PREMIERE: JAKE BELLISSIMO – Piece of Ivy, Go Gently and Independence day

– Your career started way earlier than Jake Bellissimo’s project. How did you change? How did you get to this album?

I published an album of piano music under my name in high school, but for the most part I’ve used monikers. This was partly out of intimidation of releasing a shitty album under my real name (which I did and promptly deleted in 2013), but also a way to compartmentalize my work and not feel bound to a specific name or character. After releasing the Gay Angel album “Floral”, I moved to Berlin for a year and had a personal shift after which I dropped the five or so names I was using at the time. Music for me has always functioned as a coping mechanism, but as it became more present in my life I had to make some personal changes to ensure that my processing didn’t become cyclical (i.e. not perpetuate what I’m trying to figure out) and I had other ways to make music and document my life.

I released an EP of songs under my real name (Piece of Ivy) in Spring 2016 and soon thereafter went through a series of personal troubles, resulting in me feeling a need to define myself. A bit defeated, I moved back to the USA and lived with my friend Acadia (who sings backup throughout the album) for a few weeks in a place they were housesitting. It was during this 3 week period that I made it a full-time job to confront myself on what was going on and during this process wrote “The Good We’ve Sewn” under Jake Bellissimo.

 Let’s talk about your collaboration with WWNBB, that tied you to Italy. How does this opening towards the world help you write and find inspiration for your music?

I was introduced to WWNBB after playing two shows in Italy in 2016. I was drawn to the variety of their roster, that nobody fits within a specific aesthetic other than kindness. Their interest in my work gave me a sense of artistic freedom that made it easy to say yes, and, combined with being inspired by my now label mates, I think that sense of community has been helpful in making music.

– In your opinion, in a world that is not that simple, what does the social responsability of an artist consist of?

I think art (especially in the current environment) is inherently political and that artists should follow suit. Though I appreciate art that is tied to social consciousness, I don’t think this is necessary for everybody to take up unless they feel comfortable doing so. I do think, however, that it is an artist’s responsibility to understand how their work is contextualized in society, in rejection of people saying that they don’t want to be political so therefore their work can’t possibly have a political context—that would imply their art only exists on its own, as opposed to being published/circulated/manifested in a culture that has political and social dynamics.

– What does it mean to be an artist, a musician, in the USA? What do you think it’s different from this conception, in Italy?

Having only toured through parts of Italy, I don’t think I can comment on music culture in Italy or how that\ compares to the USA. Because of the USA’s persistent issues with funding for the arts and things like healthcare, I think that makes being an artist more complicated, but this manifests as well in other places too and is just my opinion. Touring is also different in the sense that public transportation in the USA is not as efficient and as easy as it is in Europe, so it’s usually a driving process where possible.

What are your sources of inspiration for your sounds? Did they change during the years?

For me, music has always resulted as a response to feeling, and the sounds and stories are made to represent that. What has changed over the years is where I find the feelings and how that affects my songwriting process, but what has always stayed constant has been art’s purpose for me as a way to process life while also cultivating it, most of the time coming from first-person experiences.