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Jlin

Electronic Musician, Producer, DJ

Jerrilynn Patton, aka Jlin, grew up in Gary, Indiana, and started producing music in 2008. She released her widely praised debut album, Dark Energy, in 2015 and her even more widely praised second album, Black Origami, in 2017. We spoke to her previously on TCI about embracing failure.

You make dark music, and talk about creating from a dark space, but are a positive person. You often post uplifting things on social media, inspiring people to keep creating, but you’re also not afraid to talk about your own creative struggles.

When I say I create from a dark space, that simply means that I’m creating from a place that’s uncomfortable to me. It’s the most beautiful uncomfortable because it makes me step into a space that I otherwise wouldn’t go into, if I were willing to be complacent. When we hear the word “dark” in society, it’s usually a negative connotation, but when I say dark I’m not seeing “dark” as negative. I’ve said many times that I create from the belly of the beast, and a lot of people are like, “That sounds demonic.” And I’m like, “No, actually it’s not that at all.”

I enjoy creating from an uncomfortable space because it’s challenging. It pushes me to my infinity. I couldn’t create if I was always doing it from a comfortable place, just generally mixing sound and then saying, “Yeah, I’ll create from here because people like it.” I can’t create that way.

You make dark music, and talk about creating from a dark space, but are a positive person. You often post uplifting things on social media, inspiring people to keep creating, but you’re also not afraid to talk about your own creative struggles.

I love composition. I love composing. I love creating and composing more than performing, I have to say. There’s nothing like the feeling you get when you’re creating, even if it came from a hellish place. When we start composing, we have no idea where the composition is going. There’s fear, then you go up to the hell of the storm, and then all of a sudden you hit this moment and it stops. You’re like, “I know where I am now.”

You make dark music, and talk about creating from a dark space, but are a positive person. You often post uplifting things on social media, inspiring people to keep creating, but you’re also not afraid to talk about your own creative struggles.

In my opinion, failure is more important than success. You have to fail. Embrace it. The way society defines failure is wrong. If you took a step forward in your progress, and it didn’t work out the way that it should, the way that you wanted, that doesn’t mean that you failed. If you stand still, if you do absolutely nothing, then that’s failure and that’s a conscious decision. But you have to fail. It’s so important. Embrace it, it really is worth it, because then you learn.

Sometimes you have what I like to call “happy accidents” in the midst of what you think is a failure, because that’s what it is in our minds when we haven’t accomplished what we set out to accomplish. At that moment, we think that it’s a failure but it’s not. The only time you’re failing is when you’re standing still, which is why one of my biggest inspirations is water, because water never stops moving. It flows, it crashes, and it even when you think it’s sitting still, it’s still moving.

You make dark music, and talk about creating from a dark space, but are a positive person. You often post uplifting things on social media, inspiring people to keep creating, but you’re also not afraid to talk about your own creative struggles.

I like people knowing that every time I sit in that chair to produce it’s a struggle for me, it is a fight, just like it is for them. Especially people coming up, who are starting to look up to me now. I used to get frustrated when I’d get on YouTube and see videos of producers sitting down in the chair, and then in two minutes and 39 seconds they had a whole song. I’m like, “This can’t be realistic.” I got tired of seeing that and I wanted young artists to know just what I fight every day. I’ve seen people pump out 10 tracks a day, or 10 pieces of music a day. I’m like, “I’m lucky if I can get through eight bars.”

I want people to know that because that’s realistic. I’m not trying to get on YouTube and say, “Yo, Jlin made Black Origami in an hour.” That’s insane because it’s not real. I like letting people know, “Hell yeah, it’s a struggle, it’s a fight.” Every time I sit to make a track it’s rarely the same, but it’s a struggle, and that’s why I talk about it. I see people having the same struggles. For people who like my work, and support my work, I want them to know, “Hey, I’ve got to struggle as well.”

You make dark music, and talk about creating from a dark space, but are a positive person. You often post uplifting things on social media, inspiring people to keep creating, but you’re also not afraid to talk about your own creative struggles.

I love writing music, but sometimes my mind is not there, or it’s just not flowing. Sometimes I’m really stuck and that’s okay. I feel like other artists should talk about that and let people know, “Yeah, I get creative blocks.” It’s not that I’m knocking people, but I have to say this because I feel like it’s important: I don’t feel like hallucinating or doing a drug or whatever is necessary to create. If you’re a creator, you’re a creator, you don’t have to hallucinate or take this or take that. If you’re having a block that’s okay, embrace it. You’re not going to be there forever, and when you bust out of it you’ll realize, “Oh my god, I didn’t need to do this.” You can do something and be creative or have a block and it’s okay. That’s fine. That’s normal. You’re not a machine.

You make dark music, and talk about creating from a dark space, but are a positive person. You often post uplifting things on social media, inspiring people to keep creating, but you’re also not afraid to talk about your own creative struggles.

I’ve burnt out before, and you have to have a balance. I’m in the middle of that struggle right now. You have to take time for yourself where you just literally don’t do anything. I have something I do every morning now, I take 30 minutes to myself, no phone calls, no emails, no nothing. I literally turn my phone off and I just sit and I get my mind focused for the day. I would encourage you to take 30 minutes out of the day where it is purely about yourself, not somebody emailing you. Don’t let anything get in the way of it.

You’re worth more than 30 minutes of that day, but that’s a good starting point.

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