Exclusive Interview: INTRN

INTRN is the moniker of Jake Messig, a singer, songwriter and producer based in LA. After several years of experience in the business and creative side of the music industry, INTRN is Messig’s newly constructed moody, electronic/indie pop project. His newest single “Headspace” is out now which continues to lay the foundation of his stunning songwriting and captivating production.

Read the interesting story of how the INTRN name came about, his creative process, and where he sees himself in the future.

Tell me a bit about yourself and how you got your start in music. How did the whole project begin?

INTRN: I grew up and graduated high school in San Diego. I knew that I wanted to play music, like perform music and write. I thought I wanted to be a film composer, and went to college to do that. I realized quickly, that was not what I wanted to do. I moved to LA, to go to college.  I went to Cal State Northridge for their music program and ended up getting a music industry studies degree. A requirement of that was to intern at a company that was relevant, so I interned for a management company for songwriters and producers out here in LA. I was consistently showing them demos for pop songs that I was writing and just stuff that I was working on. They were not interested, or didn’t really care since they worked with a lot of high profile people. I was just an intern. Being frustrated through all of that, my artist project INTRN got born. I named it INTRN kinda as a joke but it turned into something a little bit more real for me. That’s kinda how it got started. I was really focusing to be a pop writer, or a songwriter for other artists. Through doing that, writing a bunch of songs, and working on producing for other people, I found this lane that I’m in. Since the project INTRN got started, it’s kinda become my primary focus and I’m writing for that most of the time.

That’s definitely an interesting background. I think that’s a super cool way to integrate your name and your story into your project and music. You are a songwriter, so what’s your creation process like? Do you write and produce the music all by yourself? Do you work with other people? What does that look like?

INTRN: A little bit of both, I guess. The five songs that I have out as INTRN, are co-written and co-produced with other people. A lot of times, I will build out a shell of an idea or I’ll have most of the lyrics for the song. I’ll have the format in Logic, produced out to maybe 50-60%, then I’ll bring it to other friends and other producers that work on their own stuff. They kinda help me finish it a little bit better than I would be able to do myself. Also, I’m a huge fan of collaborating. In trying to be a songwriter, that’s one of the main things. It’s getting into songwriting sessions with other producers. It’s a really important part of my process. I do write a lot of songs on my own, but most of the time I’ll get to a point where I just want to have other people involved. 

I have two main people I work with. One of them is Luke Shrestha, who is a producer out here in LA. He works with a bunch of different artists and we went to school together. He’s co-written four out of the five songs that I have out. One of the other songs, “Cracks in the Paint,” was co-written by my good friend Austin Harms, who has an artist project as well. He’s kinda is the same lane of music. Moody/electronic music but maybe some would call it contemporary R&B. We write together all the time too.

Who are your musical inspirations? Where do you draw your inspiration from to create your songs and create the lyrics for them? 

INTRN: Artist wise, one of my favorites of all time is Local Natives. They are an indie band and are not really in the same lane as me at all, but they are my favorite band since I learned how to play music. The way they write songs is really interesting to me and I definitely look to them for inspiration. On the other hand, kinda more into the mainstream world, I’m a huge fan of John Mayer. I love that style of pop songwriting and the beautiful guitar work. He’s been a huge influence on me becoming a songwriter and becoming a musician. I’d say right now I’m listening to people like EDEN, Jeremy Zucker, and Chelsea Cutler. The style of songs they are doing, like the instrumentation and production, are just incredible. Super creative. 

In terms of outside of music, a lot of the songs I have are sad songs about relationships going sour. All of it is drawn off of personal experience and going through a rough breakup or two. 

Your cover art has a consistent theme with the title of the song repeated in a diamond-ish shape over an image. How did you come up with that idea?

INTRN: [Laughs] Kinda on accident. For “Voicemail”, which is the first song I put out… in the past when working on other projects and trying to put out music, the way I was releasing wasn’t the avenue I wanted to go down. I started over and over again, I guess like most artists do. I had the song “Voicemail” and really wanted to put it out, and I just had to figure out cover art. I didn’t want to put too much weight on it and make a big deal out of it because it was just going to be what it was going to be. I kinda just uploaded a picture that I felt good about and put the text on it. I accidentally was leaning on my computer, and it did Command+Copy, so the words pasted again under to the right a bit. I thought that it looked cool, so I did it a bunch more times, and was like “well that looks really nice actually.” Yea, it has kinda become the format for the singles. At least just for the first five singles that are out. Other than that, I kinda just went with pictures for the background of them. I want people that listen to my music to be able to see who I am. For the first five singles, there are pictures of me and that’s how it is for now. I know it’s going to change pretty soon with the next releases and the EP that should be coming out this year. 

So there is a new project that is in the works to be released soon? 

INTRN: Yea! There’s probably going to be one more single that is going to be a collaboration, but that release is kinda to be determined. Then will be followed by an EP, with a single and a rollout for that. 

You are starting out now and have a pretty good foundation with your background in music and this project. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

INTRN: I would like to be a touring artist. I’d like to do a national tour and an international tour. I’d like to be big enough to be able to travel and perform for people. Also, writing songs. I would like to continue to write songs for myself, as INTRN, as well as working with other artists that are in the same realm as me. I’d love to be writing top 40 type music as well, if given that opportunity. I know it’s very hard to get into that world, but…Yea, I could see myself as a touring act and a professional songwriter. 

At the end of the day, what do you hope people get out of your music when they listen?

INTRN: I mean, I’m hoping that people can really listen to it and be able to connect to my perspective. While I’m singing about heartbreak and stuff that everybody kinda experiences, maybe the way that I am able to voice it is something that someone can connect with. They can listen to it and say that they felt that way. I guess understand that somebody else has felt that way too and that they are not alone in dealing with that kind of difficult stuff. To also know that those situations don’t define who you are as a person. While it sucks you are heartbroken, it’s not the end of the world.

If you could take a trip tomorrow, where would you go and who/what would you take with you? 

INTRN: I would like to go to Europe, but I don’t exactly know where. I haven’t really traveled a lot but I’ve been to Ireland. I think it would be great to go to Germany. If I could bring one thing it would probably be a guitar, to be able to write some music. 

What’s an album you couldn’t live without? 

INTRN: Gorilla Manor by Local Natives.

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