Jack Ventimiglia is a man of a thousand faces. The Minneapolis singer has reinvented himself on his new solo project, breaking away from his old works in Housepet, which was meant to be a full band venture. Turns out that band never really came to fruition after Jack put out a Housepet EP. With his self-titled project, Ventimiglia has created a new world on his album Transdigital. The pieces are straightforward and revealing with no veneer of irony.
Jack spoke with Gimme Noise before his album release at the Kitty Cat Klub on Saturday evening on the evolution of his sound and what prompted him to finish this new album.
"I started writing for this project last January," Jack says over a cup of coffee at an Uptown coffee shop. "It seems like forever ago in the real world, but some musicians can write for years and years and still not be finished. I just can't imagine working on this for that long." The writer took on the feat of doing the whole album himself, mainly to prove to himself that he could actually do it.
He continues, "I played all of the instruments on Transdigital. It started out as an experiment, and I wanted to see how I could push myself outside of Housepet. When I did Housepet, I was new to recording, and I felt that EP I did was half-done. Now I really feel I finished something that I'll be able to look back on in five years, and there will be an actual piece of posterity."
Despite the sounds on Transdigital, Jack cites the Beatles as his longest-standing influence. To a new listener, Ventimiglia's sound is reminiscent of southern rock, gleaning a little bit from Band of Horses. The album was admittedly tough for him to work on. He adds, "Since I had to do everything myself, I had to be accountable. When you're collaborating, you have someone else -- you keep each other going. I'm compelled to do music. I've been doing it since I was 12 when I inherited my brother's guitar when he passed away. Making this album was really not about motivation, but more of a catharsis thing."
With a focus on production, Ventimiglia excels at arranging and self-editing, but he still looks to improve and push songwriting -- something he feels is missing from a lot of current music. He dissects it further, "Listening to bands these days -- there's no songs there. It sounds cool with the synths and the guitars, but it's such an empty production." One person he does admire is Devendra Banhart, which Jack has an uncanny resemblance to. He continues, "His new record is awesome; it was so focused on writing and production. That's what I'm always looking for -- that timeless song."
On his personal social media, Jack's cynical humor is very much on display and that cynicism occasionally shows through on the songs. After he finished, he took some time to sit and listen to it, realizing how introspective it truly was. He shares, "I don't want to do that on my next album. I've already started experimenting for my new album; I'm trying a new project now where it's improvisational recording. I want to move the scope away from me, but I know how hard it is to pull a song out while disconnecting yourself from it."
Opening up a little more, Jack leans back in his chair and continues, "I don't come from a background where it's okay to share your feelings. I was raised in a Catholic household, so it's not often I talk about these things. Songwriting is where I can do that, so that's probably why my music is so reflective."
Jack Ventimiglia will release Transdigital at the Kitty Cat Klub on Saturday, March 15, 2014 with Sleep Study and Hotel San Sebastian.
21+, $5, 9 pm
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