Below, you can read our interview with The Heavy Set’s Jake Ilika, and listen to their album, Everybody’s Got A Mountain. Check out our full music review of Everybody’s Got A Mountain by The Heavy Set, HERE.
Q: Your roots are in Winona, MN. (We love Winona and have roots there as well.) Tell us how Winona has inspired your music?
A: The river, the bluffs, the wildlife – it’s all there. I used to get inspiration while driving around in my delivery truck when I worked for a water company, out in the sticks, through the coulees and the ridges, all over. The scenery would come to me and either get me writing or get me thinking.
Q: Why do you think Winona is such a music-mecca?
A: There’s always been a lot of music happening here, but it feels like in recent years it’s reached a new level and gained attention in the midwest as a serious music scene churning out a lot of talent. Mid West Music Fest, Boats and Bluegrass, and a lot of other music happening all the time at Ed’s No Name Bar and other venues in town help sustain a growing love for and appreciation of live music.
Q: When and why did you pick up your first guitar?
A: I was 14 when I got a guitar for Christmas. I had been wanting one for a while, and my mom sprung for it that year. I started taking lessons at Hardt’s Music in Winona, and started playing out when I was 19, haven’t stopped.
Q: What was your first guitar? Do you still have/play it?
A: Vesper acoustic. My brother took it off to college, and I had been borrowing a friends for a while. I haven’t played it in over 8 years, but as far as I know my brother still has it.
Q: When you are writing a song, what comes first, the music or the lyrics?
A: It can be one or the other, or sometimes all at once. It varies from song to song. Some songs the words are built around a hook or something you want to say. Other times, a riff or melody can come together first.
Q: The album’s title “Everybody’s Got A Mountain” is a line from the song “Start Over.” Can you tell us what inspired that song?
A: I could, but that would ruin the fun. The short of it is everyone has a struggle in their life, no one excluded.
Q: Can you share with us who the song “River” was written for?
A: Nobody in particular. Just a short poem I wrote a few years ago that I put to music.
Q: In some unspecified amount of time, your musical career explodes in the best of ways. What does that look like for you?
A: I’d love to be doing what I’m doing now and just worrying less. Enjoying it more. Because I do enjoy the heck out of it right now, but know I would even more if I wasn’t wearing all the hats.
Q: You get to collaborate with anyone of your choosing. Who is it?
A: T Bone Burnett.
Q: Your favorite album of all time? (Yup, you gotta choose one.)
A: I can’t choose one. The Beatles – White Album, The Toadies – Rubberneck, and Tool – AEnima
Q: Your favorite song of all time? (Again, only one! 😉)
A: Again, I can’t choose one. But I really like “Fame” by David Bowie.
Q: What would you like fans to know about you that they’re most likely unaware of?
A: I love bald eagles.
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