“Life’s not all bad when I really think”: A Conversation With Sly Jr., Son of Sly

piggy bank - sly jr
piggy bank - sly jr
Landon Jacobs, frontman of Sir Sly, sits down with Atwood Magazine for an intimate conversation about his new solo project Sly Jr., his debut single “piggy bank,” and the changes in perspective that have come with marriage and fatherhood.
Stream: “piggy bank” – Sly Jr.

They say acid’s the trip you want to have, mushrooms are the trip you need to have. And I hope “piggy bank” is the trip people need to have.

Sir Sly frontman Landon Jacobs is in a good place – with himself, with the world, with where he is in life.

At 33, he’s found joy and purpose as a happily married husband (to Sarah McLaughlin, known to most as Bishop Briggs) and as an engaged and active father to his baby son. It’s a stark contrast to where he and his bandmates were ten years ago, on Sir Sly’s 2014 debut album You Haunt Me – an achingly intimate, unflinchingly honest record about alcoholism, grief, trauma, religion (or the loss thereof), and finding meaning in a seemingly meaningless world.

piggy bank - sly jr
piggy bank – sly jr

Reintroducing himself this year as Sly Jr. (a cute play on words), Jacobs is keenly aware of how much he’s changed – and his debut single “piggy bank” captures an instinctive desire to savor this new, brighter chapter in his life. Still achingly intimate (that’ll never go away), beautifully angsty, and raw, “piggy bank” is a song about loving something with all your soul, so much so that you wish the world would slow down so you can embrace every second of your time together.

“It feels like I’ve lived a very full, happy year and a half of trying to soak up all of the moments,” Jacobs says, smiling. “I’m squarely there; I’m not wishing to be somewhere in the distant future.” He expresses as much in the song’s opening verse:

Life’s not all bad when I really think
I’ve thrown everything
but the kitchen sink
at it
wouldn’t bet my piggy bank on it
Please drive me slow while I cherish it
So many things I can’t bear to miss
Like piggy banks and Christmases

Jacobs wrote and recorded all the instruments for Sly Jr. himself, with mixing help from recording engineer and friend Thomas Wolseley. “piggy bank” will be plenty recognizable to Sir Sly fans – that cathartic, emotionally charged “sly-fi” DNA is still there – and while Hayden Coplen’s singular drumming and Jason Suwito’s high-caliber production are certainly missed, in Sly Jr. one finds a man reflecting on who he once was, basking in who he’s become, and (according to Jacobs) still very much wrestling with life’s bigger questions.

Sly Jr.'s Landon Jacobs
Sly Jr.’s Landon Jacobs

But with a wife and kid to take care of (and who in turn take care of him), the Landon Jacobs we meet through Sly Jr. is without a doubt in a good place.

His chorus can be seen as an ode to that long-sought fulfillment and contentment – something he for years didn’t think existed, at least not for him:

I could spend a lifetime
believing all your white lies
Tell me it’s the right time
I’ll follow you anywhere
I don’t give a goddamn
What’s hiding in your offhand
Love has been a godsend
I’ll follow you anywhere

“I know exactly what I need to do,” Jacobs says, reflecting on his place in this world. “Make sure my son is well taken care of, that he feels important and listened to, and that Sarah feels supported so that she can do what she wants to do. I don’t know if God does send anything, but if God does send stuff, it’s definitely these two people to me. It’s the best; I live the best life ever.”

“And that’s what this song is about: I take a brief moment looking back, but then it’s all eyes ahead: What’s happening, right here, right now is the most important thing to me, with these two people, always.”

— —

Stream: “piggy bank” – Sly Jr.

Sly Jr.'s Landon Jacobs
Sly Jr.’s Landon Jacobs


piggy bank - sly jr

Atwood Magazine: Landon, I always love catching up with you, and as I was preparing for our chat I realized that this September will mark ten years of Sir Sly’s debut album, You Haunt Me. What's your relationship like with that first record today? Does the music still resonate with you?

