BrooklynRocks Interview with Jessica Vale ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

BrooklynRocks Interview with Jessica Vale

BrooklynRocks Interview with Jessica ValeI'd like to start by thanking Jessica for taking the time for an intereview and I also want to thank Leo from Big Machine Media for setting everything up. Jessica's new CD will be released October 16th and it is entitled "Brand New Disease".

Without any further preamble, here is the interview:

BrooklynRocks: Jumping right in, are there any recorded sex sounds on the new CD?

Jessica Vale: Nope. Not one. We decided to be totally boring and use "real" instruments this time around.

BrooklynRocks: Getting serious, how does the new CD differ from “The Sex Album”?

Jessica Vale: The biggest difference is that is was recorded and written more traditionally. We were pretty limited with writing The Sex Album for obvious reasons.

Having the energy of a live band is really unmatched with computers, I think. That's what drove me to make a more traditional album this time. I like having humans to play off of.

BrooklynRocks: You have an interesting range of lyrical themes on this CD. What was the song writing process like for this CD? Were the songs all written in one period?

Jessica Vale: They were all written last winter while hanging out in our basement recording studio. It influenced the lyrics a lot. The place is very hidden and has a very 70's feel to it. The building houses a bunch of artists, cockroaches, and hundreds of dead computers all rotting away. It was left semi-abandoned after 9-11.

The title track "Brand New Disease" was the first song written. "Brand New Disease" can mean a lot of different things, depends when I'm asked. I have a very love/hate relationship with the business side of putting out music. On a bad day my new disease is my new record.

Official Video for "Brand New Disease"

BrooklynRocks: What was the recording process like for the new CD? (Really looking to hear how the recording of this CD compared to the recording of The Sex Album as it looks like you worked with a full band this time)

Jessica Vale: On all the tracks I had the wonderful talents of Ivan Evangelista on guitar, Matthew St Joseph on bass and Randy Schrager on drums. These guys are very seasoned musicians. Playing with them is very easy because they are so tight. We recorded the whole album at our recording studio. For a track here or there we brought in some keyboards, strings, or even clarinet and sax.

As a band we all come from a rock background which is why this album feels much more natural for us. The Sex Album was an experiment in recording, not a norm. I have always been very happy with how it came out but i don't think I'd do another one.

BrooklynRocks: Congratulation on hitting the #3 breakout track on the Billboard charts with Brand New Disease. What are your expectations for the record once the full CD is released?

Jessica Vale: I try not to have any expectations which works out well for me. I didn't think a single person would care about the Sex Album and the next thing I knew it was a feature in the Times London. Life is strange that way.

BrooklynRocks: What’s next for Jessica Vale? Were there songs that didn’t make this CD? Is the screenplay (that you mentioned in a 2005 interview) ever coming out? Will it be two more years before you go back into the studio?

Jessica Vale: I am going to Africa (Liberia to be exact) as part of an aide mission this winter. I have no doubt it will inspire plenty of songs and maybe even a music video or two.

The screenplay that originally inspired The Sex Album never got finished because I did the album instead. The Sex Album covered everything I wanted to say with it so I don't think I'd bother.

As for going back in the studio...well, I am there a ton as it is. As the inspiration hits, we record. Once there's an album's worth of material you'll see the next Jessica Vale record. How long that will take is anyone's guess.

BrooklynRocks: What can people expect at the CD release show at Crash Mansion? Will you be playing any songs from “The Sex Album”?

Jessica Vale: My next New York City show is November 9 at our warehouse/studio space in Tribeca - part of another POSTcom party.

We got such an overwhelming response from the last one that we felt we had to do it again. Crash Mansion was the original plan but then I started getting emails from fans who were actually disappointed that we weren't playing a POSTcom party instead. And ya know, ya gotta give the people what they ask for.

BrooklynRocks: It looks like your tour schedule is pretty limited. Will you be playing more dates? What do you do when you aren’t touring?

Jessica Vale: The dates this fall are just preliminary. We will be doing a longer tour this spring, including Europe.

When not touring I'm doing many things. Recording, traveling...though right now it's Grand Theft Auto - San Andreas. I'm addicted.

BrooklynRocks: I saw the video from Dracula’s Ball in Philly. How much of a goth crowd do you expect to draw at your upcoming shows? Do you consider yourself part of the goth/vampire scene?

