Sainte, ‘Bad Summer,’ and the reintroduction of Tay Jardine

Photo Credit: Ashley Osborn

You get one time to make a first impression, but sometimes, the second time around means a rebirth. Bad Summer, the second EP from Sainte, part solo project from Tay Jardine and collaboration with We Are The In Crowd band members Cameron Hurley and Mike Ferri, is a reflection of a period of time where Jardine was in a period of learning and unlearning in a personal sense. This project is not only personal, but seeks to cover musical territory that 2017’s Smile and Wave only scratched the surface of.

Smile and Wave was a very colorful and fun introduction into the world of Sainte, Bad Summer really gets to the potential of what the project can be. I spoke to Jardine about the new EP, the inspiration on the visual style of the project, and what pushed her to tell these five personal stories.

We are two years removed from Smile and Wave. I was wondering about the title of this EP, Bad Summer. Is that indicative of something or time period that you were going through? I hope not. 

This year has been very weird for me. A lot of transitions happened. Last year, I moved out to LA. I was kind of just sick of home. I grew up in New York and it was more than a feeling of being just sick of home. I was at a point where I felt this sense of if not now, when? I always wanted to try to move somewhere else and just be on my own to see how it would be.

So, I moved out to LA like all of us do [laughs]. I kind of hung out there and just realized like, it wasn’t really what I had expected. Or actually it was. It’s not that I was disappointed. I actually love it. I just sort of felt fulfilled was what I had set out there to experience. Then it was that spring into summer, where I decided that I was just going to move back home  That was sort of the idea of “the bad summer.” It’s not like supposed to be like a sad thing. It’s actually a good thing. I usually associate summer with a really good time and happiness. It was sort of just like a play on that and that being a transitional time.

In listening to this whole EP that it was kind of like a bad thing of like, just like tumbling, right. You released “Back To Me” in March. I feel like this song kicked off time and era of you celebrating getting back to self. You mentioned moving to LA and a lot of artists I’ve talked to who have moved there have a picture in my mind and it ends up not being totally what they expected. The song speaks to meeting somebody where they are. Away from the parties and places where people can put up a front. If you want to get away from all of that, I’ll be here. 

Yeah, that song was specifically that. It’s very descriptive in that sense. I have friends who had lived out there for years and I expected to really bond and have a good time with them. It just wasn’t the way it used to be. There was like some disappointment there, but it wasn’t enough for me to not want to be friendly or associated with them. It was just sort of like a surprise. That’s the idea of, I’m here and I’m 100% going to give all my all to a friendship or relationship with somebody if they’re willing to put in the time. The time and like the energy that I know that they’re capable of.

With “Everything That Makes Me Sad,” you spoke about the song a bit on Instagram in regards to anticipation anxiety. I can definitely resonate with what you were saying. It’s also you finding a space to exist. The video has a lot of vibrant colors and fireworks. It’s not necessarily a sad song. I took it as you finding your place in between the sadness.

It’s almost funny and I didn’t want it to sound like I was making fun of any type of mental illness or any kind of disorder because I could relate to it. There are times where and I’m sure you can actually relate where you have such anticipation anxiety about something that you literally will make up any excuse why shouldn’t go do this one thing. In my head, I’ll make up all these excuses. Or I’ll get really excited if you know something like some plan that I committed to falls though. Sometimes I’m like, “Yes!”

I’m like, “what is wrong with me?”  I can laugh about it and I can be okay with it because I’m just like, you know what, as silly as that is, it’s part of me. It’s totally about accepting that. The title alone when it first came out, even my family was like, “really, are you okay? Everything makes you sad?” I’m like just listen to the song, haha.

It’s a play on words. With a general sarcasm to it.

A play on words, but like very literally.

“Tough To Love” was one of my favorite tracks on the EP because it has a hip-hop 808’s pattern to it. It’s a different song that you would hear from Smile and Wave. You speak on love being a give-and-take. Even though you may be difficult, you still mean well and have the best intentions. Did the composition of this song come together way different than any other one you have done in the past? 

I appreciate that. Musically, it came together really naturally. This time around when I got in the studio, I had this idea in my head of what everything should sound like. That idea has been sitting in the back of my head since before we put the first EP out. Smile and Wave, I feel I want to use the word unfinished in the sense that the full idea of Sainte was not completed before the songs are written. When I was writing them, I was still very much in a weird We Are The In Crowd mindset. The decision of giving We Are The In Crowd a break was still not confirmed yet. I didn’t really know how that was going to go.