Landon Jacobs: I wouldn’t really know ’cause I don’t listen to it. I think I’m proud of all of my former iterations more so probably than I used to be. I think sometimes time allows you to be kinder to yourself but it is always funny. I’ve said this before probably but the records become more clear what they were about way after releasing. So the first record I thought I was writing about a very specific thing like, Oh, my questions about God or my questions about my upbringing or whatever else. And I think most of my music, it was more about a question of myself and less of a scathing review of Christianity and more of a scathing review of maybe who I was for accepting it that way and then what am I going to be now that I don’t have it. So in that sense I’m always proud of that, but I was a kid. I was 22 when we were writing all that stuff. I like it. It was simple which is nice. There were a lot of simple ideas. The songs were a lot simpler which is nice.

And in some ways that simplicity was a little bit of the north star for what I’ve been doing by myself in Sly Jr. And trying to return a little bit more towards some of that simplicity angle maybe with a little bit less. I’ve told some friends, and I told my wife (and my one-and-a-half-year-old son) that I am really pleased now to try to make music that is less dying to be heard and understood and listened to, and more something that you can just enjoy slightly more passively. Honestly I hope people can sink their teeth into it and enjoy it that way too. But I’m happy just to make music that people can enjoy a little more passively. And I don’t know if that’s wisdom of getting older or if that’s giving up but it has been nice to make some stuff that just feels a little simpler and a little less needy as an artist which is lovely.

The way that I arrived at the conclusion that I wanted to do that was by listening to a lot of playlists and stuff and just hearing new music that I enjoy and then I’d be like I actually don’t know if I really grasped onto what that person was singing about and I’m not sure that they needed me to. And that’s kind of nice. It’s pleasant to hear a love song and you go like, Oh, I guess I’m registering that’s a love song. Or to hear a song about somebody feeling bummed out but it’s not life or death. The consequences aren’t that dire. And Sir Sly’s music always felt like I was… The angle was like I have something to say please listen to me. And it’s not that I don’t feel like I have anything to say it’s just that none of the things I’m wrestling with are life and death anymore. They’re just little enjoyments or little bits of sadness or a small question here or there. But it’s not anything that I’m like, God I really hope people dive into this and listen to it in a different way. It’s more I hope people enjoy this. I hope it brings some enjoyment to someone’s life or makes their head bob a little bit. Maybe it’s an undersell, but that’s where I’m at with it.

The chaos of your 20s has evened out to a nice plateau in your 30s.

Landon Jacobs: The stuff that I’m more concerned about now is when my baby was really little was him sleeping on my chest and me being like is he breathing? And I’m not going to write a song from that but “piggy bank” is about not wanting to miss out on any little moment. And that’s of the utmost importance to me, but the way I’m delivering it, doesn’t feel as needy to me, which is, I don’t know. I made this stuff again the same way that I made everything for myself, but I think I had a little bit more… I had way less expectations all over again. It was more like I need this for me. I need to make stuff as an artist and not just write songs with and for other people. And yeah, that was what came out. I was post-nose surgery. I can breathe out of both sides of my nose now for the first time in my life.

Sir Sly’s been on a bit of a break, I miss making stuff, and I’ve never really finished anything that I started by myself. I’ve always needed somebody else to help me finish stuff. So I set out with a goal of just make some stuff, and the first thing that came out was “Piggy bank.” It’s a song about caring about being a dad and a good husband.

I know you've had a lot of big life changes since last we spoke – and congratulations on all of it! How, if at all, has marriage or fatherhood changed your approach to music?

