Jake Shears Talks Scissor Sisters’ Hiatus, Debut Solo Album, and Big Bushy Mustache

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Six years after the Scissor Sisters’ indefinite hiatus, Jake Shears is “really fucking excited” to release his debut solo album titled Jake Shears. Today, Shears teased the world with a music video for "Big Bushy Mustache", one of songs from his self-titled album, which will be released on August 10.

The video for "Big Bushy Mustache" featuring Josh Homme is relentlessly queer, serving you Tom of Finland vibes.

OUT caught up with Shears to discuss the creative process of writing a solo album and to learn what type of sound we can expect off his debut record.

Jake Shears 2018 By Raphael Chatelain
Photography by Raphael Chatelain

OUT: What was the journey in writing your debut solo album?

Jake Shears: I was living in LA and ended up at a crossroads [after disbanding Scissor Sisters]. I knew I wanted to make music, but I hadn’t had the idea for what it would be yet. I really wanted to start a band called "Talent for Christ", [but] it never happened. I was trying to find collaborators, but everything felt a bit directionless. I was in a mild creative crisis.

So I ran off to New Orleans by myself.

Were you able to find some direction in New Orleans?

I lived down there waiting for something to happen: an idea to come, an inspiration to hit, waiting to feel happy. I followed my instincts, and they were right. I had the time of my life meeting new people and enjoying everything that New Orleans had to offer — and it changed my life. Suddenly, songs started to come. "Sad Songs Backwards" was the first song of that whole batch, and it gave me the impetus for an idea for the record. What [my solo record] could sound like. And once a couple good songs starting coming out, it all happened in one big burst.

So when exactly sparked your inspiration for the album?

If I feel like I’m in a stagnant place and can’t find my footing, feeling kinda depressed, I have to shake things up in my life. I have to make quick, drastic left turn decisions out of nowhere that surprise myself and the people around me.

I ran off to Berlin in 2008, and this is that similar scenario. I needed a really big change of scene, and New Orleans was a placed I always fantasized about living in. So just the act of doing that – disorientating myself – really helped kick stuff into gear. It helped me reexamine who I am.

Jake Shears 2018 By Greg Gorman 1
Photography by Greg Gorman

Even though you’ve been open with the Scissor Sisters, this album felt much rawer and more personal. Can you speak to that?

I think it automatically happens since I had no one to tell me no. It’s not that anyone would have told me no [with the Scissor Sisters], I just didn’t have to run it by anyone else.

Baby Daddy and I in Scissors can get over-analytical about ourselves and the music we think we need. We’re like, "we need a party song," and then we’ll chip away at that. But then we’ll decide that this isn’t what we need right now, so we’ll let it go.

[Also,] when you’re writing with your best friend that you’ve been in the band with for 10 years, it’s not easy to write something that’s personal and emotional with someone who you know so well. But then again, Baby Daddy and I wrote a couple of these songs together. I’m so happy that he’s on the record too.

A couple of the songs are very experimental for us, like “S.O.B.” and “The Bruiser”. I think “The Bruiser” is unlike anything we’ve ever made. [It’s] the darkest, most experimental, and longest song on the album.

Maybe we were able to do that because we weren't writing the songs for the band.

Jake Shears 2018 By Greg Gorman 2
Photography by Greg Gorman

Anything else you want to share about the album’s creative process?

This whole thing has been a big endeavor. I paid for this whole thing myself. So I had to be damn sure that I completely stand behind everything on it. It’s no record label’s money that I’m playing with. It’s all mine. And I didn’t play with it. It’s serious. I gave myself a lot of freedom with it and made it exactly how I wanted to make it, and my dream is to be able to do it again. I would love to make three more records that continues this story. It may sound cheesy, but it’s a new chapter for me.

So it’s exciting. That’s the bottom line: I’m really fucking excited.

Watch the new music video for "Big Bushy Mustache" below.

Jake Shears comes out on August 10. You can pre-order Jake Shears' debut album right here

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