Written by Monica Sottile
Melina Duterte, AKA Jay Som, released her sophomore album Anak Ko in August of 2019 and is currently on a world tour for the release - and playing tomorrow (Saturday 21st Feb) at Brisbane’s very own Foundry.
Anak Ko, which means ‘my child’ in Tagalong, is a lush, dreamy and introspective album. The instrumentals of this album are warm soundscapes that create a nostalgic feel, that remind me of my childhood and adolescence (without the awkwardness of being a teenager). Listening to this album feels like a conversation with my mum on a drive to the beach. The warm bass, synth and acoustic tones, interspersed with Tamborine and jangly guitar creates the perfect bed on which Duterte’s voice floats dreamily above.
For Duterte, this album differs from her debut album, Everybody Works, and previous releases in the process of recording and producing the album. For those earlier releases, Jay Som was largely a solo project - written, recorded and produced from a bedroom in California, whereas Anak Ko was written in Joshua Tree and finalised in LA - where Duterte now resides.
Ahead of her show this weekend, I got to speak to Melina about the stars, memes and the making of Anak Ko.
*Unfortunately my recording of the interview was damaged and I wasn’t able to retrieve it all but I still managed to keep a nice snapshot into the world of Jay Som and Anak Ko.
What’s your favourite meme at the moment?
Baby Yoda - me and my friend just watched all of the Mandelorian and I finally got it. He’s just so cute.
Would you recommend the show?
Yeah, I’m a big Star Wars fan and I loved the show.
What star sign are you and do you care?
Haha um I’m an Aries and yes I do care.
Any idea what the stars have in store for you this year?
I actually looked this up on one of those sites and it said that 2020 had healing for Aries this year, and I think I definitely need healing from 2019.
How would you describe your musical process? And how has it changed from Everybody Works to Anak Ko? What does this body of work mean for you?
Yeah well for Everybody works, I was a baby haha I know it was only two years ago, but I recorded it and had everything ready in three weeks, it all went so fast and then we were just touring so much.
Well a lot can happen in 2 years.
Yeah exactly, in those two years I did so much touring, I got sober and I feel like everything just got more clear to me.
For this album, I had moved to LA and I went out to Joshua Tree - like where U2 went and all those big corny bands haha - to do some of the writing. LA is great but there’s just so much to do there, and I just wanted to go somewhere where I wouldn’t be looking at my phone. So There were more movement in the recording aspect of this album. Also there were just more people involved in playing and making this album than last time.
For someone who doesn’t know what the American desert is like, how was that?
It was quite isolating, which was good. It’s very quiet and quite beautiful. There was this one day that was so hot and the next morning I woke up and there was a snow storm and then the next day it was all melted and gone.
You’ve just released a coffee blend with intelligentsia - how did that come about? Is it your new fave coffee? (10% goes to RAICES refugee and immigrant center for education and legal services)
Haha, well my label Polyvinyl have a partnership with Intelligenstia and they asked if I wanted to go to like a roastery to try all these coffees - it was pretty weird but really cool and they were all really nice. And we made this coffee blend haha - my mum did this thing and bought 40 mugs after I did it and like filled them with candies and stuff and gave them to all the family for Christmas. It was a little embarrassing for me but very nice for my mum.
Catch Jay Som on the Australian leg of the Anak Ko world tour at one of these dates:
Sydney 21st February @ Oxford Arts Factory
Brisbane 22nd February @ The Foundry
Melbourne 23rd February @ Northcote Social Club