January 2013 “Band of the Month” – IRON JAYNE

When I started the “Band of the Month” feature exactly one year ago, I had no idea we would be introduced to all the amazing artists that we wound up working with. From a feature with now-indie-giants, Of Monsters and Men, to the beautiful bedroom tunes of Faye Webster, the site found community and excitement in this feature. As we move ahead with 2013 and put this whole “mayan apocolypse” phase behind us, we plan to continue to share with you music that we’ve grown to love. Thanks for all your support these past few years. 

– Sean Pritchard


Iron Jayne – Photo: Kelly Blackmon

I was introduced to IRON JAYNE late one evening at a friend’s house. We had started talking about music she and her boyfriend had been listening to and they both started to go on and on about a song called “Ship”. The three of us huddled around her computer as they played the video for me, each of them already well acquainted with the words. I came to find out that the band was the newest project from former Back Pockets wonder-girl Emily Kempf, and Ryan Odom, of the now defunct Cassandras. I became immediately hooked on the simple, layered bass lines, the staggered vocals, and the perfect tinge of surf rock. Given they have an upcoming EP and full intentions to make Atlanta the biggest party yet, it seemed appropriate to feature them.

Seeing as the band is brand new, tell me about how things came together for you all? 

Emily: After Back Pockets fell apart, I immediately started planning my next band…I jammed with tons of people. Ryan was the first to join sometime at the end of summer. We have been working together in collecting the rest of the band. It finally came to completion in the past month with Garrett Goss (of Gun Party & We the Lion & highlander) and Chad LeBlanc (Vegan Coke) joining for drums & bass. Which is a blessing, because Ry & I were getting a little exhausted. Hahahah!

Ryan: Yeah, by the time Cassandras was good and properly razed to the ground, I think Em and I had already been playing around with a few songs a little bit. Then, after a brief stint with Damon’s band, I turned my attention to working up songs with Em full time.

Emily, are the songs more of a result of Back Pockets dissolving and your creative energy being focused elsewhere, or have you been working on them over the past year?

Emily: Iron Jayne was supposed to be my solo project, which has since turned into a full band. With Back Pockets being gone, yes, all my creative energy is being funneled into this new, smaller, poppier group.

It seemed with Back Pockets, at least during the tail-end of things, that the antics that surrounded the group and your fans began to take more of the spotlight than the music itself. Is Iron Jayne your way of “getting back to basics” with your songwriting and performing? 

Emily: I suppose it has turned out as so, but I don’t think my original intention was to “get back to basics”. It was more “must play onstage as much as possible and make cool shit all the time really gotta make a band or I’ll go insane”.

You unveiled the video for “Ship”, the first release from your upcoming EP, in mid-December. Thanks to Amy Godwin, I’ve had the song stuck in my head over the entire holiday break. Lyrically, I feel like it can be summed up in the line “If there’s one thing I’ve learned among all other things / It’s that everything works out”, carrying an overwhelming sense of positivity to be paired with the chorus. At it’s core, it’s one of the best written pop songs I’ve heard this past year. What can you tell me about the track and/or video? 

Emily: FIRSTLY, THANK YOU!!! You’re so kind. I wrote that song really fast one day. I was messing around on my bass and it just came out. I played it for my room mate/ best friend/muse Billy Mitchell & our baby kitty, Spelling Bee, one day and got the stamp of approval..then Ryan (guitarist) and I then recorded it with Damon. Shortly after we shot the video with Ray Scott (Allister Reynolds). It was done in one day at my dad’s warehouse (Robert Kempf, Key Grip in film industry). I love Ray, he rules so much! We both like making magic happen fast and we work really well together. Highly recommend him to any bands looking to film magic shit in Atl.

Ryan: I don’t know shit about videos. I refused to even watch it until it was out already, cause I hadn’t been on camera since my sister’s first communion and the shoot made me soooooo nervous. That recording session was rad though, Em, Damon, and I got it tracked, mixed, and mastered in about 4 hours flat.

Following your show at 529 on January 9th, are the plans to finish the EP and then take it out on the road, or are you all heading in a different direction with this? 

Emily: FUCK YES TOUR!!!! As soon as I can get all the boys to settle on dates based on when they can leave their jobbyjobs. I plan to release an EP sometime spring before the tour, and do a full length this summer hopefully with label help.

