New Instruments and New Music

To be honest, I forgot I had a website.  Then I got an email saying my web domain was about to expire, so here I am, “remembering” I have a website.

Ooof.  I’ve been a busy person lately.  I’ll give you the short story, and if you care to continue reading, I’ll include more details.

Short story:

  • currently have 2 shows in the Hollywood Fringe Festival
  • producing a house concert series
  • building new instruments


  • starting to record a new album

Longer stories:

Hollywood Fringe

If you don’t know what Hollywood Fringe is, it’s basically a performing arts (mostly theatre) festival that takes place throughout June in Los Angeles.  I have two shows I’m currently producing/performing in.  One theatre piece and one music concert.

The theatre show is called YARN.  It’s a non-verbal physical theatre piece developed by me and my 4-person theatre company, Scherzo Theatre.  Think Buster Keaton.  Add a little but of darkness, modernity, and color.  Take it off screen and onto stage, and you’ll have a very rough idea of what we do.

This is website mostly is about my music, but if you enjoy that, you will also thoroughly enjoy our theatre.  We’ve only got three shows, so if you are reading this in June of 2018, go here for more info (Dates, tickets, all that good stuff).

The other fringe piece is actually a music concert.  I play in support of my theatre cohort/collaborator/roommate, Kent Jenkins, who goes under the moniker “Snubby J” on youtube.  He’s had a fair share of internet viral-ity, playing recognizable tunes on his instrument which he calls the Rimbatubes (which is essentially a pvc pipe piano).

This is the only time in your life you will ever see me as a backup dancer.


We’ve already got one performance under our belt, but still have one to go this upcoming weekend.  (Again, if you are reading this in June of 2018, go here).

House Concerts

Oh my goodness.

This is probably one of my favorite things I’ve done with my life.

Origins: LA is not a cheap place to live.  In January, I had the realization that with enough bodies, you can rent a house in LA.

So we did.

Living in a house and not an apartment is one of the best things you can do as a musician.  Not having to worry about noise bleeding through your walls and annoying your neighbors is so freeing; the occasional banging on your wall telling you to shut up is one of the most soul crushing things to experience.  For several reasons.  Mainly, though, it communicates that you art, or that your self expression and experimentation that is necessary in order to create your art, is unaccepted in your home environment, the place where you should feel the most at ease and able to express yourself and able to experiment.  (That said, my last apartment was great–did not have any wall-banging-shut-up moments.  That said, you still want to be considerate, especially ’cause a lot of my singing style is belting at the top of my lungs and seeing how loud or high or long I can go before my voice breaks, and a\I’m very self-conscious about that).  And as someone who records at home, I really appreciate that I no longer have to worry about the sound of the neighbors’ toilet flushing faintly sneaking into a recording.

So late January we started renting a house.  The freedom and ability to create that came with that was amazing.  Essentially, with one month of living there, I had already created enough material for an entire new album (more on that later).

March came.  I was getting ready to release the Everything Looks Better on Fire music video.  We were planning to have a release party of some sort, but then the idea shifted, and became a house concert.  Just a one off thing.

And that one off thing was magic.

We had maybe 30 people over, and a handful of my musician friends, all coming together just to share music, sitting on the floor of the living room, eating fresh baked cookies and sipping tea.

I wanted to do it again.

So we did.  And again, and again–we’re putting up the next one exactly one week from when I am writing this.  This will only be the 4th, but it’s been growing and feels like this is something that could last a long time to come.  The last show we had about 50 people crammed into my living room, which is not very big, mind you.  I don’t think we could expand much beyond that.  But I am hoping to somehow.

Ultimately, what I would love to have happen, is to turn this into a live-streamed event.  That said, I want it to be a great experience for the person tuning in via the internet–I don’t want it to be just a camera on a tripod in the back of the room, but rather a camera (or two, or three?) that really captures the energy and essence of the room and the performers.  And great audio equipment so that we can create live audio recordings that the artists can use and release at their own discretion.  So it really becomes something that ads value to everyone–the performers, the audience in the room, and the audience over the internet.

That’s the goal.  We’re not there yet, but I love where it currently is at and the potential of where it could go.


I’ve sold a couple of instruments here and there, but I recently put out some feelers onto the interwebs to see if anyone wanted to commission a build.  It’s so satisfying building something with someone already in mind, knowing that what you make is going to them specifically.  I finished off my first commissioned ukulele and shipped it to a friend from high school who now lives in San Jose (which is where my parents met! I think…), and just finished another build for a local friend here in LA.  I took pictures.  I should be able to upload them and write about them in the not too distant future (just have some Fringe shows and a house show to do first–all happening this week).

They’re real pretty, if I do say so myself.

One was built out of a cookie tin shaped like a retro radio.  The other is a wooden box I stained red but left relatively plain so that the commissioner could ad his own artwork to–he’s a professional story board artist, so I’m really excited to see what he’ll do to it.

Pictures to come.

And last but not least…

New Album

As mentioned earlier, I was writing a lot after we moved, and I’ve basically got enough for a whole new album.

I say basically, because I’ve got a lot of almost finished songs.  But I know that almost finished stay unfinished unless I set myself a deadline, so without further ado…

A new Jakob Berger & his hat album is coming your way this December.

As I write typed that, I was already thinking, ooh, that’s going to be tough to hit that deadline.  But hold me to that and it’ll get done.

Well…December I’ll be done recording.  I may have to wait for album art depending on what happens on that front.  There’s an artist I discovered while in Poland who I need to talk to.  Except he claims his English isn’t good, and my Polish is even worse (I can say “thank you” and that’s about it), so working together will come with the challenge of a language barrier if that ends up happening.  We shall see.