We couldn’t help but brew a mild crush on how Sara May of Falcon Jane writes and sings her songs. It’s really cute, like the kind of cute that lies gently on the face of a stuffed animal with big, glassy eyes. Or the kind of cute that a herd of alpacas bring.
Sara May fronts the Ontario-based band Falcon Jane, and they make a soft, tender kind of indie rock called “plez rock.” According to Sara May, plez rock is short for “pleasant,” and it’s a feminine, artful kind of indie rock celebrating nice things.
TVW: Did you coin the term “plez rock?”
SM: Yes – Andrew (bassist) and I came up with the word “Plez” a few years ago. We were saying the word “Nice” too much, like after every song we played we’d look at each other and say “Nice!” – so “Plez” became the replacement word. It’s just slang for “Pleasant” – and soon afterwards we realized that the music we play is very pleasant, so “plez rock” was born!
Love that you labeled yourself as a stoner/songwriter. Any favorite strains when you want to write music?
I actually prefer a glass of white wine when I’m writing, but when I jam with the band it’s nice to have a puff of something chill. I’m not very good with stain names because I’ve been smoking mostly homegrown stuff from friends lately.
Any other bands associated with the plez rock sound?
There’s a lot of bands out there that sound very plez to me, but I don’t think any of them want to be affiliated … yet! Check out The Nomadic Homes, nutrients, Freelove Fenner, Mauno, Jaunt, Mild High Club.
Do you write all Falcon Jane songs?
Yeah – or like half write them and then bring them to the band and we finish them together. Everyone writes their own beautiful parts.
Who are your main influences as a singer? As a songwriter?
I’ve been really digging Emmylou Harris’ vocals lately. Jenn Grant’s voice is consistently inspiring, though I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do what she does! You referenced Mazzy Star in your write up about “Go With The Flow” and I will admit, her vocals are pretty friggin dreamy and inspiring! I can’t think of one specific songwriter that stands out as an influencer for me – I’m more so affected by certain songs. I’ll listen to them over n over and study them and imagine that I’m playing them up on a beautiful, glistening stage in heaven.
Your favorite bands growing up? At the moment?
When I was a kid I was really into Nelly Furtado’s first album – and I still am now. It’s so good. I was also into Smash Mouth, Sarah McLachlan, all the great 90s stuff. Right now I love Beach House, Angel Olsen, Grizzly Bear, Chris Cohen, Andy Shauf, Feist, and all my friends’ bands!
How did Falcon Jane form?
I needed a stage name to replace my fairly common name, “Sara May”, so I came up with Falcon Jane, released a solo album, had a series of divine appointments, one thing lead to another, and here we are! Falcon Jane seems to be constantly evolving, so it still feels like we are forming right now, into something bigger, better, more plez!!
Tell us more about Feelin’ Freaky. Inspiration behind it?
Feelin’ Freaky is a collection of songs I wrote while feeling rather freaky. It doesn’t have a singular common theme running through it, because the songs were written at different times in different states. But it is all very honest. I’m so happy with the band’s contributions to the music. Everyone brought their individuality to the music, so it’s extra freaky!
Any noteworthy changes (sound-wise) during the band’s evolution from your last record to this one?
Oh yeah. When we recorded our last album “alive n well” we were a three-piece playing fairly stripped down pop-rock. Now we’re a five-piece with a synth and a lead guitar that really affect the vibe of the music. We can create soundscapes and have righteous jam sections! It all feels like a natural progression though. “alive n well” is a pretty great middle ground between my first album (weird, solo, bedroom-folk) and “Feelin’ Freaky”.
We loved the video of “Go With The Flow!” Will you tell us more about your filmmaking background?
I studied Film in University and have been working as a videographer ever since. I was drawn to video as a medium because of its ability to fuse visuals and audio. I’ve always been really emotionally affected by music and sound, but I’m a very visual person, so creating videos comes naturally to me. I’m still figuring out what kind of films I want to make, so I’m just doing a bit of everything until something sticks.
I know it’s like asking what’s your favorite song, but do you have a favorite movie? Or movies?
I used to say King’s Speech was my favourite movie, but I watched it again recently and it wasn’t as powerful as I remember it being… so now I have no favourite movie. My ideal movie would be something calm, beautiful, intelligently comedic, with a meaningful storyline and a feel-good ending. Any recommendations?
If for some circumstance in the future, you were given the chance to film a Falcon Jane biopic, which actress would play you? Why?
Well ideally Jennifer Lawrence because she’s so funny and cool and everyone loves her. Maybe Emma Stone because we’ve got similar face shapes and big eyes. But you know, it might have to be Dakota Fanning. But like bratty Dakota Fanning from Uptown Girls. What’s she up to nowadays? I’m going to google her.
Which bands are going to be in its soundtrack?
Pure Falcon Jane soundtrack of course! And maybe Bittersweet Symphony by the Verve.
Out of all the songs you wrote, which one is your ultimate favorite?
I always like the newest one the best. So that’s why “Go With The Flow” is my fave off of the new album – I wrote it a month or so before we started recording.
What’s in store for Falcon Jane this year?
Releasing “Feelin’ Freaky” this summer, making some music videos, playing sweet shows, meeting new friends, jamming out some new tunes!