Interview with Tomato Flower

By DJ Iridescence
Cover Photo by Marie Mechin

As I’ve mentioned on my show, the dream of my early years was to have a radio show.

…the dream of my middle years was to interview bands about their music.

Thanks (AGAIN!) to Freeform, this beautiful creative container of growth and community, I got to fulfill another dream on August 11, 2022, the night of the Aquarius Full Moon. It was our fourth supermoon in a row, and other cosmic energy was at play (if you know, then you know) on a day//night that marked a collective pivot point in our individual destinies. I’m going to relive the buildup to and pleasure of that night, so come along with me……

Tomato Flower is touring in support of Animal Collective, celebrating the 8/5/22 release of their EP Construction. Tomato Flower also released another EP earlier this year, Gold Arc. As an artist, knowing from experience inspired creation takes a balance of work and ease, I consider that a prolific output! My interest piqued, I seized the opportunity, volunteering to talk with this group of strangers, and was guided through by Freeform Portland station member disco diablo.

In preparation to interview them I spent some time with the presskit they sent to the station (thanks Jake Saunders @ Ramp Global), and did some virtual research to get a sense for who I would be talking to.

I came to the show feeling the intensity of watery cells in my body expanding, thanks to the moon and practiced awareness of nature’s lunar and seasonal cycles. The people near me were asking people if they had ever eaten tomato flowers and talking about how they taste.

From the jump-to of when their set started, Tomato Flower coaxed me into and through the feeling of flow, riding along with what felt like a vessel of well-cared for collaborative love. They were fantastic openers for the Animal Collective show to follow. Taking my time, embraced in Tomato Flower’s softness, I felt my mind and heart open and connect. The minor annoyances (which can feel like major annoyances in pre- and moreso, post- pandemi times) of being in close proximity to a large room filled to capacity with humans melted away. I became completely focused on where their creative output met my senses.

Once the entire venue had cleared out, I was able to conduct my first-ever band interview to the symphony of the show being broken down. The audio of that interview can be heard on Zozimos, airing at NOON Thursday 8/18, and afterwards on my mixcloud on the 10th episode of Zozimos, called COLLABORATE. 

What follows is a loose transcript of the interview plus some interaction with Tomato Flower’s responses I would have liked to make room for in the moment if time (and my time slot) were more elastic. Of course, I could have edited them in, but then what would motivate me to write this post? ; ) 

DJ Iridescence (I),
Austyn Wohlers (A),
Jamison Murphy (J),
Mike Alfieri (M),
Ruby Mars (R)

I: How does it feel to be on the road so far?
J: Feels amazing to be in new places, new audiences, on a larger scale, tremendously exciting
A: Truly unfathomable scales

I: Have you been to Portland before?
A: Not as a band.
R: I’ve never been to Portland but at the store today someone said they’d served me before

I: We are in a portal time, who knows?
A: Absolutely

I: What life experiences have helped you hone your voice individually or as a band?
?: That’s a toughie.
J: Tautologically, playing music my whole life, playing and trying to write songs when I was nine, I wouldn’t be doing it now. It sounds circular, the thing that informs the music is playing music, it’s been a lifelong practice. I think it’s like this for all of us, it’s a deep practice that’s been going on as long as we can remember.

I: So you’re lifelong friends who have also been playing music together for…
J: I mean the practice of making art in some capacity has been with each of us…

I: Right
M: We’re lifelong musicians
J: Yeah
M: To add to that, being part of different music scenes and living in different cities for substantial parts of time and participating in those communities is really informing what we’re doing now. So like, living in New York, living in Atlanta, now being in Baltimore, that’s all our experience that we’re bringing to the music we’re making.

I: So you’re not from Baltimore, you came together there?
A: Yeah. Yes, Mike! Yes, Jamison! The practices we maintain, the company we keep, how we relate with our environment, we bring all of this to our creative process! I feel that’s true for any artist. I love how well you all articulated the ways you embody your life experience and fold it, together and apart, into the music you make as a group. I feel that awareness in how your music resonates deeply, beyond words.

