It makes sense that I first met Erin Jale, (pronounced “JaH-Lay”) at a music festival. Almost immediately when meeting her one gets the sense that she not only loves music, but that her mind has a deep and penetrating understanding of sound in general. I was hooked to her musical vibe with one listen to her down and dirty “In a Hot Broken Tone – Cypress Hill Remix”, which uses some timeless elements from that era to get listener’s heads nodding.
What I discovered from one track to the next is that Erin Jale’s deep diversity in her musical influences has made her sounds impossible to really categorize or neatly tuck away into a particular genre. Its obvious that each of her tracks have unique emotional signatures and flavors. One track lives somewhere in atmospheric space rock, while another delivers bass that reliably crushes dance floors. The only thing they all seem to share in common are samples which have been processed to the Nth degree and woven together with a level of depth and complexity which is very rare in today’s plug-and-play production world. Oh, and the bass…she definitely loves her bass.
Erin’s latest featured (and unofficial) remix of Puscifer’s “Tumbleweed”, was created while she was living in Arizona in a tiny town an hour and some change north of Phoenix. The vast and empty spaces seem to resonate through the track with its giant sounds, layer upon layer, working together resulting in a deep mesmerizing effect. Like many of her tracks, this takes you on a journey into a place where the listener feels surrounded by the atmosphere and swaddled like a wee lamb in the enveloping audio. I got to sit down with Erin Jale recently and ask her about her new remix.
Marshall Getto: Tell us a little bit about Tumbleweed and where you were at as an artist when you decided to remix that Puscifer track.
Erin Jale: So basically, last fall I took a job on a ranch in a town called Wickenburg, Arizona. Its a really small community, very isolated compared to Los Angeles, where I grew up. Needless to say, there was a lot of downtime… A lot of time for horseback riding and working on my novel, running in the hills and trying not to step on rattlesnakes. Lots of downtime for drinking whiskey [laughs] with everybody on the ranch. After a while, we all started to feel kinda isolated, so then we’d take trips and venture out into the wilds of Arizona. On Halloween I went with some of my fellow workers to Jerome, Arizona where we attended a costume party in a haunted hotel called: The Grand Hotel. It was so damn fun! The town, the landscape, the vibes were epic; to say the least… You could see the the red rocks of Sedona from miles away. The magic and beauty of the spot resonated deep within me. I could live there, easy. While in the town of Jerome, you feel like you’re in a Mediterranean biome because it almost looks like Italy, but it also looks like this Western movie landscape. It looks so authentic, like a spaghetti western-resurrected ghost town. Its just amazing. I had seen a documentary about a winery in this town, started by the lead singer of Tool. So my friends and I decided to check it out because were curious…I’ve worked in Napa and I love wine, I’m always down to try new flavors. I had heard the minerals of the region gave the wine its own unique identity. The tasting room was truly dope, dynamic, and delish.
MG: Um, yeah, its the lead singer of Tool’s winery…its gotta be somewhat interesting.
EJ: Yes, it was. We met this awesome lady there named Felicia. We did a flight…well a few flights actually [giggle], and this music was playing in the background. I asked Felicia what it was and she explained that it was Maynard’s side project “Puscisfer” and that they had the CD in their store up the block.
MG: So once you listen to that song in the ghost town, and had that experience, is that what lead you to be inspired to do a remix of the track?
EJ: Yeah, I kind of felt like a Tumbleweed myself at that time. Feeling isolated on the ranch….missing a lot of my friends and family….at the same time just feeling uprooted like a tumbleweed…
MG: Yeah…just blowing through town…?
EJ: “Yeah, blowing through town…just drinking whiskey in the desert” [laughs].
MG: [laughs] In the desert…usually people associate tequila with the desert…
EJ: [laughs] Yeah, not if your a cowgirl! Anyways, the song just resonated with me…it was so beautiful and it just made me feel so warm because I feel like there’s a resolution in the song. Eventhough somebody’s a tumbleweed or they’re so far from their home, there’s always a possibility for wholeness. There is a home for you. You know, maybe its not a specific place, but it exists…maybe within yourself or if you listen to the universe, so I think I found some hope or some beauty in the music. That’s what it takes for me to want to to remix a track. I’ve got to feel it in my body.
MG: Yeah, it obviously spoke to you. So what made you get into making music, and more specifically, electronic music?
EJ: Well, after I’d graduated college one of my friends had this Tascam recorder, and I had been playing the guitar since freshman year, just kind of messing around with chordal progressions. So me and my friend, Josh…we made up a band called “Rockin’ Hard” we would record these simple little ditties on the Tascam. One day I was just feeling kind of psychedelic, so I flipped the tape over and played some chords…a nice little progression. Simple. And then recorded it, flipped the tape back over, and played it as an ambient backup track…[laughs] And then I played a little variation of the chords that I had laid down backwards and I started recording simple, kind of ambient, psychedelic tracks on this Tascam. At that time, I was supporting myself as a freelance photographer in Venice, and as a tutor….and a swim teacher…[laughs]
EJ: And so, I remember just doing all these things on the computer and working on a photography project one night and feeling so over the project that on a whim I opened up Garage Band…and in a night I just pretty much figured it out, and had so much fun just playing with it. That experience inspired me to start programming my own beats and making music on the computer because then I wouldn’t have to wait for band practice, or someone other person’s schedule, or getting everyone together…
MG: You could just be more independent?
