INTERVIEW: Me Lost Me | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Amelia Read

Folklore is always being created, and I became interested in the idea of what stories will be told of now in the future.” Folk is in the blood of Newcastle-based experimental artist Jayne Dent, aka Me Lost Me. Raised in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, Jayne would visit local folk music sessions and festivals with her parents, with her father playing several folk instruments including the concertina.

Yet rather than focusing solely on the traditional, Jayne’s Me Lost Me project moulds the past with the future, creating a sound that is somehow both old world and otherworldly. Her futuristic approach to folk is even more apparent on her stunning second album, The Good Noise. “I found myself hypothesising on what those folklore stories told in the future could be – not just grand myths but both the tiny and the big stories. They might just be about stinging your hand on some nettles or going for a walk in a city that might not exist in the future.”

Just as folklore is always situated in a specific place and time, landscape is incredibly important to Jayne’s songwriting. Throughout The Good Noise the listener is transported across different environments, often through field-recordings that are layered between ambient textures. From the Pyrenees Mountains to the humble Newcastle Town Moor, these little moments connect Jayne’s ethereal sounds back to the ground. It’s no doubt due to her background as a visual artist that she is able to evoke such a strong sense of place.

In my mind, there’s a place this album occurs in,” she explains. “Each song moves around through a composition of different places, it can move from a very wild place to a city, but it can float over the two throughout. I really wanted to capture those different sounds; Walking feels much more like it takes place in a city, but I wanted there to be sounds in the distance from a wilder place outside of the city. Then Nettle Soup, for example, takes place in a wilder location but there are moments of the city creeping in.”

This juxtaposition between the natural and industrial often has an uncanny effect. As tends to be the case with folklore, there is frequently something darker bubbling just beneath the surface, and there is certainly a sense of foreboding that lurks throughout The Good Noise. The End of the World, the first single taken from the album, is the perfect example; a bewitching lament that gets under your skin, with Jayne’s haunting vocals layered over an ominously plucked banjo.

There’s definitely a lot of anguish in The Good Noise. It was written pre-Covid but there are a lot of things about the political climate that were very much seeping into my writing

There’s definitely a lot of anguish in The Good Noise. It was written pre-Covid but there are a lot of things about the political climate that were very much seeping into my writing. For my last EP, The Lay of the Land, I made a conscious effort to write about climate change, and I wanted to respond specifically to the thoughts and feelings I was having about that. This album is not necessarily as direct, but that feeling of being out of control of the situation around you plays a very strong part. I didn’t necessarily set out to write any songs about climate change, though The End of the World is about capitalism and its contribution to the world changing and being left behind by the people in power who have promised to save everyone. That to me is political and environmental and you can’t really pull those two things apart.”

Though The Good Noise leans towards a more serious tone, Jayne insists she was “conscious to at least put a couple of moments of joy in it.” Those moments of joy appear in the more playful aspects of the album: in fact, Jayne has been lauded for her ability to simultaneously create something that is both sinister and playful. This is demonstrated in the electronic art pop of Worm Unearthed, which muses on sprawling corporate developments from the perspective of a worm. There’s also a meditative joy present in Walking – its metronome-esque quality creating a sense of space and reflection, and in the pastoral Nettle Soup with its simple nettle picking narrative.

Another one of those moments of joy comes in the track which gave the album its title, The Good Noise. “That was a good noise, wasn’t it?” remarks Jayne’s father, Jack Dent, after playing the hurdy-gurdy throughout. It’s a heart-warming little nod to the traditional folk influences that inspired Me Lost Me, but also a moment that informed one of the larger concepts of the record. “I wanted to explore the idea of what noise is. My Dad thinks my music is a bit noisy, but I think it’s interesting how we relate noise to taste and music, and how we judge what is a pleasant or unpleasant noise, and what sounds are considered to be musical and not.”

As a testament to her artistic vision and the high esteem she’s held in locally, Jayne has recently been awarded a prestigious Artist in Residence position at Sage Gateshead. Despite the difficult circumstances, Jayne is no stranger to adapting her art and exploring new ways to create. “The main thing I took from my art degree, is just to keep making and follow the thing that works. I’m trying to think of lots of different outcomes and eventualities – there’s a plan A, B and C,” she laughs. “I don’t feel like I’ll be disappointed at the end of it, I feel like I’m being given permission to just write, and it’s really nice to have that time and space. Hopefully there will be a lovely gig at the end of it, and a release of some kind, but I’m happy to play it by ear and make sure it’s a valuable time no matter what.”

Me Lost Me releases The Good Noise on 6th November



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