I: At the show, during your set, I experienced a heart and mind activation, plus dance vibes, then your (Austyn’s) guttural emotion, which was so intense. First of all, well done, across the board!
A: Thank you

I: What organ do you each feel you write or perform from?
M: In my bones, I perform with my hands and feet, all the music is coming from my bones
A: For me, the songwriting process feels very cerebral, it’s much less bodily for me than maybe other musicians. I tend to be thinking about what I want to make before I sit down and play, it doesn’t happen organically. Performing, I’m thinking a lot about breath and diaphragm especially. Focusing too much on the keyboard or guitar parts can be a catch 22 but I feel like I’m always very conscious of trying to stay full of air.

J: I would also say the lungs. I really value the [quick suck in of air], teetering feeling, a vertigo gasp feeling, and that feels like a breath related thing, some of it comes out of that.

I: Your goal is to get to that vertigo-type feeling of being at the edge?
J: When it’s best it’s like that, or when composing, when it’s truly from outside, or something I can’t fathom it’s [quick suck in of air], it’s a quick zoom out, you know?

I: Yeah, like you’re out-of-body for a moment, coming in and out?
J: Little bit, yeah

R: Thinking about it, the eyes and solar plexus

With these parts combined, you all make a functional body!

I: How do you get in//experience flow. To me, it felt like y’all were really riding it together during the show, how do you do that, especially together?

R: To me, it’s listening as hard as possible, that’s the number one key, is I can access that if I’m truly actually listening with all my mind.
A: I think also reacting to the energy of the rest of the bandmates. There’s something to be said for playing wrong notes, right, but in terms of the actual energy of the set, I don’t think there’s a wrong way to do it, as long as we’re either in agreement with each other or in productive tension with each other. So we can play a sleepy set and as long as that developed in an interesting way in a live setting, that doesn’t necessarily make it a worse set than a very energetic set.
M: Yeah, listening is supreme.

I: How do you distinguish productive tension from unproductive tension?
R: One feels good
(All agree, laugh)

I: How have you surprised yourselves?
J: Anytime I write a song, if it’s good I have surprised myself. It is in some way, not something I could have thought through, and so the surprise is the thing that makes it worth keeping, versus not. Surprise–surprising myself is an essential part of any worthwhile creative thing I want to keep.
R: Really, just what Jamison said.
A: I am surprised that I’m getting up in front of all these people, I don’t feel like a natural performer in my heart. I’m very shy. I thought I was going to be vomiting in front of thousands of people, and instead I’m playing songs which is cool and surprising.

I: Ruby, what is it like to join an existing collaboration?
R: Completely natural, because Jamison and Austyn and I have been playing music together for a long time. It’s a rejoining for me to be on this project, so it feels like getting in bathwater (laughs).

I: I noticed in the press material across multiple platforms that you center collaboration as part of your band identity. All bands are a collaboration but not all bands put it so forward. How did you learn or choose to center collaboration as part of your identity as a band?
J: For me, I always want the content of the music to lead first, the actual stuff of the songs, and that necessarily also means decentering the self a little bit. So, collaboration is almost a shorthand for saying it’s not any individual person, it’s not an image of a person. It’s this specific unit of people, right here, right now, doing this particular thing. And then to say collaboration, so pay attention to that thing. It’s not about a speaker or a personality, it’s about the stuff we have collaboratively made. It’s also literally true that songs get put together from disparate parts of different things we all come in with. So it’s also honestly how it works, it is quite collaborative, even when someone comes through with most of a song.

I: What practices help make sure that everyone has a voice?
J: Just trying to make it as good as possible. Naturally, other peoples’ ears allow that to happen. Other people can hear your own stuff better than you can most of the time.
I: Yes, I hear that.

In preparing for the interview, I noticed how consistently Tomato Flower presents as a cohesive unit. I appreciate how comprehensively Jamison explored the conscious intention in space and time to be in collaboration, how that intention can be represented and influenced by the representative appearance, as both part of and distinct from the actual dynamic of collaborating. While speaking about what works for Tomato Flower, the band members were tapping on so many important truths about how every facet of creating work together is dependent on the setting and intention, and the importance of recognizing the quality of the tension as it comes up.

I: How do you navigate the stickiness when tension starts to push into unproductive, how do you catch it from going over the edge?
A: Take five (laughs)
R: Yeah (laughs)
M: Take a little break
J: Let a song sit for a month
A: There’s one song, for instance, we’ve been in the shop on the bridge on, so we’ll bring it up and if it isn’t feeling right we put it back down again. We don’t really ever force it when it’s feeling bad, but we’ll let it rest.

