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Jess Mills Interview

Jess Mills talks to us about her new single, the task of playing live, and how the aesthetic of the music video is important in this day and age.

PN: Was the video for Live For What I Die For fun to make?

JM: Yes, it was shot with this guy called Chino Moya who is a really exciting director who does quite a lot of conceptual videos. I wanted to do something which had quite a surreal, more abstract feel. With videos, as a foresight, you’re trying to create a body of work, so that in a year’s time when you look at all of them together, they’ll all speak a different story.

PN: So do you think the videos go hand in hand with the music?

JM: I think they are really important in defining what your vision and conceptions and aesthetics are. I think refining an aesthetic can be really important in reinforcing the feel, and sound of the music. So yes, having an aesthetic is really important as if you get it right and it has the right affinity into music then it serves to reinforce the music further. For a lot of people, they discover music through looking at the music video, and so it’s important that you respect the medium and put as much into it as you can. I was really lucky and worked with a creative team of Chino Moya, and Aldene Johnson, who’s my stylist and Georgia Hardinge who did all the costumes on the video.
PN: How was Breakage to work with?

JM: Yeah he’s amazing; he’s a good friend of mine as well. The work we did together, especially in the first five or six months really helped, as it inspired the sound for the whole record. At this point, we’re still writing together. He’s also collaborating with other producers that I’m working with, so it’s quite a collaborative process at this point- it’s nice pulling everyone together.

PN: Did you like working with someone who had a different ‘sound’ to you?

JM: What’s interesting about Breakage is that people know him first and foremost for the work he’s done in dub step and drum and bass, yet he’s got such massively eclectic range of musical reference points. When we worked together, it wasn’t necessarily about drawing on the obvious inspirations. We went back to the core music we have both loved all of our lives.

PN: What music was that?

JM: Anything from The Cure to Fleetwood Mac to The Smiths to Radiohead, it was a really broad spectrum of stuff. So it didn’t even include much electronic music.

PN: Did those artists influence you quite a lot?

JM: Yes, definitely.

PN: Do you think there are similarities in your work, or were they more inspirations?

JM: I would say it’s an inspiration; you’d have to be very careful saying that your work was similar to some of the greatest artists of all time. I would say I am definitely inspired by them, yeah.

PN: Is there anyone else you’d like to collaborate with in the future?

JM: It’d be really interesting to see what happens over the next year. But at the moment I’m working with a really great group of people and quite often, musical collaborations come out of the most unlikely meetings, people that you may not have had a hit record. Actually right now I’m working with a guy called Kid Harpoon who amazing, and quite often it’s the people who are the un-sung gems that can really provide something exciting and interesting, it’s not necessarily all of the big names. Right now, I feel really happy with the people that I’m working with.

PN: How was playing at Lounge on the Farm for you, this past weekend?

JM: Yes, I played on Friday. It was great as it was our first live show performing our new songs, which was really exciting, so we’d been rehearsing all day for a couple of weeks, getting the show ready, and it’s a huge task to undertake. I had put the whole show together with my MD and two guys from the band and it was a massively creative process to get an overall content and live sound, and to execute that was a big task. First show out the bag, I felt it went really well, and I’m really excited to think about how it can grow.

PN: Are you looking forward to playing at all the other festivals over the summer?

JM: Yeah definitely. I’m playing at Lovebox on Saturday on the main stage at 3 o’clock., which is grand. I’m also still touring with Leftfield, and also with breakage at Camp Bestival, Bestival and Ibiza. You could say it’s a busy summer!

PN: Do you think that LFWIDF has a different sound from ‘Vultures’, do you think you’ve moved on in an electronic way?

JM: In my mind it’s a natural evolution between the two tracks. Even though Vultures has got a tougher, louder sound in a way, it’s still comes from the same keyboard that Live For What I Die For was written on. And Live For What I Die For still has toughness to it. Both those records map out the overall sonic landscape of what the albums going to be. It’s not just straight up electronica, there are other tracks which are much more organic, I guess. But every track is underpinned with an electronic heartbeat, but they’re not all just big rave inspired, epic tracks. There are tracks which are a bit more interceptive and vulnerable, and I guess Vultures showed elements of that. I’m hoping in the next few singles to illustrate the spectrum of the sound of the record.

PN: Where’d you hope to be in two years time?

JM: My dream would be to be playing the other stage at Glastonbury on the Friday night!

 Visit her site here.

-Emma Hoareau

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