July 23, 2019

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Winnipeg singer goes solo with new EP

Sixteen Years a preview of future releases for frontman of disbanded folk-rock group

A few months ago, singer-songwriter Jacob Brodovsky and his bandmates in Winnipeg folk-rock group Kakagi were in a tough spot.

As commitment levels from band members wavered and conversations with potential managers and booking agents became more frequent, they had to ask themselves if this was really what they all wanted to spend 100 per cent of their time and effort on.

After some tough conversations, it was decided the best thing was to recognize not everyone was as invested in the success of the band as Brodovsky — who was the principal songwriter, guitarist and vocalist — and amicably call it quits.

“Being in a band is an incredible amount of time you have to commit for largely no money, so you really have to be 100 per cent in it. In that band, I was the songwriter, so I had a much larger vested interest in the success of the band than anyone else... but it got to a point where Max, my brother, was like, ‘I really enjoy this still, but I don’t want this as badly as you do, and we’re going to get to a point eventually that that’s going to be a real issue.’ So it made sense to pump the breaks,” says Brodovsky, 27.

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A few months ago, singer-songwriter Jacob Brodovsky and his bandmates in Winnipeg folk-rock group Kakagi were in a tough spot.

As commitment levels from band members wavered and conversations with potential managers and booking agents became more frequent, they had to ask themselves if this was really what they all wanted to spend 100 per cent of their time and effort on.

Supplied</p><p>Jacob Brodovsky’s new five-song solo album, Sixteen Years, comes in the wake of the split of the Winnipeg folk-rock group Kakagi.</p></p>

Supplied

Jacob Brodovsky’s new five-song solo album, Sixteen Years, comes in the wake of the split of the Winnipeg folk-rock group Kakagi.

After some tough conversations, it was decided the best thing was to recognize not everyone was as invested in the success of the band as Brodovsky — who was the principal songwriter, guitarist and vocalist — and amicably call it quits.

"Being in a band is an incredible amount of time you have to commit for largely no money, so you really have to be 100 per cent in it. In that band, I was the songwriter, so I had a much larger vested interest in the success of the band than anyone else... but it got to a point where Max, my brother, was like, ‘I really enjoy this still, but I don’t want this as badly as you do, and we’re going to get to a point eventually that that’s going to be a real issue.’ So it made sense to pump the breaks," says Brodovsky, 27.

In the wake of that split, Brodovsky, who has been in bands since he was 11, is releasing his first set of fully solo material in the form of the five-song EP Sixteen Years.

Half the tracks were written right before Kakagi formed, while the other half were written right after Kakagi ended, bookmarking his experiences with that group.

This set of songs does have a different vibe than a lot of what Brodovsky has produced in the past with his various bands; it’s more mellow in tone and sound, with a larger focus on lyrics and storytelling, pulling style inspiration from some of the songwriter she loves the most, such as local legends John K. Samson and Greg MacPherson.

And even though he’s no stranger to holding the torch alone when it comes to writing, Brodovsky says penning tracks for a solo project feels different than writing for a band environment.

"There’s always negotiation involved in a band no matter what, so it’s both liberating and incredibly daunting and terrifying to have all the reins in your hands. And also, there’s no one to blame... there’s no one to share your failures, it’s a lot lonelier when things don’t go well," he says.

"The biggest challenge for me, though, is, like I said, I’ve been in a band for so long and I’ve always had weekly band practice and that was such a nice part of my life and that I miss a lot. That’s been the biggest challenge, not having that immediate sounding board for (new material). And it’s harder to put yourself out there when it’s your name, I find. When I don’t have a band name or a moniker to hide behind, you’re a lot more vulnerable."

Brodovsky already has enough material in the bank for a full-length album, which he is hoping to record later this year. For now, though, he views Sixteen Years as a preview of future releases.

"I like to think of it as a tasting menu. It’s not necessarily the most cohesive five songs in the world, but I think, in the context of a larger catalogue, it makes sense. So it’s sort of a taste of what’s to come," he says.

erin.lebar@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @NireRabel

Erin Lebar

Erin Lebar
Multimedia producer

Erin Lebar is a multimedia producer who spends most of her time writing music- and culture-related stories for the Arts & Life section. She also co-hosts the Winnipeg Free Press's weekly pop-culture podcast, Bury the Lede.

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