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the insiders: the shoe

jena malone and lem jay ignacio tell us all about their new album.

by: liza darwin

April 10 2014

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Hopefully by now you're not only familiar with Jena Malone for her film roles (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Stepmom, Donnie Darko, the list goes on...) but the actress is also a singer in her own right, fronting the L.A.-based duo The Shoe.

Alongside Lem Jay Ignacio, the pair craft indie pop so floaty and delicate and gorgeous, you can practically close your eyes and drift away. Case in point: their new single "Paper Cup" (which you can get here free), as well as their music video for "Dead Rabbit Hopes," which dropped last week.

Get ready for even more awesomeness when the group's album I'm Okay drops in June--but because we really can't wait, we got the lowdown from Malone and Ignacio about everything from performing in treehouses to recording naked. Read on....

You guys have been playing music together for a while now. Why was this a good time to record the album?

Jena Malone- It just kind of happened that I had some time off this summer. We'd been thinking of making a record for the past two years and had both been so busy, so this summer just sort of opened up for us.

How did the recording process work? 
JM- Well, we looked through a bunch of jams and then we wrote some new ones, as well. We started in July with a couple of songs already, so it only took us a few months. For this album I really wanted to strip it down and make songs that speak in my own voice and tell more intimate stories. There were even moments in this album when we were recording vocals, I recorded them naked--not for any reason except for the fact that it helped me find this place of vulnerability and having nothing to hide behind. 

How do you balance your music with all of the other projects you have going on?
JM- When I'm doing music I just want to work on music. When I work on film all I do is work on film. It's all about keeping the focus.

Lem Jay Ignacio - We have a lot of time right now to play, so it's been pretty easy and natural. 

Will you go on tour? 
LJI- Yes, we're planning a tour that will take place in impromptu locations throughout America.

JM-  I really want to poll our fanbase and see where they want us to perform, whether it's in their mother's living room or an abandoned water tower, or a fort we built in a forest. We used to curate all the shows, so I'm excited to allow the fans to dictate it. 

Where's the best place to listen to The Shoe? 
JM- We wrote it while in the California sunshine, but we've also listened to it in our cars and just walking around New York City. I really like that aspect of it, listening to something so personal amidst a whirlwind situation. I would say to listen to it in a crazy city and just find it for yourself!

LJI- We just recently heard the test on vinyl, so that's my dream. It sounds so good and beautiful and vinyl just has that vibe, this particular record for me just sounds so beautiful. Too bad you can't carry around a record player with you all the time. [Laughing]

Tell us the story behind your video for "Dead Rabbit Hopes." 
JM- When we came up with concepts, I had this idea of me lying naked behind a piano and just singing things in a very raw way--not about being sexual or present, but being real, being vulnerable.  We wanted to shoot it on Super 16 and use the idea of flowers, and that's what we did. I'm so proud of it, just watching it makes me cry. In a good way. 

Watch "Dead Rabbit Hopes" below and find out more about The Shoe here. 


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