With his band finishing up its third album, Kalmink also brings other artists’ “vision to life” in the studio. He debuted a new song live on the air this week for Local Spins Live. (Video, podcast)
THE BAND: The Fever Haze
THE MUSIC: Rock ’n’ roll
WHERE YOU CAN SEE THE BAND: 9:30 p.m. Thursday (Jan. 7) at Founders Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids, with The Zannies and Bet on Rats
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As a young producer and recording engineer, Zeeland musician Jake Kalmink already has learned a lot about capturing “the essence of the band” that’s laying down tracks in his studio.
That applies to his own rock band The Fever Haze and his solo project, Jake Kalmink & The Further Closer.
“I personally have a vision for the way a record’s going to sound before we start doing it,” says the 22-year-old Zeeland High School grad who earned a recording arts degree from Hope College.
“I try to get everything sounding how it should before I record it. It just makes it a lot easier once it gets to that point.”
For a guy who picked up a guitar at age 10 and only started playing in rock groups as a teenager, Kalmink has earned widespread praise from West Michigan bands who’ve recorded projects in his Zeeland studio.
“He is a boy genius,” raves R.J. Nordlund of Grand Rapids’ Nordlund & The Nomad Assembly, which recorded its debut album last year with Kalmink. “He is kind of an introvert, but he has a million ideas in his head all the time. He is all about execution as a musician and you can see that by how tight his bands are. … Everything he works on is golden.”
The producer also has worked with the bands All is Well, Secret Grief, Watching for Foxes, Small Parks, Jake Down & The Midwest Mess, Grey Matter and The Lake Effects.
“He’s so knowledgeable and skilled. I could sit and talk music with him for a long time,” adds Watching for Foxes’ Joey Frendo, who describes Kalmink as “super quiet” but amazingly observant.
“I try to get the essence of the band themselves. I try not to be too much of an influence musically, but sonically I try to capture what they’re going for,” Kalmink says. “I try to bring out their style and keep it natural and try not to over-produce it. One of my favorite things to do is to bring their vision to life.”
Kalmink also has earned deserved attention for his work with The Fever Haze, a rock band that’s currently finishing up its third album after solidifying its five-piece lineup and one that headlines a show Thursday night at Founders Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids.
JAKE KALMINK: AVOIDING STEREOTYPES
“We’re trying to play rock ’n’ roll but keep it fresh and not really fit into a certain stereotype of a rock ‘n’ roll band,” says Kalmink, describing the upcoming album as The Fever Haze’s “most collaborative effort” yet. “We have a song on the new record we’re working on right now that sounds like a disco song. We’re definitely branching out of what we have been doing before.”
Kalmink brought one of those new tunes, “We Can Leave,” to Local Spins Live on News Talk 1340 AM (WJRW) this week, performing a solo rendition on the air. Listen to the entire show podcast here, with a video of his performance below.
PODCAST: Jake Kalmink on Local Spins Live
The Fever Haze – Kalmink, guitarist/keyboard player Nicholas Richardson, guitarist Eric Beck, bassist Mike Greene and drummer Jimmy Versluis – has taken a “different approach” by recording and completing each song on the new album one at a time.
“It’s not as cohesive across the board sound-wise, but I think it really lets us focus on one song at a time and really get what we want out of each song,” he suggested.
Kalmink, who was inspired musically by Bruce Springsteen and The White Stripes, also released his first solo album last year under the moniker Jake Kalmink & The Further Closer. He characterizes that project as “a lot more focused on alt-country and stuff like that. And there’s really no restraints on those (songs) because I can record as many parts as I want and not feel like I have to replicate it live necessarily.”
He mostly reserves live performances for The Fever Haze, which plans to do more touring this year along with wrapping up the new album. The band plays Founders Brewing at 9:30 p.m. Thursday (Jan. 7), with The Zannies and Bet on Rats also on the bill. Admission is free.
“I really enjoy playing live and I really enjoy recording, and they’re two completely different things for me,” he offers. “When I’m recording, I feel I can do things over and over until I really like how it sounds, whereas live I really can’t do that. But it’s a lot of fun to play live because you feel it and really mesh with the band.”
For more information about Kalmink and The Fever Haze, visit thefeverhaze.com.
VIDEO: Jake Kalmink of The Fever Haze, “We Can Leave”
Copyright 2016, Spins on Music LLC