Jenn Wasner of Dungeonesse
By: Jerod Greenisen
Jenn Wasner talks to Radio K about bold claims, salvation through pop music, and her new album.
Radio K - Where did Dungeonesse come from?
Jenn Wasner - I was on tour for Wye Oak for quite a while; after a while on tour things can tend to seem quite monotonous. Dungeoness was kind of a recording project that i undertook with a friend of mine [Jon Ehrens of Art Department and White Life]. During that period of time it was kind of a pen-pal sort of project. He would send me tracks and while I was on the road I would find some quiet time to listen, write songs, and record. Which was really helpful on tour -it helped me keep myself sane and feel creative and challenge myself while performing the same thing over and over again.
K - You signed to Secretly Canadian, how did this project end up on a record label?
JW - It was a surprise! I ran into Chris Swanson at a show, actually one of my other projects, Flock of Dimes. We were opening for my good friend friend Sharon Van Etten who was there with a bunch of people from Jagjaguwar and Secretly Canadian. And I got to having a conversation with Chris, after about two drinks, I was feeling a little emboldened and I was like; I make pop music! So the next day I showed him the record and I was like, Ha I do that! and he hit me back and was like, “I really want it, it’s great, let’s put it out”. So it really was one of those happenstance things that are tough to come by today.
K - Could you elaborate on the artistic differences between your new project Dungeonesse and your other projects?
JW - I think that aesthetically and stylistically they are different but at the heart of them they are my songwriting and my same process, it brought a lot of joy and newness where I needed it- an overwhelming and intense time of my life. It makes sense to me that Dungeonesse came up to save me during that time
"It makes sense to me that Dungeonesse came up to save me during that time"
I tend to think that i have a limited attention span. and because the Wye Oak album was doing so well, and seemingly all these opportunities popping up for us- and we felt we had to say yes to everything. No matter how much you love something, when it starts to consume everything about your life- you need an escape. Pop music is just that.
K - What was it like working with John Ehrens?
JW - John and I have a really nice working relationship; we share the same love for pop music. Mostly, it works so well because he is a fantastic producer and I enjoy songwriting so much. I know what's best for my own voice and the singer’s perspective. It was really fun to collaborate with the mindset that we were making the most accessible and catchy pop songs that we were able; transporting those classic pop songs. There were not really many limitations. On top of that we did not think that anyone else would really hear our work- we were just having fun and we had no idea that it was going to be released. It’s exciting that people are able to hear it, but we had no idea.
K - Is Dungeonesse more of a side project?
JW - I don't really consider anything that i do to be really a main project or a side project. Although we are not really looking to be pop stars [laughs] with all the dance moves and the costume changes. We are really interested in experimenting and creating new things for ourselves and others. And so that’s what appeals to us, the behind the scenes sort of aspect to songwriting and producing. I was also able to take away some good experience during this project; I learned a lot about what my voice can do. Yea, we are more of a production duo.