Somewhere in Los Angeles, there’s a bartender whose very moniker inspired an entire aesthetic, albeit unconsciously. Though stylized in all caps, JAN stands for her namesake rather than as an acronym. Alice Talon, one half of Eagle and Talon, had planned on naming a song after her, but that never came to fruition. Instead, Kim Talon turned the name into the very raison d’etre of her solo project. “She’s kind of this unhinged, volatile woman who just yells at people but then she’ll be all sweet and warm. She exhibits the temperament of the music, for sure,” Kim tells the Appeal.
Where Eagle and Talon specialize in generally even-keeled post-punk, JAN runs the gamut of everything from shoegaze sensibilities to garage rock grit. Talon consistently throws caution to the wind with her wild mixture of musical pairings and equally frenetic composition. Inspiration could – and will – strike at any minute, prompting Talon to retreat to her Brooklyn apartment to pick up her guitar and write music at breakneck speeds.
“Usually the song is written in thirty minutes. I just go into another level of consciousness,” Talon tells The Appeal.
“It’s a really fast process and if it’s not fast and I don’t feel that urgency then I usually don’t move forward with the song. It’s all gut, really.”
In terms of subject matter, dichotomies reign supreme as JAN looks to negotiate the fine lines between masculinity, femininity, and ultimately sexuality itself. One thing is certain: a JAN performance is not for the faint of heart.
“It’s pretty controversial even though we’re so nice and gentle and sweet,” Talon says, “but for that thirty or fourty-five or fifty minutes that set is a deeper and darker version of ourselves.”
“For one thing, guys don’t talk to me after shows,” Talon continues, “I like that we can scare people.”
Talon has already embarked on a successful European tour in support of JAN’s debut album, however she’s yet to play in San Francisco with her new project. Those looking to experience JAN live will be just as surprised by the performance as Talon will be when she takes the stage this Monday at Bottom of the Hill.
“It’s hard to know what one of my shows is like because I’ve never been to one of my shows,” Talon says with a laugh.
That’s not a facetious comment but one that goes back to Talon’s cathartic songwriting process. “I get in the same trance when I’m playing as when I’m first writing a song,” Talon says.
“It’s in these brief moments that I get to truly feel like myself, where I feel like I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. That’s my true essence.”