the gentlewoman

Reader of the Month

The fuchsia-haired bassist from indie-rock band Warpaint Jenny Lee Lindberg has been busy during the band’s hiatus. The 34-year-old releases her debut solo album this month recorded under the alias jennylee. The joyously titled right on! comprises ten new songs that reveal a raspy vocal and a post-punk sound rooted in Jenny’s formative years in Reno, Nevada, where she listened relentlessly to The Cure. With the album playing on repeat, Frankie Mathieson called Jenny up for a chat before she embarks on her first solo tour.

Jenny Lee Lindberg

Frankie: How are things, Jenny?

Jenny: I’ve just finished a hike with my dog. The first thing I like to do in the morning is meditate and then I’ll go for a hike or a walk. Once I’ve done those two things, I feel like I’m ready for the day.

F: Are you feeling ready to go on tour? Is it scary or exhilarating to be out on your own?

J: A bit of both. But I’ve got a wonderful band that I’m playing with – they’re all boys – and we’re getting along really well. It’s been such a different experience, because it’s just my music that everyone’s playing. So when we started rehearsing for the show I wanted things to sound exactly the way I wrote them. I’m a little bit of a perfectionist, I guess. But, eventually, I had to let go and accept that it’s going to be what it’s going to be. A bit like when I was writing the album.

F: I read that that was an intense experience for you.

J: I think most of us are really good at denial. That might sound dramatic, but when it’s intense to really expose yourself, you learn to control how much you feel. During the writing process I didn’t want to limit myself; I just wanted to open up and let myself be vulnerable. So I had to trust my instincts and stop monitoring everything. That was emotional and scary and I felt completely open for everyone to see. Luckily though, it was a beautiful, wonderful experience and nothing was really that hard in the end. Since there was no ego involved and it felt very innocent. It was liberating. I really enjoyed myself.

F: How did you land on right on! for the album title?

J: “Right on” is just something I’ve always said and my dad used it too when I was a kid. So I always knew I would call my solo album that. The record may be very vulnerable, but I’m not a scary and dark person – I can be silly too. I wanted the title to hint at that.

F: The album’s stark sound really took me back to my angst-ridden adolescence. What were you like as a teenager?

J: I didn’t have any real creative outlets back then, but I had a lot of energy. I was boy-crazy! I loved hanging with them, drinking beers, smoking cigarettes, the occasional acid trip… I was really just waiting to graduate from high school and start my life. I always knew there was something bigger and better waiting for me on the other side that I hadn’t really been able to tap into when I was younger.

F: What music were you listening to then?

J: I wasn’t a snob, by any means. I listened to The Cranberries, Tori Amos, REM, Radiohead, The Smashing Pumpkins, New Order, Depeche Mode, Portishead – a lot of what was current then. But I had a crazy obsession with The Cure. I had posters of them plastered all over my bedroom walls.

F: What do you think you’d be doing if you weren't making music?

J: This is a funny one – since I was a little girl, I’ve always wanted to be a hair stylist. It’s still a dream of mine. I cut and dye my own hair and I really enjoy it.

F: What would your salon be called?

J: Autumn Sunrise. Stolen from one of my favourite movies, Ghost.

Interview by Frankie Mathieson. Photograph courtesy of Rough Trade Records. Would you like to be the next featured reader? Then sign-up sister and tell us about yourself!