ZINE ARCHIVE: AN INTERVIEW WITH JACOB KREFELD
Jacob Utzon Krefeld. You’re a musician, actor, creator, producer, published author, and traveler of the world. These are just some of the few labels that can be attributed to your name, Jacob. I have to admit, I know you personally, so I knew you had lived quite the life, but I had no idea exactly how many incredible stories you’ve lived and created before delving into the research for this interview. I can’t wait to get started. Ready?
Cheers by the way, and what a fantastic transition because I’d like to begin light and fruity, like this beer, and ask: in your teen years, Jacob, you went to Barcelona and visited the Codorniu Wine Cellar there. So, would you say you’re a wine guy, a beer guy, or altogether a ‘have fun regardless of what liquid goes into my body’ guy?
Definitely have fun. I like both wine and beer. I’m not very picky with it, I like to drink it and let it put a smile on my face.
I’d say the one thing that comes up predominantly when reading up on you is your travels. You’re a vivid camper, a music festival enthusiast, you’ve traveled through the US (you’ve expressed your love of Yosemite National Park there!), you’ve cycled through Sustenpass, sailed oceans, visited Thailand, Cannes, Union Island - the list goes on! Is there a particular memory or adventure that comes to mind from your years on the road?
Wow, where did you find all this? Well, you mentioned that I wrote a book, which I did, and the journey which I describe in that book, which is a hitchhiking journey and a journey on a boat, that was a very memorable story. So, maybe I’d say that one, and also Nepal. One of the specific memories that comes to mind is when we came to shore in the Caribbean, that had taken 19 days and 6 hours sailing on the Atlantic, and when we came to shore there was just... all you can eat and all you can drink in Tobago and we got absolutely pissed, smoked cigarettes, and ate just so much.
There is a short film out there you are involved in about a man who sails across the Atlantic on a small boat. Is that based on your life and is that the same story as the book you wrote?
Yeah, yeah. So, what I did first was a play, and I won a prize for that and I got funding to make it into a short film. And then after that, I thought, I could write about the whole trip, so maybe I should make it into a book. The film is a zoomed in version of the book, the book is about the whole journey from beginning till end.
And how and why did you decide to go on a trip across the Atlantic on a boat?
I’ve been blessed with having people around me that inspire me. I had this friend who hitchhiked to Iran and – he smoked opium in a cave with refugees, and he’s a doctor, and he has all these insane stories, and he invited me and 10 other guys to his house and he did a PowerPoint presentation of that trip to Iran. It was incredible, he met a girl there too, and they couldn’t hold hands there, and there was just so much, it was crazy, but mainly there was just so much romance in his way of living and I thought, that’s the most important thing. And he inspired me to do that. I had another friend who had crossed the Atlantic and I thought, maybe that’s the thing for me to do.
In the past, you’ve also shared your love of fishing, as well as skateboarding, and rock climbing. If you’d like to take any one of these three hobbies and share, impulsively, what is about it that entices you?
Skateboarding: speed. Rock climbing: it’s fun. Fishing, if I did it now, I’d like it, but I did it on the boat just because there was nothing else to do really.
In 2017, you were Hamlet in a production of, of course, ‘Hamlet’ that was staged in Kronborg Castle in Denmark. Did you feel pressure having to put your own twist on such a legendary, almost archetypal, character, or was it more so pure enjoyment to experience and embody such a story that has, and continues to, truly stand the test of time?
Well. It was a very well paid job. And it was my first very well paid job. I lived off this play for a year, which was amazing and nice. I was only acting with other professionals, so I was just excited to be on board a professional production. I worried more about what they thought of me than anything else, so to be honest, I wasn’t thinking much about playing Hamlet, I was more worried about my colleagues liking me.
You went to East 15 Acting School, majoring in BA Acting (International). However, a year in, you switched your major to BA Acting (Contemporary Theater). Why the switch? What was it about learning to be more so a creator rather than an actor that drew you to take on a more, might I say, nuanced path?
Contemporary Theater (CT) is unique. The course is unique. The family is there. I feel it every time I have a project going on. That’s the CT spirit, I did the switch because I wanted to be around people who do more creative things.
You already shared what your book is about, so I want to ask a more important question: what was the experience like of writing and specifically publishing a book? Did your creative self have to fight your, let’s say, business self in order to both stay true to the words and the story, but also make a product that is, at the end of the day, a piece of entertainment people would be willing to spend their money on?
That’s a long question, Mickey, but I’ll jump straight into it. I started writing the book when I was 23. I had 80 pages on my computer when I was 26. I went to acting school around that time, but then decided to switch to CT and I essentially had a gap year before the switch would take place. I did 'Hamlet' for a little bit of that year, but then the rest was totally free, and I had money at that time too, because of 'Hamlet'. So, I went to this island that has 100 people on it, there are as many cows as there are people there, and I was there for two months. I went, I read the 80 pages, deleted them, and started from scratch. I got a manuscript ready in two months and thought I was a genius and I sent it out to six of my friends who really know literature. And then… I was basically told I had written a bunch of crap. So I read it again, and I was like, yeah, this is crap! And then, again, I was like, I still have all this time, so I spend the next few months just writing again and again. I swear, by the time this book was published, I had around 100 edits! Then, finally, I got to a final edit and that’s the one I decided I wanted to share with the world, but it’s such a personal story, I didn’t want to make it into a commercial thing, so we did only 400 copies, which were spread out to universities and cafes and youth centers around Copenhagen to promote better mental health.
