Nicki Jaine

May 28, 2003

Tell us a little about yourself.

Ever since I was really young, I always liked to make up little songs and I took piano lessons when I was around five years old. I did that for a couple of years and when I was about 13, I decided that I needed to learn how to play guitar so I took guitar lessons for a few years too. I started writing really soon after I started playing guitar and performing out at coffee houses really regularly just on open mic nights and things like that for all those years. I wasn't old enough to get into any bars so it was all open mics at coffee houses. Just more recently I started playing the keyboards and writing on them again which is absolutely wonderful. It's really great to start writing on new instruments. It's inspirational.

Who are your main musical influences? Are there any musicians who really inspired you?

I like a really wide variety of music. Everything from Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin to modern things. I was recently introduced to Rasputina who I'm very impressed by. I like Radiohead a whole lot. I like a pretty wide variety of music. When I first started playing guitar, 4 Non Blondes was huge. I thought Linda Perry was just so cool with her big hats and her big rings. She was one of the first women that I remember seeing be a rock star and she was inspiring to me.

I notice a number of female bands put out two or three albums and then get angry with each other and split up. I never quite understood that.

I don't know. It's just like any other relationship I guess. You can work through it to a certain point and then you just hit a wall which you just can't really work past. That's what happened with Torn Paper Dolls. In the end, it's sad now but it's not a completely bad thing. It's actually inspired me to do a lot more writing on my own and I'm actually going to go back to taking music lessons now. It's made me grow in other ways even though it's sad to end it.

Tell us a little about Torn Paper Dolls.

I was performing a solo show last September and Sky, who was to be the first member of the band, was told by a friend to go see my show. She really liked what she saw and after the show we got talking and she said that she played keyboards. We got together and there was a very good musical chemistry and the two of us played out for a while. We then put out an ad for a drummer and we found Zach who was really very great. After that we found a cellist, Richie, and that was the complete four members. The few recordings that we have that we did live, I was so happy with them. It was a really wonderful experience playing with them. It's over now. Rest in peace.

You were recording your first EP. Is that still coming out?

Yeah, it definitely is. I'm working with a brilliant producer named Chris Shepherd. Between me and Chris, we're going to do most of the production and recording. He plays guitar, he plays keyboards, he plays a bit of drums, and we're going to have some studio musician fill in on cello. We're going to do some additional recording at a studio that my friend is currently running who is also very supportive of my music. I have some really wonderful people that I'm working with and we want to get it done by the end of the summer. I'm really looking forward to having the EP out.

You guys were kind of more like a Goth band.

I guess no matter what, people always label it as Goth because it's got kind of a dark feel to it. Goth is kind of a funny word that means so many different things to so many different people. When I describe the music of the band, I never use the word because it just means so many different things. It just doesn't really paint a really clear image. There's definitely a dark feeling to it. Also a 30ish cabaret type vibe sometimes, I've been told. That's something that I would like to see become more of a part of the mood of the music.

On a couple of occasions, I've interviewed some Goth bands for my webzine. It was fascinating because there is such a wide variety. I've interviewed Voltaire and Black Tape For A Blue Girl. It's cool that Goth music can be so many things.

Yeah, it is so many different things. Voltaire is wonderful. I actually played a show with him a couple of months ago. It's just so funny how many things are considered Goth. You have different bands that have a Renaissance feel and that's Goth. Then there's the industrial type Goth. Just by saying Goth, there are so many things that come to mind. It's an adjective that's always going to be used I think.

It's that label out there for music you can't quite classify. Are you still going to be doing your Catacomb Lounge show?

Yeah, all the shows that were booked I'm going to be playing solo. I have the Catacomb Lounge show coming up. I love playing the Catacomb Lounge. It's such a cool little room and the people there are always so receptive to the musicians and the art that's on display. There's a really good energy there. I'm looking forward to that. Also on June 14th, there's a show coming up at the Tokyo Rose in Charlottesville, VA.

What kind of art is on display at the Catacomb Lounge?

Every month they feature a different artist. Sometimes it's a photographer. Sometimes it's a painter. Sometimes there's some sculptures and it's always really interesting. It's just such a great mixture of music and visual art that they always have there. It just makes for a great atmosphere every month.

Sounds cool. Tell us about the documentary, Dynasty Of Darkness.

I was invited by Myke Hideous of Empire Hideous to play a night at CBGB's. A group of videographers were doing a documentary on the night called Dynasty Of Darkness and the documentary was to include live footage of the bands performing that night also interviews with the bands to get a behind the scenes feel for "Goth" music. As far as I know that is still in the works. As far as getting all the final editing done. Axis Video, the guys who are making it, are really cool to work with. It was a lot of fun so I'm looking forward to seeing that when that comes out.

