“Lead With Yer Heart!” Jesse Jo Stark Interviewed

Plus, check out these exclusive images shot by Jack Alexander...

Jesse Jo Stark is a firecracker; channelling a whole life of inspiration into her art, Stark’s approach to music is unconventional and endlessly exciting. Her alternative sound is impossible to pin down, at times gritty and blood-curdling before evolving into something mystifying and intoxicating. Yet, amidst it all, one thing remains constant – a compelling thread of vulnerability runs through everything Stark touches, and this bewitching honesty is exactly what sets her apart from the rest.

Stark’s emotional sensibility is everywhere in her work. Country-tinged anthems and twisted hymns alike, everything Stark churns out is a reflection of herself. The gradual formation of Stark’s sound has allowed her to truly explore every sonic realm – before ultimately realising that those changeable soundscapes perfectly embody who she is. Debut full-length ‘DOOMED’, out 21st September, is set to showcase Stark in her most assured light, truly cementing her role as the alt scene’s most alluring femme fatale.

We had a chat with Stark about her upcoming debut, as well as her intimate and hands-on relationship with all of her creations…

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“Lead With Yer Heart!” Jesse Jo Stark Interviewed

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Where are you right now?

I’m on my way to get a coffee – but now I can’t decide if I want a coffee or a matcha! So I dunno if I’m about to turn right or left… so I’m living another day where I can’t make a decision even though I already know what I want.

Let’s chat about the latest single – ‘so bad’ is gorgeous! Can you tell me a little bit about why this ended up being selected as a single – what makes it a stand-out to you?

‘so bad’ felt like the perfect introduction to ‘DOOMED’ and the end part is one of my favourite moments on the album. This was also the first song Jesse and I ever worked on together. It felt like the start of something special.

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“Lead With Yer Heart!” Jesse Jo Stark Interviewed

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The video is fabulous too – obsessed with the nostalgic horror movie vibe! You’re very hands on with your styling and visuals? Do you think it helps you connect with your songs that little bit more, being so involved in the visual AND sonic side?

I don’t really know any other way to be. I am very visual person n I dream a lot at night. I want those dreams to be my reality. Every time I have an idea for a song, I can picture it. And I study old films – I’m fascinated with horror.

You’re hands on in every aspect – with your own record label and involvement in promo, it’s a shock you ever find time to rest! Again, do you feel like that involvement helps you connect and feel more pride in what you’re creating?

I think everyone should feel proud whether they have a big record label behind them or not but I’m definitely taking a longer, more complex route in my artistry. Nothing I put out is because someone else told me too! I want my art to have longevity and always be an extension of who I really am. There’s just no other option…. and… I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

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“Lead With Yer Heart!” Jesse Jo Stark Interviewed

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So, your debut ‘DOOMED’ is around the corner – why now? What made you decide that it was finally time to go all out for a full-length release?

Honey!… it was fucking time x

Favourite track? Either in terms of how it sounds, or just a track that means the most to you?

They tear my heart out in different ways. I just can’t chose… but if I gotta name drop: ‘slayer’, ‘sugar high’ and ‘lipstick’.

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“Lead With Yer Heart!” Jesse Jo Stark Interviewed

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How does ‘DOOMED’ compare to last year’s ‘A Pretty Place To Fall Apart’ EP?

‘a pretty place to fall apart’ was birthed for a project i was working on called ‘Fracture’, but this album is all me.

You’ve mentioned that ‘DOOMED’ feels like your most personal release – how has music allowed you to find yourself? How does the Jesse Jo Stark reading this right now compare to the ‘Dandelion’ Jesse Jo Stark?

Music has always allowed me to say what I haven’t been able to. It’s extremely vulnerable to be that naked when writing songs. She’s proud because she had to exist for me to be where I am right now.

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“Lead With Yer Heart!” Jesse Jo Stark Interviewed

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Finally, is there anything else you’d love to mention?

Lead with yer heart, trust yer guts, buy my album, come to a show, leave yer ego at the door, wreak havoc (but in a cute way) and be you because there’s only one!

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“Lead With Yer Heart!” Jesse Jo Stark Interviewed

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‘Doomed’ is out on September 21st.

Words: Emily Swingle
Photographer: Jack Alexander

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