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Jennifer Doll – With Everything: The Interview

Today is the release date of Jennifer Doll’s With Everything, folks! Get yours RIGHT HERE ON THE JENNIFER DOLL BANDCAMP!

Back when Jennifer first contacted me about a the possibility of me doing A REVIEW OF WITH EVERYTHING, I’d also suggested to her that we do a brief interview around the release, just to let everyone know a bit more of what brought this release to our ears. In typical fashion, she stepped up with a brilliant collection of answers, which are posted here on the release date!

Check it out:

Aaron – Can you describe for us your working process? Do songs come to you fully-formed, or are they more of a building appearance over time?

Jennifer – The best way I can describe a wave of inspiration is as an itch that you just can’t ignore, with all the pleasure that a scratch grants. It all starts with this internal feeling that I have seemingly been able to trace back to moments when I have a few songs bouncing around in my head at one time; this creates an overall feeling that I then want to achieve in my own sound, if that makes sense. From there, I’ll intentionally borrow aspects that I love from a given song, but only from memory. During the time, I totally think I’m straight out stealing, but then the song starts to take shape and becomes its own sculptor. So, the feeling comes fully-formed, but the song dictates what it wants.

A – Your work, to me, comes across as two beautiful parts welded together in fascinating ways. There’s the dance aspect to it, but then there are such strikingly beautiful, more ethereal parts attached. Will you discuss how you create such beauty from two seemingly disparate approaches?

J – I love, love, love songs that can give you whiplash through pure energy and emotion and movement. I love songs that make you want to scream and cry and go into a manic episode; I think we all need to perform for ourselves sometimes.

I’ve always acknowledged that I have this let’s-lose-our-minds part of me and then this other side that just yearns for good company in the landscape or conversation. And I think that can be reflected in the music I listen to–in its grandeur–as well as in the place I’m at in my life: uncomfortably between graduating college and establishing a career.

This was originally supposed to be a LP, but my sound was evolving with every song and I finally said, “okay, I need to move past these tracks because I’m not in that place anymore”. And while writing them, I didn’t see any storyline to the songs. After though, I realized that with everything that was going on, those were the songs being written with everything that I had at the time and so I put them out.

A – One thing I noticed when listening to With Everything was a real sense of the dance floor and its shiny facade losing its lustre. Can you talk about how that questioning came about, and when it started affecting your thoughts on the culture of it?

J – I am in love with dance and pop music. Dance is such a visceral action that transcends language and you just gotta get up and dance a little bit sometimes! It’s being physical and emotional in a way unlike any other.

I am also fascinated by live music and how performers perform; how dance is an extension of the song and how they get the crowd to move. But you can’t dance forever and eventually the song ends and the party is over. I think that can be equated to my college days—where I was gigging nightly with ample alcohol at hand—ending and settling into a more tamed and confined lifestyle, but with the temptation of a good party still there.

I think everyone loves the idea of a party. But I think that if you can’t party by yourself, then that lustre will always fade away.

A – Do you see your work, in future, becoming one big long conversational extended collection, or do you imagine future work might branch out experimentally into different sounds?

J – My music is so dependent on what I am listening to and what is going on in my life. I try to not fall into the trap of repetition with natural tendencies (count how many of my songs start on D minor) and allowing myself to get comfortable. I always want to see what I can do differently.

The new songs I’m working on have a solid sound to them, I think. Though compiling a LP, I am terrified that because they all have a ‘sound’, they will all sound too similar. So with each new one, I’m trying to always be conscious of that and seeing what I can do differently. And of course, all would change if I were ever to find a band that wants to play my music haha!

A – You had excellent collaborations on this release. Do you find it more simply add bits to the creativity, or does it change the dynamic and the song in ways you’d possibly never imagine doing the song alone?

J – I didn’t plan on having collaborations on this release honestly. As I said, it was supposed to be a LP, so I am just as surprised and excited as everyone else! I don’t exactly remember how it came to be between me and OneManStanding—I think he listened to ‘glitter tits’ and had this real attachment to it—so, he offered to remix it and of course I was like “holy cow ya!” And I think he did a really great job; he made it go from inside the party to the moment when a party turns sour and you’re stumbling home and the regret is settling in.. And I believe Jigsaw Sequence had posted wanting to do a remix with someone, so I sent him Cosmo because I thought that best fit his style.

I think both artists did a fantastic job with taking the song and putting it in their own world. I can never see the song outside of the context I’ve made for it.

A – Is there anyone with whom you would very much like to do a collaboration, in future? Even famous/established creators? Sky’s the limit!

J – I don’t know why, but Flume came into my head right away. He uses space in such incredible ways and does the exact opposite of what you think he’s going to do; which is something I look for in all my favorite songs. I’ve never really given the question any thought, though, so I think my first thought of Flume can stand for itself.

A – Who are your influences? Musicians/bands, artists, authors, anyone else…

J – I try to listen to as much as I can. Like I said, I am especially captured by live performances, and I think the energy they release inspires me alone. But I grew up with Fleetwood Mac and Britney Spears. Right now I’ve just been listening to a lot of Lorde, Florence + the Machine, The Maccabees, Queens of the Stone Age, Kate Bush, Blood Orange, First Aid Kit, The xx, AURORA, MGMT & Arctic Monkeys (from the late 2000s only). I’m definitely missing a ton, but those were my recently added on iTunes.

