The advent of the digital age has changed the way we interact with one another, romantically or otherwise. While perpetual interconnectedness increases our capacity to communicate in some sense, it also does a lot to impede communication. Just as we lost facets of communication when we moved from face-to-face to phones, we have lost even more components of communication now that our interactions are largely text-based.
There is the often mentioned example of being catfished, but such instances are a rather extreme example which few have actually encountered in their lives. What’s more threatening to the day-to-day texter are things like the impossibility of understanding someone’s tone. Things like sarcasm have become more or less a guessing game informed by limited, often non-existent contexts.
Additionally, social media, texting, and phones, in general, have become an addiction of sorts. In times of discomfort, we turn to our black mirrors to escape. Engaging in the addiction takes us away from reality, consuming hours, days, or even weeks or our lives. While such an addiction may seem rather benign, I’m not so sure it really is. The time lost aside, we have started to shift away from deriving worth from within, assessing our worth in relation to what performs well online instead.
Chicago producer Jaro addresses some of these topics in his most recent release, La Bleue. Admittedly, the project isn’t about technology. Simply said, it is “a journey throughout the highs and lows of a relationship.” But any such story, set in a modern context, is bound to touch on technology’s role in love. As we rapidly move through a soundscape progressing from infantile affection to the heartache of longing for a lost love, guests Cae Jones, Chandy, Aura, Qari, Jommis, Luke Olson (The Walters), and Elias Abid offer their respective talents to solidify the narrative.
At a brief four-tracks, Jaro captures an impressive range of emotions. A love seemingly born on the dance floor, it’s fittingly corrupted by superficial pursuits. While I understood the project’s end as pessimistic, Jaro has a different outlook. Read on to hear him speak on topics I may have imposed on him, speak on his conceptions of love, and graciously clarify some of my misinterpretations.
“low lights” seems to introduce some of the challenges of loving in a digital world. Among other things, Cae Jones apologizes for compulsively scrolling through his phone. He even frames his desire to dance with a honey as a desire to conserve data. That said, this digital world offers us unprecedented avenues of communication. How do you think technological developments have impacted romance? Do you think the net result is positive or negative?
Negative, mostly. Dating apps and emoji texts seem to dilute true emotion and real love, but on the other hand, the digital era is beneficial for introverted love seekers with a better ability to start talking with someone online before meeting in person. Shout-out Bumble though.
“complicated” talks about how things that should be simple, such as telling someone you love them, can prove to be mind-bogglingly complex. Do you think that love is inherently complicated? Or do you think genuine love is simple?
I believe that falling in love is simple, but being in love is complicated. Crafting a foundation with selflessness and consideration and sacrifices and compromises isn’t easy, but it’s necessary in order to have a loving relationship.
“omplicated” also features the line “I think that I’m complicated and I also think you’re simple baby.” Do you think anyone can really be described as simple? What does it mean to describe someone as simple, is it positive or negative?
I think it was simply a sentiment that he didn’t feel understood. Sometimes partners can be on the wrong page and it’s hard to vocalize particular headspaces. But to answer your question, ‘simple’ can be positive (easy going, down to earth) or negative (dim-witted, basic).
“bad guy” presents the perspective of someone desperately but ineffectually trying to resist being consumed by superficial ideals. It talks of the “money pussy power struggle” and brushes it off as an unavoidable aspect of life. The narrator then asks why he is being made out to be a bad guy. Do you think the narrator of “bad guy” is, in fact, a bad guy?
Not at all. I think he’s trying to chase a dream that many rappers have. He wants money and power, and it’s most assuredly a struggle, but why is he a bad guy for wanting what he’s seen on television and heard in songs his entire life?
Do you think the vocals added or detracted from the narrative you intended to convey through the production?
Added. Vocals always enhance the mood. I crafted rather emotional backdrops and my friends further developed that raw emotion. Without the vocals, I don’t think these songs would make me as teary-eyed as they do. And Cae’s hook on ‘Low Lights’ gets the whole EP in motion.
Why is the final track titled “window pain”? What does it say about love that the concluding sentiment is one of pain? Is this a conclusion you find to be evident in all love or just this particular instance?
The EP begins with wanting to be with someone. Seeking a human connection. Then it follows with two songs that prove the trials and tribulations of love and life in general. The reason the final song has that title is because Luke (of The Walters) says, “I wait by the window pane, waiting for you to come take me away.” In this instance, love doesn’t hurt, but missing someone dearly hurts. I like to think it leaves on an optimistic note, that his love will pull up in the driveway at any second and away they will fly.