From New York City, NY comes one of those bands that makes you stop, focus, and listen. “Jane In Space” is a very dark and interesting band, and we at Vents Magazine enjoyed some time to talk with the band and learn a bit more about their very unique music.
Ryan: Band names are one of the more difficult decisions to make. What is the story behind Jane in Space?
Jesse Jensen (multi-instrumentalist, producer): Before there was a band, I was cataloging things I was writing that didn’t fit in any of my other projects under the name “Jane.” When Josh Stillman (bassist) and Tom Vickers (vocalist) actually started to bring those things to life, Tom suggested calling it “Jane in Space,” which felt perfect because it evoked what we were trying to do – a lonely emotion amidst the promises of futurism.
Ryan: Your lead single “Feel it Alive” was a great choice for a song deserving the spotlight. What made you choose this song over the others?
Jesse: Thanks! When you’re in a band, every song is an attempt to juggle everyone’s different influences; sometimes, like with “Feel It Alive,” all those influences perfectly coexist – my love of dystopian-sounding electronics, Tom’s gift of melodicism, and Josh’s effortless groove all clicked together.
Ryan: How long did the album take you to make?
Jesse: On and off, two years – lots of overthinking during that time, to be sure, but we were also all busy with several other projects. We also wrote way more songs than ended up on the record – these just felt like the right ones for our first album.
Ryan: The video for ‘Feel it Alive” is quite dark and moody, and quite vulnerable feeling. How much input for the video did you have in regards to the finished product?
Jesse: Permian Strata deserves all credit for the video. We’re lucky enough to have him do live visuals for us, and he never ceases to amaze. When we wanted a video for this song, we asked him about the concept – projecting his visuals onto Tom singing the song – and Permian Strata went wild from there, coming up with some incredible techniques.
Ryan: The album is currently self-titled, is it expected to stay this way, or will you be added an official title before the release?
Jesse: Self-titled. It was enough of a fight to settle on the track list – we had so many songs to choose from!
Ryan: What does your song writing process look like?
Jesse: For the most part, Jane in Space songs begin with some sort of sound collage I’ve made; I’ll attempt to give them some structure, perhaps by co-opting a guitar riff into a synth and weaving that on top.
At that point, it’s still pretty amorphous; I’ll play Tom this blob, and he’ll come up with the most incredible melodies on the fly. We sort through his ideas and start putting the song together, and then Tom will go write lyrics on his own.
Josh is the last piece; almost every song is fully arranged, including scratch bass parts, by the time he listens for the first time. I’ll play it a few times – he’ll look stumped and I’ll worry that he doesn’t like it – and then his fingers start dancing around his frets, finding grooves I didn’t think existed in the track. The song doesn’t feel complete until then.
Ryan: Where do you gather your inspiration from?
Jesse: I spend way too much time trying to figure out how to emulate in music the meta-fictional universes of Grant Morrison and Mark Z. Danielewski. Musically, this album tried to distil my historical inspirations – Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, and the like – with the sort of modern musical impressionism of artists like Burial and Crystal Castles.
Ryan; Do you have any advice for independent musicians looking to make their first album?
Jesse: Be patient, and play your songs live as you develop them; not only will performing make you hone in on your songs’ weaknesses and tighten their structures, but the mistakes you make will be some of the best ideas you’ll ever have.
Ryan: Many albums have themes that run through them, does this album have a specific theme?
Jesse: I don’t think there’s a lyrical theme (though I wouldn’t put it past Tom to have hidden one in there), but we put a lot of thought and effort into capturing Brian Eno’s quote about “the sound of failure,” that “so much modern art is the sound of things going out of control, of a medium pushing to its limits and breaking apart.” Our goal was really taking the futuristic promises of electronic music and breaking them.
Ryan: Other than “Feel it Alive”, what is a song that you would like to shine a light on?
Jesse: “Spiderwebs” is a song that explicitly embodies that Eno quote. Tom’s lyrics touch on the paradox that our increasing interconnectedness may be dehumanizing us; to make that message literal, we processed his vocals to emulate that popular auto-tune sound, but without auto-tune — which just made his vocals sound broken. There’s something really lonely about the way he sounds, especially in contrast to the sort of Depeche Mode-style bombast that’s going on musically.
Ryan: Lastly, and thank you for your time. Do you have any news that you would like to share with your fans?
Jesse: Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us. The album comes out on August 19, and we’re very excited to announce that we will be playing an album release show on September 23 with our Aion Records labelmate Charcole Federation and a few others. Follow us at facebook.com/listentojaneinspace for updates on that show and more.