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On the phone with: Jake Bellows.(Neva Dinova.)

Conor, and I spent about an hour on the phone with Jake Bellows, of Neva Dinova. We talked about everything, from Jimmy Johns to Lake Michigan. He's a great guy, and, a profound musician. On to the interview. = D. Enjoy.

First off, what are you doing now, in terms of music? I know you have the re-issue of the split, One Jug Of Wine, Two Vessels, coming out soon. What else are you doing musically?

Well, Nate Walcott, Mike Mogis, Conor Oberst, Roger, and Clark contributed for the two new Neva Dinova songs on the re-issued split. I'm also going to try out this new idea for my website. I'm going to record a few songs a month, put them up for download, little samplers and such. After about 10 to 12 months, or whatever, I'm going to build the option of a hard copy for a record or an album. It would allow the fans to pick which songs they would want, and I'd have them all made myself. It would kinda give the record a limited edition feel to it, as well as, the fans would relate a little more to the music. It would also make it more unique for me. Every song would be treated as a single, and I'd put all of my energy into it. Rather than doing an entire studio album, working on it for 9 months, it gets kinda repetitive. This will be a fun way for me to keep it fresh.

What is your website? I'll tip everyone off on the blog.

My website is www.JakeBellows.com. I'm always adding my photography, videos, and stuff. Music will be coming, tour dates, and such.

What about touring? Any tour plans for this year?
Not really too much in terms of a tour. Tour is kind of a debt. Plus, it sucks. You get lonely, you drink too much, and you lose your teeth. I went and toured Germany. I'll probably go back and do that again over the summer. That was a lot of fun. I also might possibly be booking a show, in Chicago, sometime in March. That would be just me, though, not with Neva Dinova.

So, we've heard that Bright Eyes, will be doing a final tour, over the summer/fall, and, that will include a stop at Lollapalooza, are you going to be on the tour with them?

Well, I haven't been asked, but, Conor has a pretty solid band, I've toured with them before, but, I'm not sure. (He then joked, saying he'd go, if, they needed a terrible bassist.)

What is your favorite Chicago Venue?

I love Beat Kitchen, perfect size, good crowds.

I know you contributed to Cassadaga by Bright Eyes as well as touring and your split album. What was it like to work with Conor Oberst?

Conor is a good friend, super nice person, working with him is easy. He's very professional, and has profound musical insight. His huge talent is the ability to spot talent in people. He brings them in to give them some kind of recognition and such, make things they're doing better. We’ve known each other since Conor was 15 or so. We spent a lot of time together. We’re friends so we wanted to do something together for a long time. We were finally both together in Omaha. We got bassists and wrote up a list of a few songs. I let Conor pick the ones he was doing, and I picked Conor’s songs. Then we each traded one song so that Conor sung one of mine and I sang one of his.

If you could do a split with any band of your choice, who would you pick?

I would do a split with my friend Todd Fink, because he has a "real smart brain, nice musical style." Also,Morgan Negliver and Matt Amandus, he's a jazz player, and, a great keyboard player. As far as popular musicians, I'm not sure. Just thinking about it is making my head spin. He later, went on to mention, Lucinda Williams.

Do you go to any music festivals? If so, which is your favorite?

I’ve been to a few. Coachella is pretty cool. I like the scene that they have going on. I went backstage, and they offered me free beers. They said take as much as you want so I asked for eight beers. They loaded my shirt up with beers. Then I saw cigarettes and asked if I could have a pack. They said take as many as I want so I asked for eight packs. Then they loaded my shirt up with packs of cigarettes. It was weird. I met Wayne Coyne. He was trying out his plastic bubble for the first time. He fell onto his shoulder just got up, and said "Ow."He's tough as nails.

How does it feel to be signed onto one of the most influential indie and folk labels of the past few decades?

I'm stoked, personally. I felt like [Saddle Creek] had wanted to (do something with me) for a while, but Neva had been involved in contracts so there was no real oppourtunity. We finally got free, and set it all up. It is good because they are all of my friends. I know them well. I hang out with them at the house and at the bar. If I ever have a question, I can just drive over and talk, or meet up at the restaurant or bar. It's nice to work with people you know as friends. On some level, to have somebody that you know, working with you, it's a breath of fresh air. Saddle Creek, being based in Omaha, also made it so much easier.

Speaking of making music, when did you get into it and how?

Growing up, I was in a children’s choir, along with my brother and Neva's bass player. We didn't really know what was going on or really understand music much then. We just did it, and it was fun. We were contempt. I didn't actually write music until I was about 17 or 18 when I picked up a guitar. Music was kinda my way to write poetry. I love poetry, but writing a poetry book seemed unobtainable. Have you ever been to the poetry aisle at a book store? It's fucking ridiculous having to pick out what you want, but not knowing shit about the writer.

If you could headline a venue or festival of your choice, which venue or festival and why?

Red Rocks in Colorado. It's beautiful. I would want to open the show with maybe Lucinda Williams and Neil Young as headliners. I've seen Neil Young before, but it's been a while. So I'm going to have to see him again. Morrissey would be another nice person to play with.

What bands do you currently dig?

The Whailers "It hurts to be alone" is the best song ever written, and I hadn't even heard it until this year. Chet Baker, I love his style. T. Rex. I love this local band, Hubble, and a few others but the names escape me at the moment.

I, along with pretty much all of indie culture, am a fan of Jack Kerouac. Are you a fan? If so, what are your favorite of his writings?

I love On The Road, because it's best with his style of writing. My favorite poets are Eddie Housman, E.E. Cummings, and T.S. Eliot, especially because he uses theaterical techniques to manipulate emotion.

So you’re pretty funny, are you a fan of comedy?

I love comedy. I love to make people laugh, word play, puns, and such.
Do you have any hobbies other than music?

I like to play pool. Photography is another thing and putting the pictures on my website. I also like riding my motorcycl, and fishing. I love to fish in Minnesota. My grandpa used to take me there as a kid. Now, I get a group of buddies together, and we rent a cabin and fish for a few days. The land of 10,000 lakes, and I'm not kidding.

What is your favorite song on any of your albums?

"Should you ever change your mind" It rang a chord. It's experimental because the melody never changes, but the chords change with its context. I'm not particular with crafting songs, and I don't know where they come from.

Do you play any other instruments, instead of just bass and guitar?

No. I mean, I play the harmonica and the musical saw. I haven't really wanted to play any others. Sometimes, I see a harp player, and it absolutely baffles me. Harp players are fucking geniuses. It's such a complex instrument. The percussion of a piano, with, the strings of a guitar, along with the pedals, I would love to know how to play one. But no, I'm most comfortable on the guitar and bass.

Please visit his website, for more on him. And, we'll keep you updated, on his possible Chicago show.


  1. Good interview!

  2. He plays the musical saw?! He might want to go play at the annual Musical Saw Festival in NYC in July. If you don't know about the festival: www.MusicalSawFestival.org That might make for another interesting interview :)

  3. im excited for the split

  4. Thanks for reading, everyone! Check back, for more interviews!

  5. bright eyes at lollapalooza? he's not on the lineup

  6. Bright Eyes = still not on the lineup

  7. The last Beat Kitchen Show was fantastic!!

  8. Jared Your a IDiot

  9. Jared I love this! I am no a follower! I have heard you talk so much about your website and i finally found time to check it out! Must say it is great! hope to see you at Come on Inn soon!

  10. Thanks "Anonymous".... I'd say I'll see you there, but you didn't say who you were.


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