Interview with JESSIE EVANS
Jesse Evans first won us over in the Subtonix. Then she killed us with the Vanishing. Now she is an international star who performs under her own name and whiles away her free time between Pacific Castles and European underground futuredromes.
One of her jobs is as our location scout (pro bono.) First she moved to the arctic Germany to wrangle caribou.
Then she moved to parts of Mexico where space defers to time in a dramatic blitz.
Anyhow, our interview begins NOW with our characteristically hard-hitting questions.
Sunday afternoon, outside its like Antartica, inside my Egyptian palace reading, writing, making some noise.
Where are you from:
Where are you now:
How long have you been at it:
Depends on what you mean by it
If you mean life, I have no idea. feels like forever and like it just started at the same time.
If you mean whatever it is that I feel like I have a calling to do in this life, then maybe about 10 years
What got you started:
I was 17 and living in a squat in Amsterdam called the Fox Hotel. I had been there about three months. One night me and my friend Esty got extremely drunk and were making our way back to the house through the streets, on a total rampage, screaming and howling and wrecking things like insane people. Everywhere there are bicycles, like a species of creatures, locked to themselves, and just available, so at a certain moment we turned against the bicycles and began throwing them into the canal, like possessed miniature King Kong’s. I think we threw about 10 in before a small crowd of people surrounded us to stop us from the madness. We somehow got away before the police arrived, and started a band that night, with our roommate playing drums, and the two of us singing. I think it was in that moment that I realized it I really wanted to be in a band.
What else do you do:
I read, eat, sleep, travel, design my costumes, film and edit little movies, have a record label, take pictures, dance, go swimming
How do you keep it together:
I don’t know if I have it together.
For me its really about having a good balance between self discipline and hedonism. I have to stay focused or I get easily off track. I’ve been taking dance classes this winter, African and Latin Jazz its been good to get in my body.
What are you reading:
The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano
What comedy and/or comedians are you into:
Charlie Chaplin, Raj Kapoor, Roberto Benini
What are you listening to, lately:
Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Alice Coltrane, Mina, Betty Davis, Arts of Life band
What art, if any, you seen worth talking about:
a collective that sells the paintings made by elephants to promote awareness and raise money for the Asian elephants. Actually it’s pretty fucked up that elephants are being incorporated into the capitalist system, but what interests me is how they paint. Especially when they paint together, its really amazing. Its so interesting that they are open to trying something new, like painting, which isn’t really in their nature, but are enjoying it and growing into it. It sort of makes humans look really retarded, like what how often is it that elephants capture a person and teach them the ropes of their society and the person gets along? We only have “the jungle book ‘ story…I was also checking out the Thai Elephant Orchestra.. really amazing music. Its like Asian Blues, Their songs are like songs on the slave plantation but with this very oriental feeling.
My friend Angela Sue has been making portraits of dead people for the past year. She goes to the graveyard and makes grave rubbings with charcoal of the ones down under, using only what is available on the tombstone (letters, design etc) to make their portrait. It seems to be a very deep psychic experience, and possibly both very healing for her and the (what would you call them, models? Patients? ) as they need someone to talk to or be interested in them too. They are really spooky and interesting these portraits, !! you can feel a lot of the personality of the individual, some kind of uptight, creepy, others just mad.
Worked any fucked-up jobs? Do tell:
When I was sixteen I worked for awhile as a waitress in Dublin, Ireland at this restaurant which was sort of a rich art student hangout. My shift was from 6 pm til 6 am with no break and no free food. 2 pounds an hour with no tips wage. It was a nightmare as the people just got shit-faced and would be cram-packed in their, blowing cigars into your face like you were a slave, and ordering you around. It was just awful, and I took to drinking whiskey with my coffee before work just so I could make it through.
I think any job which forces a person to be doing something that isn’t what they want to be doing, isn’t what’s in their heart, is really fucked up. I’ve more awful jobs than I can remember, and been fired from nearly every single one of them, because my mind was always wandering, I was writing lyrics on slips of napkins when I should have been kissing ass to the customers or to some cokehead boss.
Played any fucked-up shows:
We played a funny show the other day in Faenza, Italy. We played in the window of a preppy men’s clothing store. It was very surreal, like a Fellini film.. The people were outside, and we were in there behind the glass. It was nighttime and the florescent lights were on inside the shop, so I couldn’t really see the faces, just a reflection of myself! It was absurd, and really magnified the aquard feeling of being on stage, the metaphor of the distance between us and the audience was just amplified by this glass window ! At a certain moment I had a very beautiful psychedelic moment, I was playing saxophone in this long jam and I looked up and saw the moonfaced shape of a girls head, in my heart, for a minute I thought it was a hallucination, but she was there, this little girl, standing there just looking at me with her innocence. I went outside and was dancing with them. Italian mamas and grandmas and little kids, in the street, ladies looking out their windows, and the church bells ringing. It was wild.
With whom, if anyone, do you roll: Toby Dammit, Namosh, The Extra Action Marching Band, my old bandmates from Subtonix and The Vanishing, my little bro Otto Nervous, my sisters
Where are you headed:
to the sun!! somewhere warm!! Into the fire!!
Where is the rest of it headed:
Um…, things don’t look so good at the moment, as it seems pretty certain that the Earth has been hijacked by a bunch of greedy and boring PIGS, but we need to look these ones in the eye tell them no we don’t’ go along with it, we’ve had enough. I think there’s always gonna be the same mistakes happening and history repeating itself, cos its happened enough times to see that’s clear its really funny and awful and tragic, but I do believe in love and magic and revolution. I just think we need to make some major changes and I don’t mean the kind that Obama is talking about!
What can you do about it:
Everybody has to accept responsibility for what’s going on. We are all here together, No one person can be held responsible or at the same time, put on a pedestal as a savior. I just think we all need to come together and be open to working together. I don’t mean dropping our individual goals or dreams, ‘cos that’s not gonna help, the ones who are driven and have the guts and fire to sacrifice themselves have always been crucial. I just think the days of politicians and what they represent are numbered. Just because their system has become so massively accepted as legitimate doesn’t make it necessary. I’m so sick of money ! and im sick of the mainstream media. I don’t want to plug into that kind of consciousness, I don’t want to be told whats important and what to pay attention to!
I think its time to -we’ve got to reinvent our rites, create new forms of worship, bring things back to the basics. At the same time use technology to liberate even further…
I do also feel that as musicians and artists we need to lose our egos a bit and work together, its so easy to get caught up in your own path, but we’re stuck together in a giant web.
What do you guys think ??
Are there any people you’d like to mention who’ve helped you work it out: Toby Dammit, everybody in my family (blood and un-blood), my managers, Tony Allen, Grace Jones
People to look for: Warrior Queen, Namosh, Afrodita, Sonido Desconocido, Jessie Bulbo, Ebony Bones
People to look out for, because they are bad news: THE FOLD (LA)
Anything you have in the works, on the ready, or on the horizon:
Working on a new album. Perhaps later this year 7’ collaboration with Extra Action Marching Band. More touring, travels, videos, curating a festival of Mexican bands in Berlin for the Bicentenario 2010
dancing in the streets!!
Anything else you want to pass on:
Heres my websites for now:::