2016 Artist Survey: Jessica Zambri of Mass Gothic, Solvey, and Zambri
Zambri on 2016's Best Albums, Trump and the Election, Bowie and Prince, and Scary Movies
Jan 26, 2017
Photography by Wendy Lynch Redfern (for Under the Radar) Issue # 59 - 15th Anniversary
Find It At: AMAZON
For Under the Radar's 14th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2016. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2016 news stories involving either the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions. Here are some answers from Jessica Zambri. She is in the band Zambri, with her sister Cristi Jo. Their debut album, House of Baasa, was released in 2012 by Kanine. She is also in Mass Gothic with her husband Noel Heroux (formerly of Hooray For Earth) and releases solo music as Solvey. Mass Gothic released their self-titled debut on Sub Pop in 2016. Last year Sub Pop also released their Sub Goth EP. Solvey's self-titled debut came out in 2015 via Killer Wail.
For our annual Artist Surveys we emailed the same set of questions to musicians about Trump and the election, 2016's deaths, self-driving cars, Stranger Things, first kisses, scary movies they shouldn't have seen as a child, which Friends character they are most like, and much more.
Pick up or download Under the Radar's Best of 2016 / 15th Anniversary Issue for Artist Survey interviews with Amber Arcades, Austra, Faris Badwan of Cat's Eyes and The Horrors, Boxed In, Caveman, The Charlatans, Cursive, Lucy Dacus, The Dears, C Duncan, Sadie Dupuis of Sad13 and Speedy Ortiz, Dutch Uncles, Ezra Furman, Robyn Hitchcock, The Invisible, Justin Lockey of Editors and Minor Victories, Lost Under Heaven (LUH), Lush, Midlake, Phantogram, The Range, Springtime Carnivore, Sunflower Bean, Surfer Blood, TEEN, The Thermals, Nick Valensi of CRX and The Strokes, Jenn Wasner of Flock of Dimes and Wye Oak, and Yuck.
A shorter version of Jessica Zambri's survey appeared in the digital version of Under the Radar's Best of 2016 / 15th Anniversary Issue, this is the full unedited version.
2016 was regarded by many as a fairly tough and negative year. Was it also a hard year for you personally? If so, how? And also what were the high points for you?
With so many famous deaths and the election, this year has definitely made the word "why" a bit more bold.
Let's discuss Donald Trump. What does the rise of Trump tell you about America in 2016? What concerns you most about a Trump presidency? How do you think his presidency might personally change your life? What message do you have for those who voted for Trump? What actions will you take over the course of the next four years to either protest a Trump presidency or support it?
I'm no wizard, but the lack of curiosity we have for one another has definitely contributed to where we are right now. I do not accept misogyny, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and I can't imagine why anyone else would, but I know people change when they want to and I know reaching people is hard and forcing change is even harder. I'm curious, I want to listen and I want to fight for my rights, beliefs and for those whose voices are too often silenced by the majority.
What reality TV star would you have rather been elected president?
Kim Kardashian is a businessperson...maybe that would've worked. No, but honestly, I'd rather a huge nerd for public service with an obsession for nature sit in the oval.
We lost three highly influential music icons in 2016. What are your thoughts on the passing of David Bowie, Prince, and Leonard Cohen? And what are your favorite albums by each artist?
It's safe to keep people like Prince and Bowie in a little corner of your mind, where no one dies, so when they do it's ugly. I don't really do favorite albums because I'm too greedy and don't like to pick, but I will say lately, when I listen to Prince's "The Beautiful Ones" I picture him standing in a lake created especially for his moment to sing, and everything around looks like crystallized fruit.
What scary movie did you see way too young as a child, how'd you end up seeing it, and does it still scare you now?
My brother's girlfriend at the time was baby-sitting my sister Cristi Jo and I, and we watched The Silence of the Lambs. I wasn't scared, but I was shocked to see a tub full of flesh.
Are you ready for self-driving cars and a more automated future?
Yes, because it's happening.
Under the Radar has been around for 15 years now, since December 2001. How do you feel the music industry has most changed in that time, both for the better and the worst?
I think this industry takes cues from the majority-mood of people. We like free things and fast and all of us dumb down our creativity for some stupid reason, so sometimes we get what we deserve. I do know we get sick of all that too, and when we do, we make room for the interesting. And Bowie and Prince, being some of the most well known innovative musicians passing this year, are a reminder we really, really enjoy and want interesting.
What do you miss most and least about the touring lifestyle when you're not on the road?
I like living out of a suitcase and in hotels sometimes. The temporary feeling helps encourage me to be spontaneous.
What's usually the biggest stumbling block to your happiness?
The biggest piece of nonsense is that we get in our own way more than the people we think are in our way do. Right?
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