This is a very tiny interview with Jessica Cerro, stage name Montaigne. It weren't over the phone or Skype otherwise we would have wangled longer answers from her and posed follow-up questions, but this still gives a sense of her, and if you are a fan will give you more fuel to invite your friends to the show at Mojos, 30th July. She is a great singer and songwriter, a free deep thinker who named her music after a French philosopher of the Renaissance and loves to play puter games.
So, here you go….
MONTAIGNE - "Maybe an RPG"
AF The other night I was watching Rage - the women from The Go Betweens were programming. One of your songs came on and my housemate stopped in his tracks. We both watched and listened in silence while you played and sang and lip synched and acted. I think it was the power that comes from pure self expression - not everyone can do this, but you can. How do connect with your deep self and then translate it to music?
JC I spend a lot of my time focusing on my thoughts - thinking about my thoughts, you could call them metathoughts - and where they come from, why I have a proclivity for certain attitudes or modes of thought or behaviour etc. From that very clinical, cerebral place, I then let my natural irrational emotions wash over, and I think that maintains a sense of trueness to my Authentic Form whilst allowing for a bit of melodramatic storytelling and poetic whining.
AF I know you think and act to care for the planet, other animals etc. How do you deal with caring about climate change and world issues, and having many long flights and van rides as part of your creative life?
JC Well, no one is perfect. And at least I am doing the best that I can, within the parameters of my lifestyle.
AF As a never-gaming person, can you tell me what you love about gaming?
JC The escapism of it. I’m a big fan of fantastical universes and the stories and worlds and lives that exist within them. The soundtracks are almost always incredible, too.
AF What would an RTS game of your life be like?
JC Haha, I don’t really imagine my life could be made into an RTS game. Maybe an RPG.
AF What genres of music do you think people would be surprised to learn you're close to? As in, music you love, or music you see as near yours that might not seem a straight forward comparison? We've been listening to Joni Mitchell's Blue album at home, and her lyrical density and experimentation and whatnot reminds me of you. Kate Bush of course but people probably mention her all the time to you… Who do you love that would surprise people? Apart from David Byrne :)
JC Secondhand Serenade, Jonathan Boulet, John Mayer, My Chemical Romance, Owen Pallett, M83, Yann Tiersen, Darwin Deez, Big Scary, The Swell Season, Bright Eyes, Sigur Rós, Paramore, Linkin Park, Utada Hikaru - people would probably be surprised by most of the music I listen to.
AF “It was a melancholy humor … which first put into my head this raving concern with writing,” the other Montaigne says… I only just found out it's not by accident you share the same name. Do you find writing songs a 'raving concern' for you?
JC Yes, yes I do.
AF So many heavy questions! So lastly I guess, what's your favourite way to do your hair ATM?
JC Hmm. I don’t really do my hair per se, I kind of wake up and hope for the best, or get out of the shower and let it dry and hope for the best.
AF Also: comment not question, but I think you should have your own new-age/sci-fi tv show. If you don't become a sports star after music, maybe that could happen.
JC Heheh, who knows!
AF THANKS Jessica, good luck for life as a human and musician, love Amber Fresh
JC Thanks guys x
Photography courtesy of Montaigne @montaignemusic