Jessica Vale: In NYC we have our own scene going on. We get a mix of people. We play goth shows but we also play rock and gay clubs.

The goth scene, as it was once known, is dying a long slow death. Just like a lot of scenes. You've got to keep making new ones, keep things moving.

BrooklynRocks: What is the background on the live session on

Jessica Vale: Most of the bands that do these live sessions just come in, set up, and run through their set. Ivan and I wanted to try something different. We got Jean-Luc (who was the third member of the Sex Album trio) and did an electro-noir style set. We played a little jazz style, talked, and spun tracks off the albums for over an hour. The beer didn't hurt.

BrooklynRocks: How was the POSTcom show back in July? I am a huge Earl Slick fan – did you catch his set?

Jessica Vale: The party was great. Huge turnout. It was the middle of summer so it got really hot and dirty but that added to the charm. This time the air will be cooler so we probably have it by candlelight.

If you're interested in info for the next one on November 9 please keep checking the website -

BrooklynRocks: I saw David Lynch was one of your top friends on MySpace and that he has a quote on your website. How did you meet David and are you doing any work with him?

Jessica Vale: David did a Q & A about his last book and Inland Empire last winter at Lincoln Center. The audience was asked to submit questions, so I did. I asked something about sexuality in his films. It was chosen and David proceeded to tell all of Lincoln Center about his first orgasm, in detail. People were bright red and laughing hysterically. If you are a Lynch fan you understand why this was such an awesome experience.

BrooklynRocks: How did Explicit Records come about? Who is the most interesting artist that you worked with (whether at Warren Street Studio, Explicit or other)? Who is the most mainstream? Have you put out any other artists’ CDs on the Explicitlabel?

Jessica Vale: Ivan and I started it in 2005 when The Sex Album started doing well. We were getting a lot of press and initially sold cds only via paypal, right out of my apartment. I remember the day Howard Stern plugged the website. We got so much traffic the site almost went down. We spent days packaging cds and shipping them, each one by hand.

Eventually we got a distribution deal so we started our own label to handle promotion. It's grown much bigger since then and I really do not miss hand packaging each cd!

The coolest artist I've worked with is James DiSalvio of Bran Van 3000. They aren't on Explicit Records but they did some recording at the studio recently. They are multi-platinum and Juno winning - I guess that makes them mainstream?

This is the point in the interview where I got completely off-topic
BrooklynRocks: This year, it seemed every possible band imaginable reunited. Are there any that you are into or any that you wish would permanently go away?

Jessica Vale: There are plenty that I wish would go away but I am trying to nurture my nicer side. Not a reunion but I'm really excited about the Ozzy - Rob Zombie show!

BrooklynRocks: Will Van Halen make it through their reunion tour or implode? Any thoughts on Eddie trying to airbrush out the original bassist on the cover VH1 and replace him with a picture of Eddie’s son?

Jessica Vale: I know they are doing a reunion tour but otherwise I kind of live under a rock. Eddie's replacing who with what?

BrooklynRocks: What is the worst concert that you paid money to see?

Jessica Vale: I saw Siouxsie Sioux (as The Creatures) in Rome once...the show was fine but the audience was terrible. Totally unresponsive. In fact they were so indifferent that Siouxsie stopped the show and started cursing them out. That part was awesome.

BrooklynRocks: Who has been the worst band to tour with and why?

Jessica Vale: The only thing that comes to mind is that a few years ago we were booked in a slot following a Meat Loaf Tribute Band...need I say more?

BrooklynRocks: What are your thoughts on the recent closings of a number of NYC clubs (Sin-e, Continental, CBGB)? Do the new clubs do the job or is this the ‘end of an era’?

Jessica Vale: Good riddance. CB's sells as much merch these days as the Disney Store and is almost as famous. It deserves a huge place in history, no doubt, but it's a brand.

BrooklynRocks: Any thoughts on Hilly Kristal’s death, that he was a millionaire, that the Bowery Residents Committee (landlord) has yet to rent the club?

Jessica Vale: I know very little about Hilly Kristal, but I do know branding makes cash and so does selling alcohol.
That's it...thanks again to both Jessica and Leo

Jessica Vale's MySpace page