Interview: Illiterate Light

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Photograph by Kristen Cawog

By Sam Goodman, WERS Staff Writer

After their sold-out performance at Great Scott in Allston, Illiterate Light drummer Jake Cochran talked to WERS Staff Writer Sam Goodman about their latest album, their varying recording processes, and what's coming up in the future for the duo.

You and your bandmate Jeff went from small-town Virginia farming to writing and recording your own album. What was the process of creating that album?

Jake Cochran: Some of the music is from 2015, or even earlier, you know songs that we’ve been writing and playing for years. We had just never recorded it. We’ve done some home recording but nothing that really got to the point of what we wanted to do. The first song on the album, “In the Ground,” was the first song we ever performed for this band and then the song “Sometimes Love Takes So Long,” we wrote that four months ago, right as we were done recording. It was the last song we wrote. We recorded it in two days. It was a whole span of years that went into [the album]. Whenever we went into the studio, we spent about six hours on one song. What you hear is us playing live with a little bit peppered in.

In terms of that writing process, do you have any typical inspiration when writing songs?

JC: Yeah, I mean we both listen to all kinds of music and read all types of books. I’m currently really into this old anime called Neon Genesis Evangelion, super weird and crazy. I pull inspiration from stuff like that…We have all sorts of influences coming at us all the time.

You said you recorded some of those songs in six hours?

JC: Some of them were written over the years and some in one sitting.

What’s your preferred process?

JC: We’re just happy when something comes out that we like. We’re always writing. Jeff the guitarist is the primary writer and he’s the primary lyricist. He’ll bring an idea together and we’ll unfold it from there.

Once you released that album, what was the response like?

JC: It was really exciting. We’ve been a live band for way longer than we’ve had an album. For the last four years, we’ve been touring up and down the East Coast and after the album came out was the first time we saw people coming out and singing along with the lyrics in a way that I still can’t even believe. People having the ability to fall in love with something and then know the words and add meaning to them is really special.

Is there a specific moment in your live shows that is your favorite?

JC: The very last song we’ve been doing, not from the album, called “Growin’ Down.” We start acoustic and halfway through it gets really quiet and then we crash in and get really loud. Our lighting guy turns on all the lights really bright and all of a sudden I get to look at every single person’s face and just see every smile at the same time. It’s a really precious moment.

What’s next for you guys?

JC: We’re gonna be on the road all of 2020. We’re gonna be filming a lot of our shows in these smaller clubs cause it’s a really special place for us. We’ve been playing rooms like this for years but never with this much excitement and energy coming back at us. We’re gonna start releasing videos from that and just show people what it’s like to be at an Illiterate Light concert. We want people to go crazy and have fun. That’s our plan.

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