Jackal – or Jack Lynskey – is friendly and engaging when we sit down for an interview. The third year student is currently studying songwriting at BIMM, and has recently made a name for himself with his first single, The Reaper, which just this week was picked up by RTÉ 2XM.
Jackal has written songs for many years and has performed since secondary school. When I ask him to describe his sound, he sighs. “I hate that question. I suppose it’s fusion pop music, with elements of funk, jazz and cabaret… it’s nothing too challenging. It’s just a fun time.”
Jackal’s music is catchy and fun, aiming to make music that people can lose themselves in. The Reaper certainly fits the bill; it’s funky, catchy and the kind of thing you’d dance dramatically to if you’d had a few drinks.
The dancing is important: it’s what Jackal aspires to make people do. He mentions the lack of music on the Irish scene that people can have a fun time to, and wants to change that.
The Reaper isn’t all fun and games though – I had noticed that it was quite lyrically complex, and quizzed Jackal about that. “It’s about art and romance,” he says cryptically. He explains: “there’s a lot of tension in the lyrics… in a song, there’s an agenda and in a relationship everyone wants something.”
Cynical stuff, but interesting without being pretentious. Ed Sheeran’s swooning love songs this isn’t, and once again I’m reminded that Jackal is more than just a run of the mill performer.
Why “Jackal”? According to the man himself, Jackal was inspired by the god of the Afterlife, Anubis, who had the body of a man and the head of a Jackal. This is one of the more interesting elements of the artist’s persona, certainly, but it’s not the only one. Live, Jackal performs solo backed up by a nine piece band, which includes three backing singers.
It’s sonically really, really good,” he says, and I’d believe him. Jackal has played The Mercantile, Sweeney’s and Whelan’s in the past year or so – all the little places that will provide a boost for the up and coming performers of Dublin.
Inspired by theatre and glam-rock performers of the past, it is clear that aesthetic is really important to Jackal, and he professes to focusing on that quite a bit. When I asked what influenced his decision to dress dramatically and in makeup for live shows, David Bowie comes up right away.
“You know the Thin White Duke era?” Jackal enthuses, saying that some of his look was inspired by that. “It’s formal, but not too formal…and, you know, we’re both ginger.”
So what’s next for Jackal? I ask about an EP, which seems to be the obvious direction, but Jackal counters that. “It would be a bit of a waste,” he says, as he doesn’t think his fanbase is big enough. He’s hoping to film a music video and produce more music over the next year. He’s certainly level headed about becoming a musician. “I’ve only laid the foundations,” he admits, “but this is what I’m going to do.”
To check out Jackal’s single, The Reaper, just click here.