Landon Jacobs: In the most realistic way, I don’t typically spend a whole day working on anything anymore. I kind of write in chunks. So a couple hours and if the song’s good and going somewhere I’ll return back to it and spend maybe another hour or two finishing it. And then I go back… I’ll pop in and out with songs and they’re all like this is my little garage studio that I’m in right now. It’s a detached garage. I just walk out the back door and open up the garage and kind of poke into whatever sessions. I have half-finished stuff and I’ll record a couple things and then come back later and go, “Oh, those are terrible decisions. I’m going to take those away, I think it was better before.” I’m just mixing the album right now. “piggy bank” is the first one out, but I have seven songs mixed. The last three I’m still sorting out with my buddy Thom Wolseley, who’s mixing it with me.

Realistically, it just changed the flow. I do a lot of songwriting with other people and so for that stuff I go and work for six, seven hours. That’s the more full day job. Write a song bang it all out, try to get something pretty finished, but then it’s somebody else’s. It’s another artist’s song, so they go do what they’re going to do with it. And for me now I just work in little spurts because I go do two, three sessions a week and then those other days Sarah goes and works. And I mostly spend time with the kiddo, ’cause we don’t do nanny or anything yet. We’re pretty old school, protective folks. And then I pop in and out when I find time if neither of us are working that day I’ll pop out and work for an hour or two. And then I mean other than that, like I said I guess I feel less needy. I don’t need as much from music anymore in the same way.

I still love it and I return to it and it’ll always be a part of me, but the priority that it takes in my life is different. It’s something that I can enjoy a little differently just not as needy. I don’t need anything from music, and I don’t need anything from the response to the music, which has also made my enjoyment from releasing “piggy bank” through the roof compared to normal. Anytime anybody says something nice to me I’m like, “Oh, can you believe it?” I’m telling Sarah, “Can you believe it? My friends are posting about it!” I’m actually enjoying myself, which I can’t say I’ve ever enjoyed the release of a song, ever. I just needed so much from it. Nothing could ever possibly meet my expectations. And now, I had quite literally zero expectations going into releasing this, so the fact that any of my friends posted about it, the fact that anybody who liked Sir Sly is saying nice things about it, the fact that you want to talk to me about it… All that stuff is just special and amazing.

I'm so happy that you're not killing yourself over this. It's nice to enjoy the art that you're making and to be relaxed about it.

Landon Jacobs: Yeah, maybe it’s the more healthy attachment style where I love that thing, I’m really proud of that thing, but it’s not who I am. The funny thing is, Sarah and I went on some dates when we first met, and on our second date I was like, “Music always comes first.” And she was like, “Same, same.” And now we’re married, we have a kid, and it’s like, music comes – I don’t know, fourth maybe. And that’s really nice. It’s nice to be able to go make music and to enjoy it in that way. I’ve said enjoy a thousand times so far, but it’s true; if it’s not enjoyable, then why am I doing it? I don’t need to exorcise demons in the same way.

I still write about all that stuff. I still write about my questions and my anxieties and stuff, but it’s not make-or-break in the same kind of way. And I’m genuinely just way happier than I’ve ever been. Being a dad has clarified more of who I am. It’s like, I am dad to this one person, and I am a husband to my wife, and those people need me and expect things from me. That kind of utility is more of who I am.

I hope to God nobody needs anything from me for music, because that’s not fair to them and it’s not fair to me. And so I think that with lack of pressure, I know who I am outside of music now, so I just get to make stuff that I think is cool. It doesn’t need to be the freshest thing ever; it’s fresh to me. It was exciting to me to finish something from the beginning without anybody else to rely on. And I’m really thankful to Thom for helping me mix all this stuff. And he helped me write a few things too, but it wasn’t like I wasn’t going to make shit without him, whereas in all of my years of drinking and showing up at the studio, because I was accountable to two other people and they were finishers and goal setters and goal-oriented people, I just got to kind of sit in the backseat and do what was required of me. This was a different exercise, and it was also a really good space to take a break from the high perfectionism of like, “Am I being the best kind of dad ever?” It’s nice to be able to step away and riff for a little bit and write, and then come back feeling fresh and feeling like I accomplished something out in the garage.

