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Jacob Anderson

Jacob Anderson

mattyvogel_lead-press-photo .jpeg

Alice Gee | 28/03/2024

Sat opposite one another, coffee in hand and homemade cake in the other (I'm an avid baker), it feels less like three years and more like a matter of months since I last spoke in depth with Jacob for his debut HATC cover. With our previous conversation taking place over Zoom amid the pandemic, when Jacob arrived on set, I felt, in some essence, that I knew Jacob quite intimately from his vulnerability and openness with me in his previous interview when, in fact, it dawned on me it's the first time we are meeting in person. There's something about Jacob's nature that puts you at ease upon his arrival; it's incredibly disarming. He's a force of nature; no one needs telling otherwise. However, he carries an element of calm with a smile almost permanently on his face. It's exciting for me to get a chance to catch up with him in person and tell him the impact our interview had on me, let alone anyone else. At the time, I remember being in some form of crisis with life proving difficult, and I had a lot of life questions I was unable to answer, let alone expect anyone else to tackle. By accident, I found myself opening up to Jacob with him having bared his soul to me in an open-all-areas interview, where nothing was closed off. In short, I left the conversation with confidence that had felt foreign to me for some time. So when it came to releasing the second season of Interview with The Vampire, you bet we were chasing our tails to welcome Jacob back to the family fold.

Vampires, I know, we've been there, seen and done that, but have we? You may or may not have a personal gripe with anything Vampire under the header of fantasy but let me tell you now that Interview with The Vampire is no cliché, with a gripping script, complicated characters and queer brilliance. If not classy, it is indeed the reinvention of the Vampire. It's all about extremes. Jacob tells me, "The first season is more of a show about a bad marriage, and they just happen to be vampires. It was all about extremes." With the second season promising elevation of the first in a slightly different manner, it is bizarre to me the lack of buzz surrounding the first series.

mattyvogel_lead-press-photo .jpeg
mattyvogel_lead-press-photo .jpeg

Having disappeared off the scene for a year before the first season's release, it left fans asking, where is Jacob Anderson? The narrative's focus remains the same, on identity, with new personal depths; it's a trance that will lock you in, binging the show easily in one afternoon. When delving into the world of Vampires, Jacob tells me that every role he takes on has a purpose, with never a regret, "I'm never going to regret anything I do", he tells me dead honestly. "As much as I think this is a privilege I've been afforded, I won't just do something if it's not something I'd love myself. I wouldn't." Authenticity is entrenched in Jacob and his being, as he tells me he's always prioritised, whether with his music or acting. "I'll never write a song that I wouldn't want to listen to, and I've never advertised anything I wouldn't buy myself." Being a sellout agitates him for all the right reasons, "Like it just sits in the pit of my stomach. Even now, to this day, there are things out where I think, 'Why did I do that? I wish I hadn't done that, even though it's been and gone." Never thinking of where or how it will be consumed, Jacob's only consideration is whether he does his work justice. Still, when it comes to the show's return for season two, Jacob won't pretend that he's thought about it more than needed, with the idea of doubt not being something that serves him or anyone else.

I appreciate his honesty. As someone whose face gives away my trail of thought before I have the chance to hide it (I guess you could also call it resting bitch face), I appreciate the transparency. Jacobs's honesty is inherent to him, doing every second of his on-screen character the justice he deserves. I'd like to know what drew him to Louis, the complexity of his character, and whether separating himself from the character's perspective was easy enough. "It's not easier necessarily, but it's different. I think I used to approach it quite differently from how I do now. I think I used to put less of myself into acting because the characters were so far away from me. It was probably because it was more of a protection thing." But in Interview With The Vampire and Doctor Who felt different, he explains, "I love how playful it was." Jacob's aspirations focused almost entirely on Doctor Who, admitting he would have been internally happy forever portraying a character in the fantasy series. "As a kid, it was a huge deal for me. It was the only thing I wanted to do when I first started acting. I was like, I need to be in Doctor Who, and I'll be happy. I think I put quite a lot of myself into that, just in a playful way, just having fun. Like a kid again. It made me want to act again at a time when I didn't want to anymore."

Filming series one of Interview with The Vampire in New Orleans and the second in Prague, I can't help but wonder if Jacob watches his work back, with the series too good not to. "I do, but I tend to pick it apart slightly." With that confession, Jacob also acknowledges that he will never see himself objectively. "It's just not going to happen. But I've realised I don't need to. It's not necessarily healthy to see yourself objectively." He feels he can look at Louis's character from the outside; in ways, it's the most personal part he's ever played. It's fascinating to see the separation of actor and character. I assume he connected with the character in ways that made reprieving the role still exciting. "I get bored easily. So, regarding the idea of returning, I was slightly worried I'd get lazy or complacent. I realised that Louis is quite different in lots of different ways. Where he left at the end of season one wasn't the same in Dubai or New Orleans. So it wasn't possible to do the same." Jacob is excited about the potential for viewers to see the unexpected whilst connecting with Louis on a personal, human level. "I think the series is extremely human. To me, vampires are just the most heightened version of humanity. They feel everything, just tenfold. Forever is a long time to sit in feelings. I love that about immortality. Life is all about endurance. It was one of the big things with Louis that I think I fell in love with." But with comfort also came a feeling of confrontation for Jacob as he discovered on a level that both he and Louis can be swept up within their feelings. "My version is that void of not feeling anything like that. It's extremities of high and low and how exhausting that feels, and you're trapped in that with seemingly no way out. Eternity is a long time. I guess Louis reminds me of some of the darker times I've had in my life and in my head but just stretched out."

