5 Minutes With Jake Bugg

Since releasing his self-titled debut record a decade ago; Jake Bugg has gone on to become one of the most celebrated British musicians of a generation via performances on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival, supporting the likes of Noel Gallagher as well as headlining countless shows around the globe.

We caught up with Jake ahead of an anniversary home-coming show at Nottingham Arena next month to discuss the past ten years.

Check out the full interview below.

Firstly, you’re about to celebrate the tenth anniversary of your debut album – how does it feel to look back on the decade?

"It is an insane thing to be celebrating it, to be honest. To think it is has been ten years doesn’t seem quite real, but for people to still be singing along to the songs at the shows and festivals we’ve done this year is incredible."

Have the ten years flown by for you, or does it feel like to get to this point has been a long time coming?

"It is a bit of both really. We toured for so long even before it was actually released, and it was a very tough ten years in some ways. So, in that regard it felt that the past decade has been very real and felt like ten years, but when I think of all the opportunities and experiences that the record has given me, it's something that I could never have actually imagined."

You’ve toured the world, played the likes of Glastonbury and performed with some of the biggest musicians in the world – but is there one moment that stands out as most notable?

"I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have plenty of those moments that you mention and I'd say the one that I think of off the top of my head is being able to play the Royal Albert Hall, which was incredible. I grew up watching videos and footage of my favourite artists playing at the venue, so to play there myself was an incredible achievement and something I’d always wanted to do."

Is this the performance that will be available as part of the expanded, ten year version of the debut record that’s coming out soon?

"Yes, this is the show that will be on the deluxe CD edition. I was saying to somebody before that I've never seen the actual performance that’s going on the DVD, so that’ll be a bit of a weird one! I can’t bring myself to watch it – it is a funny concept to watch myself back!"

Speaking of live performances, you have a big anniversary show at Nottingham Arena in November. How important does it feel to be doing that show back in your home town?

"It feels amazing to be able to go back and play that venue. It’s been a few years since I performed there and I think it’ll be a fun show. After a couple of mad years for everybody it’ll be good to play the old songs and see some friends and family. I’m really looking forward to it."

Do you think it’ll be a case of playing the album from front to back, or are you going to chop it up and throw some of the unreleased tracks and B-sides?

"Without trying to give too much away it is obviously a celebration of that record, so we'll be playing it - but we’ll also do a few of the more rare tracks and ones we haven’t played for a while. It is going to be funny to try and relearn a lot of them from ten years ago but I’m excited to get back into rehearsals."

Is the Nottingham Arena show going to be a one-off where if fans miss it they’ll never get to experience it, or do you think you’ll take it further afield later down the line?

"It's always hard to say, isn't it? I’d say this is going to be the only one playing this record for at least this year, but who knows? If there’s a sudden demand for more shows like this, I like to give people what they want and play what they want to hear."

You mentioned some tough times over the decade earlier – would you attribute those to the fact that the debut was so successful and it added pressure for you to replicate that?

"People had, and still have, a connection with that record, which is amazing – but you can spend your career chasing that same record time and time again. It wouldn't ever be the same or have what gave it its charm in the first place, so I can see how it probably did add pressure. Saying that, though, it gave me the opportunity to have the career I wanted and to be able to travel around the world playing songs I enjoy playing, so I’d say it has given me more opportunity more than anything else."

You developed these songs and honed your craft doing gigs in and around Nottingham – do you think if you tried to do what you did back then in 2022 it’d be as successful?

"I think it's changed quite drastically. Ten years ago you went out and bought the CD or record because you liked what we’d put out before, but I’m not sure anybody does that anymore. When I was coming through, Twitter was just starting to become prominent for artists but nowhere near as much as things we have now like Tik Tok. The music industry is leaning to that direction which I think makes it a lot harder for authentic singers and bands. It’s a shame really."

What else can we expect from you going forward after the anniversary celebrations?

"So far this year we’ve been plugging the last record and playing at festivals so I think it’ll be winding down from that a bit. Then after the Nottingham show the logical thing is to get back and start working on a new record. If it isn’t at the end of this year it’ll be at the beginning of 2023."

Only a handful of tickets remain for Jake Bugg's anniversary show at Nottingham Arena on Saturday 26th November. Grab yours now!

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Image credit: Kevin Cummins

Hey - I'm Callum. Fan of The National, collector of vinyl, season ticket holder at Leeds United, owner of Dougal the cat.

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