Sly Jr.'s Landon Jacobs
Sly Jr.’s Landon Jacobs

I’m genuinely way happier than I’ve ever been. Being a dad has clarified more of who I am: I am dad to this one person, and I am a husband to my wife, and those people need me and expect things from me. That kind of utility is more of who I am.

Obviously there are some throughlines between Sir Sly and Sly Jr. – starting with the name itself. Tell me about naming this project Sly Jr.

Landon Jacobs: I asked Jason and Hayden if it was okay if I named it Sly Jr.; honestly that was just a fear move. There was a little bit of a joke there as well. It keeps it a little lighthearted – the band name Sir Sly was always a lighthearted thing. It was not as serious and as needy as the music was. It was a very lighthearted name from the beginning. And it was originally spelled S-R. S-L-Y so it was “Señor” Sly. And then we changed it at the request of our first manager. But if you look at any of the old Hype Machine stuff, the original post of “Ghost” was “S-R. S-L-Y,” and there was a play on the internet spelling it seriously. And at the first show I remember being like, just don’t mess it up. We pronounce it Sir Sly, don’t mess it up. And then I get on stage and I was like, “Hey what’s up? We’re Señor Sly,” and I just botched it so hard – so it is a play on that ‘Sr. Sly’ and then ‘Sly Jr.,’ and we always jokingly called ourselves ‘The Prophets of Sly’ – like our text thread is still named ‘Prophets of Sly.’

Sly is like this other entity, it’s like the god that we worship. And Sly Jr. is just… the Spotify bio is just ‘Sly Jr., Son of Sly.’ It makes no sense. It’s not too serious. But a part of it was the fear of like, well, I don’t want to just like strike out on my own and not have it be attached to that at all. That’s my ten years of my blood, sweat and tears – literally, lots of sweat, a little bit of blood, and quite a few tears went into that project.

In addition to the lack of Jason and Hayden, how else is Sly Jr. Different from Sir Sly?

Landon Jacobs: I’ve never learned much about like any instrument. So like the way I play is kind of the way I play. I’m sure you can hear similar stuff going on in all kinds of Sir Sly songs because I play a lot of that stuff and write a lot of that stuff. The biggest difference is I don’t do… I know nothing about drums. And so I would just take loops and like write to them and there’s not a whole lot going on in the drums. So like that part is definitely missing from Hayden. It’s a lot simpler in that way. And then the production is like way slimmed down compared to what Jason’s capable of doing. The more you know a lot of times, the more you end up doing. And so I don’t know very much about production. So the songs end up being quite a bit simpler, I think. And funny enough, I think they end up sounding more like a band in a weird way. Because Sir Sly was always like kind of a band but kind of like a studio project of people who like writing songs and experimenting with sound.

And this stuff ends up feeling more like, I’m jamming with myself. If you didn’t know it was one person it might sound like, Oh, there’s a bassist playing the bass parts, and there’s a guitarist playing guitar parts, and then there’s a singer and a drummer playing a really simple beat and it sounds more like a traditional band ’cause there’s less like electronic stuff going on. And that was really purposeful too. Like some of the stuff that I’m doing by myself is stuff that like I would have given my own if everything about Sir Sly was up to me, I probably would have made more band oriented like guitar music. So like I’m doing this because we don’t do all that often with Sir Sly.

I know that this isn't quite your first solo venture, but I can't help but feel like you've got more invested in this than perhaps in your last solo material.

Landon Jacobs: It’s still on Bandcamp, you can find it. It was called “My Real Name.”

Those felt like you had torn a piece of your soul out and given it to the world as well.

Landon Jacobs: Yeah, those were gnarly, man. I wrote all that stuff. And let’s use the word writing very, very liberally here. I wrote and half improvised that stuff like right after my mom died. While I was in the middle of getting divorced, while we were making Don’t You Worry, Honey, and was like drunk the whole time and you can hear it too. I’ve been sober five years, but if you knew that I was a drunk, you would have been like, “Yeah this guy is drunk the whole time.” The songs are like half finished. And then eventually I got them mixed by a friend. And then eventually I put them out. And part of the reason why I put them out when I did was because I knew that if I never put them out, then I would never move on, and I would never finish anything else. So, I had to do myself the service of just like wiping the slate clean in that kind of way and just putting it out. And it wasn’t with the intention of starting a different project, but it just felt like there was no use continuing that thing because it was its own very separate entity.

