When you ask a millennial what his or her favorite type of music is, you often hear a pretty standard response: “everything.”
It may seem basic, but what if it’s from the person making your favorite music?
Well for 20-year-old, Gerard Andreas Folkestad Taylor, a.k.a. Jerry Folk, the Internet has provided him exposure to so many different styles and genres that he can’t just appreciate only one. In fact, he says that it is his varied musical interests that have helped him flourish as a producer, crisscrossing between multiple genres.
“If I know someone is passionate about what they’re making, and I can hear it, then I’ll really like the song,” said Taylor, in an exclusive interview with Blisspop. “So it comes down to me just loving all kinds of music, and for me to make just one type of sound would be impossible.”
Clearly, his appreciation for all kinds of sounds has paid off. In three short years since bursting on the scene, Jerry Folk has amassed almost 90,000 Soundcloud followers, 30,000 likes on Facebook, and, most importantly, has carved out a unique place in the dance music scene that encompasses an eclectic vibe that could only be found today.
Who, Or Better Yet, What is Jerry Folk Then?
“It’s a musical project – an electronic mixture of whatever inspires me,” said Taylor. “What makes my kind of music different is that it consists of lots of different energies, styles, and genres all in one song. It could range from funk to trap to techno to a bit of acid.”
His latest effort, The Kids Tape, a series of songs that represent what he’s doing at the moment, exemplifies his affinity for a wide variety of melodies, including the darker and extremely groovy, “I’m Honestly Not A Gangster,” as well as the mellower, summertime feeler, “Where I’m Going.”
“I’ve came to the point where I want to take more risks… trying some new and weird stuff like singing on my tracks that I want people to react to. Different tempos and styles that I’d like to try while I’m still young and can recover,” he said with a laugh. “I’d like to get my sound to a place where people never know what to expect… having different projects that continuously touch on different variations of my own journey.”
For someone so young, his definition of musical success for Jerry Folk is rather mature, especially in his understanding of what he wants to elicit from his audience.
“My goal is have to people sit down, put their headphones on, and actually really listen through a song and pay attention to it – I don’t want them to fast forward to a drop and assume that it’s a ‘banger’ since I don’t believe those tracks make an impact.”
Taylor is talking about an impact he believes requires the blending of different musical atmospheres, from consistent drumming to piano chords to simple vocals – all key tenets of many of his tracks.
How He Got Here
For the entire hubbub facing Soundcloud right now, it’s clear this platform has had a tremendous effect on not only the way independent artists, like Taylor, can share their music, but also how we, as an audience, can interact and engage with a range of songs we like.
According to him, at the tender age of 17, he began Jerry Folk as a way to start putting out remixes of old R&B tracks – an experiment that helped him realize his sound, which eventually grew into a following as his production skills traversed the blogosphere.
“[My audience] was built steadily over a long period of time by just continuously putting out songs, and never really knowing what I wanted or where I was going, especially at that age,” said Taylor. “There was never an ‘ah ha’ moment, rather I just kept [putting music out there] and luckily I was able to grow quite a following.”
However, it wasn’t until Taylor discovered Hype Machine – “a really powerful tool back then” – and began emailing almost 60 blogs a day with his tracks did Jerry Folk really blow up. In fact, it wasn’t until he won a remix competition of ZZ Ward’s “365 Days” that hit #1 on Hypem that changed his trajectory as a musician.
Set to begin his debut U.S. tour, his excitement was palpable – “I just moved to Los Angeles, because I got my visa approved to tour, and I’m really stoked about it.”
According to him, the Jerry Folk DJ set is an amalgamation of a lot of different stuff, including funk,
underground house, hip hop, and other vibes that showcase what he’s into. This includes a stop at U Street Music Hall on Friday, June 24th, where DC residents can come check this wunderkind out and see this project for themselves.
“I’m excited to get out there and be in the real world, meet people, and hear the music out rather than just me sitting behind a computer.”
After the tour is over and The Kids Tape is put to rest, Taylor has big plans for Jerry Folk.
“I want to think about how I can take this to the next level and make a really big impact – maybe even practicing a live show and making a really powerful EP.”