The writer Rebecca Bengal profiles JLin (Jerrilynn Patton), "a producer at the vanguard of electronic music", coming out of Chicago & Northwest Indiana's dance music scene.
Patton’s music is propelled by the sheer force of her percussion, her ornate, radical progressions, her shape-shifting sounds, an undercurrent of menace. Listening to Jlin tracks is like watching the horror movie heroine open the door into a vast unknown—and yet, she turns out to be completely in control, morphing and bending the rhythm, changing up the narrative again.
“I want to surprise me as much as I want to surprise you,” she says. “I love when I hit a person like a tornado. There is no easing. We just go straight in.”
Two years ago, when Dark Energy came out, Patton was working swing shifts at U.S. Steel in East Chicago and then, in Gary. She was in the break room when she found out that album made year-end lists at The New York Times, The Wire, and Pitchfork. “I would be banding together these massive pieces of steel and then I would open Facebook, and everyone’s saying, ‘Congratulations, congratulations, congratulations,’ and I’m just like, ‘What are you talking about?’”
Within months, Patton, who had never been to a big concert in her entire life, was being flown to perform her own: at a museum in New York City, at a festival in Poland, in Barcelona, Moscow, Australia, India, in Los Angeles. Headlines capitalized on the Flashdance-esque narrative of the steelworker with an inner artistic drive. When famed designer Rick Owens asked her to soundtrack his fall 2014 show, she put in a request for time off to go to Paris Fashion Week. Her supervisors weren’t buying it.
“But when I came back and I showed them pictures, they were like, ‘Oh! This is real. Are you serious?!’” Patton says. “My life just started not to make sense.” She quit her day job more than a year ago to focus on music full-time.