspiration from and his creative process.

Where does your name come from?

The name “Jacob on the Moon” came out of a brainstorming session with a few of my closest friends. I knew I was going to be starting this new project and putting out new music, so we actually sat around a table and wrote a bunch of ideas down on a sheet of blue construction paper. Everyone that knows me calls me Jake and I have this fascination with all things space and science fiction, so “Jacob on the Moon” ended up becoming the perfect musical persona I could take on.

How did you come to develop your unique style? 

The majority of my songs feature a lot of auxiliary percussion (congas, shakers, etc.) and I think that implementation comes from my background as a drummer. I grew up playing the kit and then in high school was exposed to more of those instruments and fell in love. Rhythm in general is probably the most foundational aspect of the music I make, so the way something feels to me usually ends up being paramount.

Who are some artists who have particularly influenced you?

Recently, and on “APOGEE” in particular, there’s been quite the mix. There’s an awesome Australian band called Spacey Jane that I can’t stop listening to. Their feel-good indie surf rock really inspired my tune “same kid.” Khruangbin has been a recent obsession as well, I think that influence is apparent on the instrumentation for “LAPSE.” Roosevelt is great, BENEE, Alina Baraz – the list goes on. And then, of course, there’s the unavoidable mention of folks like Kevin Parker (Tame Impala), Childish Gambino and John Mayer. Donald Glover’s overall creative impact has been hugely inspirational – albums, scripts, television shows. The different ways he can tell a story is so compelling.

Where do you draw inspiration from when creating music? Is there anything you always tend to do when getting into the creative process?

The most “definitive” process I can speak of is sitting down with my electric guitar and a loop pedal. If I mess around with that setup for a while, I can usually come up with some chords and a riff or lead melody idea that I like … at least, until the next day when I hear it again and wonder what I was thinking. Beyond that, most of what I consume and experience seems to find a way into what I end up writing. It could be a movie, a book, a conversation, a memory, etc. I tend not to realize where certain things come from initially, but usually once I’ve listened back to something and lived with it for long enough I can determine its origin.

What’s one song you can’t stop listening to? What do you like about it?

“Hit Different” by SZA and Ty Dolla $ign has been on repeat for me since it came out in September. I spoke earlier about the importance of how something feels – boy, does this song feel good. The beat is so simple but it just grooves (Chad and Pharrell!) and SZA’s rhythms and melodies are silky smooth. There’s so many layers to both her and Ty’s vocals and it’s fun to try and pick out everything going on. And an honorable mention here is an oldie – “Tangerine” by Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass.

When did you decide to start pursuing music?

Jacob on the Moon started officially during the summer of 2019, but music has always been at the core of my identity. I jammed with one of my best friends as early as fourth grade and from there it just continued. I was lucky enough to take drum lessons and around that same time started picking up my sister’s guitar and figured some things out. Then I played drums in bands throughout high school and played guitar in a band at DePaul University. When that group eventually ended in 2018, I started to seriously work on solo stuff and here we are!

Who is one artist you’ve always wanted to see in concert and why?

Speaking of SZA, I’d love to see her live. Also Santana – Carlos is a monster guitar player and has had such an incredible career.

Where’s the last place you ordered takeout from, and was it any good?

Budlong Hot Chicken and yes it was good!

What’s your opinion on The Bean in Millennium Park?

To me It’s kind of the architectural equivalent of deep dish pizza. Often associated with Chicago, but Chicagoans don’t actually care about it.

Follow Jacob on the Moon on Instagram and Twitter, and stream APOGEE below. 

Interview edited for length and clarity by Morgan Ciocca

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