Best known as the enigmatic bassist from LA four-piece Warpaint, today Jenny Lee Lindberg speaks to RUSSH about her debut solo record right on!, released late last year under the moniker jennylee. For this project, Lindberg wilfully drops her guard, along with her surname, to produce music that is deeply visceral, stripped back and raw; a childhood dream realised, she tell us, and one that she is proud to call her own. “There are moments on this record where my 15-year-old self would be over the moon with this song or this part,” she says. On a postcard-perfect L.A. day, we caught up with the easy-going Lindberg to talk about the album and wander the streets of Silver Lake.
Was there anything in particular you set out to achieve with this record?
From the start, I wanted to honour myself. I wanted to honour the moment of creation, the moment of making the music, the moment I had an idea – to jot it down to embellish it. I didn’t have a concept or a set idea of what I wanted the album to sound like – it was very much an in-the-moment kind of album – a stream of consciousness. And I wanted to make sure I didn’t put a stop to my creative process, that I didn’t cut myself off or control the direction and be too critical. I wanted to make sure I was allowing myself room to be free, almost like a child, to have fun with it. That was the most important thing that I wanted to do. Because, this is the first thing that I’m making, that I’m releasing into the world – already that’s a lot of pressure.
Were there any other pressures you felt whilst making right on!?
I’m singing by myself on this album, not with the [Warpaint] girls singing back up. And so there was the pressure of: oh shit, does my voice suck, do I hate my voice, do I like my voice, how does my voice sound here – all of those unnecessary questions you ask when you’re just trying to create, when you just want to make something ... All that dialogue, that conversation, it’s really just a distraction from actually making art. So to battle those things off, or to block them, shut them down, turn them off – that was challenging. But the more that I did that, the more fun I actually did have, the more free I did feel, the more things I did like that I was making because what I was making was true, it was deep and it was true to me. Without all of the voices I actually really loved what I made … The whole album process and the album itself, in my opinion, is very pure and true to me and I just wanted to have a good time, and I wanted to let go and be free. And I did, and so I’m very pleased.
Is there a central theme or message underpinning the record?
There are a lot of conversations I’m having with myself. I feel like, without being overt and in your face about it, it’s kind of like everything I wanted the album to be: to let go, be free, to not put any limitations on yourself, on life, on things that you do. I don’t say it exactly like that but there’s definitely a lot of that going on – a lot of conversations I’m having with myself: Enough, enough already! Fucking go get them, get out there and go do it. There are a lot of things like that, metaphorically speaking.
What inspired right on!, both musically and generally speaking?
There was a little bit of a darker tone on there, which I like as far as just me making my own music. I think Warpaint hints at darkness but doesn’t fully go there. And I think my own music is a little bit darker, a little bit more elemental, a little more stripped back – there’s not a whole lot of electronics. It’s a little simpler, a little more straight forward. Sometimes on the album there may be a little bit of a homage or ode to some of the music I grew up listening to – Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Cure, Depeche Mode or Bauhaus – I feel right on! hints at it but then there’s a lot of songs on the album that sound nothing like it … It’s just random.
I’ve never made an album before and I didn’t want to control anything, stop it, limit myself, it was like – whatever you’re feeling, just go for it. Enjoy yourself and make music, because I’ve probably been waiting to do this, secretly been waiting to do this for a very long time, maybe even since I was in high school. It’s always been a goal, a dream of mine.
WORDS Edwina Hagon
PHOTOGRAPHY Ryan Brabazon