Putting aside the voodoo dolls for a moment, the wicked Janele Mystique takes a moment to chat to The Other Side Reviews writer Jason Snyman. Get ready for some dark enlightenment and take a gander at what she had to say:
TOS: First off, I’ve just listened to your album Never Trust The Dead for the third time in a row and I simply love it! Are you currently working on a new full-length album, and if so what can the fans expect?
JM: Thank you very much! I’ve been working hard on writing new material, but I’ve also been working on teaching my new band mates all of my songs from Never Trust The Dead. In the future, fans can expect a lot more shows and a full band! (Finally!) We still have yet to find every member we need, but we’re keeping ourselves on track and creating the essentials we need to be wicked together.
TOS: You’ve collaborated with quite a number of other artists. Who would you most like to work with in the future?
JM: In the future, I hope to work with anyone. I find collaborating the best way to grow as an artist. Being the artist I am, and having so much love for all music, I look forward to hopefully working in genres outside of my own with other people’s music. Anyone interested in collaborating with me is an artist I would love to collaborate with. Artists I’d like on my next album as guest vocalists are kind of my own secrets that I have yet to even ask the artist themselves and that, my dear, will be a surprise for us all.
TOS: Your music style has been called gypsy-punk and gypsy-pop. I have no idea what that means, but I have always been fascinated with the lifestyle. Do you have any gypsy influences?
JM: Gypsy-punk is a style of music that has a lot of the same elements that The Wicked has, yet I feel as though we’re not completely under that category. This sound comes from all over, so it’s hard for me to put my finger on a genre that suits it. I personally call it ‘Music for Theatrical Ghosts’. Just like in theatre, the imagery is the main focus and that’s what The Wicked is all about. I have no gypsy influences, although I love the idea of gypsies. I like that they are free-spirited, like a human ghost.
TOS: What other major influences do you have, in life and in music?
JM: In life, my influences come from experiences I have with people and relationships I have from people. People impact your life so strongly. In music, my influences come from all over – from Trent Reznor, to Lady Gaga, to Thom Yorke, to Danny Elfman. I am inspired mostly by my own sadness.
TOS: I loved ‘Time To Kill’, what a great song. What inspired you to write it and what brought about those lyrics?
JM: The song ‘Time To Kill’ is about falling into a routine you can’t get out of, and how everyday you wake up in the morning and do it all over again. It drains you. For me, that routine is called Love – it’s different for everyone.
TOS: We’ve heard that The Wicked has gone from a duo with Nick Janowicz to your own solo project. What happened?
JM: Yes, it’s been a year of The Wicked being my solo project, but in reality The Wicked wasn’t something Nick Janowicz was really interested in. Also, dating the only other member of your band was never a good plan, I just needed someone to work with who understood what I wanted. Now I have recruited a new guitarist (Chris Mitchell) and a new bassist (Jeremy Martin) to be WICKED with me!
TOS: I’m presuming that Nick played an equal part in writing songs and coming up with creative ideas on Never Trust The Dead. If he’s no longer with the band can we expect a new approach or different sound on future albums?
JM: For the most part, a lot of the songs were written by myself. I would bring these songs to Nick and he’d add his guitar part, but all lyrics were written by me and the entire image of the band was created by me. This was more so my project than his. I’m always in a different state of mind as I grow and in the future The Wicked will sound like the same band, just probably a little bit better.
TOS: You are quite a songbird being compared over and over to Gwen Stefani. What do you make of that?
JM: Yeah, I’ve noticed I’ve been compared to Gwen Stefani which in a way makes sense and also doesn’t at all. I can see where people are coming from. I’ve been a fan of Gwen and No Doubt for quite some time, I just never compared myself to her or ever wanted to sound like her. In reality, I grew up really obsessed with Christina Aguilera’s voice and envied her completely for it.
TOS: I hate comparisons, but I have to bring this one up: in a review of Never Trust The Dead your sound was compared to Tim Burton meets Danny Elfman meets Stefani meets Fiona Apple. Tell me honestly, in your opinion, is Tim Burton full of shit? Are his glory days long and gone?
JM: Tim Burton is in no way full of shit!! His glory days may be over, but he’s getting older and it happens. I am the biggest Burton fan, really. My life just revolves around his movies; though I do think his older work is his best, it’s hard for an artist to compete with themselves. Always knowing you have to do better than you’ve already done. I’m a big fan of loss of innocence and hopeless romance, so he fills my heart quickly with warmth.
TOS: I am a huge Nightmare Before Christmas fan, but am crediting Henry Selick for that one though because I think Tim Burton is a bastard. I really enjoyed your 2012 Nightmare Before Christmas release as well, any more plans for another such project?
JM: Henry Selick only directed The Nightmare Before Christmas, whereas Tim Burton was the creator of the entire imagery and the characters. I love the idea of the movie more than the movie itself, like all the little parts nobody really catches or cares about. In that way, Tim Burton movies are like my songs. People usually don’t catch the bigger meaning of it all and only see what they want. As if my song ‘Elevator’ is about an actual Elevator, you know? Anyway, eventually I’ll probably cover a song from Corpse Bride.
TOS: Janele, if you were a character in Nightmare Before Christmas, surely you would be Sally. In the music world who would be your Jack?
JM: In the music world, who would be my Jack? You’ve stumped me. Good one. Fuck. I guess I’m gonna have to go with Trent Reznor. I can see myself hiding behind grave stones, listening to him sing on a windy little hill and knowing how he feels, yet too afraid to be seen.
TOS: What is the creepiest, weirdest place you’ve performed a gig
JM: Honestly don’t think I’ve performed anywhere that weird. I’ve had the terrible, sarcastic idea of going on a tour called the ‘Disturb The Peace Tour’ and playing in old cemeteries all around, but that’s just a funny, cliché thought that will never happen.
TOS: Finally, your band’s name is The Wicked. What would you say is the most wicked thing about you?
JM: I am Wicked because I grew up in love with witchcraft. Living so close to Salem, MA – home of the witches – it was too easy for me to learn about witchcraft. Anything a little bit dark in my childhood made me who I am today.
Thank you to Janele for chatting with us and answering our questions. The Wicked’s tunes can be heard on SwitchBitch Records and their official SoundCloud.