Naughty Bunny is a pretty talented guy. He plays cello, bass guitar, piano, and accordian.

He plays a bit of everything.

He was trained on all of this?

I know that he was clasically trained on the cello. The other things I honestly don't know if they're the things that he was self-taught or if he actually took lessons for all of them. He played quite a few things. We never did get to break out the theremin which I really wanted to use because I never used a theremin before. I'm absolutely fascinated with them.

What exactly is a theremin?

It's an instrument that makes sounds by the way you position your hands. You don't actually touch it. It's really bizarre. When you move your hand to or away from the magnetic field, you get different musical pitches. It's very interesting. It's magic, let's leave it at that. I hope to play one someday.

Describe a Torn Paper Dolls show.

There was a really great energy between us. It was so exciting to see the songs go from a very basic melody to just being really well produced and so fully orchestrated. It was really amazing and I'll definitely miss that. It was a really beautiful thing.

Do you think some time in the future you might reform the band or maybe do something different?

I think that after the EP is done, I will be looking for people to perform with, definitely. As far as the band getting back with all the original members, that's most likely not going to happen. I wish everyone well.

Tell me about the traumatizing incident involving trick or treating at Bruce Springsteen's house.

It's true. When I was about seven years old, My aunt and my grandma took me and my cousins trick or treating at Bruce Springsteen's house and he had a coffin full of candy. He had this guy lying in the coffin pretending to be dead and when you went up to the coffin to get the candy, the living corpse would jump out at you and I was so scared. I was scared of my own shadow so this was really scary. I had my cousins get me candy. It was really upsetting. No more Springsteen for me. He's Goth. He's the one with a coffin on his lawn. Bruce is Goth.

You've opened for Carfax Abbey and Otto's Daughter. What type of bands are they?

Carfax Abbey is a really great band out of Philly. What they do I guess you could describe as Goth. Sort of an industrial kind of thing. They're so supportive. They're really great guys and really wonderful musicians. Even as a solo artist, they had me open for them a couple of times. Otto's Daughter is an incredible band. I'm actually very sad. They just moved to Hollywood so we don't have them here on the East Coast anymore. They're this incredible female fronted Nine Inch Nails meets Hole kind of thing. They're absolutely brilliant. We actually never got to play together which I so regret that our schedules never actually coincided. They're really wonderful. They were very inspirational.

Tell us about the songs on the Antarctica 2003 demo.

The first one is "Antarctica". It's kind of a bitter song about somebody that wasn't very nice to me and who was very fascinated with Antarctica and with penguins. Amazingly enough, after writing this very bitter song and speaking to this person for a couple of years, he actually contacted me and came to a show and got to see me perform this incredibly bitter, mean song about him. Which is a fascinating experience in of itself. It's basically my penguin obsessed ex-boyfriend is making me angry and that's the gist of it. The most abridged version. That cracks me up that he was obsessed with penguins. Our apartment was full of penguins. Everywhere you looked there was a penguin. The breakup song would have to be an angry penguin song of course. Then there's "Fireflies & Razorblades" which is about somebody that I love that isn't obsessed with penguins which is healthy I guess. It's about being complete opposites and still somehow finding each other fascinating. Finding a common ground to work on even though you can totally not understand anything about someone but still work perfectly with them. Then "She Is The Madman" is about that little voice that you have inside your head. Maybe it's just me, I don't know. It kind of talks you down when you're not thinking the greatest things and keeps some sanity to life.

I think we all have that little voice.

That's good. The people that don't have the voice end up doing really bad things. If you don't have that voice, you should definitely go find it. It's about the good voice in your head that talks you down.

Any other ideas or comments?

The EP is scheduled to be done in September. We're shooting for early September and I'll definitely be updating on www.nickijaine.com so if anyone wants to check in and how things are coming along, I'll be keeping everybody posted. I'm really looking forward to having it done. I think it's going to be just an amazing experience and I think I'm going to be really happy with the end product too.

It's basically going to be three studio tracks, two live tracks, and some DVD footage.

That's definitely the plan. I'm going to be working most probably with Axis Video, the guys who did the Dynasty Of Darkness video to edit together some live footage from a show. I think that would be a really cool element to have on the EP. The live tracks haven't been decided on yet. It might even be from the CBGB's Gallery show I'm going to play in August. I think we'll have a nice little mixture of stuff. Studio, live, and video.

Nicki Jaine