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Theo interview


written by Kristofer Upjohn

Jette-Ives has proffered to the public a wonderful disc called In The Deep. For those who haven't heard it, I can tell you that the CD's title is appropriate. This isn't just some chillout CD to be tossed in and peripherally appreciated as relaxing background music. This is a disc that brings a variety of influences (including a fave of mine, jazz) into the mix to create absorbing, engaging music for those moments of introspection and escape - but note, the escape is into the music, not out into some netherworld where this is a background heard distantly. Prepare for a journey. And, since you're here, check out a little insight into the creation of this delicious record from the minds behind the music.

Kris: What images were going through your head as you composed and performed this music?

Jette: I was a rollercoaster combination of heartbroken, euphoric, frustrated, and remote during In the Deep's creation. When I perform the music, all I have to do is sing a song's first note — and I"m back to the moment — and the muse — that created it.

Holmes: As the composer, I often wove my own frustrations and desires into this music — I wanted it to be both a voyeuristic & self-exploratory experience for the listener.

Are they the same ones that go through your head now that you listen to the final product?

Jette: Absolutely. I remember a kiss and a dance, a smile, a seduction, an extreme, the far-reaching consequences of a chance meeting.

Holmes: Yes yes yes...

How much did jazz consciously figure as an influence?

Jette: Consciously — jazz did not figure in as an influence. Unconsciously — I grew up listening to Eva Cassidy, Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday, so they are my mentors.

Holmes: When I set out to write this music, I initially intended to experiment in the jazzier side of things, which was not my usual focus (I've had more classical training). But jazz is just one spice on this album. There are many different attitudes. After Jette and I got in the sandbox and made a few songs, we realized we had something to build together, and In the Deep was born.

Would you consider yourself chillout or something else?

Jette: I actually don't consider us chillout; I think we're more pensive — lusty, frustrated, flirty, disconsolate — than chillout. [Smiling] Not that I mind being placed in the chillout genre!

Holmes: I think it's the kind of music that sends a chill down your spine, warming your muscles along the way. It's a seduction, and I hope it hurts — in the good way — and inspires bodies to dance together, hip to hip, slowly and deeply. So... chilled out? If you're sated...

What outside of other musical artists influenced you as you created this?

Jette: I don't listen to a lot of music when I'm working on an album, so 99% of my influences are outside of the musical realm. Ultimately, I fell deeply, irrationally/rationally in... lust & admiration... for someone indelibly close & unobtainable.

Holmes: It was about experimentation and release — trying new possibilities that I had overlooked in previous projects.

How did you decide upon a name for the album In The Deep?

Jette: We were in the midst of recording, and, after several months of deliberation, Holmes popped into the vocal booth and said, "In the Deep"? And I knew exactly what he was referring to. Our album is very much about & inspired by submersion. We spent nearly two years deeply immersed in its creation.

Do you have a favorite track on the album? If so, why?

Jette: Mine is "Thin Ice" — I wrote it, then lived it, so the evocations are very intense. It's odd — during In the Deep's creation, I had a habit of writing songs that later happened to me. "Proximity" is another example of said phenomenon.

Holmes: Mine is "Vexed," because it is my finest moment as a producer. And "Proximity," because it is such a sexy song. It puts nails in my skin, holds back back back from the most delicious ideal, which rests unobtainable and just inches away. Until... it ravishes.

Jette: Wow, Holmes, that's quite a vivid description! And you're right. That's exactly what happened in "Proximity"...

What should listeners understand about you when listening to "In the Deep"?

Jette: I"ll let them decide. It was a very honest album for me.

Holmes: I am just the support crew to Jette's stories. I have supplanted a feeling into the music, a hidden directive just under C minor.

Is there an overall message to the music of Jette-Ives?

Jette: "Carpe diem."

Holmes: That we are sexy motherfuckers, all of us. You just have to let it out, even if it is just between you and your lover, never hold back. We are here as ourselves only once.

Jette: Yes! Just what he said.

What was the hardest part about making this music?

Jette: Waiting to hold the finished product in my hands.

Holmes: Wearing so many hats — Producer, Engineer, Musician, Composer. It meant crazy amounts of time seeing the songs from their inceptions to their final forms. And there was also my desire to push myself to write string arrangements that I REALLY loved, which I accomplished on this album. I am raising the bar for the next album.

The easiest?

Jette: During In the Deep's conception, I had so much going on, so much to say, that the writing process was very fluid.

Holmes: Recording Jette... She was a one-take wonder. She made it easy on me. It was a pleasure.

Most rewarding?

Jette: The day I first saw the album. Holmes met me at my favorite restaurant, we ordered drinks (we"re scotch people — on the rocks for me; neat for him), and he — gleefully, I might add — waited until I was ready to implode with anticipation before giving me In the Deep. Aside from that — meeting, working with, and getting to know Holmes has been one of the best & most influential experiences of my life.

Holmes: For me, it was giving to the voice of the very talented and unique Jette Kelly a proper vehicle on which to ride. And let me tell you she is as good live as she is in the studio!

Is there anything you'd have done differently, given the opportunity?

Jette: No. As for being given the opportunity to do things differently — we'll do another album!

Holmes: I would have pushed us to play out as a band more often and from the beginning... I was so focused on getting the album done that I had little else to give, and playing live is a very consuming act in and of itself... Artists must invent a show, take a very present crowd on a real-time journey with the music. I have to simultaneously dedicate both hemispheres of my brain to that one.

Final thoughts?

Jette: I'm so very happy these days. Very peaceful and excited about upcoming opportunities. There are shows—in November, we"re performing in Miami with the New World Symphony. They're awe-inspiringly talented, and they regularly work with legendary musicians like Yo-Yo Ma and Renee Fleming. Dustin Budish, a superb violist and one of the NWS's premier arrangers, is a wonder; and Stacey Glassman, their director of annual giving, is one of my favorite supernovas. It's lovely — in order to prepare for our performances, Holmes & I have the honor of spending quality, rambunctious time rehearsing with our bandmates: Matt, Rex, Danny, and Scott (darling, raunchy, brilliant gentlemen, the lot of them!). Actually, Matt's our exceedingly charming upright bassist, and he's been a part of Jette-Ives almost since the beginning — most of the songs on the album feature him. We're all looking forward to traveling and meeting new friends, having new experiences. I'm going to write about all the delicious ones, of course! Everyone interesting who becomes involved with me should beware — if you make an impact, you"re song-fodder!

Holmes: --------------------------

Jette: He's tired. He has J-I obligations, and I haven't let him sleep in days...

Thank you for taking the time for this interview!

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