I can remember the first time I heard Jacky Bastek. That seems like it might be hyperbole or a grandiose statement but it’s true, I was staring vacantly at the stream of my social feed, not really engaged by anything, in that zombie like dive down into wasted time. ‘No Exit’ woke me up and snapped me out of it, I tripped over this video and skinned my knee’s, picking myself up from all fours stunned silly and feeling giddy I instantly hit repeat.
Whatever expectations you have before first listening you can discard them. Jacky picks at guitar strings like she sold her soul to the devil, she then delicately laces vocals over the top filled with so much passion and heart you can’t get too suspicious; this is entirely her own. You could spend hours staring at the intricate work that is going on at the tips of her fingers, she plays percussion, rhythm and melody all simultaneously. Each song is a perfectly crafted journey from egg to grave and the evolution and progression is a true thing of beauty to behold. She’s one of a few musicians that truly bear their blood on a track and it leaves you feeling utterly mesmerised, managing to do in video and song what more established artists cannot even do live. She drives the song into your very being with an intimate dance that is seemingly meant only for you.
If there is any complaint we could lodge against Miss Bastek it would only be that there is simply not enough of her work currently; something we’re hoping will be rectified very soon. Managing to carve out notoriety already this young lady is unsigned and ready to fly, she’s been recognised by the general public, established guitar masters and passionate aficionados. Having just launched a pledge campaign for her new album it has already reached its goal, but if you’re listening to “No Exit” as you read this we’re sure you’ll agree this is worth contribution, so continue to pledge. The album which is her first will consist of twelve tracks, four of which are acoustic and eight complimented by her siren song vocals. She has also dabbled with further instrumentation in the form of violin, guzheng and electric guitar, as if she needed to add any more strings to her already captivating bow. You’ll receive the album itself in trade for you pledge which alongside supporting talent of this ilk makes it a very appealing offer, above all else though we just want to know what precisely a guzheng is and what it sounds like!
We managed to get Jacky to put down her guitar and pick up the keyboard long enough for us to fire some questions at her and she was lovely enough to reply so below is an interview with the woman herself, we hope you enjoy it. Let us know how you found her music yourself or your thoughts in the comments below but above all else, just sit back and find a nice quiet place, shove on “Idyll Of Hills” and let her transport you into the stratosphere, surfing on clouds of imagination at breakneck speed fired with marksman precision from the strings of her guitar.
Hi Jacky, pleasure to have you here with us… well… sort of. Let’s start off nice and easy, who or what are you? Introduce yourself.
Hello! My name is Jacky Bastek and I am a fingerstyle guitarist and Singer/Songwriter from a little German forest somewhere close to Frankfurt.
So we’ve spent a little time being mesmerised by your poetic plucking and captivating choruses, just how long exactly have you been at this?
I started playing the guitar about 6 years ago and have been writting music ever since. When you’re a in-a-forest-living teenage girl with no means of transport there’s not much to do apart from playing music and thinking a lot about life, I assume.
Who were your inspirations? What made you pick up the guitar?
As far as I can remember I always dreamt of being a Guitarist. However, when I was a kid my mother made me play the violin instead- guess she wasn’t too happy with the idea of me attempting to become a rockstar. So when I discovered my first favourite bands, like Nirvana for example, and got old enough to buy a guitar I started to teach myself the basics. As a 14 year-old kid I was trying to find a band without any success. (Who would want to have a 14-year old girl in his band?) That’s why I decided to just write music for myself and sing along. When I got introduced to guitarists like Jon Gomm and Mike Dawes I really got into the whole geeky technical fingerstyle stuff. But today I’d say that I get my inspiration from many different genres and styles. May it be Classical, Jazz, Metal or even Bluegrass. But lately I really got into a mandolin player called Chris Thile for instance.
We’ll be perfectly honest, I do believe we first heard your music after ‘No Exit’ did the rounds on Facebook essentially going viral. How do you feel about the internet as a promotion and outreach program and how has it impacted on you and your music?
I believe that the internet is an amazing opportunity for musicians to be heard. Especially when you are independent and come from an area that is rather unmusical you pretty much depend on social media nowadays. Of course it will always have its downsides, too. The Internet can be a dark place and really irritating, especially for female musicians.
All in all, I would say that on one hand the social media response encouraged me to share my music with people and gave me the recognition I needed. It is crazy to know that there are thousands of people on the other side of the world appreciating what you do. On the other hand it can become quite terrifying to be in the spotlight- especially when there are creeps around whose anonymity makes them overly confident. That is very irritating and makes you think twice about what you publish.
When you’re not found on the internet where are you based?
I am going to live in Cologne by the end of the year to study music. So I am either way in Frankfurt or in Cologne, somewhere in the middle of Germany.
You’ve recently started a crowdfunding process for your new release, how is that going and what made you take that route?
Yes, indeed! I didn’t really think about producing an album until my videos went viral. As an independent musician the idea of releasing an album all by yourself can be quite scary and this is where a crowdfunding project becomes extremely helpful. I love the idea of being in direct contact with my listeneners and not having to deal with record labels and all that stuff. I am generally not a big fan of the whole music business drama. I just want to write and play music and am happy if people enjoy listening to it. The pledgemusic campaign payed off very well so far. I am in charge of everything so I do have the direct contact to my fans that I wanted. I’ve got about a week left and only need the last 10% to fully fund the album which is amazing.
So where could we see you next? We want to see you put that guitar to work. What’s the schedule? You at many festivals or shows this year?
Unfortunately I am not playing at too many festivals this year. At the moment I am mostly playing in Germany since my album production didn’t leave me much time to book the festival season. For now I will have to catch up on the album orders and the living room gigs that my fans booked over my pledge campaign. One of those gigs will take place in London this August so there’s still the opportunity to play a bit more in the UK before Brexit makes everything more complicated. But I am actually planning to organise some living room tours next year to keep the close contact to the audience and my career manageable.
Time for the hard hitting questions. Picture the scene, you’re walking home down a dark alley and suddenly Hulk Hogan appears and demands your purse. What do you do?
Oh wow! I totally forgot he existed… I guess after his career went downhill I’d probably go for the ‘Wow it’s Hulk Hogan! Dude what happened to you?’-therapeutic talk and encourage him to get his life together. Ha. I love that image.
Do you take your guitar with you everywhere? It seems like an extension of you in your videos, what’s the weirdest place you’ve ever performed?
Well… I don’t take my guitar everywhere but you can generally say that I do carry around an instrument most of the time. People say that I look naked without an instrument. In the past I have even climbed a volcano with a violin on my back to play some nerdy tunes on the top. The weirdest gig I have played though was probably in a circus tent at a German festival, ‘Lott-festival’. I am not joking when I say that there was a camel backstage. An actual freaking camel.
Okay Jacky it’s been lovely chatting with you, let us know about any upcoming projects or things that you are doing that we should check out and have a beautiful day.
I’d really appreciate if you’d check out my pledgemusic campaign to help me fund my album. Apart from that I am going to publish some fingerstyle videos throughout the summer. After that I am going to work on more band projects though which will be exciting.
Thanks so much for having me!
There you have it kids, you’re welcome for the introduction. We’re going to go weep in a corner knowing that Jacky is so humble and has only been doing this for six years. We’re half as talented at things we’ve done for much longer. The image of her scaling a volcano with a violin strapped to her back is one we won’t forget. Check out her website and facebook page, stay tuned and as always, be good.
Words by Matt Miles