Interview: your relative’s Dinner Party will Make you Sappy and Sentimental

Jakob Mcquade is the artist behind your relative, a nostalgia-inducing lo-fi solo music project. His moniker feels true to his relationship with the SLO DIY scene. As a former DJ and Editor-in-Chief at KCPR, he has dedicated a lot of brain space and energy caring for the growth of SLO-based music. Post-grad, Mcquade has been working on his own music and recently released Dinner Party, your relative’s first full-length album.

“I’ve had a couple of projects that I’ve worked on that I just never got around to finishing because of timing or whatever. I got to the point where I was like, I made all this music. I’ve never put anything out. If I do it myself, it’ll get released. I just want to finally have something that I can share with people.

Mcquade has been playing guitar since he was 13 years old and is now pursuing music past the hobby stage.

“It honestly kind of started as just like a test because I bought all the recording gear that I needed and started doing it in my bedroom. I was just kind of writing songs for fun just to see if I could do it by myself and—play all the instruments, sing, and feel happy with what I was creating. Eventually, I looked up, and three months later, I was like, Oh, I have seven songs. I decided I should just write seven more, put out an album, and just be done with it, even if it’s not perfectly produced or done in the studio. It would be cool to say I made this one myself. That’s why the project started.”

Local SLO bands Krooks, Beanplant, and Donna were all inspirations for Dinner Party. Mcquade accredits his friends’ music for baiting him to finally take the plunge and release his own project.

“Seeing all my friends put up projects was another big reason why the album exists. I was like, dude, everyone can do it. They were making awesome stuff that I listened to all the time. I would love to do the same for someone else and provide music for other people to listen to. That’s how it started. It was just me in my bedroom just kind of messing around, and then it became something way bigger on accident. Now that it’s done, I’m relieved. And it’s so great to share it with people.”

Although Dinner Party has no official singles, “Heavy Streets” is the track that best encapsulates the album’s story.

“When I was recording it, I was like, these words are coming out of my mouth and they’re definitely about SLO. They’re 100% connected to the Central Coast and walking around streets there. I was really attached to the neighborhood that I lived in during the time that I spent in SLO. It’s really about what it means to have this big group of friends and this big group of support and then have everyone split up and go their separate ways. And then to return to that place and have it feel different than what you remember.”

“To me, it is heavy in the sense that it’s hard to grasp. It’s hard to reckon with. But it’s happy in a lot of ways. The song is relatively upbeat. Nostalgic is the best word I can come up with because that’s how I felt reminiscing on San Luis Obispo streets and just walking around thinking of lyrics or melodies. That’s what I tapped into for that track. That one’s probably the most meaningful.”

Mcquade referred to the track “Slow Riser” as the album’s thank you note to the listener. 

“That was the last song that I wrote, as an appreciation to whoever decides to listen and a very sincere thanks for giving me your time.” 

Mcquade’s skills as a former DJ came in handy while tracklisting. 

“There’s not necessarily one song that flows into the other intentionally when I was writing it, but from making a million KCPR playlists, I feel like after listening to the album, I had a natural sense for what songs needed to be next to each other. So you can listen to it on shuffle if you like, or you can listen to one song at a time also. But the order that is in the album is the ideal listening order right now, just because I think that there’s a story that’s told that starts with where I started the album when I started writing it, which was feeling kind of lost and estranged from a lifestyle after leaving the Central Coast. And then as the album goes on, it kind of adjusts and you kind of get this sense of resolution. It meets its natural conclusion in the sense that it’s slowly accepting what it means to move on from a distant past and moving into a new sort of being, which is cool. So as the album goes on, the lyrics and the melody go from this tension to this release. And it meets this resolution that I think is really beautiful at the very end. That’s my favorite part.”

One thing that Mcquade made clear throughout the whole interview was how grateful he is for all the support he’s received from friends and fellow musicians. In an attempt to describe his appreciation for his peers, he truly embodies his stage name.

“This has been such a sentimental interview. I feel like everything I’m saying is so sappy. Something that I was thinking about is how many of the people around me and the people that surrounded me and have influenced me. It is almost insurmountable. I can’t even count how many people I thought of when I was writing these songs. I just want to send everyone an individual text of how they influenced me. And maybe one day I will do that, like, write a manuscript or something. It’s more about making something to finally show all those people Hey, I did it. I talked about doing this. You encouraged me to do this. And I finally did it. And I’m happy just to have delivered on a promise. I really want to make music, whether or not it goes anywhere. I’m happy to be sharing it in that regard.”

After listening to Dinner Party, make sure to check your relative’s Spotify page to listen to the post-album playlist “the after party”. 

“One of the most wholesome moments throughout college was when you’d have a party. And after the majority of people left, the last few people kind of stick around and stay. That was always my favorite part of gathering to this day. So ‘the after party’ is that playlist. These are the songs that stuck around after the dinner party.”

And if you find yourself in the Greater LA area this evening, make sure to stop by Vine at 8 pm in Long Beach to catch your relative’s sweet, sentimental tunes.

Izzy Pedago is .WAV’s Senior Editor. They wrote the article. Image Credit to your relative.