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Interview: Words with 'Montaigne'

Phwoar! Hot off the back of her soaring new track 'Clip My Wings, we had a quick chat with Sydney's Jess Cerro aka Montaigne on her new single concept, upcoming National tour, how not to 'give a fuck', and the real pressing issue... crunchy or smooth peanut butter? 

Hey Jess! Congrats on the new single release ‘Clip My Wings’, how it feels having some fresh meat on the market?

It feels so good! Towards the tail end, I was really burning for something to be released. I feel like I was lying dormant too long...

Well, it’s been really well received. Lyrically, what’s it all about?

It’s about pushing back from your oppressors, standing up for yourself. It’s a general life thing really, the people that are around you aren’t always going to be easy to be around, they aren’t always going to allow you to exercise your authentic self, and agree with you. You need to have faith in what you’re doing, and pursue that. Fight against the oppressing voices! 

Is this something you had to learn quick, being so young in the Australian music industry?

I’d say it’s an aspect of the industry that’s really important, creatively, to fight against. A lot of times people will tell you “don’t try to jump to high or fly to high” – I’m going to whatever the fuck I want really! Figure out what you want, its definitely evolving, constantly evolving, follow it, have faith in it!

The video for ‘Clip My Wing’s is quiet minimalist, yet strong and empowering. How did the concept come about?

The video was Choreographed by two greats from Pixel Melbourne, but I came up with the general narrative and concept too it, the idea of falling etc. We had to use a harness, so I came in, got strapped up and the clip was shot it in 12 hours. Although! In the video, there are a lot of improvised moments, I was given 2 or 3 takes in the entire song to do whatever the fuck I wanted to do with my body. A lot of pain later and incredible bruises under my arm… and there you have it!

As a role model for young artists, girls in particular, do you have any advice for budding musos, or aspiring songsters/songstresses?

Yeah, first thing- don’t do what you think is cool, do what you want! I know a few people who are like “I can’t figure out what people what at the moment, I think I need to take a back seat etc”. Do what inspires you! Second, be a good person, people will respect you, fans and industry. Its nice to be nice to other people, and be kind. Kindness and happiness is intoxicating, that’s why watch comedies, get massages, eat food we like, it makes us happy and its addictive! Last, go to a lot of gigs! I go to a lot of gigs constantly, it’s important for gleaming ideas from artists, how to set up, how they interact with other members, it gives you a sense of the landscape, of the industry, and is great for networking!

Album talk – Do you have a new direction for Montaigne, or is it kind of just up in the air?

Up in the air. Whatever Tony (Producer) and I get into the studio really. We’ve being doing some pop electronic stuff, just messing around. My only expectation is that it sounds epic, that’s my favourite kind of song. When it sounds huge, atmospheric, larger than life. Like Arcade Fire, Coldplay, Sigur Ross and Bjork (my inspirations), I want to be able to create this mood and a reality that doesn’t exist outside music. Art creates other realities, that’s what I want from my music.

You're gearing up to hit your National tour very soon! Any new editions to your live performance/set the fans can look forward too?

Songs they haven’t heard before. Obviously I’ll be playing Clip My Wngs, it would be nonsensical if I wasn’t…

I wasn’t expecting to see it on the set list…

oh really?, Ohhhh your being sarcastic (laugh and collar pull)

Well you can expect a good musical performance, maybe even great, who knows. I don’t want to create too many expectations...

You took your name from the French philosopher, 'Michael De Montaigne'. Do you have a favirote quote of his?

“I have never seen a greater monster or miracle in the world than myself”. Kind of like what ‘I’m A Fantastic Wreck’ is all about, we’re all capable of really great and really awful things. We all make mistakes, some things can’t be helped, but most importantly, we have the capacity for goodwill. There is a lot of destruction in our minds and our world and “Ignorance is the softest pillow in which a man can rest his head”.

Fast questions. Converse or Docks?

Vegan Docks

OP shops or Labels?  I shop at op shops a lot, but lately I’m being blessed with stuff from labels- it’s a hard life. With OP shops it’s all about finding the gem, I’d say OP shops 60% labels 40%.

 Smooth or crunchy peanut butter?Real budding journalism here (Laughs) The pressing issues. ..I like crunchy in oatmeal, it melts in but still has that nice crunch to it, but on toast it’s easier for smooth. 

We’ve had the wrap-it-up-prompt (cheers Rory), so, what’s your New Year’s plans? I’ll be performing at a A bunch of festivals coming up, I can’t give anything away yet though, keep your eyes peeled!

Seriously, snatch up tickets to see Montaigne on her upcoming ‘Clip My Wings’ tour quick! 

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