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

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Melding her traditional background with an amalgamation of drones, loops and electronics, last year’s full-length debut Arcana cemented Jayne Dent’s place among our region’s most impressive creative voices. With her experiments in sound continuing to bear bounty, this month sees the burgeoning artist return in double-quick time, pushing her Me Lost Me project to fresh conceptual realms on new EP The Lay of the Land.

“I think concept albums and EPs are a really interesting format,” she muses. “I come from a fine art background, and this to me is all one piece rather than a collection of songs. It’s the chance to explore something from several angles and to really sink into the material, both as a musician and as a listener.”

Clearly, embarking on such a project requires considerable passion for its subject, and for Jayne the current climate catastrophe is an issue which subjugates all others. “I think people make music about whatever emotion consumes them, and that’s what inspired me,” she reveals. “I set out to make a conceptual piece about climate change from the beginning, but with the aim of making an emotional document rather than a big anthemic protest piece – to perhaps provide people who share these feelings some kind of comfort or catharsis, like a break-up song might.” Indeed, although she’s reluctant to be drawn on the abject political response (“I don’t think I have the energy!”), it’s clear that activism lies at the project’s core:  “Throughout the writing process the EP became a swirling mess of grief, fear, anger, sadness, awe, hope and restless energy to do something. I don’t have the words really, which I think is why I tried to express it in music.

I set out to make a conceptual piece about climate change from the beginning, but with the aim of making an emotional document rather than a big anthemic protest piece

“It’s darker than Arcana, for sure,” she continues. “I think that’s because Arcana is in many ways about history – connecting folk tradition and new contexts, technologies and politics. The Lay of the Land, meanwhile, is about the future – which is really uncertain and often terrifying, hence the much darker atmosphere and lyrical content.”
This shift in tone is palpable on lead single Fools Gold; a song whose enveloping, multi-layered structure reveals a further shift in Me Lost Me methodology. “This is the first time I’ve written in-software; writing and recording at the same time. It’s allowed me to experiment with more complex arrangements. I’ve been able to apply the improvisational approach that I use with my loop pedal, but the extra tools are very freeing. I’d also never really recorded, produced and mixed before I began this project in December 2018. It’s been a steep learning curve, but I feel like it’s been fruitful!”

Finally, for all that climate conversations are pervaded by dire, doom-laden forecasts, Jayne insists our outlook need not be devoid of optimism: “The last short song, Mother Nature, I gave to myself as a reminder that there is hope where there’s kindness – kindness to the planet, but also to each other and to ourselves. It’s easy to be consumed by the darkness, and we must remember to stay kind.”

The Lay of the Land is released on Friday 31st May. The EP, and its accompanying lyric zine, is launched that evening with a gig at The Head of Steam, Newcastle. Me Lost Me also plays Tipping Point Live on Friday 21st May.

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