JENTL began as a performance moniker for Brooklyn-based singer, producer, and songwriter Darren Dominique Davis. During the Summer of 2023, the project was re-shaped into a band featuring the combined talents of Daniel Mehaffey (bass) and Jimmy Arvan (drums). The trio explores Alternative/Dance sounds (think LCD Soundsystem, TV on the Radio, Hot Chip) and is currently working on a collection of new studio recordings with Producer Greg Griffith (Mellowdrone, Le Tigre).
Living between a dream and reality is often where most people find it hard to exist, but JENTL (born Darren Dominique Davis) finds that space one of comfort and inspiration. A sound all too hard to classify – dreamy, textured, multi-genre'd, loud, soft, vulnerable, unapproachable, and uniquely himself simultaneously.
Continuing down the rabbit hole, the Alt-R&B singer, producer, and songwriter melds electronic elements, R&B vocals, and sweeping synthesizers to create fresh experiences. His new EP "Terminal" enters post-pandemic to filter through all the heavy emotions that have weighed on him for the last three years. Initially, a direction he was unwilling to take – the recording process acted as a filter to purify the thoughts, wants, desires, and dreams of an eager artist. But how deep exactly did the singer have to dig?
FAMILY. The earliest memories of who we are.
As a kid singing in homemade talent shows with his cousins, his Grandparents' basement acted as the first stage JENTL would take. Hugely inspired by Janet + Michael Jackson and their larger-than-life performances — JENTL grew his desire to entertain people. Deeply influenced by alternative rock and punk music, JENTL formed his first band—The Trimmed Hedges, a progressive rock outfit. JENTL also served as Creative Director, executing painstakingly crafted stage shows and artwork.
It's no surprise that in 2008 he would find his second wind as the founder and frontman of the avant-garage electronic pop band Dearling Physique. The band that manipulated genres, effortlessly gliding between ambient sounds and alternative pop and soul, would be noted as "Toni Braxton fronting Nine Inch Nails – Or Prince and Joy Division collaborating" by MTV. The debut LP "Deadeye Dealer" mixed cinematic Grace Jones-ian Afropunk and funk with an industrial, electronic edge, grabbing attention for the lead single "Discipline Your Hands" featured by The Onion, Afropunk and others.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst. Starting is easy, persistence is an art.
Re-emerging at a critical area of consciousness, Germany also played an essential part in the journey of JENTL. In 2011, he was awarded an artist grant by the Jerome Foundation, marking the beginning of a temporary residency in Berlin, and a new musical project, Domino Davis. The Jerome Foundation grant provided JENTL with an opportunity to explore Berin's electronic music scene, immersing himself in a foreign urban environment as a means of experiencing the themes of alienation, solitude, and otherness. Even though he was working with Sony/ATV and co-writing electronic-pop songs, he was moved to co-found the electronic future-R&B outfit Forest Haze. They would go on to release a self-titled EP featured as a Band to Watch in KALBLUT Magazine, Fred Perry Subculture, and spotlighted on Bandcamp, having a viral moment for their vocal remix of Bonobo's "Ten Tigers."
In only a way that JENTL can, many parts of his life are segmented, so a consistent timeline is only available through his music. From his early beginnings to living in Berlin, even up through a pandemic – he is still processing, and fans eagerly await his return. His unorthodox recording style, the way he processes his experiences that eventually grows into a song – you have to just stay close. He'll start with a few samples or a melody, and from there, he can build the flesh and bones of the record. So what's next for JENTL?
Simple. JENTL's new EP "Terminal" will release on April 7, 2023, he's previewing new songs live at a Breaking Sound showcase in NYC on April 3, 2023, and continuing to design a "modular performance" for his songs. In a recent conversation, JENTL mentions he looks forward to "using music as a form of escapism to reframe challenges into triumphs, and most essentially staying 100% authentically myself."
Artists like JENTL usually only live in dreams. Still, somewhere between a dream and a reality, Darren Dominique Davis has created a world that speaks to millions working hard for a better tomorrow while dealing with anxiety and trauma.