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Interview with Movie Club
All answers by Movie Club's drummer Jessamyn Violet
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Jessamyn Violet (drummer): I’m pretty sure my parents had a lot to do with my early obsession with music. From classical masters like Beethoven and Vivaldi to classic bands like The Beatles, The Police, the Neville Brothers and Marvin Gaye, their overall genre was “Good Music” and I happily adopted the same tastes. I started piano lessons at age 8. Both fortunately and unfortunately for me, I was equally obsessed with books and writing and have split my time and energies into the practicing of both of these arts my whole life. So if I hadn’t gotten into music I would probably just be a writer, but I can’t tell if that would have been a relief or not. I don’t think so. Though it is particularly hard to pursue two different genres of arts at the same time, it also very much helps keep the pressure off one thing in particular - which makes the doing of both more enjoyable, I think.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
When I’m not playing music I’m listening to it. Instrumentals really get my creativity flowing. Writing, reading, exercising, and those sorts of activities are the best fuel, to me.
How long has your band been around? Also, please tell me about the dynamic of the band of what brought you all together.
Movie Club started in 2018 because we had many of the same influences and a matching work ethic. Being in a band is a lot of work, so we also needed to create music we both enjoyed playing in order to keep it fun.
Where are you based and how did that influence your music?
We’re based in Venice Beach, which influences our music with notes of surf, garage, psychedelia. You cannot walk around Venice without smelling the surf and noticing the natural psychedelia that infuses everything; the street art interweaves with the strangely-shaped structures, and the SoCal sunsets make everything pop.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
The name Movie Club sprung from our shared love of movies as well as our love for instrumental scores for films. The fact that we don’t have lyrics and have a rainbow flower icon is meant to make it feel as universal and all-inclusive as we want to be.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
One show that really stands out is the one that we played at The Bootleg Theater in Downtown Los Angeles right before the pandemic hit with Portland psych-garage band The Shivas. They have a female drummer as well and it was so refreshing to finally play a show that was all-female behind the kit! It had been a dream of mine since I started drumming in 2011. They were so warm and friendly. It was a packed show and felt very special. And then the lockdown hit and The Bootleg closed, which makes it all the more memorable to us.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Movie Club’s favorite venue so far has to be Fonogenic Studios in Van Nuys. It’s where we had our first show, and I personally have played there too many times to count over the last eight years. Every time it’s an incredible party with amazing sound and legendary characters and musicians from the area. I am so grateful we’ve also recorded and mixed records there as well. A really unique and special studio, stage, and place.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
We would love to put together an all-instrumental psych fest that had creative activities people could do while bands were playing (like live writing, painting, yoga, crafting etc.) and would feature Movie Club with bands we love that would play experimental all-instrumental sets like Thee Oh Sees, Khruangbin, The Smile, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, Levitation Room. The Budos Band and Portico Quartet would be headliners.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
The biggest challenge in music is to keep playing. Each time you change your name or sound or project, you basically erase all the hard work you’ve done previously. Best advice I could give is to build something sustainable with the right people who aren’t afraid of hard work and success, and have patience.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
I think “Rainshadow” means the most to me. It came to us as a jam during a storm, which felt magical. It also has our favorite musicians playing beautifully on it - MVP bass player Tim Lefevbre, keyboardist Rami Jaffee and violinist Jessy Greene - all of whom are great people and amazing instrumentalists.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
“Navy Seal” is a fast surf rock ode to Dick Dale that people love and is wicked fun to throw down. We even played it at our wedding.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
We usually start with a jam when we’re writing new material - either I lay down a beat in my head or Vince throws a riff out there and we see what sticks and excites us enough to get out the old Voice Memo app and save it. Most of our inspiration comes from music we’re currently listening to and our mood and general vibe of the room, the city, and the world.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
As an instrumental band this is hard to answer, but overall we just want to make people feel something, and capture the zeitgeist sonically. Isn’t that the goal of all art?
Do you have any new singles, videos, or albums out that you would like to tell me and your fans about?
We have just finished our 2nd full-length LP called “Great White” and are dropping the first double single March 7th along with the details of our upcoming national tour. “Requiem/Spinner” is a journey and a party and proof that we are growing and moving in new directions while keeping our core intact.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
It’s a wildly exciting time for me personally because my first novel, Secret Rules to Being a Rockstar (Three Rooms Press; April 18, 2023) is coming out. It’s a coming-of-age tale about musicians in the 90’s scene in Hollywood. The release event is at my favorite bookstore Book Soup in conversation with Eva Gardner (bassist for P!NK and Mars Volta) and Movie Club is playing the after show down the street at The Viper Room with a bunch of really legendary special guests. This is the kickoff night of our national book/band tour, called “Reading Rocking Rainbow Tour” - twelve shows that will feature a late-night talk show vibe for the reading/in-conversation about the 90s and the music industry, followed by sets by Movie Club as well as local bands.
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
4/18 - Los Angeles, CA - Book Soup
4/19 - San Francisco, CA - Thee Parkside
4/21 - Eugene, OR - Luckey's Club
4/22 - Portland, OR - Turn! Turn! Turn!
4/23 - Seattle, WA - The Underbelly
4/25 - Bend, OR - Silver Moon Brewing
4/26 - Sacramento, CA - Torch Club
4/29 - Venice, CA - Venice Fun House
5/2 - New Orleans, LA - Garden District Book Shop
5/3 - New Orleans, LA - Bar Redux
5/6 - New York, NY - The Bitter End
5/7 - Brooklyn, NY - C'mon Everybody
5/9- Boston, MA - City Winery