I: I got very new world collective empowerment vibes from your lyrics and especially from the sound, and it feels very fortuitous to be interviewing you on the full Aquarius moon. I don’t know if any of you feel in tune with the moon, but how does it feel to channel that energy, can you feel it?
R: I feel pretty in tune with the moon
(everyone laughs)
R: My granddad was like this too, whenever it was a full moon, he would get really keyed up, and anxious and tense, and that definitely happens to me. So, that happens today, because it’s the full moon
(everyone laughs)
I: You feel anxious and tense? Or you flow through that?
R: I feel like a certain heightening of cells.

Tomato Flower was in for my request they say the station’s legal ID, which I remember hearing bands do and loving to hear how they did it. Tomato Flower chose una voce style, meaning in one voice, how angels speak.

I: Is there anything else you want to say?
J: We’re having a great deal of fun and thank you very much for interviewing us and giving us interesting questions. Which is really appreciated and it’s really fun to talk it through.

 I: Yeah! Thank you!

Tomato Flower, thank you for opening your sweet, delicate blossomy underbelly to my inquiry about the mechanics of your magic and talking it through. Thank you for being present for my questions as a group, after a day of traveling and performing, and answering with such earnestness. Thank you for previously sharing this playlist with the world for me to find and listen through and get to know you. I was pleased to feel resonance in several tracks which I featured throughout the show COLLABORATE.

This interview was truly a collaboration, as was the radio show I put together. Have a listen to the conversation in the next installation of Zozimos airing at noon this Thursday, August 18, 2022 at freeformportland.org/listen, or afterwards on my Mixcloud. Check out Tomato Flower on their bandcamp, insta, or twitter.


Station Top 30 – Week of 8/15/2022

1. Dreckig – Digital Exposure (Broken Clover)
2. Röyksopp – Profound Mysteries (Dog Triumph/PIAS) 
3. Lava La Rue – Hi-Fidelity (Marathon Artists)
4. Sessa – Estrela Acesa (Mexican Summer)
5. Metric – Formentera (Thirty Tigers) 
6. Wombo – Fairy Rust (Fire Talk)
7. Art d’Ecco – After the Head Rush (Paper Bag)
8. 700 Bliss – Nothing To Declare (Hyperdub) 
9. Viagra Boys – Cave World (Year 0001)
10. Tonstartssbandht – An When (Fire Talk)
11. Sound of Ceres – Emerald Sea (Joyful Noise)
12. Hercules & Love Affair – In Amber (BMG)
13. Jaguar Jonze – BUNNY MODE (Nettwerk)
14. Longboat – The Cold War 1 (AchduliebeZeit!)
15. Belief – S/T (Lex)
16. Interpol – The Other Side of Make Believe (Matador)
17. The Dream Syndicate – Ultraviolet Battle Hymns and True Confessions (Fire)
18. Gymnasium – Hansen’s Pop ‘n’ Rock ’22 (Red on Red)
19. Steve Lacy – Gemini Rights (RCA)
20. STRABE – JUVENOIA (PIAS)
21. The Range – Mercury (Domino)
22. Obongjayar – Some Nights I Dream of Doors (September)
23. Body Void – Burn The Homes Of Those Who Seek To Control Our Bodies (s/r)
24. The Sons of Adam – Saturday’s Sons: The Complete Recordings 1964-1966 (High Moon)
25. Horsegirl – Versions of Modern Performance (Matador)
26. The Wheel Workers – Harbor (Sinkhole Texas)
27. Bastien Keb – Organ Recital (Gearbox)
28. Kokoroko – Could We Be More (Brownswood)
29. Superorganism – World Wide Pop (Domino) 
30. Orbital – 30 Something (London)

