*The Following Press Release Was Issued By JATK*
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Photo Credit: Aneleise Ruggles
BOSTON, MASS. — Most of us have spent much of 2021 just trying to hold on. JATK is here to remind us it’s okay to let go.
The power-pop project from Boston songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Matt Jakola returned with a new single on Friday, November 5 titled “Ride the Wind,” the fourth offering of 2021 under the JATK moniker (refresher: It’s pronounced “Jack”) and the latest from next year’s debut LP. “Ride the Wind” is released via maxi-single, as is JATK’s style, complete with b-side “No Rock & Roll” and a “Keys & Samples” instrumental version of the title track.
On his latest, Jatkola takes a more tender approach, replacing the sky-high rock and roll ambition of prior singles “When Tomorrow Comes” and “Japanese Butterfly” and the driving Americana of “Conscious Wonder” with a delicate composition that’s lullaby-esque and hymnal-like in its four unwinding minutes. Its infectious melody is unmistakably JATK, as Jatkola sings about modern-day escapism and letting go of the day’s stresses as the seasons change and long year winds to a close.
“‘Ride the Wind’ is a dream about flying away with someone you love,” Jatkola says. “You leave all the thoughts, unanswered questions and uncertainty of the world behind and just make a pact to ride somewhere far away with them, literally or figuratively. It’s a song you could sing to your partner, your child, your friend, or imagine someone singing to you. It’s about going all in with someone you have a history with. This is a song to dedicate to your ride or die!”
“Ride the Wind” is also the first JATK release that was mixed entirely by Jatkola, at his Peace & Love Laboratories, Arlington, MA. It features two key collaborators: On bass, Nicole O’Neal of Indianapolis band Wife Patrol, who he met on tour three years ago and maintained creative contact with; and drummer Tim Wright (heard on “Conscious Wonder”), who helped develop the track’s dreamy, far-out drum sounds and through pedal and studio effects worked with Jatkola to created the cloud of layered sound the track surfs on.
While JATK’s three prior singles carried the weight — both literally and figuratively — of a young man experiencing a cancer diagnosis and the spectrum of emotion he endured in his year undergoing successful chemotherapy and radiation treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, “Ride The Wind” finds Jatkola looking outward to the things that inspire around him.
“It feels lighter,” he admits. “It’s acoustic guitar-based with organ and synth sounds, samples of birds singing and space to appreciate all the sonic elements. Even the drum machine samples are drenched in delay and reverb, giving them a larger-than-life, closer-to-God type of feeling. The other singles have elements of heaviness and they’re dense sonically (‘When Tomorrow Comes’, ‘Japanese Butterfly’), conceptually (‘Conscious Wonder’), or both. This one really sheds that weight. It’s related to ‘Conscious Wonder’ in that it toys with some existential, philosophical ideas, but it’s also a love song.”
Embracing themes of autumn and change and the passing of time, “Ride the Wind” swirls around a central idea of trying to find a place in the world and coming to terms with the idea maybe there actually isn’t a place for us here; that we’re transcendent beings that belong among the stars. The chorus came to Jatkola in a dream back in 2018 and incredibly, it was written before this heavy serving of modern-day chaos — before the pandemic brought the world to a standstill and before Jatkola was diagnosed with cancer and began his long road back to full health.
“Some might say, a simpler time,” Jatkola admits. “And yet it feels perfect for right now. It’s taken a while for me to understand it, even though it’s kind of a straightforward song. There’s something I’ve discovered as a songwriter where songs — lyrics specifically — are often windows into the future. It’s almost like you’re singing to your future self or that your subconscious is already 10 steps ahead of you and it’s all coming out in a song you don’t understand while you’re writing, but you will.”
He adds: “Sometimes, it’ll take a year or two or even longer to realize what the song means or to find its relevance. It’s not lost on me that the line that kicks off the bridge, ‘My child, you know me well / I’ve been so sad and ill’ has a way greater significance to me now than it did a few years ago.”
And with perspective, letting go is easier than ever.
Photo Credit: Aneleise Ruggles
Appearing on ‘Ride the Wind’:
Matt Jatkola: Vocals, guitar, synthesizers, programming, samples
Nicole O’Neal: Bass
Tim Wright: Drum programming
Credits on ‘Ride the Wind’:
Recorded by Matt Jatkola at Peace & Love Laboratories, Arlington, MA; Nicole O’Neal at Pup Fiction Studio, Indianapolis, IN; Tim Wright at Trainsong Studio, Arlington, MA
Mixed by Matt Jatkola at Peace & Love Laboratories, Arlington, MA
Mastered by Nick Zampiello at New Alliance East, Somerville, MA
Produced by Matt Jatkola
Cover photography by Niki Fandel
All songs written by Matt Jatkola
© & ℗ 2021, 2 STEP IZ DED (ASCAP)
The music of JATK has been heard and featured on:
idobi Radio, The River 92.5 FM (Boston, MA), Little Steven’s Underground Gargage (SiriusXM), If It’s Too Loud, Citywide Blackout, BumbleBee Radio, WZBC’s Virtual Detention; Christian’s Cosmic Corner on Mark Skin Radio, Your First Listen on KNNZ 89.1 FM (Fargo, ND), Sweet Sunday Sounds on Banks Radio (Australia), Garagerocktopia with Robert Kreutzer, POP! The Beat Bubble Burst on KDHX (St. Louis); Boston Emissions with Anngelle Wood, Rising with Skybar and On The Town with Mikey D on WMFO Tufts University, Bay State Rock, Tinnitist, Lonely Oak Radio, The Menace’s House of Indies, Radio X (Nova Southeastern University, Florida), Blood Makes Noise, Ricky’s Daily Bangers and other fine radio stations, outlets and programs.
Media praise for JATK:
“There’s a garage rock jangle and an indie rock vibrancy to the song, all framing some surprisingly delicate songwriting… In short, the song’s a brisk, uplifting joy.” — Worcester Magazine
“Such poppy magic” — Boston Emissions
“Big hook, bigger riffs and a lot of heart.” — The River 92.5
“‘It’s this giant, jangly as anything pop song that reminds me of mid-90’s Matthew Sweet, Atlantic-era Lemonheads and a little Gram Parsons thrown in. It’s a gorgeous and sunny pop song literally perfect for this period of the summer.” — If It’s Too Loud
“I don’t usually give grades or bullshit like that, but this gets an A in my book, this student of music was paying attention in class.” — Blood Makes Noise
Photo Credit: Aneleise Ruggles
Thanks for listening!
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