Jessica Violet Meier
Driven by the force of historical events, the power of women, the sounds and sights revealed from explorations on her travels… Meet Jessica (Jess) Meier – the empowering songwriter, vocalist and producer from Sydney, Australia dubbed Violet. “I’m obsessed with being able to do everything myself, it’s really bad but it’s good,” shares Jess.
A few weeks ago I was sitting in the backyard of this immensely talented and passionate musician and artist. With a presence so alluring Jess took me on a journey through her life so far discussing: her love for anything old school, being a self-taught producer, venturing both in Australia and overseas and releasing her new single Wo(man) a first off her upcoming EP.
Travelling close to home or far and wide can open up endless opportunities, bringing a lifetime of knowledge and a chance to connect with the unknown. Funnily enough whilst Jess was on the other side of the world in Europe she was contacted by Triple J Unearthed in response to her third song Ivory “I was in Europe being emailed, so I felt really disconnected on what was going on, but it was my first song that got a bit of traction so that was cool and I ran with that and did a mini phone interview,” expresses Jess. Even though this brought exposure from numerous blogs like Happy Mag and sites in England, looking back on this song today Jess furthers how important travelling is for human growth “At that point that was a pop song about indigenous rights and white guilt but I had no fucking idea… listening back to it I’m like okay you thought that but now having travelled I have a much better understanding of the whole situation.”
Europe holds a special place in Jess’ heart and mind basing her last single 1995 which was premiered on The Ladies Network on Bosnia as Jess adds “I fell in love with the country and met a lot of people that had lived through the war so I wanted to write about it; I do like to write when I’m in a certain place.” Jess’s creative direction is like no other, connecting with everything she finds and being immensely resourceful she is known to record sounds and put them back into her music; the intro of this powerful and emotive song actually starts with a sound coming out of a mosque, “I am obsessed with sampling and field recording so if we go anywhere we take recorders and we’ll record sounds from that place and then put it in the song” explains Jess.
Working with Anna Laverty to finalise the song this was the first time Jess had worked with a producer and in a studio as she illuminates “She’s one of the most famous female producers in Australia, which is super important to me because there aren’t many. Wanting to work with her and not having been in a studio before this point I wanted to have that experience.” On her return from Europe she travelled to Melbourne to record at SING SING “Laverty and I did the vocal take, mixed and finished it there in two days and then released it that end of last year.”
Taking some time out Jess has been dedicated to learn more as a self-taught producer. Along with her boyfriend Alex the two have found the right creative process to work alongside each other to co-produce/engineer her new single. “I wanted to know how to produce and engineer especially as a woman a lot of the time people say things like ‘Oh yeah, you’re a singer, great, you can stand up on stage with a microphone but you don’t actually know how to record or the process involved,’ so this was at the back of my mind motivating me to prove that I can do this!” Jess proclaims. The process of learning to produce was unintentional, not going out of her way to learn it it just sort of happened as she mentions “Alex’s skills have developed a lot more than mine, bouncing off each other and in the mean time travelling around Europe and Asia for several months, I wasn’t doing nothing – wanting to travel for inspiration and then come back and further this.”
The two down to earth souls set off on an adventure to the Northern Territory, with a vision in mind they documented their trip with old school cameras using the film footage and imagery to go with the new releases. Jess enlightens “We took 80s and 90s VHS cameras (again obsessed with old footage) really trying to capture the landscape. Taking a scenic flight, the pilot was like ‘What the fuck are you doing’ whilst we were practically hanging out the windows with our six cameras snapping away.” The results are breathtaking and Jess is hoping to release a video with the footage or a short film for her future EP, stay tuned!
Having just released her new single Wo(man) which is available via Triple J Unearthed marks a significant time in Jess’ career; producing it herself (along with Alex), exploring a different process and welcoming new sounds. With an aim to release five-to-six tracks later this year this is the first off her upcoming EP “Focusing on womanhood, femininity and masculinity and the whole idea of what It means to be a woman in different cultures and throughout history as well,” exclaims Jess. With a book full of lyrics (which is usually the beginning of all her songs) Wo(man) actually started from a melody and took on a completely different sound to any before “My new release is more electronic, experimental/alternative pop music whereas before I would refer to my pieces as cinematic-sadcore,” says Jess.
Finding inspiration from history, events, points in time and the war, this hauntingly beautiful single takes on a personal outlet for her own feelings “Most of the time I want to delve into how other people would feel and put myself in someone else’s shoes,” Jess extends. Steering away from the electronic spectrum and bringing it back to real instruments “I’m writing with just my vocals, pretty much every song I am going to release this year is based on a vocal loop,” inputs Jess “It will all be original, I’m hoping the EP will be joined together with little interludes and spoken word pieces to make it a smooth flowing whole body of work.”
With so much creative talent bubbling up inside her, this year is a road to exciting happenings. With a single just released and a few more up her sleeves expect to see an EP launch coming your way with projections, album artworks, videos and more live shows! This is one lady not to be missed.
P.S Jess’ dream job is to do screen writing for a film or TV show – so someone hit her up!