Thursday, December 8, 2011

Northern Exposure: Tiny Vipers

Jesy Fortino, aka Tiny Vipers, IS PLAYING AT CAIRO THIS WEEKEND FOR EXPO 89!!

In celebration of such fortunes, I asked Jesy to come in for a small interview and photo shoot with me before her performance.

As luck would have it, we had a class together at Seattle Central in 2010, a discovery which led to a conversation bemoaning the quality of coffee at SCCC's The Buzz and discuss the explosion of pseudo-corporate eateries surrounding the school. "Panera? That place smells like toddlers."

Jesy is currently in school for hydrology, with the hopes of some day working at the Cedar River Watershed. Academia has put her music career on a temporary hiatus, however, which is why it's even greater than she is playing EXPO 89 on SUNDAY NIGHT!

Here are some photos we took...

...and here are the rest!

The interview:

You’re not originally from Seattle, how does the PNW manifest itself in your music?

I’ve been in the Northwest since I was about ten, and I go on a lot of hikes… but I’m not really sure how to answer that because I can’t remove myself from it, you know? I get asked that a lot and I never know what to say.

Where is your favorite place to hike?

Taylor Mountain, Tiger Mountain, and the Cedar River Watershed. I’m going to school for hydrology, so hopefully I can work there someday.

What is inspiring you the most right now?

I guess all the books I have been reading are really inspiring. I’m reading “We Have Never Been Modern” by Bruno Latour right now. It has been inspiring me to think about things in a new way.

Do you have a style icon?

Let me think. I never thought about that. I like really functional clothing… I wear hiking boots every day… but I’m not sure where I got that from. Probably the Pacific Northwest actually—you have to dress for the weather. I grew up in the mountains so you always had to do that, I guess I still do. I guess you could say the NW affected my style more than my music.

What is your fantasy band line-up [to play with]?

I would feel like a dingus playing with really good musicians! I guess Townes Van Zandt just because I would want to hang out with him afterwards. The Durutti Column, except I would feel like such an asshole for playing a show with them. But that would be so cool!

Do you have a favorite Sub Pop label mate?

I’m so out of touch right now, but really I like the Fleet Foxes. Robin Pecknold is a good friend, or was, before he moved.

Your style of music is very intimate, what kind of venue do you prefer to play?

Big venues are the most uncomfortable—anything with a huge stage and crazy sound system and, you know, lighting and fog, is just bad. The best are galleries and small places especially when its just me or one other person. My first-ever tour was with Minus the Bear and The Helio Sequence—every night we played huge venues full of assholes that just hated me. It was very disheartening.

Have you had any shitty jobs?

Um, I worked at McDonalds? And I worked at Skipper’s for years and years. I've pretty much had every shitty job there is.

What is something you are never without?

Like, when I go walking and stuff? I guess there is nothing in particular. I leave my phone at home and it causes problems sometimes. When we go hiking we always bring fire flints.

Tell me about your tattoo (at the base of your throat).

I got it when I was a teenager. The guy I was dating at the time was a tattoo guy. It’s a microscope. I kind of regret it. All my tattoos are bad… they are from high school. Look at this terrible one [shows me her upper arm]… it says “facism” instead of “fascism”. I tried to cover it up with stick and poke. I just walked around my house all day poking my arm with an inked needle, and it barely did anything.


Listen to some Tiny Vipers tunes here.

Still haven't had your fill? Never fear! Jesy and Liz Harris (Grouper) are releasing a record on Kranky that will be out in 2012, under the moniker "Mirroring".

See you all this weekend at EXPO 89!!!

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