A – Thanks so much for taking the time to answer these questions, Jennifer! Feel free to go ahead and promote anything you’d like or add anything else you’d like us to know about you right here (below), for all our KMA Readers to see!

J – Thank you so much for having me… everyone be on the look out for a LP next year and some structure to my life (hopefully)!  

***

Folks, get your copy of Jennifer Doll’s With Everything RIGHT HERE ON BANDCAMP. Also, follow her TWITTER!

Also, you can read my review of the excellent With Everything release RIGHT HERE ON THE KMA.

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Update

S’up KMA Readers,

I hope y’all enjoyed the coverage of Jennifer Doll’s upcoming release. Head to her bandcamp on the 21st of this month!

News: I was in Taranna yesterday! And yup, I was in BMV and Sonic Boom. Of course. I know, I know, I am not even done covering all the goodies I found during the Toasty Taranna trip with Mike, so I will finish those first. Then I’ll dig into these new goodies! 

Apologies: Life has been so busy lately, just slapping up brief posts is about all I can do. Worst, I haven’t read any of your blogs in so long, but I want you to know it’s not because I don’t love you, and it’s not because I’ve given up. Surely, one of these days things will calm down enough that I’ll have time to sit and read at leisure, and even comment…

Rock on, you beautiful Reader, you.

Jennifer Doll – With Everything

As sharp-eyed KMA Readers will recall, a while back I received and covered Manipulant’s What Good Are The Stars? On that fine release, one of the versions of the title track features the excellent vocal work of Jennifer Doll.

More recently, I received an email from Jennifer, who’d been referred to me via Manipulant, wondering if I’d be interested in reviewing her new release, entitled With Everything (which drops September 21). Oh dear Readers, you know my answer! Of course I absolutely would! Especially since I truly appreciated her work on the Manipulant track, and I’ve always loved it when artists send us their work, so bring it on!

I’ve played through this release several times now, and (spoiler alert!) it’s awesome. Check it out:

Bookended by waves washing ashore, Siren Song atmospherically highlights Doll’s vocals, which float beautifully while simultaneously remaining firm and guiding, as the song’s protagonist tries to keep the darkness at bay. By the time the horns march into the mix, I am fully invested in this brilliant opener. Secrets Of The Dance Floor creeps up on a deep bass rumble and simple slinky beat. Through the good headphones, the backing vocals meld wonderfully with the instrumental movements. I love the mood here, and how it takes a good hard look at the party life. 

Cosmo (f. Almark) swirls in and suddenly it’s a dance party with (at least two, that I could hear) restless synth lines writhing beneath a solid melody line. Once again the vocals soar here, and the gentler breakdown section that leads to the outro is so dreamy and lovely. Brilliant dynamics abound on this track. Heavy begins with a wonderfully church-like vocal presence (with tons of room for it) mixed with piano. It builds from there into this ethereal sway of instruments and voice, sheer beauty that’s in no rush, the kind of track you want to go on for hours.

Here ends the release proper. However, there are also three bonus tracks!

Glitter Tits carries on the look at party life and its aftermath, as well as that overall feel of afterparty comedown on the deck of some beachside chateau, perhaps as the sun comes up. I love the choir-like backing vocals, and especially the bite in her almost-whispered vocals as she reaches the punchline. That’s damn fine work. Glitter Tits (OneManStanding R3M1X) is simultaneously the same song and yet another creation entirely. The music is the same, yet there are so many things done to it to add effects and shades to it all. The pace is also slowed down considerably, adding even more to my impression of its purpose, as mentioned above. The backing vocals remain, but are moved back in the mix a bit, paradoxically increasing their poignant presence. The bottom end here is huge and spacious, straight out of the Massive Attack playbook. 

Cosmo The Little Girl Found (Jigsaw Sequence Remix) is possibly the brightest track here, tonally, very gloriously 80s with huge vocal belts (truly, she has power, folks!) and synths insistently punching at us and swirling around us. When it mellows in sections, reminiscent of earlier tracks on this release, it only bolsters the strength of this track’s resolve. Get on the dancefloor and lose yourself in this ambitious retro sound mixed with current dance energy. 

Not sure why these three are bonus tracks – this is as solid a 7-track EP, with a consistent sound, feel, and thread throughout, as I’ve ever heard! 🙂

In Sum: 

There’s no other way to say it except I thought this EP was bloody brilliant. This is a fully-realized work of art, offering sounds that mix dance aesthetic and sheer beauty with aplomb. The production is perfect, and the sound is fantastic. In a sea of (largely) forgettable dance music, here is true, clear-eyed creativity, talent and strength for all to see and hear. I wish Jennifer every success, she is definitely not only already doing all the right things, but she’s miles ahead of the rest of us and we’re all lucky to get to hear her!

I thank Jennifer Doll very, very much for contacting me and sharing this brilliant release. She was wonderful to work with throughout our exchanges, and we even waxed philosophical about life for a while, via email. It’s these very human interactions that make projects like this real, and so much fun. 

 

 

Folks, get your pre-order copy of this stellar release RIGHT HERE ON JENNIFER DOLL’S BANDCAMP. And on September 21, “you’ll get unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus a high quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.” It will also be on CD after the 21st via that Bandcamp link, and comes with “high quality printing and packaging in a jewel case… shipping out on or around September 21, 2018.” GET YOURS!

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