DeadJournalist.com Exclusive Interviews
EXCLUSIVE Interview: Jena Malone
Chuck Norton, DeadJournalist.com
Jena Malone is an artist. As an actress, she's been nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress in Hope and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and a Screen Actors Guild award for her work in Bastard Out of Carolina.
She's starred in the critically acclaimed movies Saved!, Pride and Prejudice and Donnie Darko; co-produced (and starred) in American Girl; and this year, she'll appear in The Go-Getter and Four Last Songs.
In 2006, she took to the Broadway stage and became a cast member in the Tony Award winning play Doubt.
Now, she's begun a recording career.
Working with Russell Simins (Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Butter 08), Louis Schwadron, Chris Maxwell and Adam Crystal, Malone has formed Jena Malone and Her Bloodstains, an experimental collective. Pitchforkmedia.com, in a recent story, described Malone's vocals as, " falling somewhere between Scout Niblett and Karen O" but there's also plenty of of early PJ Harvey (think 1993's Dry) in her sound.
Malone, who began song writing in 2005, has signed with the New York-based experimental label Social Registry (Gang Gang Dance, Blood on the Wall) and will release 7" with her singles "Tested Dry" and "Greeneyed Monster." She's performed live in New York and Los Angeles and plans to tour upon the release of her debut album late in 2007.
DeadJournalist.com recently conducted this exclusive interview with Jena Malone.
Do you consider this project a band or solo project?
JM: I don't think in those terms. When you create a piece of music there are so many elements involved that it's damaging to say that the creation is only yours. I work with a band to write music. I write music myself. I work with non-band members like my little sister to write music and I want to write music for others.
How did you recruit the other members to the band?
JM: Russell and Louis have been my friends for a year or so. A wonderful group of New York artists that I was lucky enough to find when I was working in NY for eight months last year. And Chris and Adam come into the picture through Russell. He introduced me to them and I played them some stuff and we just started playing together. The whole process has felt very organic and not forced.
Are you recording an album? If so, do you have an expected release date?
JM: We are recording an album at the end of April. And I don't know when it will come out as I am very new at this but I was thinking Fall or Winter.
How would you describe the band's sound?
I couldn't. I am the worst at that. It sounds like the inside of my brain is the best description I can come up with.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
JM: PJ Harvey, Tom Waits, Daniel Johnston, Meatloaf, Ani DiFranco, Bob Dylan. Neil Young!
Do you think your acting background will have an affect on how your are received as a musician?
JM: I think if you carry a word around with you and a lot of people see it and talk about you and that word .. you start to become associated with that word. I have been acting since I was 10. I mean 12 years of people knowing I am an actor of course it will affect what they think of me as a musician! But for me there is no difference ... when I am acting or singing or writing ... it's just different forms of breathing as an artist.
Do you see music as an avenue you will continue to pursue?
JM: It has completly hijacked my life and I willingly surround! The first show we ever played live in NYC ... was the most beautiful and creative thing I have ever been apart of.
What can an audience expect from a Jena Malone and Her Bloodstains live performance?
JM: Lot's of blood! When we are up there playing you our music we are bleeding before you. It's pure animalistic joy.
With which current bands/artists would you most like to perform?
JM: We get to open up for Deerhunter! Which is pretty amazing ... but I don't know ... I have been thinking about that a lot and I just don't know.
Who have you been listening to the most the last few months?
JM: Tropicala, compilation of Brazilian rock and funk from the '60's, Neil Young's On the Beach and Animal Collective's first EP.
Who were you listening to in 1997?
JM: Let's see I was 12 years old. Umm, Spice Girls and Ani DiFranco.
One Drink, One Movie, One Album:
JM: Jameson, Mouchette, Neil Young's On the Beach