FEATURE: Jayne Dent – My Inspiration | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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We catch up with musician Jayne Dent to find out more about her inspirations, upcoming show, new releases and show at Butterfly Cabinet on Thursday 24th May.

I think my influences come from lots of different places and I love discovering new music. There’s the folky storytelling tradition at the root of everything I do; artists I grew up with like Maddy Prior and Kerfuffle, as well as the music and dance that surrounded me at folk festivals all seep into this album. I think that the thudding, simple rhythms I favour are probably in part down to an early love of a big bass drum that accompanied the clog and morris teams I watched so often as a child.

Then there’s this other side I discovered much later, musicians using electronic sounds to create amazing atmospheric stories, like Laurie Anderson, The Knife, FKA Twigs etc. The song Water Me by FKA Twigs, for example, is completely perfect to me. It’s so emotional and beautiful and simple, and it’s definitely been one of my most consistent reference points.

I’ve also been really inspired by people using their voices in unconventional ways; Meredith Monk and others like her. Being a member of Noize Choir too has had a huge impact on the music I make and the way I approach composing and improvising. I always try to find this balance between the rawness of the human voice and the exciting way it can be manipulated by technology; it’s so exciting to use the voice playfully in this way.

The forthcoming album is a collection of songs I’ve written/arranged over the past year and a half; and so far I’ve released two of these! Now you have an idea of where I’m coming from, here’s a little taster of what to expect!:

Eyes and Ohs
Eyes and Ohs was the first single released from the forthcoming album, is the only lyric-free track and one of the most fun to play live. It’s super cathartic for me, electronic and upbeat; and I see it as a celebration of the female voice and the right to be loud. The vocal melody and style is massively influenced by Swedish/Norwegian Kulning, herding calls that ring across mountains, often sung by women. I got this CD, ‘Wizard Women of the North’, and listened to it obsessively a couple of years ago. Once I’d written the song I realised how influential this CD had been on the music I was starting to make, and in this song it’s especially evident.

Benjamin Bowmaneer 
Benjamin Bowmaneer is one of the more narrative based songs on the album. It’s an arrangement of a traditional song that I heard performed by the band Kerfuffle, and the weirdness of the story stuck with me for years. The story is of a tailor who uses various objects at his disposal (a thimble, scissors etc) to recreate a battle scene in miniature, with the suggestion that “this is how the wars began”. The narrative seems to me to be about how ordinary people are implicated in the wars of the powerful, the pride and the human cost. In a way, the main influence on the arrangement was the story itself. I was also listening to different versions of the song by various musicians, and thinking about artists like Fever Ray, Jenny Hval and Bjork. I wanted the lyrics to sit on an atmospheric drone which highlighted the strange imagery of the tale, and so myself and my producer Liam Robson created this bubbly, eerie, electronic soundscape, drawing you in to this uncanny world.

The crowdfunder for my debut album runs until the Tuesday 5th June; find out more about the exciting pre-orders and other gifts you can get by clicking on the link and contributing here.

I am also taking over the Butterfly Cabinet with some special guests (Hannah Osborne/Shilu/Pinnel and Medeah) for one night on Thursday 24th May to raise money for the album!

It’ll be free entry to all those who have already donated to the crowdfunder before doors open on the night and £5 for everyone else! There will be the opportunity on the night for people to pay in cash / sign up for a special £5 discount on all the crowdfunder perks online (available to gig attendees only)!

Jayne Dent plays Butterfly Cabinet, Newcastle on Thursday 24th May.

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