Jessica Lea Mayfield Makes Heads Sing and Ears Ring On Her New Album
Were there things you learned about working in the studio that you didn't know before because you weren't producing?
There were some things I wanted on the last two records. They were thrown together, made really quickly, and that was part of the aesthetic. But I wanted to take my time with this album, to nurture it a little longer.
You're known for exploring the dark side of relationships, and that's the case here. The song "I Wanna Love You," which is about an experience with a stalker, pretty much puts "Every Breath You Take" to shame. Were you concerned about encouraging more of that behavior?
That was a big concern. As soon as I finished writing that song I thought, "I can never play this, ever." I was really disturbed by the things I was receiving in the mail. Those things dominated my thoughts in a negative, frightening way. In that song I was getting into the head of someone who was completely out of touch with reality. But I'm a really open person. I don't feel like I should hide things, so I decided I should play it. If I feel I shouldn't sing something, then that means I should sing it. I need to get these thoughts out there. I hope the dude understands how frightening it is and will leave me alone. I don't want to have to shoot anybody.
Let's hope it doesn't come to that.
I'm an excellent shot.
There may be a sequel to that song.
Unforgiven and Unforgiven II. "I Wanna Love You" and "I'm Gonna Shoot You."
One of my favorite songs on the album is "Unknown Big Secret." It's brutally honest, and the guitar parts on it, as with a lot of the guitar on the record, it just seems to be pouring something out, with a sense of release, of catharsis.
You're right with the guitar parts. That's where I started with this record. I would get excited with the sounds and I would express myself that way first, after being inspired by the sounds. There's definitely something about expressing myself that way, just having fun with the guitar. I have to amuse myself and have fun with what I'm creating.
Was making this record about becoming who you want to be or was it a product of having already done that? You're married and have a good relationship now, and you're a veteran when it comes to making records.
I turned 24 last August, so this has been the year where I've lost all the young-person frustrations. I still have frustrations, but I had all the teenage insecurities, the young-adult stuff. I was flying by the seat of my pants, totally lost with what I was doing. At least now I know what I'm doing, that there's no reason to be embarrassed or whatever. All those clichéd things people say are true: Just be yourself, fuck everybody else, make yourself happy so you can make other people happy. And then go fuck around. Duh!
I may have to put that on T-shirt.
You have my permission! Wear it to the show.