Jlin’s Dark Energy LP is living, breathing footwork like you’ve never heard it before
Planet Mu's latest signing Jlin operates both a little bit outside of Chicago and a little bit outside of footwork. Based in Gary, Indiana, she takes footwork as a starting point for jagged, visceral, largely non-sample-based music that moves like an unpredictable living creature. Last year, Rick Owens was one of the first to pick up on her uniquely alive sound, using an extended mix of her track “Erotic Heat” to soundtrack his Fall/Winter 2014/2015 runway show. On her debut album Dark Energy, Jlin tells Dazed that her stormy sound comes from “being able to go inside of myself and create from the core”; the result is one of the most soulful electronic albums you're like to hear in 2015. Take our word for it and stream it in full while you can this week.
Last year your music was used to soundtrack Rick Owens' runway show. What was that experience like and how did it come about?
Jlin: The experience with Rick Owens was amazing, honoring, and a great learning experience. It came about one day when I had finished working a midnight shift at work. I had gone to sleep and woke up to a Facebook message from Mike Paradinas [Planet Mu boss] stating that Rick Owens wanted to use “Erotic Heat” in his fashion show. I was partially asleep still when I read it, but when it hit me I jumped up and told my mom. We were both very excited. Mike introduced Rick and I via email and it went from there.
How did you first get into making footwork?
Jlin: I started making footwork tracks at the end of 2008 early 2009. DJ Avery from the footwork group Tribe introduced to a music software program and I kind of just played around with it until something sparked. I never had an intent to make footwork music honestly. It just kind of happened.
How did you find your own unique voice?
Jlin: I found my own unique voice in a simple question my mother asked me one day. I had asked her to listen to a track that I sampled using Teena Marie and afterwards, she asked me ‘What do you sound like?’ That changed everything.
Where does the dark energy of this LP come from?
Jlin: Dark Energy comes from failure and experience. It comes from having to face myself, learn myself, and being able to go inside myself and create from the core of all that. I still have much growing to do in all those aspects.”
Has your music had a big response from dancers in the footwork scene?
Jlin: Yes a lot of the dancers enjoy my tracks and I really appreciate that. I enjoy the silent conversation between my art and the art of footworking.
What's next for you?
Jlin: What's next for me? When I jump off that next cliff we'll both know.
Planet Mu will release Dark Energy on March 23