Jake The Rapper is the oh-so-lovely, larger-than-large, tattooed, bearded character you've no doubt seen if you ever went to Bar25 , where he was a resident DJ and part of the extended family. Or you may have seen him at his own night at Villa or at any number of clubs around Berlin performing his unique act (yes he really raps) or DJing. BANG BANG BERLIN spoke exclusively to Jake in the wake of the recent Bar closing (R.I.P), to find out if this time it's really for real and what else the big man's got planned for the rest of this year.
(Photo by Kieran Behan)
Jake, you were one of Bar25's most beloved regulars - is it true that the latest Bar closing is really the final, final one?
Yes, sadly, it finally is actually happening. The other ones weren't fakes either you know, they were just extensions that were fought for, hard.
How was the Bar25 closing party? Did you DJ? And does it feel like the end of an era to you?
It was a great closing. I did DJ, and I got goose bumps. It was definitely the end of a major chapter in my life, and it was very hard to leave, I DJ'd there on Saturday and I was there until Thursday. (Although it helps that I had a place to sleep there)
Is this the last we have heard from Bar25?
No, I'm still in the booking agency, the label will still continue... I'm not sure what will happen with the thing itself, but the people who made the bar happen are all still around and still interested in making an amazing place or amazing places to party, so we'll see what happens. I honestly don't know, I don't think anyone does. there isn't like, one little wizard guy behind a curtain somewhere with a master plan who's been planning all these closings, and now knows how this will all continue and where. If anything continues or re-spawns from this, it will have to happen organically, in agreement with several different people and crews, and there's no one right now who can tell you definitely how that's going to manifest itself.
Bar25 were famous for their dressed up staff and guests - the circus area suited you really well i remember. What was your favourite bar25 party outfit?
I had three for the closing, which I kept changing depending on the weather or the time of day. the henry the eighth costume looked great but was a bit chilly at night or when it was raining so I wore the bear costume, but that went all the way down to the ground, so when it got really wet, I ended up cleaning the whole backstage with it like a giant mop, so I spent the last two days in the alligator costume which was part of a set of 25 we all ordered from tokyo for the closing.
When you are on stage performing what do you generally like to wear? Do you dress differently when you are simply doing a DJ set?
I react to the place I play. If I feel like the place and the people putting on the event are into craziness, I may well dress for the event. I like to dress up when its appreciated. When it's more of a straight techno club though, I tend to feel a bit out of place and prefer to dress a bit more casually. The bar was definitely a place where you could really go crazy without it seeming corny though. Like, other places, if I dressed in the sparkly plateau shoes and the rainbow sequin pants, I'd just look like a tranny or a schlager move moron, but for some reason at the bar it just worked in nicely. 'Twas a special place. Sigh.
I heard a rumour that Bar25 are all moving next door to their Burg24 location and that the parties will start running there - can you comment on whether this is true or not?
I've heard that they were talking about it, but if that does happen, I think the 24 will continue like it was before, which was more of a beach bar lounge thing with food and events and stuff during the day. Maybe a party in the bogen on the weekend, but feel really strongly that they won't be just moving the whole Bar25 down one door. It won't be the same. It won't even be that similar. In my opinion. And again, I don't have facts, I also only have rumours.
Impress us with some lines from one of your raps please!
I love the couch baby
Youre always there when i need
You to pass out on
I love the couch baby
Sometimes its all i ever wanted
Sometimes its all i need
To get by
to sink down into
When i get high
All the secrets i find
Under your cushions
Deep in your heart
Lies the change
Ive been searching for
What are your main musical influences you and tell us how you go about blending together electronic and hip hop together?
I've spent my whole life listening to and working with every kind of music I could get my hands onto. I find it impossible to try to name a main influence. sorry, I'm not trying to be a dick. but my favorite food is pizza, if that helps. As far as hip hop and electronic goes, I've always loved both, why not do them together?
Do you miss your previous base of Seattle at all?
No. It's rainy as hell there and kinda depressing. I do miss certain things about America though. little things. Cultural things. Not enough to go back there right now. But I miss my mother, my father, and my brother a lot. And things like that get more and more important as you get older. What I do not miss is the political system, the medical care system, the tax system... just the whole damn system there is pretty screwed. More screwed than here, where it's also screwed, just most of the time slightly less screwed, but I'll take what I can get.
Your bearded look is famous - tell us about the upkeep of your beard - does it take much grooming?
Nah, it's no big deal, just a good pair of clippers with an adjustable length thingy. Then the chin and mouth area is longer than the sides. like 16, 13, and then the very sides under the sideburns are 11. Hope that helps whoever cares that much about beards.
Tell us one fellow bearded idol of yours.
I dunno, Moses? Abraham Lincoln? Marx? Lenin? Moondog? There's so many. Although I have to tell you, I found a card at the bar closing with a picture of this strange bearded dude and i wore it around as jewellery for days. there was an email address on it, www.hairychest.de. Maybe this guy is my hero now too, I haven't decided.
What do your tattoos say? we love the one on your belly.
That one says entropy. The rest you'll just have to ask me when you meet me :)
You recently became a dad; tell us how becoming a father has changed your life.
She's really an amazing little lady, and i'm willing and happy to do anything for her. so that changes everything, and yet I still want to continue doing what I do, so we'll see how the two mesh together over time. so far, so good!
Got any other plans career wise for the impending autumn/winter?
Now that the bar is closed, more producing, less partying!
What's you top 5 tips for surviving the Berlin winter?
Stick it through until February or March, THEN go on vacation! Don't go on winter vacation in December or January and then come back, because February, March, and April are the most depressing winter months of Berlin. Otherwise uh, keep warm, keep dry, find someone or lots of someones to cuddle with, keep dancing, get all those indoor projects done you wanted to do during the summer but were too busy outside having fun, and keep in touch with people over the internet!
Thanks a lot Jake!
you're welcome Liz!