Ohio singer-songwriter, Jake McElfresh, does not mince words when it comes to his acoustic folk project, Front Porch Step. McElfresh claims that “anyone that has ever felt just about anything can relate to at least one” of his songs, and he is correct. Front Porch Step traverses the many avenues of the human experience, connecting with the listener at the most basic of levels through emotionally complicated pros. His 2012 EP, So Help Me God, is an earnest and honest offering, hinting at an artist who has more wrinkles than his age suggests. Truth be told, McElfresh is just starting his tale.
Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
Jake McElfresh (me). I play acoustic guitar and sing.
What’s your hometown (or what are your hometowns)?
How did the band come together? How long has it been?
I’ve been playing shows since I was 14 or 15, but recently I started playing under the name “Front Porch Step” because people have trouble spelling my last name, which made it hard to market.
Why should people listen to your band?
I think everyone should listen to everything at least once, and then find your own reasons why you should listen again. There is a lot of underground talent that goes unnoticed because no one will give someone a chance; because they’re not famous yet.
How have you grown since you started?
When I first started I could barely even carry a tune. I used to listen to Coheed and Cambria a lot and I naturally tried to make myself sound like Claudio Sanchez, which just sounded God awful. The biggest growth I have noticed, and have been proud of, is my song writing. I used to be afraid to write what I really felt. I would just try to write something catchy, and would be too scared to say anything vulgar or dark. The song “So Help Me God”, in my opinion, marked the turning point of my writing. It’s the first song I really let loose on and confronted my own demons and skeletons in my closet. The line, “This gunshot will drown out the noise in my head, but these blood stains won’t cover the shame in my bed. I can’t think about it. I don’t have the time, because either way, I’ll lose my mind” was the first time I openly admitted to my struggles with suicide, in song. It became a huge hit when I played it live and I’ve just written exactly how I feel (without holding back) ever since.
What sets you apart from other bands in the scene?
I think the rawness and the lack of effects in my music sets me apart from most music these days. Dubstep is taking over the airwaves, but when all the power goes out, I will be able to play you every song I’ve ever written in the dark.
What’s the best part about being in your band?
I just love playing for people. Whether it’s in front of a crowd of 3 or 300, it’s just a joy.
More times than not, influences tend to bleed through. What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
The biggest influences on my music are probably Saves the Day, Say Anything, Bayside, Home Grown, Blink-182, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Ray LaMontagne, John Mayer, Thrice, The Get Up Kids, Bright Eyes and most importantly, Brand New. I think Jesse Lacey [lead singer of Brand New] is one of the greatest poets of our time.