I made three records under “My Real Name.” And they’re all in folders half-finished… I was drinking and I was smoking a lot and I was making them with various people with various aims and like some of the stuff is like really hip-hop leaning and stuff. The first one feels like me still; I know who that person is. The later ones are a little lost. I listened to a lot of hip-hop music, listened to a lot of rap. I think I needed to make an album’s worth of that stuff to realize that I shouldn’t be making it. Some of the stuff I’ll probably actually take and lift and give a rewrite, some of it for Sly Jr. One of the Sly Jr. songs actually is from that – there’s a song on this album called “Blood and Spit” that is actually a rework of a “My Real Name” song. So some of it works, but some of it doesn’t. And I’ll probably like some of the more electronic stuff I’ll need to figure out what I’m gonna do. ‘Cause there’s like some James Blakey feeling kind of like down-tempo kind of like dobby dance stuff that is cool. But I don’t know if it’ll work, but yeah, I wrote like three albums worth of material for “My Real Name.” And that one was… I had to release it and I was hoping to like clear the way to release more stuff. And I think it actually became clear that now this is… I was right for putting it out. I was also right for not like pushing it too hard. And then I’m really happy that I have wound up here. ‘Cause this feels like the right logical step for a solo project for me.

I was leading up to the question, what's different about Sly Jr.? Is it just time and place and headspace and in your mindset?

Landon Jacobs: Those things, yes. And then also just like process. I feel a little stronger about my ability to produce myself, to engineer a song from start to finish. That also came from Thom, my friend who’s mixing this record for me. Also, like I said, he came in and engineered a couple days with me. Like we were just making stuff for fun, and he sat at my computer. I kinda watched over his shoulder and then dug through the sessions later, and I asked him just to use the stuff that’s in my computer and not to use his computer, so that I could learn how to do some stuff. And so I learned by watching him and how to use my space a little better. I think that made me feel a little more confident. Also, I stopped trying to make drums from scratch and started using loop stuff. That also was a really easy springboard.

The seriousness of it all was a change to Sly Jr. Felt like a real step back from needing to take it all so seriously and to write no pun intended, but to like all the, “My Real Name” stuff was still very much in the vein of like, I’m gonna say something, I’m gonna break through. This is gonna be the shit that changes my life, changes other people’s lives. It’s like some kind of fine mixture of like really serious art making and delusion. But the Sly Jr. Stuff was more just like, I don’t know. I kind of miss it. I’d like to make some things for myself. And it definitely felt different. Like the making of it felt different so I could name it something different.

You said that “piggy bank” was the first song that you wrote for this project. What for you is special about this song?

Landon Jacobs: The first thing was really just the riff. I’ve always written songs on guitar or piano mostly or keyboard. But starting with the bass riff and the drums was really fun. And I was like, Oh, now this is cool. I like this. So I actually wrote like… And that’s another thing I did differently with the solo project that we don’t often do with Sir Sly is like start a bunch of songs the same kind of way. The disparity between songs on a Sir Sly record is like all over the place.

Like we hop around, we genre bend and stuff in a very different way. I think that’s the musical ADHD in all of us kind of bouncing off the walls and coming to rest in different places. But this album that I made is like a lot of drum loops and bass riffs and there’s a bunch of other stuff sprinkled in but like there’s probably six out of ten songs are like a bass riff and a groove and me singing some stuff. I think stumbling upon the fact that I like making bass riffs. I like trying to play the bass like guitar and seeing what comes out. That’s been really fun for me. So I just kept doing it. And honestly, I’m still doing it too. I’m like halfway through making another record right now. And I’m like, there’s a lot more bass stuff. I just really like playing the bass like it’s a guitar.