Station Top 30 – Week of 8/8/2022

1. Horsegirl – Versions of Modern Performance (Matador)
2. Fashion Club – Scrutiny (felte)
3. Steve Lacy – Gemini Rights (RCA)
4. STRABE – JUVENOIA (PIAS)
5. Shamir – Heterosexuality (Antifragile)
6. Denzel Curry – Melt My Eyez See Your Future (Loma Vista)
7. The Sons of Adam – Saturday’s Sons: The Complete Recordings 1964-1966 (High Moon)
8. Kuedo – Infinite Window (Brainfeeder)
9. Sessa – Estrela Acesa (Mexican Summer)
10. Moonchild Sanelly – Phases (Transgressive)
11. Ben Shemie – Desiderata (Joyful Noise)
12. Metric – Formentera (Thirty Tigers) 
13. High Castle Teleorkestra – The Egg That Never Opened (Art As Catharsis)
14. V/A – Visions of Darkness in Iranian Contemporary Music Vol. II (Unexplained Sounds)
15. Obongjayar – Some Nights I Dream of Doors (September)
16. Superorganism – World Wide Pop (Domino)
17. Automatic – Excess (Stones Throw)
18. Petrol Girls – Baby (Hassle)
19. black midi – Hellfire (Rough Trade)
20. Saatjak – For the Makers (American Dreams) 
21. Röyksopp – Profound Mysteries (Dog Triumph/PIAS)
22. 700 Bliss – Nothing To Declare (Hyperdub) 
23. Working Men’s Club – Fear Fear (Heavenly/PIAS)
24. Steve Roach – What Remains (Projekt)
25. Paris Combo – Quesaco? + Remixes (Six Degrees)
26. Pizza! – We Come From The Swamp (Tenth Anniversary Edition) (Vanity Projects)
27. Ebi Soda ft. Yazz Ahmed – Honk If You’re Sad (Tru Thoughts)
28. The Wheel Workers – Harbor (Sinkhole Texas)
29. Gallegos – Sycophantic Manic EP (Curving Track)
30. Viagra Boys – Cave World (Year 0001)

Interview with Papi Fimbres of Dreckig

Interview by Erich Zann

The Portland husband-and-wife team of Papi Fimbres and Shana Linbeck filter the Latin dance rhythms of cumbia through the lens of krautrock and electronic club music into the mesmerizingly fun madness of Dreckig. Their third album “Digital Exposure” will be released by Broken Clover Records on Friday, August 12th, and the record release show on Saturday, August 13th at Doug Fir is guaranteed to be a banger. Fountaine, Methods Body, and DJ Velvet Ginger will open.

I had the opportunity to send Papi a few questions over email and here’s what he had to say!


Tell me about the original formation of Dreckig. Had you and Shana made music together before? What influences fed into what would become the “krautrock cumbia” sound of Dreckig?

So, the original formation of Dreckig came to be after Shana & I playing in Orquestra Pacifico Tropical for such a long time, wanted to honor & recognize both our cultures in a different setting, musically speaking. We absolutely love German electronic music & Cumbia & wanted to mix them together in a hybrid of sounds. At that time, I was still doing my solo endeavor, paper/upper/cuts, which involves a lot of electronic & jazz aspects but I never really liked playing solo. There’s something to be said when you play with someone on stage & feel the push & pull of the energy that is being created in front of an audience.

How would you compare the audience reactions and general vibe between your first shows in Leipzig, what you encountered on your return to Portland, and what you see now?

Our very first set was literally just down the street from where we lived in Leipzig. We schlepped all our gear on foot over there, which I’m sure was a hilarious sight. I feel those first few years of performing were very different from who & what we are now. This is our third album & first on vinyl, shout out to Broken Clover Records out of San Francisco for believing in us & collaborating with us on this one. The sound has truly matured & has found its vibe.

How has your writing/recording process evolved from the early days and the first CDR to the new LP? Was there pressure to “go big” for your first vinyl release or was this business as “usual”?

The writing process is really still the same, but we have now gotten better at what we want & how to cull that sound that we strive for. We always collaborate with our homie Johann Wagner, who has a beautiful recording studio (Pinewave Studios) out in Beaver Creek, in the woods. The foundation of the songs are drum machines & we use amazing original & rare Roland 808, 909, 707, DMX drum machines & a modded 303 thru modular synths. This process can take a hot minute to perfect, especially when I write African rhythms &/or odd time Kraut beats because we have to program these weird rhythms into these classic drum machines that are mainly meant to play 4/4 rhythms, ha.

