The Making Of Converge’s Jane Doe at Berklee College Of Music

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Do you love Jane Doe? I know I do. You can find out more about this legendary record, arguably Converge’s best, by watching this conversation between Kurt Ballou, Matthew Ellard (the engineer/producer of Jane Doe) and Susan Rogers at the Berklee College of Music.

Although this lecture happened in 2013, the video was recently shared on Kurt Ballou’s Facebook page.

 

This is a worthy watch not only for fans of the band but also for anyone that is interested in the intricacies of the recording process. The film credits go to Nice Hooves, a great hardcore punk band from Detroit. Check out their Bandcamp and be sure to throw them a like on Facebook. For Professor Matthew Ellard’s page, refer here; for more information on Professor Susan Rogers, check out the bio on her Berklee page.

14 years after its release, Jane Doe remains a milestone in heavy music – a record worthy of essential status. Whether you like it or not, it should be listened to.

(Photo VIA)

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  • The W.

    Nice Hooves are tight.

  • I’ve only listened All We Love we Leave Behind from this band, but to be honest, I can’t remember how is that band. I will try to check this record.

    • Hubert

      All we love is good but Jane Doe is amazing. It’s overflowing with energy.

    • Dagon

      Probably not your cup of tea, but try it out. This one has interesting vocal harmonies in the middle of all the noise.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XoOLem3QYP4

      • Mnnn, there were some interesting parts. I think I need to listen the entire album to see if I can replay it or not. Thanks, Dagy.

    • There’s a lot of variety on their albums. They have punk hardcore songs and also do some slower sludgy and melodic stuff. Everything starting with Jane Doe til now are all excellent albums. You may not like the vocals, very screamy.

    • I’d recommend checking more of them out if you like what you hear. Awesome band, one of the best hardcore acts out there now. I second Ron’s recommendation as well, Jane Doe and pretty much everything after is fantastic.

  • Ignatius the Wizened

    A bridge to cross, White Oleander,
    Faces white as first responders
    At carwreck wrought from fateful merge,
    A trainwreck t’would be too Converge.

  • Tyree
  • Disgustache
    • Scrimm

      I think of and laugh at this entirely too much already.

  • Welp, she name-dropped and quoted a MS article but at least it was a well-written piece.

    • You would figure a more reputable source would ve been used. There’s a Decibel book of influential albums and Jane Doe is in there. That would’ve made more sense.

  • Dagon

    Too bad the volume is so low.

    Some of my favorite moments:
    Around the 30 minute mark when they start discussing the album artwork, which is very iconic

    Around the 50 minute mark he discusses songwriting and how he matured as a songwriter by realizing he doesn’t have to use every idea he has for a song. That resonates with me because in 2015 my favorite records are often the “simplest” I’ve heard; the “complex” music is not really grabbing me.

    • Mnnn, can you give me a quick resume on the artwork idea, Dagy? I don’t understand them 🙁

      • Dagon

        First, be careful when you google image search Jane Doe because there’s a cute Suicide Girl lying naked in that search.

        The artwork for Jane Doe was designed by their vocalist Jacob Bannon, given the album’s success it became Converge’s symbol, so to speak. There’s several different fan artwork surrounding the lady designed by Bannon, like the one I used as a header image for this post.

        This is the original:

        http://www.themonolith.com/wp-content/uploads/janedoe.jpg

    • That’s called the K.I.S.S. rule – Keep It Simple Stupid.

  • DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUDES

    GL

  • Tyree

    Once again, I’m not a fan of the music. But… I always did find Jacob Bannon’s artwork to be pretty rad. No doubt that “Jane Doe”, is some iconic imagery.

    • Dagon

      I like his art for You Fail Me quite a lot too.

      https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/bf/YouFailMe2.jpg

      • Tyree

        His art is very bold and simplistic. Hard to pull off. Simple sounds easy, but it really is not.

        Simple, bold, and powerful imagery is hard to do.

        • Tyree

          Ethan Lee McCarthy is good at that.

          http://leangreenohmswatts.tumblr.com/

          • Dagon

            Some of Hal Rotter’s work reminds me of ELM’s. The former did art for Subterror’s latest LP.

            http://www.rottinggraphics.com/

          • Tyree

            O yeah. that is some sick shit. Some good releases on their that I did not know he did.

          • Dagon

            I placed him on that Instagram post, dude has some good art.

            I’mma do a round 2 with more art dudes and metal dudes and whatnot.

      • This looks like a rocket ship. Neat

        • Tyree
        • Kevin Nash & Friends

          Is that the hand of a rocket man?

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LX7WrHCaUA

          • KJM

            Back when he was still worth listening to.

          • Kevin Nash & Friends

            His last great song in my opinion was I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues. That song is just so heart wrenching to me.

          • KJM

            Nah, Island Girl was his last great hit. After that he was infected by “80s Disease”.

          • Sir Tapir the Based™

            The William Shatner version is a lot better.

          • Kevin Nash & Friends

            It sure is

  • I didn’t get through the entire thing but a few points really stand out: Kurt talks about how the band found their stride on this album because they now had a line up where everyone was in sync with each other. Every album they’ve put out since Jane Doe has been great and it’s probably a result of these guys playing together.
    Only a handful of metallic hardcore bands really stood out: Botch, Coalesce, Converge, DEP. 100% agree on that point.

    • Dagon

      I agree with your list, and I guess you can argue that this is true for every subgenre. Even though some of those genres click harder with us, only a few bands in each era or scene will remain timeless.

      • True, this is probably my favorite era of music because I discovered so much of it and saw all these bands play live so these points really resonate with me.

    • Which reminds me, I still haven’t listened much to Botch or Coalesce.

  • Mother Shabubu III 12 BRICKS

    Depressing confession: I love Converge, but their last three albums (“No Heroes”, “Axe To Fall”, “All We Love We Leave Behind”) all coincided with some tough shit, so some of their deeper songs (“Grim Heart/Black Rose”, “Wretched World”) I have trouble listening to without being taken back to those times. I still weep like a child during “Precipice / All We Love We Leave Behind”. Great, cathartic music.

    • Dagon

      No shame in that, I have a deep emotional attachment to a lot of songs, some of which I still avoid altogether.

    • They are a powerful band. Doubt you’re the only one who gets affected by them enotionally. I know I do but it’s all good vibes for me.

    • Kevin Nash & Friends

      Another depressing confession: The reason I love The Crimson Idol so much is because it was introduced to me when my life was at a very low point. It helped me through that point and whenever I listen to it I cry because it still brings out the emotional side of me. I can’t listen to it that much anymore because it makes me so upset.

    • Scrimm

      Bruce Dickinson’s The Chemical Wedding is like that for me.

  • Bro, ABSOLUTELY! I’ve been jamming Converge (and The Armed) a lot this summer, and I’m always curious to hear about the creative process behind things I like.

  • HessianHunter

    Man, I just love hearing Kurt Ballou talk about basically anything. Dude is so articulate and self-aware.

  • Nate Davies

    Jacob doesn’t think it’s their best and neither do I.
    I feel, as a band, the intention is always to push one’s self, to introduce new concepts and constructs.
    With songs like Reptilian and A Single Tear, I find the Dusk In Us to be the truest representation of Converge and the most current portrait.
    Some may adhere to earlier works because of an overly personal emotional connection, but the most recent offerings (Axe to Fall through current) show a maturing, progressing, inventive group.
    Instead of constantly playing to their strengths, they’ve shone a light on their weaknesses and vulnerabilities and become better for it.