Singer-songwriter Jake Germany took a comical approach when it came time to write, record and release his debut full-length album, Cardboard Kids.
“We already had this story concept laid out for the album, so we thought, ‘Why not just go ahead and make it into a book?’ Then, with a couple of us being big into comic books, we decided to do a comic book, too,” Germany said with a laugh. “It’s got a Scott Pilgrim vs. the World kind of feel; it’s more grounded in real life, not necessarily superheroes and villains.”
The Tyler, Texas-based performer also skips over Pilgrim’s seven evil exes, opting instead for a story that harkens back to his own: a creative kid, feeling bound to his roots, who wanted to play music and see the world.
Germany has done just that with years spent touring with pop-rock band The Secret Handshake. Now, as a solo artist, he hopes Cardboard Kids will help convince listeners they can do it, too.
“It’s a story about not wanting to get locked into your hometown and being bigger than that,” said Germany, 23, who attended Shawnee’s Oklahoma Baptist University. “I’m proud of it because it’s a story about me — fictional, but based on me. It’s the most personal thing I’ve ever written.”
The idea is something he’s sure many of his fans have felt as well.
“It’s a relatable idea, not wanting to be defined by where you’re from. A lot of kids go through it,” Germany said. “They don’t want to be what your parents and grandparents were and get stuck in their hometown forever.”
Cardboard Kids, released earlier this week, is also a musical departure from his previous work, featuring a more mature sound that has echoes of Oasis.
“It has a ’90s vibe to it,” Germany said. “I went into the studio with a full band for the first time, and I’m heading out on the road with a full band.
I was able to dabble in bigger things than just me and my acoustic guitar.”
It only makes sense that just as the character in Cardboard Kids grows up, so, too, has Germany.
“In the past, I had written from a place of what I thought was popular, and what I thought people would like,” he said. “On this record, it’s just personal songs that I really like. If other people like it, that’s cool, but if not, that’s cool, too.”