EJ: Yeah, and not really have to worry about anyone’s opinions. I could have this whole world of sound at my finger tips, arrange it to the beat of my own hearts drum.
MG: Interesting. So that pretty much explains how you got into it, but, as a sub-question to that, what were some of your musical influences at the time…what kind of led you to your sound?
EJ: Well, I’ve always loved Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. At the time, I was starting to listen to Aphex Twin, Zero 7, a lot of Frank Zappa, Jaco Pastorious, Kraftwerk, Prog Rock… I had been listening to a lot of drum and bass music and going to raves and listening to break beats, but my background was mostly live music. I did used to really love the band Phish…[laughs]…I don’t listen to them that much anymore, but I did really like their airy, jammy, psychedelic departures. I guess that kind of evolved into a passion for ambient down tempo. Aphex Twin was a huge wave-shaper for me as far as coming from the fold of classic rock and fusion and stuff like that. So my psychedelic rock background lends itself to a lot of what I do. The big, booming, bassy, chunky stuff that I’m super-drawn to making paired with that swirly sensibility that lent itself to my musical coming of age.
MG: That makes sense. So, this is kind of in the back of that last question, even though its obviously impossible to categorize what you make into a neatly titled little genre, how would you self-label your own music?
EJ: [laughs] “Well, that’s a great question…[laughs] I feel like it changes…it changes depending on the song.”
MG: Maybe if there were a couple overriding emotional themes or stylistic themes, what would they be?
EJ: Well, I guess a couple ways of explanation come to mind: The first one is “atmospheric dub” because the bass is very big and rolling and a lot of the tones and sounds and samples that I like to make are just floating down from the ethers. Like a beautiful atmosphere. An emotional one. The other one is “elemental dub” because a lot of what I hear when I’m working on my music are really primal or primordial sounds of the earth. When I say elemental I mean just of the elements…earth, air, fire, water…
MG: Like Wicken-dub? [laughs]
EJ: [laughs] Stoppit! Its not Wicken-dub [laughs]. Its elemental. Some songs I make, I feel like they are of the Earth and they give me this epic quality of feeling: like I’m everywhere…I’m like a thousand feet tall. The song is alive and it just creates this other world, and that’s what I want my listeners to feel like. I make music, not just for a live setting, but sometimes more so for a private setting where somebody can really relax and be comfortable and let everything go. We all carry around our lives everyday,and they get so heavy. I want people not only to enjoy the beat of the music, and the release of that, but to feel beautiful and to feel light in the process. I really use a lot of sounds that draw out my own emotions. Its my main motivation and inspiration. Feeling good, warm, evoking my heart out loud. What can I say? I’m totally crafting my own escape when I make music. Almost like its caramel candy. That’s how I want people to feel. I want people to feel really luscious and amazing when they hear it. Not just think, but feel. This is music for the feelers. Like you would feel an element of air or water on your skin…
MG: Yeah, that’s awesome. I’m sure people won’t mind having some of the candy that you’re making.
EJ: “Ha-ha! Want some ear-candy?” [laughing]
MG: Too funny. So any upcoming collaborations or shows that you’re looking forward to?
EJ: Um, actually yes. I’ve started a new band with my long-time friend and musical collaborator, Jason Lockwood. We’ve known each other for a longtime. Our new project is called “Snake-hips Lulu”. Its named after the original dance hall queen. She made her name dancing in saloons during the gold rush in the Yukon. She was a show girl and dancer making money entertaining the gold miners. I felt compelled by her story because, when I was in Wickenburg, there were these statues in the downtown area. Historical statues: cowboy, a claim jumper , a hooker …and the hooker one mentioned all these stories including “Snake Hips” Lulu. I checked up on her story and realized its relevant because she wasn’t really a hooker, but a dancer. The band name is for Lulu. I feel like we’re all kind of working and can get lost in the shuffle… I feel like I’m a 21st century dance hall queen trying to hustle for my bread. [laughs]
MG: [laughs] So, are there any shows upcoming?
EJ: “Oh, yea, there’s one coming up in Grass Valley on June 30th with GruntWorthy Music who currently releases some of my tracks.”
MG: How about upcoming releases?
EJ: I’m just finishing up the release of my double album “Opiate of the Massive”. I’m really excited about it. Its 26 songs that I’ve written over the last three years. It will be released by the fall of 2012, but people can have some previews on my SoundCloud page.
Erin Jale’ on Soundcloud
((( http://soundcloud.com/erinjale )))
Editor’s Note: Fully F-ing co-signed, thank you Locash Reporter Marshall Ghetto and of course Erin Jale’, Locash Collective 2012~ Hensley