Out now through Sargent House, Jaye Jayle’s Prisyn is a darkly poetic and transgressive follow up to No Trail and Other Unholy Paths. For this electronic, industrial release, Jaye Jayle singer-songwriter Evan Patterson collaborated with Ben Chisholm (Chelsea Wolfe).
Patterson was touring with Young Widows when designer Ashley Rose asked him to write a song for her runway show soundtrack.
“Würzburg is actually where I remember working on the first song for Ashley Rose,” says Patterson. “It actually was the song ‘I Need You.’ That was the first piece I made and had sent to Ben. Then Ben, I think it was the next day, sent me back almost how it is as a final version. There were a couple edits and a couple adjustments, but it was musically almost exactly as it is on the album, and that was kind of how it began.”
Patterson and Chisholm continued exchanging music. “I would make a song on my iPhone in GarageBand and I would work on these songs,” says Patterson. “It wouldn’t be every single day, but it was almost every day for about three months of tour, because I was on tour for 12 weeks straight, starting out in Europe with Young Widows, then going to Jaye Jayle, and then going to an Emma Ruth Rundle band tour. It was honestly such a pleasure. It was one of the easiest, most enjoyable processes of making an album. I would complete a piece to the point where I was like, ‘OK, I really love what I’ve done,’ and I’d send it to Ben. I believe that the first six or seven pieces I gave him he would give them back within a day or two.”
Composing electronic and industrial music came naturally to Patterson. “Transitioning to programing beats and programming music wasn’t too far off my radar,” he explains. “I perform on a keyboard. We have three synthesizers live. It wasn’t that big of a transition. It was kind of nice and comforting in a way to program these entire pieces that were almost complete before even sending them to Ben. Ben did a lot on the album. There’s no way that this would be what it is without his production work and his other instrumentation that he added. It’s such a pleasure to work with him. He’s kind of a hero and an underdog in our music scene, and I had no idea how talented and advanced his knowledge was of sound design.”
Patterson incorporated poetry into the lyrics. “I printed out and had probably 40 or 50 pages of poems and stories from tour,” he says. “I had no idea which song I was going to sing what on and just went in and improvised until something hit and something would fit. It was odd, and again, surprisingly easy. Going in, I was extremely nervous this is going to be a completely failure, and then when I got in there, there was such a rhythm to writing a poem or to writing a story.”
“A Cold Wind” emerged on tour while away from partner Emma Ruth Rundle. “I was actually writing love poems while being apart from Emma,” says Patterson. “I was reading a book of poetry, it was a love poem book by Pablo Neruda, The Captain’s Verses, and I was reading that while on tour and kind of stopped.”
On “Guntime,” Patterson wanted to capture the feeling of New Mexico. “I remember being there working on ‘Guntime,’” he says, “trying to make something sound like the tires on the highway.”
In “Don’t Blame the Rain,” Patterson writes about living in Louisville, Kentucky. “That song is somewhat about living in Kentucky,” says Patterson, “raised as a punk and raised as a left thinker, going left wing and being against the right wing society. The culture of Kentucky is getting better, but it’s still rough.”
The lyrics on Prisyn took shape in one place while the music emerged elsewhere. Patterson says, “I wouldn’t have expected that this song that I made in Kansas would have this lyrical narrative that is from Berlin or this song that I made in Atlanta would be a fictional story that I made while I was in London. These things that happen with the lyrics and the music that was all very random and not premeditated in any way.”
The instrumentation of “The River Spree” was inspired by Kansas. “That was the second to last song I composed on the record, and that song we were in Kansas,” says Patterson. “I don’t know if you’ve driven through Kansas, but it’s a very straight, very boring, monotonous drive. It’s the same thing for seven hours. You’re just driving on the straight road and there’s nothing in sight. That music was, that was what I was feeling, like I was levitating on this highway, going kind of upwards into nothingness. A lot of these drives and a lot of the scenery that was surrounding me while I was in the van ended up highly influencing all of the music.”
“The River Spree” lyrics are based on when Patterson was in Berlin on acid after a concert, separated from his bandmates, and with a dead phone. The lyrics describe Patterson’s journey through the city, crossing a bridge, and ending up in a bar to charge his phone to discover he had found his hotel. Patterson sings, “I was lost so I stopped for a drink/ Do you know where this hotel is? I asked the man tending the bar/ You are in this hotel.”
“It’s a true story about being in Berlin for a Jaye Jayle and an Emma Ruth Rundle show,” Patterson says. “We were hanging out, and we were kind of getting drunk. Next thing you know, somebody comes over and says, ‘Hey, I just bought some acid.’ I said, ‘That sounds great. Let’s do acid.’ But what I wasn’t really thinking about was my glasses had broken from the day before and everyone else in the group, both bands, had left.
“I had nothing, and my phone was dead,” continues Patterson. “They told me, ‘just go across this bridge and walk all the way to the end and the hotel is there,’ but once you’re on acid, that’s actually quite complex. So, there I am, kind of figuring out how to find this place, and where I am and what bridge is what. Meanwhile, I’m on drugs, which is an added level of entertainment, and everything about that song is just as true as can be. I didn’t know where I was. I got to the end of the street, and I remember there was a pirate hotel across the street, and then to my right there was a bar, and I was like, ‘I’m just going to go in this bar and see if they have a cell phone charger so I can get my address.’”
Patterson concludes, “I went in sat down, charged my phone, and after a while, I think I was drinking a beer and talking to the bartender, I said, ‘Hey, can I get my phone back?’ He said, ‘Yeah.’ I opened the phone and showed address, and I said, ‘Do you know where this is.’ And he says, ‘You are here. This is where you. This is where you are supposed to be.’ Then I was like, ‘Well, this is kind of incredible that I actually came to the right place.’ Then I show him a photo of the key, and he gives me a key to the hotel room, like, no questions asked, which was such an odd experience.”
Jaye Jayle have no plans to tour to promote Prisyn. “It’s kind of going to be a very traditional release,” he says. “I don’t have to stress about touring right now either. I enjoy touring, but it is extremely hard work, and I can just be home and draw.”
On collaborating with Chisholm, Patterson says, “I’ve never been in the same room with him, making a record or making music, and we’ve never performed together on the same stage in the same group, and this is a really exciting, shared release for both of us, and I look forward to maybe one day actually performing some of it with him.”
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