So then, would you say your publishing experience was quite unique as that in itself was quite creative, too?
Yeah, definitely. Super stressful though. I had four days where I couldn’t sleep. That was a horrible experience, I had my whole wall full of bits of paper and I would just stand in the middle of the night smoking cigarettes, looking out my window, thinking: ‘If only I could sleep…’
I think one day you should publish 40 more copies, but this time in English.
It is translated, actually. And it’s in competitions right now, so I’m just curious to see what that brings.
I think it’s time to talk about your current primary focus, your band Looney Gloomers. I’d like to show you a picture we found and ask you, Jacob: was this the birth of Looney Gloomers?
(laughs) That is in college, actually. This other guy, by the way, he was a translator in Afghanistan during the war. But yeah, no, this was just for a show. I did not think I’d be doing music at that point.
So then: what was the birth of Looney Gloomers? How did you meet your fellow band members and how did you all decide to actively pursue a path in music together?
Well, they are all musicians and they’ve been doing music their whole lives. When lockdown happened, the lead singer called me up and was like, come round to the studio. So I did, and we made a song, and it was cool, so we made another, and that was cool, so we made another. Now we’re working on our third album, the second one is coming out this year.
And: why the bathrobes?
Well, we filmed something for a song one time and it didn’t really work, so we were like, let’s try something else. And we were like, let’s just chill out in nightgowns and drink beer and we’ll shoot ourselves doing that and that will be the video. And then we were like, that’s a cool vibe and it’s our vibe! And that video never actually came out, but our friend took a picture of us that night and that became the band picture and we were like, guess we gotta commit to this now since it’s our band picture!
How would you define the collaborative process of the band? In an interview for IGGY Magazine, you’ve said that your second single ‘Night Time’ was born ‘during a jam that ended in two nights in the studio’. Is that how making music usually goes for you guys? Is it more explorative on the day or do you rather need to all sit down early on in the process and label the sounds and/or themes you aim to explore in the following few sessions?
Yeah, we’re actually super efficient, it’s really easy for us. We all have our part, we’re all super committed. Our first album took 3 months to make, our second album took 20 days to make, our third album, we’ve had a week or two of work and we have four songs already. Mind you, we always make twice as many songs and then pick the ones to make the record. The process is to just get together, sit in a small studio, there’s no toilet, you pee in a bottle, and there’s no windows, so you find yourself in this space where there’s nothing else to do really, but make music.
In November 2021, the band filmed a live performance of your song ‘Man Machine’ for Waterloo Sunset. Waterloo Sunset have stated that Looney Gloomers defines its music genre as New Now. Could you explain a bit what that genre is exactly and why you’ve decided to accept it as your core explorative medium?
It’s something I came up with and it might just be the stupidest thing in the world. It’s all about bringing a new ball game. Our first album is very rock. Second album is very rock-pop or indie-pop. And our third album is more like pop… or rap… or crazy things! So, a way for us to sort of, not be confined in a genre, is to invent a genre. We don’t want to be rock stars. We don’t want to be pop stars. We want to make the music we want to make. We don’t care about having a certain image or a certain style, so we just decided to do this pretentious thing in order to not feel the pressure of following the rules of a specific genre.
Track 6 on your first album, House of the Dying Days, incredible by the way!, is Dear Friend, an almost pop rock funky track, then track 7, Grey of The Two is more mellow indie pop, and track 8, Shit on My Wall, is – well, maybe funk with folk elements? How important would you say the arrangement of songs is in an album? Are you yourself a back to back album listener or more of a scattered EP listener?
Wow. Well, if I like an artist, I’m a back to back listener. Usually the process is, I’ll discover an artist, listen to one of their songs on loop, then listen to their biggest hits, and then listen to their albums back to back. That is, if I like the artist, of course. When it comes to song structure within the record, it’s important when it’s important and it’s not important when it’s not important. Pink Floyd, super important, Beach Boys, you just need the bangers. Our first album really needed to have coherent structure within it, but our next album is not like that.
Lastly, Jacob, this interview will be coming out in Side Zine 2, which itself will be coming out on the 15th of June. That date is 8 days before the release of Look Aside’s new film, Jack & Michelle, which coincidentally stars your old housemate, Lucrezia Galeone. So, in honor of that, and as a fun little ending, could you share, off the top of your head, some story from yours’ and Lucrezia’s time living together?
Krezi! (laughs) We had a pretty good life, me and Lucrezia. We used each other as support a lot. It was a very efficient relationship. What was really fun, we both watched RuPaul’s Drag Race and we would have just the best nights ever watching that together with our other housemate. I love Lucrezia, I love her family, I love her mother, and we just had a really really fun time together there for a while.