You were talking about how this entire song is built off of that initial riff… it really is the backbone, and that to me echoes the fragility of your lyrics and vocal performance, tying everything together. What was your vision like, making this song? Did you have any kind of goal while writing and recording it?

Landon Jacobs: I don’t really think thematically when I’m making music. So I don’t go like, “Oh, this mirrors this feeling.” It’s all instinctual stuff, like, “Oh, I like these drums. I’m playing this bass thing to it. I’m humming a thing.” And then either I’m like half humming words or so I started singing that word “piggy bank” and I was like, “Why am I singing this thing?” It all starts just becoming more concrete as I start filling in the blanks and words, or I’m singing the thing over and over again, and I’m piecing more of it together. And then it became clear like, Oh, I’m writing a song about loving something so much and wanting time to slow down so that I can like soak up every moment.

I think it just so happened that the bass line works all the way through and that I never got tired of it. Like it’s there the whole song. There’s the same baseline as playing the whole song. And then I just kind of add stuff in and take stuff away. But it stays in the whole song. And I tried to figure out ways to take it out. And every time I took it out, I just missed it.

Thematically it does work I guess, like you take something away and you just miss it more. And like that’s kind of weirdly what the song is about, like I’ll go anywhere with you, I’ll do anything with you. And it’s kind of a split song between like Sarah and my son like about both of them. It’s just like I want all of this and I’ve been really lucky that I’m sober and time has slowed down incredibly. I don’t look at pictures of him being born and go, “Oh, my god where did it go? It felt like it was just yesterday.” It feels like it was a year and a half ago. It feels like I’ve lived a very full, happy year and a half of trying to soak up all the moments, and some of it’s anxiety, but I’m squarely there. I’m not ever wishing to be somewhere in the distant future. I think it was really lovely to have written this song early on and then to get to live it has been really nice.

It's establishes where you are in life and where Sly Jr. is starting from, whatever this project becomes, wherever it takes you.

Landon Jacobs: Yeah. It’s the best song on the record. Everything else is just gonna be a complete disappointment from here on out. It’s nine more songs. Disappointment and garbage. [laughs] No, there’s some others. This actually is truthfully really my favorite song on the album. You know what it mirrors more closely than anything is the way I felt when I wrote “piggy bank” was exactly the way I felt when I wrote “Ghost,” which was the first song that Jason and I wrote together. It happened really fast. It’s almost one bass loop, the entire song, really simple drum loop. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was writing about, and I didn’t expect anything. And that the excitement of making that song and being like, “Man, I just like this song. I feel cool that I wrote it. I feel happy that I get to have this thing and say that it’s mine.” And I felt really similar with “piggy bank.” It’s just so simple. Mostly just drums and bass and then I’m singing a pleasant little thing and I’m not caring all that hard about it, but it just feels really good. Weirdly, it is a similar starting place. And “Ghost” might be the best Sir Sly song, depends on who you ask.

I really do love the lyrics of “piggy bank.” You start off singing, “life's not all bad when I really think, I've thrown everything at the kitchen sink at it, wouldn't bet my piggy bank on it.” Do you mind sharing a little bit about this entrance?

Landon Jacobs: Yeah, that was actually the first thing I sang. I’d sang those lyrics, some version of those lyrics, almost straight away. I always write songs about sad stuff, and so it was kind of like a… I hate being self-referential, but it is self-referential in a little way. I wrote all these songs about how everything’s life and death, it’s pretty dire out there. There’s a lot of questions. And then the first thing, “life’s not all that bad when you really think,” it’s like, I am happy, weirdly. I was recovering from a nose surgery, so I did feel like an awful pile of shit. But, I was singing so quietly ’cause I couldn’t sing… All the lyrics ended up feeling really tender. And the singing is really small ’cause I couldn’t sing very loud, ’cause it would hurt.

