By Emily Lautch
Everything important in life is an oxymoron. My new favorite walking example of this phenomenon is Eerie Jane, the stage alias of Jane Raagas, a Los Angeles based singer, songwriter, and guitarist. Stomping in the steps of grungy predecessors, Eerie Jane’s somber rock vibes are juxtaposed with a dreamy and melodic indie-folk sound, all cradled by her haunting, crystalline vocals and vulnerable lyricism.
I wandered into Small Green Door’s studio warehouse on the eve of Tiny Shed and Fusion LA’s showcase this February and was met with the unforgettable, plaintive crooning of Eerie Jane playing her song “Sleep Talk” off her recent EP, “Sugar Free.” With her long, raven-black hair, burgeoning tattoo sleeves and masterful guitar playing, I was transported to a bygone era.
My definition of the term “eerie” is hair-raising, mysterious, chilling, and tear-jerking and that’s kinda what I want people to experience when they listen to my songs. Music to me isn’t just something that’s catchy or pleasing to listen to but the way it creates an ocean inside of your body, leaving you floating and gracefully moving with the music. “Eerie” to me doesn’t necessarily define as scary, but captivating.
A week prior, Eerie Jane had paid Tiny Shed a visit for a more intimate and acoustic performance session. Alone, seated on her stool in the late afternoon light, she retained all the captivating strength she’d had before an audience of hundreds, losing no power in the exchange. Jane’s voice is smooth while its sentiment is not. Her lyrics are ripped directly from the heart. Her music gets under your fingernails and into your gut.
I love getting lost in music. I started writing about pain as if it was all I knew what to talk about. But gradually, I realized that I was able to take this ugly painful truth and suffering and turn it into something beautiful and captivating. This, to me, is what I call magic. This is why I turn to music for anything.
Jane has alchemized pain into music; she calls this magic, and I agree. Generous magic, the kind that allows others to feel less alone. She is humble and gentle, gloomy and gifted.
I’m very thankful that I have a voice. To be able to speak, sing, and communicate my truth.
Dealing with themes of trauma, alienation, and self-doubt, one can hear Jane reaching for freedom as she sings. Introspective and dreamy, Jane is to me, a perfect example of power not predicated on the stifling of vulnerability, but the embracing of it. Jane doesn’t need to scream to be heard—but she can if she wants to. And as a listener, I find myself wrapped around her finger either way.
Interview with Eerie Jane
Photo by @carlyjophts
TSLA: How did you come up with your stage/artist name?
Jane: I came up with my stage alias “EERIE JANE” because my definition of the term “eerie” is hair-raising, mysterious, chilling, and tear-jerking and that’s kinda what I want people to experience when they listen to my songs. Music to me isn’t just something that’s catchy or pleasing to listen to but a way it creates an ocean inside of your body, leaving you floating and gracefully moving with the music. I feel like that feeling is pretty eerie to me. It tends to feel very personal yet dark. “Eerie” to me doesn’t necessarily define as scary, but captivating.
TSLA: What first got you into music?
Jane: I started singing when I was 2 years old because my mother, during her time, was also a singer. She trained me as a vocal coach my whole entire childhood and singing karaoke was our way of bonding. It soon became clear to my mother that I was able to sing perfect pitches and she wanted me to pursue this talent. Over the years I picked up songwriting/poetry and playing the guitar. I’m self-taught in songwriting and learning how to play guitar and I realized that I understood what I was doing.
Growing up, my parents would place me in singing competitions and through the experiences I had, it felt like a sport. I wanted to become more independent with music so I started carrying around a songwriting journal. I began to write again. As an adolescent at the time, I would write about innocent crushes and about love which I still hadn’t really understood yet because I was too young to know what love was really like. I just wanted to write songs all the time even though I wasn’t really sure what I was writing about. Basically fictional.
Until my life got really traumatic as soon as I turned 17 and I took a whole new turn on my process in songwriting as my escapism or a way to cope with all the mess that had occurred in my life. I love getting lost in music and making it. I started writing about pain as if it was all I knew to talk about. But gradually, I realized that I was able to take this ugly painful truth and suffering and turn it into something beautiful and captivating. This, to me, is what I call magic. This is why I turn to music for anything.
TSLA: How do you feel the internet impacts music?
Jane: I feel like the internet has impacted music both positively and negatively, however, the pros outweigh the cons in my own personal opinion. The internet allows people to connect with others all around the world which enables artists who are otherwise unknown to find their own audience through different social media platforms. And with a simple share or repost, your music can link itself stretching further and reach even more listeners. There are lots of opportunities that come with it. I had shared my new EP “Sugar Free” on SoundCloud and caught attention from a really good independent music producer from Russia, called Acrone, who I am now working with and I find this really awesome and exciting. Plus, if it weren’t for the internet we wouldn’t have different artistic media to music such as music videos. The internet is just a tool to help spread our art nationwide. The only downsides I can think of as to how the internet negatively impacts music are piracy problems. Music theft has occurred for as long as music has been able to be streamed besides - from listening through CDs, cassette tapes and/or records.
TSLA: What is the one message you’d like to leave your fans?
Jane: A message I’d like to leave to my listeners and supporters is to stay true to what you are passionate about and always stay humble no matter what. And if music is your outlet, make it your own and don’t just be a people pleaser all the time.
TSLA: What is the smallest thing for which you are grateful?
Jane: I’m very thankful that I have a voice. To be able to speak, sing, and communicate my truth. Overall, I’m just very grateful being a geek for music.
Photo by @carlyjophts