Jessica Pratt

by Caitlin G. Dennis

You Can't Eat The Venetian Blinds, Not Even In Chinatown, But You Can Make A Grown Man Weep
We can perceive, one might say, a myriad of worlds within a voice. Perhaps worlds of the digestive tract (as that oft-cited rhetorician Roland Barthes suggests) or the worlds of thought otherwise formed by nature and nurture—either way sound gathers somewhere. Sometimes, though, we encounter a voice that not only carries strange worlds, but is also housed within a body that seems of otherworldly provenance, like some kind of ethereal Droste-effect, fascinating and somewhat inexplicable.

In this case, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to examine one such example, on the occasion of the release of her lustrous second album On Your Own Love Again (out now via Drag City) and discuss the phenomenon in her natural habitat (Los Angeles).

Which song is your favorite on the album and why? I don’t think I could say definitively that any particular song is my real favorite, but I have a special fondness for “Moon Dude.” I get some unusually vivid visuals when I hear or play that tune. I like the sprinkling of clavinet, too.

What else do you do besides make music? I’ve always taken an interest in clothing, from a very early age. When I was a kid I thought I’d be a fashion designer. I relish the sometimes-ritualistic act of dressing each day and can spend hours sifting through colorful piles of garments and fabric. I’m always in the middle of a sewing project and frequent L.A.’s fabric district. The arranging of color and shape involved in collaging is a related kind of process for me and is another favorite pass time. I also read a lot and make ice cream.

You've been in L.A. for a bit, are there other cities you're interested in living/working? I’d love to enjoy a creative exile in lots of places. Maybe Japan, Berlin, New Orleans or somewhere in Ireland. I was born in Seattle, maybe I’d like to sit in that part of the country for a spell.

When/where are your upcoming shows/tours? Are there any places you're going that you've never been to before? Any places you are more looking forward to?

Mid-February I’ll be heading out on a Northwestern/West Coast tour, directly followed by a month-long European tour. Very excited to explore Europe again as my first visit was torturously brief. I’ve always been fascinated with ancient megaliths and stone circles, and this round I’ll see the mystical lands of Scotland and Wales for the first time; places I’ve always wanted to go.

Who has been the most influential person in your life so far? My mother’s encouragement of my artistic pursuits and dedication to exposing me as best she could to culturally relevant and stimulating things was invaluable, especially considering the potentially limiting aspects of the small town we lived in.

If you could work with or collaborate with anyone (living or dead), who would it be? So far, music for me has been a very solitary pursuit and I’ve not collaborated with many people. I often dream of the day I could sing against a swell of strings or utilize the angelic power of a boy’s choir. Then maybe a classically trained harpsichordist, a hurdy gurdy master or a mellotron would be cool. Or, Ariel Pink.

Interview by A. Dola Baroni