So I was singing really quiet and tender. The “piggy bank” line doesn’t make all that much sense, to be honest. I end up making sense of it later. But there’s a lot of stuff about, like, I’ve been writing a lot about what I want versus what I get. And the gamble of writing songs about writing songs is stupid, but I do it anyway. Like writing about who I am and as a songwriter, that is a big portion of who I am. And, it’s like the idea of, “I wouldn’t bet…” I guess not putting all my eggs in any basket and then end up flipping that around to talk about, I don’t want to miss piggy banks and Christmases, all these stages of growth.

We just had our second Christmas with our son and it was a blast. And it’s like, I remember saying after my wife, like, Man, I’m like, that was so fun. And I’m so sad that like, that’s the one we get that’s like that with him because he was like so cute. Like, he’d open stuff and he’d be like, Thank you. And it’s like this is the one year where like, that’s all he’s gonna know how to say every time he opens a gift, like next year he’ll be able to say more stuff or he’ll be like, Oh, I don’t like that. So like, this year it was just all thank you. And then, he’ll learn how to save money and he’ll have a little piggy bank. It’s like those little things are so fun as a parent to like, just watch and like hover over and see and take it in through his eyes. And so I end up making sense of like, I wouldn’t bet my piggy bank on it. ‘Cause like I would on this, on being a good dad and being a good husband. That’s what I want to go all in on. But I think it was like, it’s “not all bad” and I’m not gonna put my stock in that stuff, and “drive me slow while I cherish” this other stuff ahead of me.

I like that a lot. In the chorus you go on to sing, “I could spend a lifetime believing all your white lies. Tell me it's the right time, I'll follow you anywhere.” What does the chorus represent for you?

Landon Jacobs: The chorus is more aimed towards my sweet wife. So you’re married to somebody and you’re like, This is awesome, this is a great person. And like, you’re both trying your best. And with being a parent too, there’s just a whole new complication. You both care about this person more than anything else. And it’s like, you both have different ideas of what you should be doing and there’s some tension there. But it’s all very lovely and loving too. And it’s all well intentioned. And then, so like, the white lies and the what’s hiding in your offhand thing is like, no matter how much you love somebody, no matter how well you know them, there’s always a little hidden part too. And like, that’s okay. I think that’s what that’s a ref. Like the white lies and the what’s hiding in your offhand is like, Yeah, of course there’s stuff I don’t know and I’m not gonna see every single angle, but like, I’m with you 100%.

Love has been a godsend.” to me this feels like the song's thesis statement, an anchor bringing it all home. Is this what a Landon Jacobs love song sounds like?

Landon Jacobs: Yeah. I mean, “Honey” is also a love song and “Lover Boy,” but this one’s less heady. It’s like, “Yeah, I’m here.” Again, I got sober. The way that she stuck with me through that is unbelievable. The fact that I went from not wanting to have a kid to, we decided that we wanted a kid and then here he is and it’s better than I could have ever imagined. And it’s the best. It’s the best. I have the sweetest little family ever and it’s the greatest thing on the planet. And yeah, all the questions about, Oh, who am I, what am I gonna do? It’s like, No, I know what I’m gonna do now. I’m not sure all the peripheral stuff, but I know exactly what I need to do, which is make sure that he is… I’m looking at a baby monitor right now while he takes a nap.

It’s like, just make sure he’s well fed, well slept. He has fun stuff to do. He gets out of the house and runs around in the backyard or goes for a walk or we go play disc golf. Just make sure he is well taken care of and that he feels important and listened to, and that Sarah feels supported, so that she can go do what she believes in. And she feels like she’s being a good mom, “mum” as she would say, ’cause she’s British. I don’t know if God does send anything, but if God does send stuff, then it’s definitely these two people to me. It’s the best – I live the best life ever. And that is what the song’s about. I take one brief moment looking back and then I speed forward. I think I revisit looking back for a second in the second verse. But then it’s all eyes ahead. What’s happening right here, right now with these two people is the most important thing to me always.

