In a time where catchy Pop songs and club inspired EDM tracks are all the rage, songstress Jennie Vee stands out with her bad ass bassist skills and her dreamy synth-rock tunes. The Canadian singer, that everyone is rightfully calling Courtney Love’s muse, is refreshing and cutting-edge (just what music needs). If the fact that Vee is Love’s muse does not make you automatically like the “Dreamtime” singer, maybe the fact that she recently shared the stage with the likes of Courtney Love and Grimes for Lana Del Rey’s Honeymoon tour can sway your opinion. Moreover, Vee has just released her debut studio album “SPYING”, which you can buy here.
We were given the amazing opportunity to do an interview with Vee and we were impressed by her down to earth mannerisms and ingenuity. It’s nice to get a rest from all of the twitter feuds and publicity stunts and simply talk to an artist who genuinely loves making music. Check out our interview with the songwriter below about her musical inspirations, traveling, and much more.
Me: How was New Orleans and Milan?
Jennie Vee: I have visited New Orleans a few times in the past on tour, but my most recent trip was the first time I have really been able to relax and explore. There is definitely a VIBE and ENERGY there like nowhere else in the world. We stayed at a lovely old hotel called The Monteleone in the French Quarter that has a rich history and a lot of amazing authors penned works there like Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Anne Rice even lived there for a spell. It also houses a bar that is actually a rotating carousel!
Milan was cool. It’s not what people typically envision when they think of Italy as its architecture is more post war-industrial than romantic Italian village. However, I caught up with all the lovely people I toured with when I was on the road with Courtney and Lana as we stayed in the same hotel and it was like a family reunion.
Me: When did you know you wanted to be a musician?
Jennie Vee: I truly knew I wanted to be a musician from my earliest memories. Music moved me more than anything as a child. There was always music in my household and I developed my own “taste” very early on, I knew what I wanted to listen to and sampled my parents record collections, but would request we add an artist or song after hearing something on the radio or on television. My first musical crushes were Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, Boy George and Buddy Holly- all amazing songwriters with strong images. I quickly moved on to new wave and brit pop and became obsessed with the Cure. I was also an introverted extrovert and though I loved to wear outlandish outfits and was like a little adult in a child’s body- I was also quite anxious and preferred small groups or to be on my own. It was when I started going to see live music when I was about 8 years old when it totally hit me that I wanted to be up there with a guitar connecting to people through MUSIC, it seemed like the only thing that made sense to me.
Me: How did you get your start in music?
Jennie Vee: I just picked up a bass when I was 16 and learned to play by ear. As I was a full-on introvert by this time, I spent A LOT of time alone in my room and my bass became my best friend, my social life and hobby all in one. I consider my “teachers” the bands I would play along to- The Cure, The Pixies, Jane’s Addiction and Hole. This was my start in music. I read every rock bio I could get my hands on and kept teaching myself to play.
Me: When was your big break?
Jennie Vee: I don’t consider anything my “big break”. I think a natural, organic progression occurs when you combine creative energy and spirit with productivity. Considering anything a “big break” almost diminishes your power as an individual. The concept of waiting around for an opportunity to land in your lap is like playing the victim and I’ve never been one to wait around. Work hard, set detailed goals for yourself and change them as you reach them. This can apply to any arena in life- sports, personal, business.
Me: How long have you been playing the guitar and can you play any other instruments?
Jennie Vee: I have been playing guitar and bass for 15 years.
Me: What would you categorize your genre as?
Jennie Vee: It has been called “melancholic dream pop” and I think that’s pretty accurate. I like to write hooks and memorable melodies, but there is always an underlying painful nostalgia in my lyrics and soundscapes.
Me: What was it like working on your EP “Die Alone”, what inspired the EP?
Jennie Vee: I work on all my music here at home in my apartment in New York. I had just been going through a period where I delved into that place I was mentioning earlier, giving away your personal power. I was looking externally for a source of happiness and feeling extremely let down by life, people, places, things. It had been awhile since I had written a song and I was working in the fashion industry and one day I just quit. I gave up everything I had worked for since moving to Manhattan and sat in my little corner where I have my studio set up and I wrote “Gone Away”. That became a flood gate and I have not stopped writing ever since. I really examined the theme of self-reliance and accountability vs. blaming others and carrying around a victim mentality on the EP.
