Photo by Dana Trippe
If singer Jesse Jo Stark’s sound could be described in one word, it would be spooky. Her mix of rock-n-roll and goth gives off a haunting sound which is introspective and fun at the same time. I got to talk to Stark about her new music, fashion, why she can only do things her way, and of course, Halloween.
Can you talk to me a little bit about your new body of work and the inspiration behind it?
I just put out an EP called Dandelion and I just put out A and B side tracks called “Wish I Was Dead” and “Rot Away.” And so those are newbies. And I guess the inspiration behind them are a little bit about love and death and just kind of like forever belonging to someone.
Do you feel like love and death go hand and hand?
I mean we all have to die and I believe we all should love at least once before we do. And I believe that the idea for me is if we get to love after, it is something to look forward to.
Do you believe in reincarnation?
Yeah I do.
You art direct all your visuals and your release your music independently. Is it important to have this level of control with your image?
One hundred percent. I work with a lot of amazing people that I love collaborating with and trust. I get to work with a lot of amazing people that understand my vibe but there is no way I’m doing this any other way but my own.
Do you feel you have been pressured by other people to do it another way?
I think I have been, but I don’t actually think people…I think people lend their opinions and give me support and ideas on what would make things easier for me, but I’m just not into that. I want longevity and I want to do what I love and I’m not going to take a shortcut. I don’t even know what that means because I’m already doing what I love and I’m enjoying it.
How did you find out that this is something that you were going to love?
I’ve always been immersed in music. I got to listen to a lot of amazing bands when I was younger because my dad is heavily into music so he really inspired me in that way. I was fortunate enough to take vocal lessons and guitar lessons and experiment. I started recording a lot of covers when I didn’t know I wanted to write yet and it eventually just evolved. I’ve been hitting it heavy since I was young, but I feel like the past four years has been it has been a different vibe and going on the road kind of verified that this is what I want to be doing; this is where I want to be.
What is your favorite part of being on tour?
I would say it is so important to have the right people surrounding you. My band is amazing and even the crew is amazing. And we are kind of like this type of family and it makes every day, not easy, but it makes it special and being able to play with them on stage make it feel like this is exactly where I want to be. But my favorite part this round I love the bus and making it our home and knowing we’re going to play to many people every night and we are going to be inspired in a different way every night and getting to read the crowd, meet new people and play our songs.
What do you like to do in your down time at cities?
It is different at each one. Last night we spent a good three hours in Walmart and got matching dragon onesies and anything unnecessary that we could find. But depending on where we are, we love food or a good museum or a good record store. I love going to different vintage shops. Just kind of exploring.
What do you miss most about home when you are on tour?
I’m a family girl, so my family and my dogs. But you’re kind of in a vortex, and kind of just doing what you are doing, you know?
You’ve designed for Chrome Hearts and capsule collections for Vans, do you see yourself designing more in the future?
I love designing. I will always work with design. Chrome Hearts is my family, so its inevitable. That’s my blood and I will always be surrounded by that. Half of the things I wear on stage I’ve made. I love to wear my friends as well, what they make. So fashion ties in to what I do.
What are you fashion influences?
I love vintage clothes. The idea that someone else has worn them and they’ve had crazy experiences that I don’t even know about. I don’t even know where they were when they wore it. But I love that, because they have heart behind the garment. And I will say Cher is a big influence. My parents. The Clash. I like weird pieces that are comfortable but sexy.
Why do you like Halloween so much?
I love the quirky side of horror and being able to express yourself. It is almost like a big fashion show, but for freaks.
What’s your favorite horror movie?
I don’t know because they are so many types of horror. I obviously live for Frankenstein And then you got the gory horror movies. I would say Frankenstein , like old Frankenstein
What is your Favorite halloween costume?
I would say Bride of Frankenstein. I was Bride ofFrankenstein like 5 or 6 years ago and I did it again last year and I would say thats my best one yet.
What are your future goals with music and creating?
I would love to continue touring and playing festivals and writing music and collaborating. Just exactly what I’m doing now, but just grow. I love being on the road so at some point I would love to headline my own tour and keep meeting fans and meeting new people.
Listen to Jesse Jo Stark’s latest work below and be sure to check her out on tour.