My Influences: Jake Thackray – Leeds’ very own Chansonnier Charmer

Let’s Get Lost w/ Skint & DemoralisedJake Thackray

Matt Abbott: Don’t worry, I’m not ranting this week. With us releasing the album on Monday, I’ve spent a lot of time speaking about it in interviews recently; who influenced it, when we wrote it, the stories behind songs and all of the usual angles that you expect for a new album campaign. As you know, I recently wrote a blog about Baxter Dury’s ‘Happy Soup’ and how it inspired me in the latter stages of the writing sessions; in particular the spoken word delivery on ‘Amores Perros’ and ‘Breakfast at Sylvia’s’.

But today I want to speak about someone that really captured my imagination right at the start of the writing sessions and in particular inspired a track called ‘Bridge Street’, which for me is the best vocal melody I’ve ever written (most of the best melodies to date were written by MiNI dOG, you see).

The melody and the rhyme scheme and the general use of linguistics on this track were all inspired by a songwriter called Jake Thackray, and it’s of my understanding that the majority of people these days don’t really know who he is, hence this blog. I’m eternally grateful to our rhythm guitarist @SamPedalo for introducing me to Jake and to this song in particular, ‘The Lodger’:


His use of the English language is absolutely outstanding, and whilst this song is largely comical, it often has me sat in awe even now at how intelligently he uses syllables and rhymes and a wide array of words to form this smutty and farcical tale. One of his most famous tracks, ‘The Blacksmith and the Toffeemaker’ is for me one of the most beautifully romantic and wonderfully honest love songs ever written. He is humble, humorous and incredibly talented and even if you only listen to ‘The Lodger’, I’m sure he’ll be a welcome addition to your life.

One of my biggest influences is punk poet John Cooper Clarke, and as with Alex Turner, it’s not just JCC’s lyrics but his use of the language that fascinates me. As in, I’m quite confident that you could listen to most John Cooper Clarke poems even if you don’t understand a word of English and still appreciate them. The rhythm that he infuses; his machine-gun delivery and the way that the words dance and jump about to form melody and keep you hooked from one line to the next; it’s a truly wonderful display of what words are capable of.

Jake Thackray excites me in the same way, and as I develop as a lyricist, a poet and a songwriter, I can safely say that Jake has played a big part in any subtle improvements that may have arisen over the last two years. So that’s enough from me; I hope you enjoy ‘The Lodger’ and I also hope you enjoy the resulting S&D track ‘Bridge Street’. I’m nowhere near as good as Thackray of course, but it’s always nice to give credit where credit is due!


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Alicia Atout

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