Student Feature : Jeff Book of First Cognate
Since March of 2019, Jeffrey Book has made continuous progress as a student at Musicologie — first at our Grandview studio, and now at our Lewis Center location studying with Community Manager and Teacher of Voice & Piano, Justin Swain.
Earlier this year, Jeffrey released a music video for his single, “One Good Day” and today made his Spotify debut as he released his latest song “One Last Thought.”
This afternoon we interviewed Jeffrey about his journey in releasing his music:
Congratulations on releasing another song, this time on Spotify! How does it feel to have your music out in the world now?
It’s exciting! I’ve had these songs playing in my head for so long, and it’s very fun to see when people can identify with it.
“First Cognate” — Could you describe the name of your band for readers? How did you decide on that name?
Cognates are words that have a common etymological origin, inherited from a shared parent language. The first cognate, then, is a common ancestor of all human expression: music.
What do you hope to do through your music-making? Are there any overarching themes in your music? What do you hope listeners walk away with upon listening to your music?
The songs I write give a view deep into my psyche, and it’s very scary but healing to let people see that part of me. The theme I see a lot in the lyrics I write is that life isn’t cinematic, and being introspective is really difficult. Personal growth isn’t an all-in-one moment where you change because of a single event, it’s a long slow process of refining the way you view yourself and your role in the world. That process can be frustrating, and it’s common to want to be a kid again and not have to worry about bettering yourself.
How has your experience been recording and mixing your songs with Lou Kestella / ProToad Audio based out of our Dublin studio location?
Lou is a genius, and working in the Dublin studio has been an absolute blast! The best part is that Lou isn’t just a passive observer, he actively helps shape the music into something better as we record and mix. A lot of the things that you’ll hear on the recordings didn’t exist in the demos that I made before we started. Those ideas really make the song exceptional, and I can’t recommend it enough.
What advice would you give to other musicians out there who are either just getting started, or who may be on the fence about recording and releasing their own music?
From a technical perspective, learn how to make good demos at home before you go to the studio. If you want the studio to match your vision, you have to have a solid recording, otherwise there is so much risk of miscommunication.
From an emotional perspective, it’s cliche, but you have to remember that you create music for your enjoyment and for connecting with people you love. You can write a gorgeous song, but if people don’t feel like they’re making an emotional connection with you, they’re not going to care.
How has Musicologie (the studio, your teachers, etc) helped you along the way?
When I first came to Justin Swain more than a year ago, I told him that I had never been able to sing, had never been comfortable with my voice, and that I needed him to be hard on me because I wasn’t going to put my voice into the world until I was sure I wouldn’t embarrass myself. Justin has done exactly as I asked, being honest with me not only about my voice but also my music in general. I have made such huge strides in my vocal control, performance, and song-writing since I started that it’s shocking to listen to recordings from only a few years ago. Musicologie has so many resources, the studio, the teachers, the performance areas, that have been invaluable to my growth as an artist. Becoming a Musicologie student is the best thing I’ve ever done for my musical growth, and anybody with the drive to improve their music will love Musicologie.
Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers?
Sharing your music is really scary, it’s an emotional process that shows people your soul, and the fear is inescapable sometimes. The best thing you can do for yourself is to find someone who will be honest with you, tell you when something is good or bad, and wants your music to succeed as much as you do. For me, I lean on my wife and on Musicologie for that emotional support and guidance, but it’s different for everyone. Find a small artist in your area who can guide you, reach out and ask questions, audition for bands and meet people. You can’t become a better artist all alone.
Thanks for sharing your music and passion with us, Jeffrey. We can’t wait to see where your music will take you!