Will Dreckig be touring outside the Pacific Northwest for the new record? Have you been getting more attention in the greater electro/weird cumbia/latinx scene worldwide as time passes?

Shana & I are absolutely ready to tour the world on this shit! I feel that because our music is so specific, it took a minute for people to vibe & understand it. In fact, we just played Pickathon & was so well received from new fans, that I started crying from being so damn happy & honored that they vibed with us (I’m sure the mushrooms helped me feel EXTRA too, ha.)


Listen to Dreckig

Hear an episode of “The Great Pain of Space” built around ”Digital Exposure”

Songs You Should Know – New Age

Curated by Joshua Justice

If you’ve listened to my show, Static + Distance, then you may find some of these selections a bit odd. I generally play a lot of folk, soul, jazz… that sorta thing. However, lately I’ve been finding a lot of refuge in new age music and incorporating more ambient music and field recordings into the show. For this edition of “Songs You Should Know” I decided to make a playlist of my favorite tracks from the genre.

The allure of wave sounds and synthesizer bliss aside, the artwork on some of these albums is worth the price of admission all on it’s own. I recommend you listen to this on headphones on a breezy summer day or while lying in your bed with your cat for maximum effect. I also suggest you check out the full albums if you enjoy the songs you hear in this playlist. Many of the albums are designed as a cohesive listen, but, well… it’s songs you should know, not albums you should know.

TRACKLIST:

Robert Martin – “Great Peace by the Lake”

David Casper – “Crystal Waves I”

Joanna Brouk – Golden Cloud Layers”

Constance Demby – “The Dawning”

Barry Cleveland – “Stones of Precious Water”

Aziz & Friends – “Wave 4”

Georgia Kelly – “Nilapadma”

Upper Astral – “Crystal Cave (Back To Atlantis)”

Gabriel Lee – Heavenly Moon*

*I couldn’t find individual tracks for this one, so enjoy the whole Heavenly Moon album!

Station Top 30 – Week of 8/1/2022

1. Saatjak – For the Makers (American Dreams)
2. Automatic – Excess (Stones Throw)
3. Petrol Girls – Baby (Hassle)
4. Superorganism – World Wide Pop (Domino)
5. Working Men’s Club – Fear Fear (Heavenly/PIAS)
6. black midi – Hellfire (Rough Trade)
7. Horsegirl – Versions of Modern Performance (Matador)
8. Pizza! – We Come From The Swamp (Tenth Anniversary Edition) (Vanity Projects)
9. Obongjayar – Some Nights I Dream of Doors (September) 
10. Matmos – Regards/Ukłony dla Bogusław Schaeffer (Thrill Jockey) 
11. Stephen Mallinder – tick tick tick (Dais)
12. POLIÇA – Madness (Memphis Industries)
13. Zola Jesus – Arkhon (Sacred Bones) 
14. TV Priest – My Other People (Sub Pop) 
15. Naima Bock – Giant Palm (Sub Pop) 
16. Ebi Soda ft. Yazz Ahmed – Honk If You’re Sad (Tru Thoughts)
17. V/A – Visions of Darkness in Iranian Contemporary Music Vol. II (Unexplained Sounds)
18. Soccer Mommy – Sometimes, Forever (Loma Vista)
19. Only Child Tyrant – Time to Run (NOMARK)  
20. Viagra Boys – Cave World (Year 0001)
21. BKO – Djine Bora (Bongo Joe)  
22. Moor Mother – Jazz Codes (Anti-)
23. HAAi – Baby, We’re Ascending (Mute) 
24. Tasos Stamou – Balkan Express (Akuphone) 
25. Zemi17 – Gamelatron Bidadari (The Bunker New York)
26. Executioner’s Mask – Winterlong (Profound Lore)
27. Kamyar Arsani – Bird, and the Cage (FPE) 
28. Pool Kids – S/T (Skeletal Lightning)
29. TÉNÈBRE – Terraform (YUKU) 
30. Ibeyi – Spell 31 (XL) 

