Americana Highways brings you this video premiere of Jacob Dunn’s song “Who Do You Hate” from his forthcoming album Cosmic Americans. The album was written and recorded by Jake Dunn & The Blackbirds and recorded, mixed, and mastered by Neil Turri at Amish Electric Chair Studios in Athens, Oh.
“Who Do You Hate” is Jake Dunn on vocals and guitar; Chuck McPeek and Dustin Nash on guitars; Bobby Wheeler on bass and vocals; Jess Forrrest on drums and vocals; and featuring Madeline Dunn on vocals.
The music video filmed, directed, and edited by Bradley Jones of Nomad Photography with the assistance of Todd Offenberger. With dramatic black and white visual footage of the band playing the song, this video shares the feel of watching live music that we all miss. Jacob Dunn creates timely songs of timeliness with rock n roll stylings and steady rock beats. We chatted with Jacob Dunn about the song. The video premieres just beneath the interview.
AH: “Why Do You Hate” takes on some pretty heavy topics head on, would you like to dive right into it and explain what it’s about?
JD: It’s pretty literal, to be honest. It’s about racism. There’s not much open for interpretation as far as what I’m trying to say with the lyrics and we wanted the video to be a good representation of that too. Black and white, cut and dry, and right to the point. It’s a serious topic that I tried to address as genuinely as I felt I could. “What’s the difference between you and me? What will it matter in the end? Circumstances are the only thing I see between an enemy and a friend.” That’s really the main point of the whole song. When it’s all said and done, no matter what side of the invisible line you’re on, we’re all exactly the same. All we are and all we’ll ever be is formed from the experiences we’ve had and the circumstances we were placed in at birth. That certainly is an oversimplification, but the world is too complex not to be oversimplified.
AH: The music video is simple but effective, who directed it and what was the filming like?
JD: The video was directed by Bradley Jones of Nomad Photography with the assistance of Todd Offenberger. It was their idea to keep it simple as a juxtaposition the complex topic the lyrics address. We just set all our gear up in a room with a single flood light and that was that. As complex as the topic of the song goes, it’s something that we are all very aware of right now so the idea was to keep the video simple to allow the lyrics to resonate as much as possible.
AH: What is living in rural Appalachia like, and how does it influence your music?
JD: It’s really a beautiful place that has an unfortunate reputation for being not so beautiful by the outside world. I frequently talk to my friends who are from towns all over Appalachia about how it often feels comparable to something like living in The Shire, especially in Pomeroy, my hometown. We have troubles of our own, being one of the less wealthy areas of the state, but it seems like no matter how much change goes on in the world around us our little part of it remains the same, for the most part at least. We are all dealing with COVID and so many other universal issues all the same and I think this year, in particular, has done at least a little to wake up the less self-aware communities within Appalachia. It’s by no means a perfect part of the world, but it’s a shame that folks not from here don’t see the potential of our communities and the natural beauty of the Mid-Ohio Valley. It’s the complex relationship between tradition and change that makes the music of the area just as diverse and unique as the communities and peoples within them.
AH: 2020 has been a trying year, especially for musicians. What message do you have for your fans and what hope do you have for 2021?
JD: I’d just like for folks to always look to love and empathy for the answers to their questions instead of fear, hatred and doubt. As trying as these times are, I feel that something seriously good is going to happen from all the ugliness we’re currently seeing. It’s not until you’ve taken a hard look at yourself in the mirror that you realize you need to change, and I think that’s what a lot of folks are seeing happen right now. We’re realizing that we, as a nation and a community of the world, aren’t as beautiful as we would like to be, and more of us than ever are joining in on the cause for some home improvement and self care. We need to keep in mind that we are dealing with multigenerational issues that have lasted much longer than we realize, and that makes them like the most stubborn mule you could ever imagine. Keep in mind, however, that it is the dying mule that kicks back the hardest, and these ideas of hatred and fear are clinging on to their last breaths. Next time you feel either of them towards your neighbor, just take a deep breath and realize that you are one in the same and you both deserve to be loved.