Flower & Love
"A STORY OF LOVE", THE FIRST ALBUM OF THE MARSEILLES BASED BAND JANE'S DEATH CONTINUES TO SOUND LIKE ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING ALBUMS OF THE MOMENT. COLDWAVE IN THE SOUL, IT IS BY THE MEANS OF MEETING THAT IT WAS FLESHED OUT OF A MULTITUDE OF INFLUENCES. WITH A BEAUTIFUL STORY, NOT COMPLETELY FICTIONAL.
Let's start with the end and the recent news of Jane's Death. "A Story of Love" released in June is only the first album of the band, which as its name does not indicate, navigates between coldwave and cosmic folk. Everything seems to be weighed to perfection with Jane's Death, from the name of the band to the name of the album, passing of course by its content, telling stories, even if it means letting our imagination help us. "A Story of Love", we will detail it in the review at the end of the article, is a striking album, in every point of view, quite difficult to forget. Apart from the common rock-bands that can take a long time to find their own way, Jane's Death started in a rather classical way. Passionate musicians, meetings, a project. The band's leader, Lucas Martinez, puts things in order.
"At the base, Jane's Death is Luka Bertolino and me. We were rehearsing together in La Bouilladisse in Aubagne, we were very inspired by coldwave sounds, with a lot of guitar riffs, a bit of a nocturnal atmosphere. We started to write some songs. We were quite fans of art, of photography, we came across JanRose Kasmir's photo, "La Jeune Fille À la Fleur". We wrote the song Jane with that photo as a reference. All the demos that we had, hours ofdemos a bit freestyle, we cut out the best parts, we used as a basis for the album. "
This photo as a starting point, an iconic work by Marc Riboud taken during the peace demonstrations in Washington in 1967, did much more than inspire the duo at the time. It became the bold thread of a first album, which took time to conceive, as much by force of circumstance as to arrive at the result as close as possible to the expectations of their creators.
"As far as the lyrics are concerned, we started with a slightly cosmic story about the love between the little girl and the soldier. We then integrated Paul on the guitar, a drummer. We had a band called Kids Riot for a few years, we did some minimalist, unplugged live performances. The fact of making an album was a project that excited us since the beginning. We wanted to make the project succeed with a unique object. We locked ourselves in the studio in the summer of2018, it was more ofa rehearsal room that we set up with our gear. And it's from there that we chose to call ourselves Jane's Death, since the sound was a little bit hardened, we put more electric guitar. We mixed our basic sound, cold, folk, with the one of Matthieu and Marine who joined us which is more rock, shoegaze, garage, psyche. The sound is quite atypical: we did not search for perfection, quite raw. It's a different sound from what can be done, we really wanted to have a signature. "
Hypnotic, bewitching, the "Jane's Death" sound really gives off a little extra soul. If the musical coldness is globally the rule, the Marseilles-based band allows itself the freedom to crack the ice, letting a little light shine through. It is all the more striking on the concluding track of the album, "Jane's death", much more solar than the album as a whole.
"The tracklist of the album was defined at the very end. The last track is more pop, open, with a little bit ofjoy, we put it at the end to bring a little bit of optimism, to open on something more positive. It's contradictory in a way, because it's Jane's death. But it's a bit ofan esoteric death. It's not in the literal sense. The soldier is looking for her, everywhere, in space, we don't know. . . But at the same time the music is joyful. It is also one of the richest tracks in terms ofarrangements, rhythmic breaks. . . "
Impossible not to linger on the track "A Story of Love", which finally gives a title to the album. Very symbolic of the Jane's Death "sound", with its deeply coldwave guitars and its strong melodies, it has a story that deserves the detour. A beautiful story, even, that we perceive from the arrival of a voice "outside" the band. This voice is that of JanRose Kasmir, who is none other than the famous "girl with a flower", and who did more than offer her voice.
"At the base it's a demo, one ofthe tracks we had in the old drawers, we didn't select it at the beginning in the album. There was just the guitar riffand my voice repeating "It's a story oflove". That was it, very minimalist, kind oflike Mark E. Smith when he's chanting the phrases. I'm quite a fan ofthat. When I finished mixing the album in December 2020, there was a track missing, a single that was a bit unreleased. I had been in contact with JanRose Kasmir for a few years, she had already seen the demo of"Jane" on Youtube, she had been touched, she got in touch with us because we had released the photo ofMarc Riboud with the song Jane. I contacted her again and asked her if she felt like collaborating. We exchanged a few weeks, and I thought that the best thing, as she writes a lot ofpoems, would be for her to record some poems with her phone. She sent us 4 or 5, we made a selection. Now she's looking for her hero, it's a bit of a love story. We rearranged it, it was done very quickly, in one week. The piece was born again like that, five years later."
As disturbing and profound as this track is, it symbolizes a certain mirroring of Jane's Death to her own album, her own story. The mise en abyme is all the stronger because the story of this "girl with a flower", romanticized by Jane's Death's pen, is really a red thread to the whole album, even if the band leaves open other doors of entry.
"It became the main thread of the album. We didn't want to give something clear and precise. We want to leave a bit ofimagination, it's not just a love story, but it can be read that way. "
On record, Jane's Death offers a somewhat magical formula of dreamy cold-folk, which goes far beyond the concept album. The identity of Jane's Death is strong and remarkable, the band knew not to leave in a technical demonstration of what they are able to do. As mature as "A Story of Love" may seem, it was produced entirely inhouse, in total independence. It is Lucas Martinez himself who put on the hat of conductor of the whole.
"On this project, I am also the audio producer, I realized everything that is sound recording, mixing. I've released albums with other bands before, but as an artist and mixer, this is my very first. "
Impossible to know if it is this spontaneity that gives such a unique rendering, always the fact that for a first, it is a frank success, which calls for many others, hopefully. And the group Jane's Death, in spite of its name which will remain anchored in this "character" of Jane, would not know how to remain eternally centered around this story.
"The idea is to keep releasing songs, to write new ones quickly. We have a lot ofthings at hand, we want to be able to get out ofthis Jane story, which has followed us since the beginning of the album process. It created an identity, the idea is to keep the sound ambiance, but to get out of the context of the album. We're going to try to record a single by September, October. "
And in the meantime, let's also hope to cross paths with Jane's Death around a concert. The explosive live potential is felt every time you listen to the album. It's hard to imagine sitting through one of their sessions, but whatever the instructions, the band won't offer a "soft-sitting" version of their shows. It's mainly a question of time, but basically it's a good thing because Jane's Death's energy cannot be contained in a totally static format.
"We're not going to have too much time to do a square thing for people sitting around. We don't think about it. Either way it's going to be positive!"
Their exact return to the stage remains uncertain - they are announced at the Festival La Guinguette Sonore in Istres in early September, the venue for which is not certain. But there is no doubt that they will be able to cross swiftly the irons on stages in their image, the description that Lucas makes obviously gives the mouth watering.
"We played a lot in rock clubs in Marseille, like La Machine à Coudre. It's a little bit impregnated with that atmosphere. A little less folk than on the album, we have not yet integrated all that is electronic. We are in rock band formation. There are passages a little bit noise, with flights of guitars. It is a rather tense live, we are not a conventional group, with a rehearsal room. There was a big work of reflection and writing. Even we don't know what's going to happen!"