Updated: Mar 1, 2021
Elton John calls Jakob Leventhal's 'Greenwich Village Ghosts' "One of the most beautiful records [he has] heard in along time". It is hard to disagree with such a statement. Leventhal's track is bitter nostalgia mingled with sweet, melancholic strains: a tune that laments the absence of youth created in the simple act of growing up. We had the privilege to quickly chat with Jakob about his musical influences and the story behind one of his most popular songs.
You are described as writing music for "uncontrollably obsessive people". What does that mean to you?
"I suppose it means that I find comfort in knowing other people obsess over everything, go over every little thing in their head over and over, and have trouble ever letting anything go. It’s a weird little dichotomy to be unenergetic and depressed but also compulsively obsessing over everything."
Who are your major music influences?
"Elliott Smith, Conor Oberst/Bright Eyes, The Beatles, Adrienne Lenker/Big Thief, Wes Montgomery, Blake Mills, Chopin, Phoebe Bridgers, Debussy, Miles Davis, Wilco and Silver Jews."
For our magazine, each moment leading up to a piece of art is as important as the art itself. What is the story behind this piece? Can you close your eyes and remember a specific moment?
"I was walking down the street and I began intensely examining everyone who strolled past me, wondering if they were as miserable as I was. Sometimes New York feels like an echoing chamber for being alone. Everything can feel so fucking cliche its painful. There’s only so many times you can walk down the street smoking a cigarette and listening to Elliott Smith before it feels like you’re a caricature of yourself."