Jake Ward asks deep questions, like, “Can we throw it all away/Can we leave this shallow place/Can we leave it all behind/And be finally alive?” Those are from “Nothing Else,” the first song off his band Watch Me Breathe’s upcoming sophomore album The Strange Pull of What You Really Love. And Ward doesn’t have an answer for them.
“In a way this album is much less personal than [2018’s The Lighter Side of Darkness],” he explains. “And much more observational about society and things that don’t make sense to me.”
The lyrics are poetic and thought-provoking, all under the guise of radio-ready, alt-rock melodies—or what he calls “progressive pop-rock.”
“A lot of people use genre as an opportunity to identify with other bands,” he says. “I’m more interested in inventing a new genre that makes people go, ‘What is that? I want more.’”
Originally begun in 2017 as a solo project, Ward adopted the name Watch Me Breathe to avoid the singer-songwriter ego-stroking and let the music speak for itself. He still plays all the instruments for the recordings, but is joined by Ryan Green on bass and his brother Carl Ward on drums for live gigs.
Ward has worked with a number of local musicians, including Tess Dunn and Alex Abreu, as a producer and engineer, through his recording studio and company Jake’s Lab.
“I spend a lot of my time producing, which I love, and it pays much better than being a musician,” he says.
9 p.m. Wednesday, July 24. The Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $7. 429-6994.