So, during that writing process, Mike, Cameron and I decided, let’s go forward with this Sainte thing. They told me they fully supported this. Let’s do this. That led to “well, we already have these songs written. Let’s at least start with something and just visually make it really different.” That’s why we did the bright colors and everything. Let’s have the visual step outside of We Are The In Crowd a little bit. It was almost not ready in that sense the idea of whatever Sainte is.

With these new songs, the idea started to come to fruition in the studio. We brought along, Micah who used to be the singer in there for tomorrow and he produced the record. He has a very R&B type style, vocally and musically. He’s very talented. He would just riff things and it was so incredibly effortless. All of us would just riff off of each other it was just like, “wow, this is really cool.” With that song, in particular, we were in one of those moods. We’re were just like, “let’s get weird and different.”  I wouldn’t call it like a funky weird song, but weird for us. And yeah, I love it. That actually might be my favorite song.

I know previously you have said “Technicolor” was your favorite song, so do we have a new champion?

“Technicolor” is definitely my favorite song off of Smile and Wave because it was the song that touched closer musically to what I’m doing now even though it’s more guitar-driven. It has those that type of vocal melody and it was the beginning of that vibe. This EP, in general, I’m way more attached to it than anything.

Yeah, I feel like even in the sense of the videos have changed. The Smile and Wave era, “Technicolor,” in particular, was very vibrant. It was abundant with yellow and very retro too.

That was completely intentional. I wasn’t going outside looking like that. You know what I mean? It was super fun and as much as I love to go outside looking like that, it wasn’t me. It was almost like, I was trying to create this other persona for Sainte. It’s not a regret or anything. It was really intentional to step outside of We Are The In Crowd because when you do a new project, people are going to obviously make assumptions and comparisons of what you did before. The only way I could really like step outside of that right off the bat was in a visual sense.

This time around, we sat down in the studio and said the point of doing this is so that people can see who I am. People already know the “pop-punk” Tay. The “We Are The In Crowd” Tay.  I live in the woods in upstate New York, but I love hanging out in L.A. and going to the city. There are all these different aspects of me that I’ve never really been able to express. This EP is really more of that story and more of a personal story.

Watching the videos for “Everything Makes Me Sad” and “Tough To Love,” there’s a lot with deeper visual meanings. One has a lot of water and blue colors. The other has a lot of reds, intentional lighting, and fireworks. This is definitely a different esthetic that you are introducing to the world. I feel as though Bad Summer is a real introduction into who Tay Jardine is and what you want Sainte to be. 

I can’t tell you how excited you like to hear that. I’ve talked to friends and anybody who’s heard the record now and everyone has that same reaction. I’m not trying to force that on anyone.  I’m genuinely like interested in what people think.  I love that the reaction is actually what I want. Sometimes, you get a reaction from the record that you’re not expecting and either way, you’re so grateful. expected. I feel like this time I’m like, “oh my gosh! Wait, did this all come across like completely the way I envisioned it?” I guess it worked out. So it’s, yeah, it’s awesome.  Even the way we’re working is very tight-knit. There’s no huge producer or video director. There are just these people who I feel are so incredibly talented and should be massive artists. They are friends at the end of the day. They were my friends, first and foremost and now we’re working together. I think that has a lot to do with that personal touch to the entire illustration.

It really feels like we’re getting to know you through these songs. I wanted to go into that with my last question is what is I would say what is the biggest lesson you’ve learned on this journey? The two songs that round out the EP are “Don’t Disappoint Me” and “Saving Up” which speaks to two different aspects about love and affection’ I love that there’s a lot of growth for you personally on this EP. 

Yeah, I was just gonna say, I think a lot of it’s explained in this EP, which is really awesome for me. I think a big thing that I learned is learned how to be more confident. I had been struggling with that a lot coming off of tour with We Are The In Crown and then flying right into this Sainte project. Just not really understanding why things are different than my previous life experiences.

I think the time that I took to finally get to this point, and as you said, it’s almost like this is the introduction. Like this is the first EP almost in my head. I don’t want to forget about Smile and Wave because I do love it. I think I really learned where I am. Once I hear the songs back, I remember where I was and why the lyrics, certain melodies, and feelings are there. Tay is still growing. I don’t know, but this is definitely a huge part of it.

I think more than anything, I learned what Sainte is. That’s so important to me because I knew that Sainte was there.  I always said that Sainte felt like a place to me. It didn’t feel like a band or any one person. It didn’t feel like a person a girl didn’t feel like a guy didn’t feel like anything. It felt like any one person. It felt like a place.