Jack Downey is a one-man band extraordinaire, with his new project Wave Goodbye based on a loop pedal, drum machine and a whole lot of talent. Since he began with lyrics even before learning an instrument, Jack’s poetry within these songs rivals greats like Bon Iver or Vance Joy. Still in college, Jack is a music student with big dreams and an even bigger imagination. Recently, he visited The Parlour for a set over livestream and an interview with Motif magazine’s own Hakeem Kushimo.
Hakeem Kushimo: The style of music is pretty interesting! I’m that guy who, if I’m driving, and we’re listening to music, I’m gonna take you on a journey through old rap, new school rap, metal, everything. I don’t know what it is, I just go for different scales, I just like the way things sound – not really glued to any one genre. So I like everything you’re working with – the beat, the tempo, everything. It’s like a Beach Boys kind of vibe, just puts me in a good mood. The EP sounded great as well. How many tracks were on it, in total?
Jack Downey: On the digital version there’s seven, and on the tape version there’s eight.
HK: Okay, that’s smart! Kind of an incentive to go with the old school. I like that! So you go to Providence College, right? Is the school doing any performances?
JD: So I’m part of the jazz band there, and they want to do a concert at the end of the year. The way things are going, it’s feasible that it can happen. Aside from that, though, the school ensembles aren’t planning any performances. So I want to talk to them about maybe an outdoor concert on campus, with maybe even some local acts around the campus. If I can get that off the ground, it’d be great. I don’t know if they’d go for it, but it’s probably worth a shot.
HK: Now is definitely the time for you to start pushing for that as things are opening up, and we’re getting that sense of normalcy again. Every industry really felt the impact of the lockdown, but the arts in Rhode Island definitely felt it a lot, too, just because we weren’t able to get together with more than 10 to 15 different people. But this is nice — even though it’s a small venue, you were able to do your thing, and it looked really good on the stream end. So as a musician, how long have you been doing this?
JD: I’ve been writing music since probably around fifth or sixth grade. Picked up the guitar in seventh grade. The Wave Goodbye sets with the looping and everything like that is definitely more recent. Senior year, because I got a loop pedal for Christmas and that’s when I thought maybe I could start taking this on the road. I’ve been playing in bands since sophomore year of high school.
HK: Nice! And I’m glad you brought that up, because when I listened to the music before, it was awesome. But seeing you actually perform it kinda intrigued me a bit, because I like that you’re a one-man band essentially, with the equipment that you have here. And it’s nice to have your drummer and your band, but you’re kind of like the Thanos – the trifecta. You do everything on your own, and that’s really neat to see! You don’t have to rely on anybody to get your content out – you can do your own thing and be creative. And like you said, you can take your stuff on the road with you. It’s really cool to see you work with that, and put together a whole composition on your own. I thought you had a whole team, or whatever. Or you were doing it from a computer. But to see you do it live was actually really cool. In the grand scheme of things as an artist, what’s your goal? Are you trying to perform at a certain venue, or are you looking to get a job with music? At what point in your music career will you think you’ve made it? That you’re happy with what you’re doing with it, and this is what you wanna do?
JD: That’s a good question. What I want most is to perform and make enough money doing that, then I can call it a living. I’m not gonna be like U2 big, or anything like that. But I want to be able to sustain myself while I’m doing this so I’m not constantly losing money. I want people to listen to my music. People have actually been buying the tapes. I actually just did an Instagram ad campaign, and someone actually bought a tape from that – which is pretty crazy to see. This is the first time I’ve ever put one of Wave Goodbye’s EPs on tape. So the reception that’s it’s gotten is pretty cool. But I’d say, there’s a lot of different aspects of music that interest me. I like to play it – obviously. I like to write about it – I do a music column for the school paper. I go to shows and take photos, as well as set up concerts. So there’s a lot of different avenues in music that I really enjoy. I’m majoring in music tech and production, so I’m trying to learn more about mixing and mastering as well. That’s always cost me a lot of money – so at the very least, doing all that myself so I don’t have to pay anyone to do that.
Hear the rest of this interview on The Parlour’s Facebook page, or listen to Motif Between the Notes wherever you get your podcasts, and stream music by Wave Goodbye on Spotify HERE: https://open.spotify.com/artist/54Jc7j7K2YgiD1jaNMdVU4?si=pT-sBEpDQIiCErsFcO5g7A
Tapes and music also available on Bandcamp HERE: https://wavegoodbye.bandcamp.com/album/summer