Me: What was your favorite track to work on and why?
Jennie Vee: I can’t remember- there were a lot of tears and long hours making that EP. I can say that on my new album- I really enjoyed writing and recording the bass line on my song “Toys”.
Me: Do you have a process for putting songs together?
Jennie Vee: It sounds almost cliche and I used to cringe when performers, actors or musicians would refer to their “craft”, but I truly can relate and always have. It is a craft, and the best results occur when “the muse” is present. Nick Cave has referred to moments of creative flow and inspiration as tapping into the muse. It’s like a channel opens up and you are a mere vessel for something beyond yourself, or even a connection to your TRUE SELF where all the pure honest creative truth comes from. Therefore, songwriting is not really something I can ever force. I can decide to do it, but I can’t force the creative process, I just have to be open to it. For example, I can feel really sad and want to express that through a minor key and slower tempo, but out will come a real rocker with an uplifting chorus. This happens a lot. The muse wants balance.
Me: Are you working on / have any upcoming projects like an album?
Jennie Vee: Yes, my album “SPYING” and it comes out on October 15. I currently have a pledgemusic site where people can get involved and be a part of cool experiences like skype concerts, guitar lessons and even get a disposable camera of photos we take on the road! It’s all geared towards helping me and my band do an extensive tour into 2016 to play the new album as well as songs off my last EP. www.pledgemusic.com
Me: I understand you went on tour with Lana Del Rey and Courtney Love, what was that experience like?
Jennie Vee: It was absolutely wonderful. We played some of the most beautiful venues like Red Rocks Amphitheater and the Hollywood Bowl. What made the tour so special was the people involved- every band and crew member was lovely and we all had a great time. We really did not want it to end.
Me: Who are your inspirations? (doesn’t just have to be musicians)
I’m really inspired by my environment. I have love affairs with cities. Some people are content living in just one place, but I like to move around a lot. I tend to get bored very quickly with things like movies, television and this can happen with places I live too. I did not like the town where I grew up and I was constantly plotting my escape, so sometimes I think this is a residual effect of that yearning…that there is “something better” out there. However, I have to say that NYC has been like a rock as far as places I live- it’s pretty reliable. I do have a longing to live in Berlin or to move back to England at some point, but for now I can’t picture parting with New York. I have been extremely productive and creative here and as I know myself, that could change with a move to a different city.
Me: Where do you see yourself in a couple of years?
Jennie Vee: I don’t look that far ahead. I like to focus on what’s right in front of me and live in the moment. But I see more music, albums and travel. Those are the only constants in my life.
Me: Do you think you face any difficulties as a female rock musician?
Jennie Vee: I have always chosen not to ruminate on this to the extent that I would not like to focus on any obstacles or hurdles rather than all of the opportunities and positives. I am a MUSICIAN and songwriter, my gender is second to that. I think females in GENERAL face certain stereotypes and prejudices that are sadly not exclusive to the music industry. Again, I choose to focus on the tasks at hand and how best to handle any situation and my art first and foremost and I am a happy and fortunate PERSON to have music in my life.
Me: Who are some of your favorite modern artist and why?
Jennie Vee: I really like my fellow Canadian Grimes. I think she always remains true to herself and her music has a positive overtone and she also uses her position as a well-known artist to address and support causes close to her heart, like animal welfare and things like the waste issue in our society with packaging and over consumption. It was also through Grimes that I discovered an artist named Nicole Dollanganger, her music is so intimate and evocative- the first time I heard her, I just sat with headphones went through her entire discography.
Me: What do you like to do in your free time, are there any tv shows you like to binge watch?
Jennie Vee: I am very, very picky when it comes to any kind of television or films. On a rare evening off, I will catch up on the show “Paranormal Witness”- they really know how to parlay the story of a haunting. I watched Ex-Machina on the plane home from Milan and the blatant misogyny in that film had me sick to my stomach and then watched a good old Lynch classic- Eraserhead- to cleanse my cinematic palette.
Check out her upcoming shows below! and don’t forget to buy “SPYING”