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HOT OFF THE PRESS... we've an exclusive interview for you....

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:: RENA JONES ::

* Discussing her new release with Jenna Roberts *

Decadent organic electronica radiates from Rena Jones in abundance. Inspired by the symbiotic relationship between the sound of live strings and the infinite possibilities of electronic music, her music possess an effortless richness, and takes you on a journey through soundscapes previously unexplored. For her new album ‘Echoes’, Rena chose a new path that led to a truly collaborative and live studio album which still holds true to her unique take on downtempo music. A multi-talented musician, composer, producer and sound engineer, Rena talks sincerely and openly about her musical passions, her inspirations, the monster that is the music industry and of course the new album, Echoes.
 


Let us start from the very beginning; who/what first encouraged you to become a musician?

 “Most likely being born…but my first ‘formal’ introduction to music was short lived and on piano when I was 5 with maybe a few choir classes in early grade school. It was in the 3rd grade that I picked up the violin.

I was fortunate to be at a school that offered an early musician program.”

Please tell us about your earliest memories of learning the violin and cello.....

“I instantly feel in love with the violin… It felt a lot like coming home even from the beginning… Although, I am pretty certain it didn’t sound like that to those around me.. lol! The cello came to me around the time I was 16. It was always a desire to play but it wasn’t until I was experimenting with other music with a fellow cellist that I picked it up.”

What is it that attracted to you to the sound of the strings?

“Strings have so many facets and layers of detail. Tone, dynamics and modulation on strings is a highly unique sound and one of the most complex instruments I have ever played. I am always blown away by the complexity of what strings can do and how every player has a unique take on it…”

When, where and what was your introduction to electronic music?

“It’s not easy to recall what my first introduction to electronic music was... I was a child of the 80’s and 90’s and grew up on Brian Eno, The Orb, Kraftwerk, Peter Gabriel, Dead Can Dance, Raves etc… Electronic music was always one of the mediums that I felt could paint the big picture. It wasn’t until my late teens that I got my first synth and was able to dabble with using multiple mediums.”

Who are your biggest influences?

Brian Eno, The Orb, Radiohead, Bjork, Peter Gabriel, Boards of Canada, Plaid, Zero 7, AIR, Floex, The Hidden Orchestra, Cinematic Orchestra, Roel Funcken, Bonobo, EVAC, Shostakovich, Khachaturian, Sibelius, Bach the list goes on and on and always changes but the classics stay the same… :)




Did you instantly feel a connection between what you were doing with your instruments and the electronic music you were listening to?

“Not for several years to be honest… I knew there was a sound that I was reaching for, for many years, but it wasn’t until I started actually releasing solo records that I felt I had come close to the sound I was looking for…
There were several years of me tinkering on a 4 tracks then a computer before I got to the place that I felt I was ready to release music as a solo artist. Electronic music has always felt multidimensional to me so I have always been drawn to its medium…”

What made you decide to pursue the path of a Sound Engineer?

“ I was exposed to studios very early on, I did an internship at a studio when I was 19 and then later went back to school and got a degree in sound engineering.
Maybe it’s nostalgia or the true geek in me but nothing makes me more excited than stepping into the control room of a big studio and feeling the warm buzz of analog circuitry around me…”

Where do you feel the strongest buzz.....the programming left side of your brain, or the ‘lost in music’ right side?  Is the magic in the balance between the two?

“It has to be both and finding the harmony where it all comes together… I think the whole point of me falling down the producer/engineer rabbit hole was so I could find that perfect balance…
It really is an art to fall into that ‘lost in music’ space and be able to translate it and is something I will try to perfect for the rest of my life.”

Please tell us about the concept behind your new album Echoes...

“With all of my releases, I focus on a concept. Driftwood was the life cycle of a tree, Indra’s Web was on the interconnectedness of reality and Echoes is focused on duality. Rumi has been a deep inspiration for me for many years. Some of his poetry plays on the concepts of duality in such an elegant way. I was very inspired by a poem he wrote when making this album.



“We are the mirror as well as the face in it.

We are tasting the taste this minute
of eternity. We are pain
and what cures pain, both. We are
the sweet, cold water and the jar that pours.“



Where and how was 'Echoes' recorded?

“There were several friends I have known for years scattered across the world that I have wanted to work with for a long time. I saw this as the chance to finally get to work with them all.  This album was truly a worldwide collaboration that took flights to England, endless emails and Skype sessions, several artists recording in their studios and the endless patience of all of the artists involved... Some of the work I did with Earl, Matt and Sophie was recorded in England. The piano and strings here in Portland and the woodwinds in Los Angeles by Joshua Penman. Plus a lot of tinkering and recording in my home studio and Cloud City Studios here in Portland.”

Tell us about the interesting way that it was funded....

“It’s wonderful that we live in a time where artists have options… I decided to go with crowd sourcing the album on Indiegogo and I couldn’t have pulled off this scale of a recording without their support.”

The release comes 4 years after your last album Indra’s Web, how do you feel the music industry has changed in this time?

“In every way possible!

People’s attention span has sped up so what takes an artist years to build flashes by in a moment…
Many artists can’t survive on their art alone, anyone can make music and the list goes on…
The landscape has entirely changed…”

Your music is the complete antithesis of the current ‘EDM’ explosion in the USA, but as an American, I am very interested to hear your opinion on the phenomenon.......

“From my observation most “underground” music becomes mainstream at a certain point. It seems that EDM is now the new pop music of this era.
What drew me to ambient music is that there are no rules and the medium is so vast…
I tend to let the music write itself and from my heart and never really try to conform to what I think people want to hear.
I believe it is that integrity that people connect to.”

How are your record labels ‘Cartesian Binary Recordings’ and ‘Pok Pok’ progressing? What do they offer to the electronic music scene?

“They are doing well and I am excited to pour a lot more energy into them now that ‘Echoes’ is done…
Some wonderful artists have just signed on board so expect many new wonderful releases to come.”


How does it feel to be such a highly acclaimed musician, producer and all around super-woman in such a male dominated industry? Have things changed for women in the past 10 years?

“There isn’t an easy answer for this unfortunately. Yes and no… no and yes… It’s a question I have avoided for many years to be honest. Because of the current commercial EDM explosion, I think woman are far less supported then they were when I put out Driftwood and Indra’s Web. At that time there were several artists making similar music but now there’s a lot more focus on heavy dance floor music, which is extremely male dominated.   
It seems that people in general are craving more feminine energy but there aren’t many avenues to support that for women. However, the technology has made it far easier for anyone to make music so I am seeing a LOT more women on the stage than in the past which is refreshing. In some ways it’s come a long way and in others I feel it has taken a huge step back…”

As an inspirational role model for other women in the field, what advice can you offer?

 “All too often I think women feel the only way they can ‘fit in’ in the current EDM landscape is to sound masculine and conform to making music like the boys. Don’t let anyone tell you how to make your art and always trust your inner voice because that’s what people ultimately connect to whether it’s downtempo or EDM or any genre really.
Were living in a world of information and it’s so much easier to connect worldwide to the people who will love your art no matter what path you choose.

Find your voice and sing it is as loud and true as you can!”

To someone who isn’t familiar with your music, how would you describe your sound......?

“Ha! If I could describe music in words, I wouldn’t be making music lol… Um, downtempo, modern classical, IDM, Electro-Acoustic….”



To hear samples and read more about the release see : http://www.triskelemanagement.com/promotion/renajones/echoes.html


The album is available now on
BANDCAMP


Related Links:

Rena Jones | Website | Facebook | YouTube |

Cartesian Binary Recordings | Website | Facebook |

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