Station Top 30 – Week of 7/25/2022

1. black midi – Hellfire (Rough Trade)
2. Horsegirl – Versions of Modern Performance (Matador)
3. Superorganism – World Wide Pop (Domino) 
4. POLIÇA – Madness (Memphis Industries)
5. Petrol Girls – Baby (Hassle)
6. Steve Lacy – Gemini Rights (RCA) 
7. Viagra Boys – Cave World (Year 0001)
8. Only Child Tyrant – Time to Run (NOMARK)
9. Ural Thomas & The Pain – Dancing Dimensions (Bella Union/PIAS)
10. Uffie – Sunshine Factory (Carpark)
11. Saatjak – For the Makers (American Dreams)
12. Matmos – Regards/Ukłony dla Bogusław Schaeffer (Thrill Jockey)
13. Obongjayar – Some Nights I Dream of Doors (September)
14. Kamyar Arsani – Bird, and the Cage (FPE)
15. Stephen Mallinder – tick tick tick (Dais) 
16. Moor Mother – Jazz Codes (Anti-) 
17. BKO – Djine Bora (Bongo Joe)
18. Zola Jesus – Arkhon (Sacred Bones)
19. Paris Combo – Quesaco? + Remixes (Six Degrees)
20. Nicola Cruz – Self Oscillation (Rhythm Section International)
21. Party Dozen – The Real Work (Temporary Residence) 
22. TV Priest – My Other People (Sub Pop)
23. SUSS – Heat Haze (Northern Spy)
24. Yin Yin – The Age of Aquarius (Glitterbeat)
25. Abronia – Map of Dawn (Cardinal Fuzz/Feeding Tube)
26. Imperial Triumphant – Spirit Of Ecstasy (Century)
27. Naima Bock – Giant Palm (Sub Pop)
28. Ibeyi – Spell 31 (XL)
29. Metric – Formentera (Thirty Tigers)
30. The Clay People – Cult Hypnotica (Overit)

Station Top 30 – Week of 7/18/2022

1. Yin Yin – The Age of Aquarius (Glitterbeat)
2. Moor Mother – Jazz Codes (Anti-)
3. Naima Bock – Giant Palm (Sub Pop)
4. Horsegirl – Versions of Modern Performance (Matador)
5. Party Dozen – The Real Work (Temporary Residence)
6. Saatjak – For the Makers (American Dreams)
7. Ibibio Sound Machine – Electricity (Merge)
8. Zola Jesus – Arkhon (Sacred Bones)
9. Toro y Moi – MAHAL (Dead Oceans)
10. Warpaint – Radiate Like This (Virgin)
11. Wu-Lu – LOGGERHEAD (Warp)
12. Salamanda – ashbalkum (Human Pitch)
13. Perfume Genius – Ugly Season (Matador)
14. Midan & AHNAMUSICA – New Beginnings (Cold Busted)
15. Gwenno – Tresor (Heavenly/PIAS)
16. Punku – S/T (Six Degrees)
17. Time Wharp – Spiro World (Leaving)
18. Sessa – Estrela Acesa (Mexican Summer)
19. Lloyd Miller – Orientations (FOUNTAINavm)
20. TV Priest – My Other People (Sub Pop) 
21. The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Fire Doesn’t Grow on Trees (‘a’)
22. Obongjayar – Some Nights I Dream of Doors (September)
23. 700 Bliss – Nothing To Declare (Hyperdub)
24. Quelle Chris – Deathfame (Mello)
25. Sol Viator – S/T (Ramble)
26. Field Glass – Kin (Happy Robots)
27. Ben Shemie – Desiderata (Joyful Noise)
28. The Clay People – Cult Hypnotica (Overit)
29. Pigeon Pit – Feather River Canyon Blues (Ernest Jenning)
30. Nancy Mounir – Nozhet El Nofous (Simsara)