Chad: Fuck yeah, there are plans to make magic happen.

Ryan: We are taking our sweet ass time and we do what we want, cause that’s whats up. Tell your dumb friends there will be songs and songs and songs.

You’ve been recording the EP (untitled as of yet?) with one of our favorite Atlanta-based artists, Damon Moon (and The Whispering Drifters). How did you get connected with Damon and what has recording been like so far?

Emily: DAMON RULES SO HARD! He is amazing. He has been such a pleasure to work with, affordable, smart, and very good at what he does. I so much admire the way he approaches recording/mixing/mastering songs. I highly recommend him to any band looking to record in Atl :) Ryan, played with him for a short time in Whispering Drifters, so that is how I found him and why I chose to record with him.

Ryan: I guess I’ve been hanging with Damon since day one, being the very first time I decided to get serious about playing out. I met Damon at the first Cassandras show where we opened up for DMATWD, and after that show he took Cassandras under his wing like stupid little baby birds. He was super rad to us the entire time I was in that band, helping us get on his shows and telling people about the EP’s and the like. After Cassandras split, I got to play guitar in his band for a minute and it was the raaaaaddest jam ever. It was seriously like getting to be in Van Halen for a day or something, I was ecstatic. Choosing to record with him was a no brainer for us. It’s cool to get to continue to have a working relationship with Damon, it feels like a natural progression to me.

Some of the blog’s favorite records of 2012 have come from bands based in and around Atlanta. How would you weigh in on the state of the artistic community there, namely the biggest pros and cons? 

Chad: Pros: There are a lot of local musicians who we have met in passing throughout the years, but this past year it seems that a lot of us are finally starting new bands together and stepping out of our comfort zones.

Emily: Ditto! Massive collabs!

Ryan: I don’t know how to read. However, my favorite record of the year was Downward is Heavenward by HUM, which I recently figured out is about 20 years old. So theres that.

Assuming that each of you make them, what are some of your resolutions for the oncoming year? 

Emily: TOUR!!!!!! And take over the world, specifically making cool stuff. As much cool stuff as humanly possible.

Aside from you fine folks, what other Georgia-based music should we have our eyes and ears on these next few months?

Emily: Deadcat, Brunch, Small Reactions, and Highlander.

Chad: Bodyfather, Babar, and Faun and a Pan Flute.

Garret: Wowser Bowser and Places.

Ryan: I caught Halmos at 529 recently and they were choice. I love Spirits… too. My friend Jeremy Aggers doesn’t play out anymore but his records are heartbreaking.

What do you want to tell the kids at home? 

Emily: Have sooooo much fun & work hard, real real hard.

Chad: Have fun.

Garrett: Stay in pre-school.

Ryan: Save your money and don’t buy a bunch of guitars, cause you are never going to see a dime of your social security.

Around Atlanta with Iron Jayne

Best fish tacos: 

Chad: Elmyr Cantina and Bar

Garrett: Dakota Blue

Ryan: Taco Veloz

Place that doesn’t feel like Atlanta but is: 

Emily: Elliot Street Pub in Castleberry.

Atlanta really needs a: 

Emily: Beach.

Garrett: Better transit system.

Biggest improvement of 2012: 

Emily: Earl & 529 combining forces.

Chad: Beltline? camaraderie? BELTLINE.

Garrett: New bathrooms at Estoria.

Ryan: Open hostility towards Park Atlanta. I hope the mayor buys out your contract, you schmucks.

Best 2:00am or later hang: 

Emily: Happy Donuts and my room.

Chad: Happy Donuts and my room.

Garrett: I would have to say my room as well.

Favorite park: 

Emily: Chastain.

Chad: Park Grounds.

Garrett: Stone Mountain.

Ryan: Yeah, hanging with Johnny G at Park Grounds!

We have $100.00 to spend on the band (We don’t). Where are we going? 

Emily: Sparkles Roller Skating Rink.

Chad: Bowling.

Garrett: All of those places but to the booze store first

Ryan: A-Tow. Gonna get a shitty car and torch it. Booyashacka.

The most “Atlanta” thing about Atlanta: 

Emily: Pray for ATL treet art & Cousin Dan.

Garrett: Coca-Cola

Ryan: Manuel’s

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