Featured Artist: Jake Ingalls

Posted on October 31, 2014


By: Isabelle Nelson

IMG_8599edLife isn’t too bad when you’re on tour with your favorite musical group while putting on shows for your hometown band. For Jake Ingalls, this is life as he knows it. As a stage hand/guitar tech for The Flaming Lips, Ingalls has had the opportunity to travel with his favorite rock band around the world while fronting his own psych-rock band, Spaceface. I met up with Ingalls to learn more about what it’s like to balance his two worlds, and what’s next for the accomplished Memphian musician:

IN: When did you start becoming passionate about music?

JI: I’ve always been making some kind of noise. When I was younger, it was normal for an evening to end with my dad pulling out a guitar and singing. When I was about 3, my parents set up a box on a stool they let me hit with a pair of drumsticks to allow me to participate in the activity. It wasn’t too long after that they had me in piano lessons. I’d say during that time, I kind of just knew I felt best when I was playing. I don’t know that I ever registered it as a passion until relatively recently, in a way it’s kind of just been omnipresent – like a feeling you’ve had that you suddenly discover has an exact French definition. 

IN: You have been given such an amazing opportunity touring with the Flaming Lips. Talk about the experience of being on the road with the band.

JI: The entire Lips camp is made of such a special brand of human, I always find it difficult to describe it more articulately than, “Yeah, it’s a pretty badass job.” I’ve found that it takes a certain kind of mind to thrive in the Lips camp. It’s that rare situation where you know that everyone around you is working as hard or harder than you to make sure every performance is better than the last. You’ve got to be willing to offer to help before you asked, which some people just aren’t like that. There’s also a pretty strong emphasis on the “family of friends” vibe, which makes the hard work a lot easier on harder days.

IN: Besides the Lips, who are your other musical inspirations?

JI: My playlists are always a little all over the place; you’ll find Bill Evans rubbing elbows with The Chemical Brothers followed by Childish Gambino. I’ve always been a little more enthralled with a group or an artist when their performance was nothing short of captivating. I guess the bands I’ve seen lately that really inspired me to step up my music game would be Dr.Dog, Reggie Watts, White Denim and Tame Impala. Also, I think it’d be pretty difficult for any 23 year-old dude who plays guitar to leave The White Stripes out of the equation.

IN: What has been your favorite experience on tour so far?

JI: Each night is really it’s own unique experience. Which is the great part and the challenge. You tend to collect specific moments from any given night that really piece the whole picture together whether it’s a particularly good feeling you had or something you went through or witnessed that was so bad it’s comical. This past tour with Spaceface had a particularly great evening in Columbus, Ohio  (where we had never played before) – the place was so packed out on Wednesday and all these people were dressed up all future space themed with bejeweled faces and glowing costumes. The Columbus Crowd picked us all up and we just fed off of their energy. We also had a really awesome homecoming opening for Phantogram at Minglewood recently- we hadn’t played to that many new people in Memphis for a long time and everyone was so great and responsive! We’d also never played Minglewood before. We played a show in St. Louis to about 5 people on a Friday, which can be a bummer, but the night had a great consolation prize. A few of us got to play around in a regulation sized boxing ring and ride around in festival floats and box cars afterwards. He paid us 60 bucks out of his own pocket and that kindness really gets you by and makes a tour special.

IN: Your tour for your band, Spaceface just ended earlier this month. How would you describe your musical sound? What was your favorite show during this tour?

JI: I’d say Spaceface is psychedelic rock with a strong emphasis on pop structure. Sometimes, I’ll just say punk rock pink floyd. When we’re working on putting a songs together, we try to think about how it will affect the show. I’d say we sound like a montage of a bad trip turning into a joyous party.

IN: Any pre-performance rituals/traditions while on tour?

JI: Tequila and Red Bull. Handshakes. Hugs. Stretches. Jumps. In that order. As far as traditions go: my buddy Zac and I make little vinyl sticker characters that we tag all over the world. It sounds silly but it’s actually really cool to go back to a city on the other side of the globe and see your little character still up and kickin’ it after a year or so.

Learn more about Spaceface.

Posted in: Music