Interview: MeLostMe (Jayne Dent)
Jayne Dent (MeLostMe) performed as part of sea/film's 'Shifting Sands' project on 17/01/20 where she gave a set accompanied by Esther Johnson's film 'Retreating the Line' and films from the Yorkshire Film Archive. She also presented a sound installation 'THE WAVES LIKE BRAIDS, UNRAVELLING.'
Jayne is an artist/ musician/ composer/writer / workshop facilitator/ events coordinator based in Newcastle Upon Tyne (UK) who works primarily with performance, electronic music, sound installation and print.
I wondered if you could talk a bit about your sound and how you came to develop your electo/folk mix?
I grew up in a folky family, so that influence has always been there - in terms of the sound but also the strong sense of community music making and the urge to go out and find new tunes and songs. When studying Fine Art I found myself getting really into experimental electronic music, minimalism, ambient and noise music - and since then I've been trying to bring together these loves to find a musical language that makes sense to me. I'm influenced by all kinds of music, I'm an avid music listener and the most exciting music to me is the stuff that is hard to categorise, stuff that is playful and experimental with genre.
Could you speak a bit about your relationship and interest in the sea and its traditions, as it appears to influence your work quite a lot?
Growing up in Chesterfield we were quite far from the sea, so it's always been a huge treat to be at the coast, and it still gives me thrills every time. It's so vast and mysterious, it symbolises so much that humans fear and crave - the unknown, adventure, loss and life. It's a place where the imagination can completely run wild with stories of sea monsters coming from across the world throughout human history, and it's still so alien to us today.
At Shifting Sands in Scarborough, you were obviously playing along to films, both archive and artists moving image, how did you find this experience and was it something that you have done before?
I've done group improvisations as live soundtracks to films before once or twice, but they have been responding to a narrative, taking inspiration from what's on screen directly. It was lovely to perform my own songs alongside the films, it felt like they were working together in parallel really nicely and I felt like the combination of music and image made for a really nice atmosphere.
Speaking more generally about film is there any titles or directors that have influenced you in any way?
Maya Deren is my favourite filmmaker, I adore her short surrealist films. Generally slow-unfolding sci-fi or fantasy films, most of Tarkovsky's back catalogue and Bergman's The Seventh Seal have had definite lasting impacts on my work.
You also displayed a sound installation during the event 'THE WAVES LIKE BRAIDS, UNRAVELLING,' how did this project come about and is sound installation something you plan to work on more in the future?
The piece came about through a collaboration with the Women Artists of the North East library. I visited the archive and selected a handful of works that seemed to have strands of connection, a focus on texture, water, bodies, fabric and tactility and wrote the piece inspired by those works. I've absolutely loved the process of making this piece and I love writing longer, more abstract electronic pieces of music for installation or sound-tracking moving image, so hopefully there'll be many more sound installations to come!
Scarborough is obviously quite a unique place, how was it to perform in and explore the town?
It was a wonderful and strange experience for me to explore the town - I visited Scarborough a lot as a kid with my parents who came as part of the morris dancing festival that happened every year - but I didn't have a specific picture of it in my mind. When I played I had plenty of time to explore and was amazed at how much of it was suddenly familiar and instantly brought back so many memories! I loved performing in the market vaults because it's such an unusual and special venue space, I had a lovely time chatting to the stallholders and exploring the place.
Lastly whats coming up this year for you?
So far I've got a big UK tour planned in April, a few festival dates in the summer too! I've almost finished writing my next album which hopefully will be out in 2020, so I'm really exited to share that! Hopefully there'll be a few surprises too, can't wait to see what's around the corner!
Interview: Martha Cattell
Jayne performing in the Market Hall Vaults Scarborough
Installation shot of 'The Waves Like Braids, Unravelling' Scarborough Market Hall Vaults