Jen Janet is a California-based Alternative Rock artist. Jen’s experience helped her create a special sound for her music project that has elements from different schools in the industry. Her 2021 seems already like a busy year, as she is getting ready to drop 2 songs in the first two months of the new year. We had the chance to chat with Jen and ask her about her upcoming songs and other plans and ideas. Hope you enjoy this interview with Jen Janet.
Hello Jen! How are you doing these days?
I’m doing pretty good. I’m currently in California and we are still on a lockdown here, which means most restaurants are closed, but offer take-out. Therefore, there’s not many things to do, and it’s not very safe to go anywhere because of the ongoing pandemic. So I’m just staying in, watching movies, making music and working from home, etc. I really hope we can go back to normal by the end of 2021.
With 2020 almost over, what things are you excited about in 2021?
I have absolutely no idea how 2021 will be. I started writing a concept EP, so I will continue working on that. I’m not going to go into detail about what the theme is, but I think it’s going to come out very cool. At this point, I have no idea if live music will be safe, so I’m not really thinking about preparing for that yet. Hopefully I can do that one day though! I think the thing I’m most excited for, is just to be able to travel again. I haven’t seen my family in almost a year because of the pandemic, so it would be nice to just visit family and friends.
To the people reading about you for the first time, how would you introduce yourself as an artist?
I’m Jen Janet, and I’m a multi-media artist, blending rock and electronic music. I love pairing dark, interesting visuals with my songs, and the music videos are just as important to me as the music itself. All of my future singles next year will have music videos to go with the songs. I really enjoy film, photography, and fashion, so I try to blend all of these with music. I also enjoy set design and creative directing, so I’ve directed some of my own videos as well. Some of my influences are more alternative artists like Pvris and Poppy, and also some heavier rock artists like Halestorm.
You’re on the verge of releasing two new singles in 2021. How are you feeling about these two songs?
It’s exciting – “Headache” will be released in February. I actually wrote most of that song many years ago in the winter when I lived in Massachusetts. There’s a lot of “snow” and “cold” imagery in the song, so that really comes out. I figured February is the best time to release it around Valentine’s Day because it’s an angry love song, I guess you could say. And February where I used to live, is always the coldest month. “Shadows” is coming out January 4th, and the music video comes out January 11th. I wrote this song recently, after the pandemic initially started. It has to do with strange feelings of loneliness I had in the beginning. For some reason, I suddenly started having dreams every night about old friends, people I used to hang out with in high school, or even when I was like nine or ten years old. It was very strange because I hadn’t spoken to some of these people in over ten years, and I wasn’t thinking about them during the daytime. So I started wondering if they were ok, and what their lives were like. Or what our lives would be like if we were still in touch. Once I wrote the song and got my feelings out, the dreams actually died down and eventually stopped. Art is a weird psychological thing, haha. I hope that people enjoy the songs and maybe can take something away from them also.
We have a tradition here to ask our interviewees some ‘nerdy’ questions so our readers would get to know them from a new point of view. I’ll give you a certain scenario in an alternate universe and you’d have to react to these changes. Ready?
In a universe where you’re the vocalist of a Jazz band, what would your band’s name be?
Maybe “Grooved Pavement” because when I was in 8th grade, I was in the school jazz band for a year, and we were always rehearsing that song. I don’t really remember other songs we practiced except for that one. It’s drilled into my memory.
In a universe where aliens from outer space came to study music on Earth and asked for a specimen from your music, which song would you give them?
That’s a tough question. A lot of my music has somewhat dark lyrics, so I’m not sure I would want to give them any of my songs! I wouldn’t want them to misinterpret anything about how humans are.
In a universe where the senses of taste and hearing are mixed up, what would your music taste like?
I think it would taste like a chocolate orange. I’m not sure if you’ve had one, but it’s basically a giant ball of chocolate that looks like an orange – it’s orange flavored chocolate. But it’s really good. I’d describe it this way, because I think my music can be quite dark sometimes, but also unique and weird. Orange flavored chocolate is weird, but good. It’s what happens when you take two things you know and love (orange, and chocolate) and blend them, to create something pretty different. I’d say that’s similar to what I hope to do – to blend genres of music to get something unique.
I can see the resemblance. In a universe where time travel is possible, which era would like to visit and explore?
I’d love to visit ancient Egypt. I have always been fascinated by the culture and history of the country. I would love to go there someday.
In a universe where the currency is a person’s sense of humour, how rich would you be?
Hmmm, good question. I would like to think I have a nice, sarcastic and dark sense of humor. In person, I think a lot of people view me as more serious though. I think only my close friends know about my sense of humor. I’m not sure how rich I would be then… maybe somewhere in the middle.
Thank you for playing Jen! Have you ever been treated in a sexist way? How would you face sexism and what advice would you give to young people who face any kind of discrimination?
Yes, I have. I have many stories, so I can’t recount them all here. But I will say this: at my first show I ever played with a band, the promoter from the booking company attempted to not pay me what I was owed. He even tried to tell me that I was attempting to get money from him and swindle him. He treated me in an extremely rude way. Meanwhile, I had the math to prove exactly what I was owed based on ticket sales. A male member of my band walked up to him (they had never met before) and he instantly gave him the money we were owed, no questions asked. Since this was my first real show, I actually did wonder, “do I want to do this? Do I actually want to be a musician if this is what it’s like? Is every show going to be like this?”
I’m very glad that I stuck with it, and luckily I have met many wonderful men in this industry as well. Most shows are fine. But back then, I was young at the time and genuinely didn’t know what to do. If that happened now, I would immediately take action and make sure that company never did anything like that again. I wouldn’t have been afraid to make a scene in public either, and call their boss or something like that because I would be standing up for myself. But I’m confident now, so it’s different. Therefore my advice for young people dealing with this, would be to try to build up your confidence in yourself. You have worth. You should also make a list of goals, and genuinely sit down to think about what you want out of music. I think a lot of people assume they should go on tour, just because their favorite band goes on tour. But what if you find out that you don’t love touring? When you are confident in what your goals are, you won’t waste time with people who don’t care about you. You will use your time to actually achieve what you want. Lastly, do whatever you want. Don’t let someone push you around. Leave a band if they aren’t treating you right. Don’t work with a specific manager or promoter if they are rude to you. And don’t be afraid to tell other people if they are rude to you. Don’t give these people a career if they are terrible people. We need to hold people accountable for their actions because they will just mistreat someone else. There have been horrible things uncovered in this industry. Sexual assault and sexual harassment from managers and other gatekeepers is real. Don’t allow them to continue their careers if they do this. That’s why we need to have confidence in ourselves and speak up about this.
That’s a very touching an amazing answer. Thank you for sharing this with us! Do you remember the first time you performed live to an audience? How was it? And what were the feelings?
I believe I was four years old and it was my preschool graduation. I don’t really remember it, but I know I was very happy and wanted to continue singing for a very long time. I do remember the first show I played though, that cemented my love for performing. When my previous band had just been formed, we somehow got the opportunity to open for Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. I had been a fan of them in high school, and I couldn’t believe that we were going to have this opportunity. We had been practicing our songs for a while and I guess it was a good set, because the crowd was actually going wild. It was a full room, and people were shouting and cheering and dancing. That was the moment when I was like, yes. I need to do this. And I need to find out how to keep doing this. It’s definitely a rush of adrenaline.
Thank you for the interview Jen! It was great talking with you.