Station Top 30 – Week of 7/11/2022

1. Zola Jesus – Arkhon (Sacred Bones)
2. Horsegirl – Versions of Modern Performance (Matador)
3. The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Fire Doesn’t Grow on Trees (‘a’)
4. Punku – S/T (Six Degrees)
5. Belle and Sebastian – A Bit of Previous (Matador)
6. Adrian Quesada – Boleros Psicodélicos (ATO)
7. Shilpa Ray – Portrait of a Lady (Northern Spy)
8. Automatic – Excess (Stones Throw)
9. Los Bitchos – Let the Festivities Begin! (City Slang)
10. Yin Yin – The Age of Aquarius (Glitterbeat)
11. Obongjayar – Some Nights I Dream of Doors (September)
12. Chouk Bwa & The Ångströmers – Ayiti Kongo Dub #1 (Bongo Joe)
13. Ibibio Sound Machine – Electricity (Merge)
14. Perfume Genius – Ugly Season (Matador)
15. Aldous Harding – Warm Chris (4AD)
16. High Castle Teleorkestra – The Egg That Never Opened (Art As Catharsis)
17. Hercules & Love Affair – In Amber (BMG)
18. Confidence Man – TILT (Heavenly)
19. BODEGA – Broken Equipment (What’s Your Rupture?)
20. Pigeon Pit – Feather River Canyon Blues (Ernest Jenning)
21. Crystal Eyes – The Sweetness Restored (Bobo Integral)
22. Fontaines DC – Skinty Fia (Partisan)
23. QUINQUIS – SEIM (Mute)
24. Golden Feelings – S/T (Impermanent)
25. Linqua Franqa – Bellringer (Ernest Jenning)
26. Erica Dawn Lyle & Vice Cooler – Land Trust: Benefit For North East Farmers Of Color (s/r)
27. Andrew Bird – Inside Problems (Loma Vista / Concord)
28. Zeal & Ardor – S/T (MVKA)
29. Closet Yi – Simmer (Hotflush)
30. Liang YiYuan – Those That Die In A Dream. A twenty years retrospective (Unexplained Sounds)

Catching Up with Jessica Boudreaux on Music, Life, and T-Swift

Photo of Jessica Boudreaux – person seated on the floor with arm resting on amplifier and posed next to a disco ball on the floor.

About a week before Jessica Boudreaux’s new EP, I Think My Heart Loves to Break, was released, I was able to catch up with Jessica through the magic of Zoom. 

In addition to her solo releases, Jessica is also in one of my favorite local bands, Summer Cannibals. During our chat, we talked about the process of creating the new EP, her recent SPIN article on why she may never return to touring following her cancer diagnosis, Taylor Swift, and the music she’s loving at the moment.

“I was making an album and was kind of getting to this point with the songs where I was getting to the point with the songs that if I continue with this play to put this out as an album, I’m never going to,” she said. “I was never feeling finished, so I decided to break it into multiple EPs.”

Jessica spent the past two years writing a lot and then spending time in her home studio “trying things, deleting things, and trying things again,” as she puts it. 

While creating new music, Jessica also collaborated with Stevie from Adult Mom to release a cover of Taylor Swift’s “Cruel Summer” in early June. “That song in particular, I just love the chorus and the bridge,” she said, and added that she wanted to do something upbeat and fun. “That song is kind of cathartic and I find that song has that feeling … it has little shouty bridges and I just think it’s such a catchy song.” While Jessica didn’t get into T-Swift until later, she is now a big fan.

Just as COVID-19 was shutting down virtually every venue in a matter of weeks in mid-March 2020, Summer Cannibals were about to hit the road to tour. The forced end of the tour plans ended up being a relief in a way. “In the group, where all of us were feeling really drained … and you kind of feel like you can’t stop like this,” she said. “I think everyone felt really burned out. The year before we had over 200 days out of the year and we wouldn’t have stopped because we just kept getting support slots.”

And then, in October 2020, Jessica discovered a lump in her breast, and after three biopsies, was diagnosed with breast cancer. (Thankfully, she’s completed chemo and is doing well.)

Jessica began writing about her cancer and facing death in a way she’d never thought about as part of creating music for a new Summer Cannibals album. “There’s so much comfort and safety being able to do that with this group instead of all alone,” she said. 

While touring isn’t in the cards in the near future, Summer Cannibals are doing a one-off show at Mississippi Studios in September 2022. “As a performer, I seem to make more of an impact live, which is too bad that I don’t want to tour anymore,” she said. But, that isn’t stopping the music – Jessica mentioned the band is planning to record new music over the winter.

Jessica’s new EP, I Think My Heart Loves to Break, is out now on Bandcamp and available on streaming services. Follow her on Instagram. You can also check out Summer Cannibals on Bandcamp or at your favorite independent record store!

Want to listen to the full interview with Jessica Boudreaux? Check it out on Mixcloud.

Random Citizen