mattyvogel_lead-press-photo .jpeg
mattyvogel_lead-press-photo .jpeg

A switch flicks for Jacob, throwing him back to our first interview over Zoom. "As you remember, I was worried around the time of our first interview because my album Andy came out just after my daughter was born. And suddenly, I was like having to do interviews. I think I only did three interviews because it was too raw. I remember thinking, am I going to spill out everything? I appreciate that you didn't take advantage of that." As someone who couldn't even consider the latter, at times (quite often), I know that the media world can be challenging to navigate and trust. So Jacobs's trust and vulnerability to be open with me still sits with me today. Jacob's vulnerability is clearly described in his most recent album, Andy. The body of work as a whole is so eloquently written yet, at the same time, incredibly critical within pockets of self-dreprication. "That's something that I have kind of a preoccupation with. I could barely see myself in a positive light throughout my life."

The only exception is when he feels overwhelming pride in his work. "Subconsciously, my brain made the song, and I worked through it without knowing. It's as funny as "Big and Scared". I don't know if you hear it, but I broke down in tears in that song. Partway through the song, I had to stop because I thought I'd start crying. I'd never spoken to myself like that before. I meant it; I did. It's always been in my interest and motivation to get myself to a place where I can go on stage and do a job, but that song was a big personal moment for me." Jacob explains that its position led the rest of the album. "I'm proud of it, and it's a time capsule of myself."

"Honestly, I don't speak very kindly about myself in the first album. So, I think subconsciously, I wanted to do something different a second time. I wanted to do something a bit more kind, which doesn't come easily to me. It's a fight with perfectionism." How do you see your first album? "I think the first album was made out of embarrassment and almost self-deprecation, almost laughing to myself about it all." I wonder if Jacob considers his first album to have a sense of humour that the second didn't. "I almost developed a deflection technique in the first album. The second time around, I asked, how am I? Where am I?" Jacob tells me he wasn't in therapy when writing his first album, confessing it made a big difference. It isn't easy when people aren't used to that level of self-deprecation and how you speak to yourself to understand and receive a body of work, whereas I'm doing the opposite; it spoke to me on levels I wasn't expecting. "It was deeply personal. But that's the final step of why I do any of this stuff. I think you can make music and keep it for yourself or make no attempt to get it out anywhere. But when I think about when I was growing up and some of the musicians I connected with, you work on it for as long as you need to work on it until it feels ready. It becomes less personal when I don't tend to listen to things again." Jacob explains, "When I've done shows, and I start to feel how I felt again, it can be difficult. I don't write songs retrospectively. Every song I've written is how do I feel right in that minute."

I opened up to Jacob, explaining that we are often sold a pipe dream regarding perfectionism in the creative industries and how something is only truly finished when it appears seamless, placing little worth on anything that doesn't fit snugly into that pigeonhole. "When you get to that stage where other people are metabolising it in their way, whether they agree or not, the intentions behind something you make are critical." At some point, you have to find a way to let go, even if it is for your sanity. "You can't control how other people feel about what you've made. That's partly why I thought I would release an EP with some demos from the first album."

Having re-released an updated limited edition vinyl for 'YOU'RE A MAN NOW, BOY', I'm curious about what led Jacob in that direction. "It was convenient. It was something I've been trying to do for years. I would have liked to have it that way the day after the vinyl sold out the first time. It's not a year anniversary or anything, but I finally got to put the artwork I always wanted on it. That stuff matters to me." How something looks and feels holds weight for Jacob: "I feel like it needs to correspond with how something feels or sounds. But it was a feeling of completion when the vinyl arrived at my house. I saw it and truly felt this was the end of this era."

As the era comes to a close, I ask about the simplicity of Joy and the rather unsimple and underestimated value it brings to Jacobs's life. It comes down to two things. "I am sticking to things rather than people because people bring me joy." Jacob taps into his emotional side again, "I feel very guided by music; my mood is very guided by it. Silence is something I find tough. I hear music in things a lot as well. I hear rhythm in things, even just in speech. I think that was particularly tough at the beginning of lockdown. I've always got something in or over my ears. Something I didn't know about myself until recently is that if I wake up and just put music on in the shower, it changes my chemistry. So I think that brings me joy. There's nothing other than that and human love from which I get the same euphoria."

Words Alice Gee
Creative Alice Gee
Photography Aaron Hurley
Styling Lois Jenner
MUA & Hair Stylist Eoin Whelan

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