We had the good fortune of connecting with Jack Schwenke and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jack, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
“Where we’re from is not who we are. Boy, do we get hung up on that!” The great bassist Victor Wooten said this, and it just really stuck with me.
I’ve definitely spent a lot of time in this headspace wishing I had better opportunities when I was young, that I came from a better music scene, just generally regretting things I couldn’t change – in music, AND in life. I like to keep Victor’s words in mind to keep me focused and looking to the future. We don’t have to be shackled to our past!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I really dig art that tells a narrative, and especially where music collides with other mediums to create that story. So, of course, I love working with artists with a strong personal vision especially if it incorporates the visual or unconventional. I think bass is the perfect vessel to collaborate – it’s an incredible instrument that plays one of the most fundamental roles in music yet often doesn’t need to draw attention to itself. It really fits my personality! I’m not someone who wants to be up front, but I like to be part of the inner workings of stuff. I wanna be the guy that you get on your project because you know he’ll give his all to faithfully breathe life into it.
My musical journey has been pretty roundabout! I started out simply wanting to be a mad shredder, but I really love where I’m at these days – my big dream has become to one day playing bass guitar on a Pixar score. I adore animation because it embodies all that I love about them previously mentioned multi-discipline, creative & expressive narratives. To contribute my concept to something like that would be incredible! (just by the way, I really really dig the recent rise of animated shows that explore darker or more nuanced themes, from anime in general or recent western shows like Invincible. We’re in a really exciting time!) I’m super stoked that lately I’ve been able to contribute both my writing and playing to some animated shows – tackling those challenges and new perspectives has been really fulfilling.
Lastly, in my own small way I want to represent and foster a bit more diversity in music. Across a decade of performing I’ve found that as a gay rhythm section player I’m in a pretty small minority and it really made me think about why certain people choose certain instruments (or sports, or studies, or anything really!) I want young girls to be free to play that drum set if they want to. I want young boys not to feel embarrassed for playing a flute. So, I really try with my students and in general interactions to encourage people to just play what and however they feel, however that applies.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Something I love about California is that you can drive for an hour or two and find yourself in practically any kind of stunning wilderness you can think of. It’s totally unreal. I would honestly grab my mate, pick somewhere randomly and just go see what we find! But if we’re talking in the city, I really love Little Tokyo. There’s so much awesome food, fun stores and Japanese gardens / architecture, I could definitely spend a few days there. There’s also this tattoo parlour in Weller Court, Otaku Vision, that I’ve been meaning to check out – I really wanna convince a friend to get a sick anime tat with me. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Maybe it’s cliche, but it has to be my mum and dad. Just because, as I’ve gotten a bit older I’ve begun to think about all the stuff I took for granted as a kid. I’m only just beginning to grasp the sacrifices, personal and monetary, that my parents have made for me over the years. Lately I’ve remembered this small, but really sweet memory….
My dad is an avid cyclist (lycra and all) and I remember he’d always look forward to his morning rides on Tuesday, they were totally the highlight of his week. I had band practice the same morning but one day, I missed the bus in. Dad didn’t even second guess for a second – he knew how much that meant to me and instantly went to drive me. I’m sure he was annoyed that his dumb kid sleeping in made him miss something he loved, but he always prioritised my growth above his own interests and I think that’s just incredible. I honestly can’t imagine doing that for any person at this point in my life. So – to mum and dad. Cheers, I love ya!
Holy Smoke Photography, Marco Ruegg, Paul Gerard Media