Leaves of Three, Let Them Be

Jahna Peloquin

It’s a near-perfect spring day when I meet the members of Leaves at the art-kid hangout Spyhouse. Leaves, self-described “children of nature,” are a young trio formerly known as The Jane Lady. The name change and a recent drastic shift in sound may be unprecedented for a band whose members are barely out of high school. But with four albums recorded in three-and-a-half years together and a series of personal changes, Leaves think the change is about time.

“There’s a largeness quality that you can’t get out of music when you just have the typical setup of bass, drums and guitar,” says drummer Seth Riewe. The recent addition of keyboards to the band’s live show has been a case in point, as well as the Leaves’ new atypical arrangements.

“Sounds we’re using now bring us into a different space,” Riewe continues. “We can create something unique, new and fresh because we’re free to respond in a new way instead of preconditioned to those sounds.”

Even though the new sound is more avant-garde, the band, which also includes bassist Aric Blogett and guitarist/vocalist Nick Barbeln, says they are paying more attention to structure and melody. A recent show at the Church in south Minneapolis proved this by forcing the listener to get caught in the emotional currents of the music, and lost inside the subconscious of someone in the thralls of a nervous breakdown, while giving enough of a hook to keep the songs together.

Since recording the last Jane Lady EP in late 2001, the members of Leaves have gone through changes. The outwardly intense Barbeln had a nervous breakdown during recording sessions, while Riewe made the decision to quit school to focus on his spiritual growth. The disorienting push/pull quality of the new sound reflects these struggles, which the band says has been the biggest influence on their rapid musical growth.

The band agrees that shedding the Jane Lady moniker and sound was liberating.

“It was like being born again when you’re old,” the curly-haired Blodgett says.

“We’ve been searching for a long time,” Blodgett continues, speaking of the new name. “There has always been an organic theme to our music, and the name the Jane Lady doesn’t fulfill that.” The band says the name change was simply part of the natural progression of the band’s music, which has been eased by their strong friendships and chemistry.

“We can play off each other,” Barbeln explains. “We communicate telepathically.”

Riewe adds, “Once we started breaking down communication barriers, our minds became more unified and it created a group consciousness. It’s allowed us to transcend the usual prisons.”

By breaking down their internal barriers, Leaves hope to spread hope and positivity through their music.

“We do this because we’re so passionate about our music and we want to give it to someone else,” Blodgett says. “I want others to be saturated in passion.”

Babeln, with a tiny gold leaf pinned on his shirt, can’t contain himself any more.

“People are leaves. Trees are leaves. Everything is coming together and we’re going to change the whole world,” he says.

As Barbeln speaks, a huge wood-mounted painting falls off the wall, lands squarely on his shoulder and gashes his wrist.

“Art attack!” Blodgett yells, in wide-eyed realization.

“We believe in ourselves, so we have a lot to say, but take it for what it’s worth,” Barbeln says.



Leaves play a 21+ show Wednesday, June 5th at Big V’s (1567 University Ave. W., St. Paul, (651) 645-847). Doors open at 9 pm, cover is $3.