A gentile rain tumbles to earth. Nurturing life, it satisfies the dry ground’s thirst, while replenishing the streams and waterfalls. Then, suddenly, it increases; lighting crashes, thunder booms and the skies are alive with wide emotion. You feel life, death, and the charge of change in the moist air.
After the skies empty there is a damp earthy calm, a smell of rebirth, and everything is fresh and new.
Gentil (pronounced Jaun-Te) was born in this crazy world to do all of that, musically. Reacting to life, reaffirming being and creating new verve with their compositions is what they are about.
The show last night sat down with Gentil bandmates, and long-time friends, Jenessa Andréa and Tyler Rayburn, to talk about their band and their upcoming EP release, “Thunderstorm”.
Gentil is French for kind and nice. Jenessa, a poet, devote jazz enthusiast and singer, has called on her French-Italian heritage for inspiration in creation of their group’s name. Combining their first names completed the process and Gentil was born.
Both visual artists, their songs create an audio mood, allowing you to go to into a different mindset. Desiring a strong connection with their audience we want to “take the listener somewhere else” (Tyler) In becoming one with their music, you feel their sound and words.
“We want it to be organic… a natural thing… nothing forced, just raw” Seeking “a healing… natural process in creating our music” is their musical goal. (Jenessa)
Inspiration comes from life and every tune has a different process in its creation. “Very natural – we just wrote everything” (Tyler) Tyler will create the riff and Jenessa creates the lyrics. “She comes up with the lyrics from nowhere” (Tyler)
Love, life and relationships and making sense of it all goes into Jenessa’s lyrics. Her iPhone is filled with notes, both new and from the past. She finds the words to express her feelings and, in the process, share them with her listeners. Sometimes she hears Tyler’s riff and works out the writing. Sometimes she does the music and Tyler puts it all together.
Ambient Indy Jazz is how they classify their music. Jenessa is both a blues singer and fan. Old school, 1950’s era Jazz, with heart and soul, is her musical go-to. Billy Holiday is one of her favorites. Raw sounds made in the studio with imperfections included. A lot of times these were one-take recordings, capturing the open emotions of that day or hour. It’s how that singer really felt at the moment. Recording that were not 100% right made that recording unique, to be treasured and enjoyed for all time. About Jazz fans: “They worshipped the dissonance” (Jenessa)
Relationships are the major theme in their first upcoming album: to be released in a few weeks. “We want to encompass all the things that go wrong (in their first 3 songs) … about the trials you find when falling in love.” (Tyler)
Their 1st ep – Orage – means thunderstorm and combined with their name literally means nice thunderstorm (Gentil Orage). Tackling problems in relationships in this release, one tune stands out in this author’s mind: Closure.
Sometimes there is no closure and it tears you up. “I don’t know what I did… I don’t see how this ends” are emotionally charged words. Haunting: you feel the emptiness in your heart through their words. In creating Closure, Tyler was playing this riff dealing with closure aftermath, and telling Jenessa about it. “We wanted to turn this into something beautiful… not fixate on it… now deal with it” (Jenessa)
Petichor (pet-ri-core), the 2nd ep, means the smell after it rains. How you heal from the events going on in the first ep is what its about.
I I addresses the hesitation of falling in love. “Healthy love; I’m on one path and you’re on the other and how we can maintain ourselves”. (Tyler)
TSLN enjoyed talking with them. “We make a good team” (Jenessa) Throughout this interview it was obvious their ongoing friendship made them a great songwriting pair. They have been there for each other in good and bad times, and now they are sharing this in their helpful, healing sounds that let you reflect on the challenges of change, love and growth.
Knowing you are and helping people is worth it, says Jenessa. “Stay soft, stay sensitive” and don’t deny your emotions. (Jenessa)
Written by Ron Janzen
Photos by Alexander Just