SIP - SoundLAB Interview Project

Leza, Jessica

Jessica Leza
US artist



Interview: 10 questions

1. When did you start making music, what is/was your motivation to do it?
I always liked to sing as a child, my parents sang a lot – my father was always making up outrageous songs. At some point, someone gave me a paper sack full of old cassette tapes – 80s hair bands and Christmas carols and children’s books on tape that nobody wanted. I’d spend hours rewinding these tapes to record samples on a blank tape. I called it Tape of Fear, Vol 1. Vol 2. , … or something about mental facilities. It made sense to me.

2. Tell me something about your living environment and the musical education.
I am lucky to have been able to study and play with a lot of great musicians. I received a Bachelor of Music Composition from the University of North Texas, and the atmosphere was a very positive experience for me – there were a lot of things going on to stick your hand in.
Living in one beautiful home you love for years is quite overrated. I prefer to move about from one place to another, and have a special preference for living quarters with an excess of ill-mannered pets, plumbing problems, and arsonist roommates. This is very conducive to creating music at home.

3. Is making music your profession? What is the context in which you practice music nowadays?
Wait until the dogs stop barking, or just turn it up louder.

4. How do you compose or create music or sound? Have you certain principles, use certain styles, etc?
I would probably have an easier life if I learned to stick to certain principles or styles. I follow something that interests me, it develops, I discover, and then organize. Narratives and visuals from other artists and scientists have always been a ready source of inspiration.

5. Tell me something about the instruments, technical equipment, or tools you use?
For awhile, I was working in the studios at the Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia – I had so much at my disposal that I never used most of it. My studios at home are not anything to write about – excepting a vintage Gibson. The Gibson is lovely.

6. What are the chances of New Media for the music production in general and you personally?

7. How about producing and financing your musical productions?
I’ve found that letting a lack of money get in the way of a project is simple cowardice. I finance my own work, and I am perpetually broke, but this has never really caused me any trouble.

8. Do you work individually as a musician/soundartist or in a group or collaborative?
I generally work alone but collaborating with others is often far more satisfying.

9. Is there any group, composer, style or movement which has had a lasting influence on making music?
When I first discovered Dada I found it to be very liberating, regardless of my thoughts about individual artists or works. Authors such as Ray Bradbury and the natural sciences have probably had a larger influence than any one specific musical entity – and musicians who expand their world to another media have always held a special place in my heart.

10. What are your future plans or dreams as a soundartist or musician?
There are loose threads that have never been tied up in previous projects that I would like to complete in order to let that aspect of my character rest, although I suspect this could be an endless trial – as I have been moving on to newer things I more and more am turning to see where I have come from. But there is a particular joy in developing nowhere in particular – so right now I find myself learning to play guitar and recording an album of pop music with a cellist, while also developing an online platform for interactive electronic music in collaboration with several other musicians and visual artists.

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