If someone is discovering you for the very first time through this music, what do you want them to know about who Sly Jr. is?

Landon Jacobs: Sly Jr. is the son of Sly.

I knew you would say that.

Landon Jacobs: I don’t know. I guess more will be revealed. I’m not too sure about anything. Sly Jr. is my project. I’m Landon and I like making music and I’ve always done it for as long as I’ve had a brain that remembers things. I’ve always written stuff down. I’ve always tried to make songs out of it. And, I’m gonna keep trying.

Sly Jr.'s Landon Jacobs
Sly Jr.’s Landon Jacobs

I don’t know if God does send anything, but if God does send stuff, then it’s definitely these two people to me. It’s the best – I live the best life ever.

I feel like this is great music for all of us, in our 30s now, who came through our turbulent 20s of asking “why do we exist” and “why am I here?” “What am I gonna do?” and “what's gonna be my impact on the world?” and we all realized, none of that matters. Just be happy and try to live every day to the fullest and be in the present today.

Landon Jacobs: I grew up listening to a bunch of really angsty music too, and I feel like there’s some angst in there. There’s a lot of tension in the music, and then there’s a lot of hopefully levity, I guess. The album is still pretty brutal. There’s still some heavy stuff… I’m always writing about God. I keep writing about God and it’s so annoying. Like, I can’t escape my evangelical past, but I just keep writing about him. There’s a song called “High School Sports” where the line is, “I’m like the guy who always talks about his high school sports career, except with me, it’s God and suicide and how I live in fear.” So there still is a little bit of that neediness, like, I’ve got something to say. Buckle up. We’ll see.

I think the bigger lesson I’ve learned into my 30s is like, I gotta go easy on people, a little easier on people. I think that’s a lesson a lot of us have learned on, like the other side of COVID, on the other side of political stuff and whatever else is like, I think I’m just learning, like, I gotta go a little easier on people. And that might be like a really privileged thing to say. Like, some of it is life and death and, some of it… But I’m not sure that the answer anymore is like shame and being right about everything and maybe a little bit more of like, leniency towards where people are coming from. ‘Cause I think like, I don’t know… I’m kind of like a sociological determinist. It’s like if I was put in somebody else’s shoes with their exact DNA and their childhood and the place they grew up, I’d probably believe the same things as them.

And like, what am I gonna respond to? Like, shame maybe, I guess guilt maybe. Or maybe we let some things go, maybe like we understand a little bit more and don’t trip out so hard on some of the stuff. And it feels pretty egregious, like when you get in your head about it, some of the stuff feels pretty crazy and egregious. So I don’t know exactly where the line is, but for me, I’ve found my life to be a lot more enjoyable when I can let some of those things go. Especially if I’m not gonna… It’s not my day in, day out to like go make change in that kind of way, God bless the people who do, but for me it was just kind of making me angry all the time. And so, I’ve had to zoom out a little bit and, actually just zoom in to my own, what is in my house today? What can I actually take care of? And how am I gonna not be bitter?

What do you hope listeners take away from “piggy bank,” and what have you taken away from creating it and, putting it out today?

Landon Jacobs: I hope they take away whatever they want or need. Maybe not whatever they want. They say acid’s the trip you want to have, mushrooms are the trip you need to have. And I hope “piggy bank” is the trip people need to have. But also I hope people can just passively enjoy it and take nothing from it, except for a pleasant listening experience too; in keeping with what I said earlier, take it all or take nothing or take a little bit or enjoy the bass riff and follow me on Spotify.

I’m a terrible self-marketer. Follow me on socials and Spotify. I post rarely and I comment back nearly never. It’ll be a good time. I won’t clog up your feed. Occasionally you’ll get a picture of the side of my kid’s head, because we’re not posting his face on the internet.

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Stream: “piggy bank” – Sly Jr.

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piggy bank - sly jr

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