10 Questions With Jenny O.

Jenny O. thrilling the crowd at the Independent in San Francisco

Last week Jenny O. came to SF touring with Father John Misty. We reviewed that show here. I had the opportunity to ask Jenny a few questions about her upcoming debut album and whether she enjoys cake or pie. She was very candid and insightful. Here it is:

Matt De Mello: In this new digital age, where everything is seen, how important is maintaining a certain image?

Jenny O.: I’m finding it is best to maintain an image for myself, to keep aesthetic and ritual in my daily life for pleasure and growth. Whatever reflects outward and/or back inward is secondary. But I also don’t believe everything is seen- I think the digital world is curated.

Matt De Mello: Do you pay any attention to what critics say about you whether it be shows or albums?

Jenny O.: Not really. For a while it was just entertaining to see evidence that I exist, but now I don’t really care to hear other people’s thoughts about what I do.

Matt De Mello: Who is your favorite band or artist, not counting yourself, around today?

Jenny O.: I really believe in what Father John Misty is doing. We’re on tour together right now so he’s on my mind. I am grateful to dance every night.

Matt De Mello: Is it more about the lyrics or the music for you?

Jenny O.: Equally both. Used to be just the music and now it’s the whole thing.

Matt De Mello: Do you prefer pie or cake?

Jenny O.: I have a thing with apple pie.

Jenny O. at the Independent in San Francisco

Matt De Mello: You’re shipwrecked on an island, food & shelter is readily available, but you have a choice to make. Do you take television with all the channels you want or do you take an iPod with every song you want?

Jenny O.: Easy – iPod. I haven’t had TV since I was a kid. TV gives you a weird sense of reality.

Matt De Mello: There’s a huge music resurgence in LA, similar to the early ’70’s when The Flying Burrito Brothers, Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles all congregated there. What is it about Los Angeles that draws people in, aside from the weather?

Jenny O.: I don’t know, I’m there for the weather. and the rock and roll. The weather yields beautiful terrain, weird plants, free spirits, and cool architecture. It’s a very relaxed city.. A congregation of artists who say yes to pleasure. Maybe that’s the connection. Hedonism… breeds community.

Matt De Mello: Your first LP Automechanic is coming out early next year, can you give me a little insight about the album? How long did it take to make? Are you experimenting with new sounds? How many songs are going to be on it?

Jenny O.: I made this record with Jonathan Wilson. We spent about two or three weeks in the studio, recorded onto tape. There are 11 songs. It’s a pop record… with roots in rock, soul, and folk music. We did whatever we wanted, whatever the songs called for, most of it was tracked live, it was a lot of fun.

Matt De Mello: What is your relationship with technology? Are you the type of person that gets something the day it comes out?

Jenny O.: No way. My relationship with technology is strained. I don’t like my phone or laptop near me. I deny updates and things run poorly. But I use them for art and communication and I am grateful they exist. Guitar tuners don’t really work for me.

Matt De Mello: What would you like to accomplish as an artist in the future?

Jenny O.: I want to make a handful of good records that reflect a life positively lived. I hope to make lots of people dance. I take a lot of photographs, I want to be in more photographs.

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