[Interview] Why Illiterate Light is a Ground Breaking Duo

In between festival performances, shows, and signing to Atlantic Records while gearing up for their own tour in just a month, we had the chance to chat with Illiterate Light during their time at Bonnaroo. The rock duo performed for a lively crowd on Friday afternoon, marking it a great start to the weekend.

Check out the interview below.

Q: How was your first time performing at Bonnaroo?

Jake: “The set was awesome. The “Who Stage” is cool because it’s right in the center between a lot of the other stuff going on. I was bummed to miss Childish Gambino. But it was great.”

Jeff: “It was great. What stood out to me most was walking around looking at the two main stages. I went to a few shows and you really couldn’t get too close because there’s a ton of people and there’s a huge barrier. But you know, crazy energy. When we kicked off the show there were probably 75 to 100 people, it just felt like after each song twenty to thirty more people showed up. By the end of the show, there were like 400 to 600 people there.”

Q: How has your stage presence developed from your very first time on stage?

Jeff: “ It’s been a process for us. We’re a duo and we try to have a lot of fun and make a lot of noise. Jake and I before we formed Illiterate Light were friends so we have a bit of a deeper connection then just two guys playing in a band together.

We started this band and wanted to figure out how Jake could have a real presence and energy, rather than me on stage and him in the back. So he changed his drum set into a standing drum set and now stands right next to me.

I think we are one of the only rock duos who are right up on the stage next to each other. When we first started the band I had a few gadgets going on. It would take me three minutes in between each song to get ready for the next one and Jake would tell pretty poor stand-up comedy. Now we’ve gotten to a point where we’ve dialed in those transitions and they are much quicker.”

Q: If you couldn’t tour anymore or make music, what career would be a close second?

Jake: “I’ve done a good bit of construction in between tours and stuff. It’s honestly where I would put some energy into. There’s something about working with my hands and seeing the thing at the end of the day. It’s a very stable life compared to being on the road as a musician.”

Jeff: “I’ve always wanted to be a professional football player and if the band didn’t work out, I’d just go for it. I’m also really passionate about personal development stuff, in the realm of therapy and counseling. I would consider going back to school to learn more about that.”

Q: What is your most memorable tour story?

Jeff: “We had to borrow another band’s van because my car that we had been touring in wasn’t cutting it anymore. We were outside of Boston and it was snowing, we were driving on the highway and the car started to shake, the front left wheel shot off the vehicle and rolled out in front of us. You saw sparks shooting out, we glided off the highway and had only an hour to figure out how to put the tire on and we still made it to the show on time.”

Jake: “At this point we sometimes still won't’ have a good place to stay. We met a couple of folks in Orlando and they were professional Super Smash video game competitors. They let us crash there and gave us some lessons on how to do incredible super smash moves.”

Q: Which cities are you most looking forward to performing in this summer while on tour?

Jeff: We’re playing Baltimore and we haven’t played that city a lot in our band history, so I’m really excited about that. We’re doing Chicago, Lollapalooza. We’ve never played Denver, we’re playing there as well in August.

Jake: I’m a big fan of Asbury Park in NJ. We’ve just had some fun and good connections there. We’re also going to Athens, GA. Every tour we do support for goes through, so we’ve made some good friends in that area.

Alexandra Offor

When she's not writing about new music, she's discovering it. Aside from delivering music junkies their latest musical fix, you can find her eating her way through the metro Atlanta area, at the gym or binge-listening to podcasts.