On September 23rd, 21-year-old viral sensation JVKE is set to release his long-anticipated full length album, this is what ___ feels like (Vol. 1-4).
From writing and producing all on his own in his Rhode Island bedroom, to soundtracking chronologies of love stories around the world, 2022 for JVKE has been beyond crazy. Following the international explosion that is "this is what falling in love feels like", every one of his following releases has won over millions of streams, and even more dedicated fans. While tracks like "golden hour" and "this is what heartbreak feels like" deliver quite the tease for the album's narrative, this is what ___ feels like (Vol. 1-4) is truly a capsule of the rawest of all feelings, and relatable love stories alike.
At the dawn of the release, EARMILK caught up with JVKE to get a better grasp of the album's meticulous story arc. In conversation, we've learned about the young artist's writing and curating process, as well as his upbringing and musical journey thus far.
Gomi: Hello! How are you doing? We chatted earlier this year for a different publication for your collab with chillpill – has it been an insane year for your musical career so far?
JVKE: Hey! I'm doing great!! And yes it has, my career has been exploding so much recently… My new song "golden hour" has just broken my single day streaming record and broke 1,000,000 Spotify streams in one day! It’s surreal to think it has surpassed my other song “this is what falling in love feels like.” Things are crazy right now lol.
Gomi: Was it difficult to put together a full album—with a very well-crafted arc, might I add—with the way your particular sector of music accelerates and evolves? How did you come up with the concept for this album in the first place?
JVKE: It was pretty difficult, considering it will be my first and last album I ever release. I wanted the album to tell a story and include a wide variety of sounds and genres. It was inspired by my first relationship, and even though it was many years ago, I still went back in my memory and tapped into all those emotions I was feeling at that time.
Gomi: I thought it was really interesting how this album opens with an absolute high, as “this is what falling in love feels like” feels like pure joy and thrills, then it explores the trajectory of heartbreak and eventually lands with the last track, which basically talks about falling in love again—how did you come to decide on the order of the track list? It’s quite unusual for an album to go from an emotional high to low then back to upbeat & joy again.
JVKE: The album is broken up into 4 sections, the first is falling in love, and the last is falling out of love. I believe that part of falling out of love is falling in love with someone new, hence why you put it at the end of that section. It also serves as a cycle because a new relationship can end in disaster like the last.
Gomi: I really enjoy how every song shifts and changes within itself and among the track list—who are some of your musical inspirations? I know you actively reference Sinatra, Frank Ocean and Donald Glover, etc. in your lyrics, who else did you grow up listening to?
JVKE: Since I grew in the church, I listened to a lot of contemporary Christian music, but also would sneakily listen to hip hop like Kanye [West] and Drake. I have lots of different influences though.
Gomi: In your own opinion, what makes you so good at capturing feelings through melodies?
JVKE: I am a very emotional person, but I tend to hide them away. I think when I make music, I'm so in tune with emotions that it makes it easy for me to make music that evokes specific emotions. It’s my favorite thing to do.
Gomi: What’s your personal favorite song from the album?
JVKE: Honestly, they all have a special place in my heart for different reasons, but if I had to pick, I think I’d choose "golden hour."
Gomi: With the album out for the world, do you have any other plans for the rest of the year? Live shows maybe??
JVKE: Nothing set in stone yet, but I am planning to tour and release more music soon!