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Bugged By Lack Of Control, Jake's Taken The Wheel

13 July 2016 | 2:56 pm | Annabel Maclean

"I never really had much of an input whereas now I want to be part of it because at the end of the day I'm the one that has to go and do it."

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Annabel Maclean chats with Jake Bugg about rapping, music videos and learning through music creation.

Jake Bugg may sound softly spoken and understated but make no mistake, the 22-year-old lad is passionate about the process of experimenting and learning through creating music. His recently released third record, On My One, was written, produced and recorded almost entirely by himself (Garret 'Jacknife' Lee produced three tracks) and takes listeners on a journey from blues to pop, rap to folk and soul to country. "I knew I wanted to write it myself," Bugg says down the line from the UK, in the middle of touring. "I didn't actually think I'd be producing most of it though. I never thought I'd get into producing at all. On the writing side of things, it was just something that I felt I just had to do for my development as a writer really."

Along with heavy choruses, soulful numbers, funky drums and bluesy beats, the record sees Bugg rapping for the first time on Ain't No Rhyme - a little bit of fun which seems to have polarised fans. "I was just messing around in the studio," he says. "I'm surprised how many people have taken it really seriously. I don't consider myself a good rapper. Sometimes you just mess around in the studio and some of my friends thought the song was cool and some people didn't and some people convinced me to put it on the album, so it was more my friends' choice than my own really," Bugg laughs.

"I was just messing around in the studio. I'm surprised how many people have taken it really seriously."

"I know it's not something that I would usually produce. It's always fun. You learn different things like, with that song, I got a bit more production experience under my hat from it so in that regard it was well worth it." But Bugg isn't convinced a collaboration with his favourite hip hop acts Wiley and Run The Jewels will be on the cards anytime soon. "Don't know," he says, laughing. "It'd be cool but I think after my rap performance, I don't think they'd be interested in collaborating with me to be honest."

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Irish producer Jacknife Lee came on board for three tracks and Bugg says the experience working alongside him made for a better record. "It was cool working with Jacknife," he says. "It was a different experience. I think on the record it adds a different dynamic amongst the productions that I have in there. He challenged me as well, which was good, on the songs. He'd tell me if he thought certain songs could be better, stronger, and I think that was good because if it had been a walk in the park then I don't think I would have learnt anything in the process.

"I remember on the chorus in Love, Hope And Misery, the mid-late was originally the actual chorus but he told me that he thought it could be better. Sometimes it can be a little bit hard to hear but I felt the criticism was constructive so I went away and wrote a new chorus and if he hadn't had told me that then, the song wouldn't have been what it is today and I'm very happy with how the song turned out."

After dealing with some frustrations with his label, Bugg has now taken control of creative content for his music videos. The video for Gimme The Love is one of the first showcasing Bugg's imaginative ideas. "I wasn't a big fan of some of my music videos in the past because I never really had much of an input whereas now I want to be part of it because at the end of the day I'm the one that has to go and do it and I just like to know what it's about," he says. "One thing I noticed — the music videos that were kind of scripted and had a story were the more cheesy ones so I decided this time round there will be no scripts as such. I want it to be left open for interpretation — that's one thing that I think music is about. A music video sometimes puts an interpretation into your mind so I like the fact that you can have your own interpretation from [the Gimme The Love video]."

Aside from touring for the vast majority of the rest of this year, Bugg's future music endeavours are an unknown at this stage, just the way he likes it. "I'm not sure yet," he says of what's next in terms of risktaking, musically. "That's the sense of adventure, me not knowing what I'm going to try next and just having fun in the process of making it. It shouldn't be something that seems like a chore. It should be something that should be enjoyed."