D//E Interviews: Jaye Jayle

No Trail and Other Unholy Paths, the upcoming album by Jaye Jayle, follows the band's mighty impressive recent offerings, House Cricks and Other Excuses to Get Out, their debut full length from 2016, and The Time Between Us, a collaborative EP with Emma Ruth Rundle. There are a few points about it one could emphasize on right off the bat, like the fact that it was produced by David Lynch’s music supervisor of the last twelve years, Dean Hurley, that it features another collaboration with Rundle, and that it bears no specific beginning or ending, with its songs designed to be experienced in any sequence the listener chooses.

Jaye Jayle's Americana-noir sound has always been enticing, but never voiced better than how it is on the coming record.

The multi-talented and cultivated Evan Patterson answers a few questions.

What made you decide to put Young Windows aside and begin a project like Jaye Jayle with such a different sound and approach?

Young Widows hasn't been put aside. I hold the songs and experiences very dear. Nick and Jeremy started families. The time available to create, write, and travel became infrequent. For many years prior to conceiving Jaye Jayle I had been wanting to make compositions that were based around stories or vocal melodies as the lead instrument. Lending the music to relax and settle down somewhere similar to that of film score. I've touched a bit on that concept and sound with Young Widows.

Never thought of my music groups as being projects. Maybe when Jaye Jayle was first conceived it was more of a project. The process of creating as a group is such an emotional and personal investment. Each piece or song is more of the project within the group.

How would you describe the band's present dynamic? And how has it advanced since the previous album?

The group has a steady dynamic. Neal, Todd, Corey, and I spent the majority of our lives together in 2016 and 2017 touring. The closer we become the more advanced our communication through music becomes. Experimenting is much easier now, allowing the songs to be elaborated. House Cricks was a collection of songs from four different sessions. No Trail is consistent to a sound and mood composed as the group.

What does Dean Hurley bring to the album's sound design? and how does his production complement the compositions?

I believe that what Dean enjoys to hear in music is what I also enjoy to hear in music. We sent him a massive amount of tracks; Low Again Street had near 80 tracks to sift through. Dean had total creative control as the mixing producer. The result is a wide colorful spectrum of sounds. It's exciting to be able to work with him.

There's great chemistry between Emma Ruth Rundle and yourself, evident on your prior collaborative EP and on Marry Us, a captivating song on the new album. Are there any other artists you'd imagine as ideal collaborators for Jaye Jayle?

I'd loved to collaborate with more artists. Yes, more collaborations are must. It's preferred. I dreamt of asking Rachel Grimes if she'd like to collaborate on a piece or album, but have been delaying asking. Drew Miller's saxophone on the album is another perfect example of leaving sections of the composition open for additional collaborative improvised instrumentation. Honestly, I feel that even working with Dean is a collaboration.

I had the pleasure of collaborating with Emma on her new album earlier this year. No hand in writing the songs, but total freedom to write the additional second guitar parts. Her album came out gorgeous. I'd also love to join more artists.

Do you prefer physical media over digital? Are you a record collector?

I prefer all formats and sources for anyone and everyone to listen to music. I just made a playlist on Spotify and was shocked by what all is available through that outlet. I am a record collector. I bought a record today by Flash and the Pan. Their song Walking in the Rain is perfect. The record was three dollars. I'm collecting Ennio Morricone scores.

What are you currently listening to mostly?

I've been listening to the score for the film Marco Polo by Ennio Morricone in the evenings. The album Time Was by Zomes has been a favorite for the past three years. Fela Kuti in the mornings. The two most recent PJ Harvey albums are regular listens while on the road. Tangerine Dream, Jim Reeves, Fred Neil, and Einst├╝rzende Neubauten.

Outside music, what other sources have had heavy impact on your creativity?

A few. Looking above the rolling hills of Kentucky or the desert in New Mexico. Any elevated perspective or a landscape is inspiring. To see nature in all its beauty gives me a sense of clarity. Film is an big inspiration. Phantom Thread was great. I've also been doing my best to see more visual art around Louisville. There's a few museums in town that are curating some fantastic exhibits.

The new album's cover looks wonderful, rather abstract at first glance and ultimately pretty bleak. What made you choose that image to represent the music?

There is something relieving and yet tortured with the image. Placed between the lightness and darkness of nature. It's a balance between those two worlds. Stuck between the heavens and the hells of mental health.

Having the songs on the record arranged to be non-linear and interchangeable is a very interesting approach, and not something we encounter often. What made you decide to design the LP that way?

The concept came to me from feeling that regardless of my options and my choices in life, regardless of door A or door B, my paths would have me ending up ultimately in the same placement. We hope to do the things we love and survive. The idea of my desires have seemingly taken me to a place that I felt I could have been in regardless of which wall I tore down or which forest I cut through or ocean I swam through. Forward motion. The direction is not what's important. I've just kept going and trying to bring a sense of joy out through art and never give in. I'm not making this music for anyone else. I'm making it because it makes me feel alive. I have survived thus far because I've continued to not just fall into a pattern or follow a format in life. Everything I live for still feels very strange and exciting. Life is a constant surprise. Guaranteed.

What does the near future hold for Jaye Jayle?

The album is out in nine days. We're announcing nine weeks of touring soon. If all goes well, I'd love to complete another album by the end of the year.

No Trail and Other Unholy Paths releases June 29th, 2018 via Sargent House.

Top photo by Kristin Cofer.


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