Current Release: Prisyn on Sargent House
Recommendations: The Captain’s Verses by Pablo Neruda / Marco Polo (Film Score) by Ennio Morricone
Website/Contact: Jaye Jayle can be found online at Bandcamp and Facebook
When did you start writing/producing music - and what or who were your early passions and influences? What is it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
I believe I was 11 when I was first asked to play bass guitar in one of my older brother’s bands. I was raised in a small town called Elizabethtown in Kentucky. There was not much counterculture. Mostly farms, churches, strip malls, and fast food restaurants. Fortunately, my father had a great record collection and that record collection led to my interest in music. My interest in skateboarding and hip hop began around 9 years of age. Through skateboarding I discovered punk rock and latched on to the output from SST and Discord. Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth, De La Soul, and Public Enemy were some favourites around that time. I was also a visual artist at an early age. Constantly drawing, sculpting, and creating with any tools and resources I could get my hands on. As the years went on; music took over around age 13. I was a musician in the hardcore punk movement of the late eighties and nineties. The aggression, angst, and dissonance of the noise rock music of the mid-nineties spoke to me the most at that time. I wanted to create music similar to those sounds. I felt a sense of escapism and meditation through this music. As I grew older; so, did my interest. Obsessing over film scores, Afro beat music, krautrock music, world music, blues music, and understanding the use of baritone voices in music. I believe I will always be endlessly searching for an ultimate spiritual or meditative sonic connection. Even when I was creating more aggressive music; I have always connected most with darker sounds. Sounds that one may consider unsettling. Calm, but unsettling.
For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own voice? What is the relationship between copying, learning and your own creativity?
I am genuinely a fan of all music. Even if I despise a song; I can still find some sort of inspiration from what I am hearing. Whether that be what “not” to do or a new idea of how to take a similar concept and put a new spin on it, or add more tension. What I enjoy achieving most with music is combining sounds that I had heard before, but I hadn’t heard them together in the same piece. Not much compares to hearing a song that is so incredibly captivating that your soul desires to recreate a similar sonic experience. This does not happen very often. I am still dissecting some of my favourite music from over a decade ago and discovering music from half a century ago that is a relevant influence on my music. With being a fan of such a variety of music; I do not see the point of making album after album of songs that sound the same. Each album should stand on its own. The process should continue to change. That could mean become more elaborate and involved or the opposite and the creative process could be more barebones and minimal. I strive to not be pegged down as having a particular voice. I have many voices.
What were your main compositional- and production-challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time?
I’ve always had a struggle with the limits of a three piece or four piece group. If I wasn’t a working and touring musician and if I had no monetary restrictions, I would have a much larger production and more instrumentation. Up until my new album, I have been very adamant about being able to perform and control nearly every single sound. With the new album I toss that idea out the window. If the situation calls for it; I am prepared to perform alone without creating any of the sounds beyond a live vocal performance. Production has been somewhat of a complicated journey. Recently, I prefer to work with a recording engineer that is separate from a mixing engineer. The album is documented with someone who is there to capture the sounds perfectly without a producer’s input. Then a separate mixing engineer will work more as a producer.
What was your first studio like? How and for what reasons has your set-up evolved over the years and what are currently some of the most important pieces of gear for you?
The first “studio” I recorded in was a two bedroom house just outside of Louisville. It worked. Engineer was recording to A-DAT. He had a nice console and gave everything that very crisp and clear 90s sound.
I prefer to always perform and record guitar in stereo. Two amplifiers panned to the right and left. I like to take advantage of the stereo perception. Maybe years ago, I discovered the pig-pong setting on a Line 6 DL4 pedal and the rest is history. As of the past 4 years, I have been writing and performing with an early 70’s Univox Mini Korg K-2 synthesizer. That synthesizer is considered a member of the band.
How do you make use of technology? In terms of the feedback mechanism between technology and creativity, what do humans excel at, what do machines excel at?
Prior to the newest album; my tools for creating have been 99% analog. Or at least I was using physical instruments that I had learned to play and use. With “Prisyn” I dove into the GarageBand App on my iPhone out of frustration. There was never time to make music while touring. The past three years I was performing 170 to 200 shows out of the year. Completing a song or even composing the basic parts a song was not possible. The sounds I was getting from my iPhone were shocking. The further I dug into the app; the more tools discovered. It is 2020 and albums can literally be made in the palm of our hands. Machines might be getting more sensitive, but they will never have genuine emotions. The problem is that we are becoming more and more emotionally dependent on machines.
Production tools, from instruments to complex software environments, contribute to the compositional process. How does this manifest itself in your work? Can you describe the co-authorship between yourself and your tools?
Most of my ideas are written inside my head. It takes a bit of searching to find the notes. And when I do, I write another idea in my head. This applies for any instrument that is within reach. It may be an ink pen, or it may be a Karimba.
Collaborations can take on many forms. What role do they play in your approach and what are your preferred ways of engaging with other creatives through, for example, file sharing, jamming or just talking about ideas?
I am beginning to see the benefits of file sharing. I used to be somewhat of a “everything must be written as a group, played together as that same group, and recorded together as that same group” I am adapting and I’m enjoying what I’m hearing as I adapt. Jamming on a specific concept as a group, when it is right, is still preferred for collaboration. I have found having guests add instrumentation after a piece of music is completed to be one the most exciting methods of collaboration.