Bands on Bands is a recurring feature on the 35 Denton blog that will highlight musician interviews written by none other than our own local musicians. Throughout this series we aspire to help you learn more about some of your favorite musicians playing the festival this year as well as introduce you to new and upcoming acts.
Words by Daniel Markham || Images by Marcus Junius Laws
DANIEL MARKHAM: I think it’s interesting that you put just as much, if not more, focus into the visual side of your music than just the songs themselves (videos, photography, etc.). What is it that motivates you to be so “out there?”
Jessie Frye: Blame my mom and my sister! They were constantly dressing me up and letting me strut around to Madonna as a kid- haha! In all honesty, it is really fun for me to express myself visually as well as musically. It goes hand in hand for me. I love to connect with people and make them feel excited about something- isn’t that rock n’ roll? I think we all channel our inner Ziggy Stardust at some point!
How do you feel you’ve progressed musically/visually/spiritually/mentally since the release of Firework’s Child?
Well, that was nearly 4 years ago. I’ve earned some battle scars and learned a lot about playing out and making albums. I love my band- really. I get to play with 3 of my best friends in the whole world. The Jessie Frye sound would not be what is without them. I was still really green when Fireworks Child came out. I can look back and say that I am writing better songs and have a better understanding of the business.
Over the past couple of years you’ve been able to hang out and perform with some of your musical heroes. Did you get anything out of those experiences that could benefit you as an artist? Which was your favorite experience?
2014 was particularly crazy. Spending one on one time with Tori Amos was a turning point in my life. I am a die-hard fan, so I knew what kind of energy I was walking into. But the last thing I expected was for her to champion my music and give me heartfelt advice as a fellow performer. I mean- this is THE woman who inspired me to play piano and write songs when I was 11. I walked out of that dressing room and just burst into tears. It meant so much to me and I will carry that wisdom with me forever. Winning the Edgefest competition and getting to open for Beck was also a big moment for the band. We fought for that- you know? Our fans came out and voted for us to win. That kind of support is unforgettable.
I’m excited to see you play at 35 Denton. What should we expect from a Jessie Frye festival style performance? Do you consider it different than any other show you would play?
Thank you. Expect to have a damn good time! We are working up a new set list and might be playing some new songs for ya’ll. We give the same energy to each show- doesn’t matter if it is 5 people or 500.
Speaking of Denton, who are some of the bands/songwriters that you enjoy personally?
Well you know I love your music. I am a huge fan. I also love RTB2. I feel like Ryan Becker is the Jeff Buckley of Denton. My friend Cameron Trevino also has a really cool band called Space State.
How do you feel about living in a small town like Denton?
Moving to Denton when I was 21 was the beginning of a new chapter for me. I knew absolutely no one here. And now most everyone I know and love is from Denton. This place is a weird, quiet but loud, magical little town. Team Denton.
Do you think the status of pop music in 2015 is a healthy one? What would you like to see happen with pop music in the future?
Ya know- when I was in middle school Marilyn Manson was scaring the shit out of everyone and pissing everybody off. I think he is such a genius. I would love to see someone like that again in the future. Talk about turning points. I remember borrowing Smells Like Children from my brother and it was like I had seen the light. In terms of what is healthy- I am not interested in saying what is wrong or what is right. You have to enjoy things for what they are. I mean, as I answer these questions I am listening to one of my all time favorites- T. Rex. In my opinion he is one of the greatest pop icons to have ever lived. But then I look at Michael Jackson and feel the exact same way- but for different reasons. Everyone has something unique to offer.
What’s next for Jessie Frye?
After 35 Denton we head straight to Austin to play SXSW! In the midst of all this we are also recording a new album. 2015 will be a really fun year for us. XO.
The Jessie Frye Band is comprised of:
Jordan Martin- Guitar
Chad Ford- Drums
Androo O’Hearn- Bass
Jessie Frye- Vocals/Keys
Daniel Markham is a singer/songwriter based in Denton, TX by way of Lubbock, TX. Markham has released two albums, Ruined My Life and Pretty Bitchin since relocating to North Texas. He and his band play rock and roll music for the people.