by Alexandra Hall
Some musicians come out of the womb ready to compose symphonies. Jake LeMond didn’t know that his guitar had to be tuned.
“In middle school, my parents got me a guitar for Christmas and I had no idea how to tune it,” LeMond told me. “I just played it one string at a time. A friend tuned it and once he did I thought he ruined my guitar.”
One string at a time, LeMond worked his way into the music industry through various bands after high school. After meeting Jason Singer of Michigander, LeMond began playing with him around 2017. A year later is when LeMond formally joined the group, playing all over the midwest. On Michigander’s most recent EP, “Everything Will Be Okay Eventually,” LeMond helped co-write “Headlights.”
When he’s not touring with Michigander, LeMond has been a part of projects like Yueku, another Detroit-area project headed by Christian Koo. LeMond otherwise focuses on Hickey Eyes, a duo with girlfriend, Juliane Bednarz, alongside his solo work.
LeMond’s solo sound is delicate and heartfelt. The production quality of the singles he’s released thus far is stunning, especially considering that most of his music is recorded in at-home studios.
I’m not one for ASMR, but LeMond’s work is about as close as I get to the “brain tingles.”
His 2021 release, “Miles” is a defining track for LeMond. The song is lush and developed even though it’s seemingly simple. “Miles” was accompanied by a music video directed by Mathew Pimental which is aggressively cinematic and simultaneously hilarious. LeMond finds a toy horse ride that he goes on a journey with after working a series of jobs to buy it. It’s one of those things you just have to see. The video shows LeMond’s artistic ability and sense of humor.
“I wrote ‘“Miles’” after I got home from a tour,” LeMond said. “I was playing bass for Hala. Right after you get back from tour, the first thing you want to do when you get home is to write new music. The first thing I did was sit down and play.”
This lucidity is the heart of LeMond’s talent. There’s a richness to his sound that LeMond organically builds within his music. Each single exists as a different species within the same environment.
LeMond mentioned his shyness: singing quietly into a tape recorder as a kid so no one could hear him. But what was once a possessing reservation is now what makes his music so special.
LeMond’s newest single, “Take it Back” is out today. It’s his sweetest song yet – it features musings on the end of a relationship. The track frames love as a learning experience. Too often the sentiment is that you can only love someone else when you love yourself. Rarely do people discuss the importance of sharing that experience with others in order to fully understand it. LeMond gracefully explores other aspects of relationships: comparison to other people, the exchange of vulnerability, the embarrassment of being seen.
“With open arms, but I padlocked my heart/ I hope you know you helped me learn to love myself/ With open arms, you unlocked my heart/ I think it’s time I helped you learn to love yourself.”
LeMond ends the song with these lines. The simplistic parallels highlight the pure nature of the song. Listeners are left unsure as to what the state of the relationship is, but perhaps that’s the point. Very rarely are relationships of any capacity cut and dry.
I feel safe reporting that LeMond now knows how to tune his guitar (he probably wouldn’t have a job otherwise). And when he’s not busy touring or writing, he’s plucking listeners’ heartstrings.
Until next time,
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