By Darby VanHoutan
Jessica Louise Dye weaved in and out of the crowd, gin and tonic in hand, before bringing her roller skates to a halt and introducing herself to me. Dye is the lead singer of the surf-rock band from New York, High Waisted. She, with three bandmates in tow – drummer Jono Bernstein, bassist Jeremy Hansen, and guitarist Stephen Nielsen – carried with them an infectious vibe that made you want to stay a while.
Their website (appropriately titled highwaisted.party) describes every show as a party. I was determined to see if this was true. After watching Dye bend in half while singing and playing guitar, Bernstein throw out his shoulder from drumming, and the infatuation of the crowd, I’d have to say that they live up to their website. I also got a few minutes to talk to Jessica about what inspires her and how she got to where she is.
Q: What are you feeling at this moment?
A: Oh man, I’m really excited to take off my roller skates. I’m in a really good mood. The best part is that these shows have been really early which is such a contrast of playing in New York. There shows don’t normally start until ten or eleven o’clock. They’re late, late nights. Basically, in New York you see the sunrise often. Here, I’m playing at sunset so this whole tour has been a different vibe.
Q: How long have you guys been on the road for?
A: God, nine days almost? About a week. The whole tour is 32 days total.
Q: Are you stopping anywhere in Lawrence after this?
A: After this? I don’t know yet. Let’s see how many gin and tonics I have.
Q: I read that you moved to New York to follow a boy. What would you say to the girl who did that now?
A: I mean, I’m the same person. I’ve been the same person since I was like fourteen. I just have more experiences and a lot more fun now. I wish I could tell the girl who was going through that New York breakup to keep being lonely, and savor that loneliness because it’ll eventually work out.
Q: How did you guys find your aesthetic that you have now?
A: I just really like surf music. I realized that I can’t really dance so much. I’m a goofy dancer. But if you put on a good twist-and-shout and I slay. Okay? That is my jam. So I thought, okay I wanna play music that even myself could dance to. We also all have common interests in the genre. It’s also really fun to play. I love a good sentimental, sad song, but that’s not fun to play every night. Imagine if you went on a tour for a month, and you had to sing these songs that were about pain, hardship, and sorrow. God! How depressing. That’s not fun. I don’t wanna do that. I want to get on a stage every night and maybe sing about things that are the catalyst of sorrow but then spin it, make it happy, shake my hair, shake my booty, have a drink, high five my best friends and go to the next city.
Q: Would you describe the band as your best friends?
A: Absolutely, yes. If they’re not then we’re fucking up.
Q: Do you guys ever fight?
A: Absolutely! Don’t you ever fight with your mom or your brother? You have to. Your relationships aren’t healthy if you don’t tell someone that them clipping their toenails in the van is obnoxious. There are growing pains. We are brothers and sisters and we fight like that. That’s totally fine. We get to the venue and everyone does their job and we get on stage and everything is fine again. Even our fights are so baby. It’s like, “Wah, I wanted to go to Taco Bell and we went to Wendy’s”. They’re not real fights. They’re just family annoyances.
Q: What’s the difference between shows in New York and touring all over the United States?
A: It’s totally different. New York is like it’s own animal. People in the midwest actually watch your set. They come early and they’ll come talk to you at the merch booth and say hi. If they liked it, they feel obligated to tell you. That fun, positive feedback is really great. You don’t get that in New York. In New York everyone is just too cool.
Q: How would you describe a party?
A: Balloons, red lights, short skirts, and low ambitions.
Q: Who is one person that inspires you creatively?
A: Patty Smith. I’ve read all her books and all her poetry. She’s such an influence.
The band is continuing their with a show today in Denver and other dates following it.