Sarah Jane uses an intimate and thought-provoking style for her latest album Tainted Timeline. Touching on a range of topics from divorce to mental health and generally having a bad time, she draws on personal experiences and situations that we can all relate to. Playing the majority of major parts on the album, she infuses her personality into each note. We sat down with Sarah Jane to talk about the album, working with different drummers, challenges and much more!
OSR: Was there a moment or experience that made you realise you wanted to make music?
Jane: I can’t think of one exact moment but I’ve always had a passion for music. I guess it was once I started writing my own songs and my friends were like ‘Hey, that’s a really good song’ and they’d get me to play it for them. I think I realised that writing songs was something I could do and actually not be bad at. (laughs)
OSR: Your new album Tainted Timelines touches on personal experiences over the last year. How hard was it to create such a personal album?
Jane: It wasn’t hard to write and record them, it’s more about showing people the songs once they were done and hopefully not have them read into the lyrics too much. I’m not the kind of person who can talk freely about their emotions to anyone, so it’s kind of terrifying showing the people I know.
OSR: What was your creative process for the album?
Jane: For the majority of the songs, I either wrote them on acoustic guitar or piano with the main vocal melody. Once I just record that, I then added on the layers to create the full production. There’s one song on the album that’s a bit different though. The song ‘Bully’ was actually part of a ‘Quick Songwriting’ series that I did on my YouTube channel in 2019 where I basically wrote a song backwards and in a short amount of time. For this version, I re-recorded the drums and it was remixed and now it has a whole different vibe!
OSR: Did you find any song easier or harder to create than the others? If so, which one?
Jane: I found the song ‘Rest’ super hard to produce. It took me forever to get the vocals done as I was never happy with the way I sang it. I guess I didn’t really know what direction it was going in. I had the idea of adding some stringed instruments (violin etc.) but I didn’t know if it was possible at the start. When I was finally finished and happy with the vocals, after about 2 months of trying, it started to build naturally and I surprisingly I didn’t even add any majorly distorted guitars which I rely on a lot. (laughs) But I guess that was the one song I wasn’t so sure about.
OSR: There are four different drummers featured on the album, what prompted this?
Jane: There were just some songs I couldn’t think of parts for, so that’s when you know it’s time to get someone else to do it even when I would have liked to do it by myself. (laughs) For some of the songs as well, I had a specific idea of what I wanted but I couldn’t exactly play it myself. It’s super cool getting other artists to feature cause they bring their own style to it as well which I love. My favourite track on the album is ‘Suffocate’ which the ex-Violet Stones drummer played on and he’s my favourite drummer so he really made that song what it is.
OSR: Is there a song that holds a special place in your heart?
Jane: It’s super hard to choose as I see the whole album as one piece but ‘Cross Contaminate’ and ‘Talk About It’ are super personal to me. Even though they’re not my favourite songs, they’ll always pull at my heart strings.
OSR: If listeners could take one thing away from the album, what would you like that to be and why?
Jane: I hope my listeners can come away from the album relating to it in some way. It doesn’t matter if it means something completely different to what it means to me, that’s the amazing thing about music. It could mean so much to different people for different reasons. I just hope I can help people feel as though they’re not alone.
OSR: As you wrote, recorded and produced Tainted Timelines yourself, what was the biggest challenge you faced?
Jane: It was probably starting the momentum of recording. It’s the hardest part but once you get halfway through it, it’s super easy and fun cause you know you’re getting closer to your goal. I started recording in late 2019 and it was really on and off until March 2020. It definitely became easier to focus on when everything was cancelled because of Covid and I really had nothing else to do besides work on it. Getting in the right headspace and having the motivation is the hardest part about producing anything really. I know plenty of people that their main weakness is motivation. I’m thankful to have found mine.
OSR: How do you feel this album compares to your last?
Jane: I had a vision for this album and I worked so much harder on it. I think my first album Absence was sort of rushed as I just really wanted to get some original music out to my fans, as I didn’t really have anything out at that point. I didn’t know much about recording and I didn’t have the resources to produce a full band record so I think the resources I have now, have really stepped up my music. I put a lot more of my heart into this one as well. I’ve had a lot of pain recently so I put it into my work to create something good from it.
OSR: What else do you have planned for the next 12 months?
Jane: I’m actually already in the recording process for some more music releases. My plans for the next year is to just release as much as I can as I have so much material and so much to say. I’m also in a couple of other projects and I’ll be releasing music with them as well! There will be a lot of new music in 2021! (laughs)