For solid, hard-hitting rock music with spacious, indie sensibilities, which frequently shifts into areas of shoegaze, classic emo, or Autolux-style dream pop, you can’t go wrong with the Lowell quartet oldsoul. At the helm of the group is singer/guitarist Jess Hall, whose distinct vocal croon regularly alternates song to song from quiet whisper, to a declarative shout, bolstering a collection of deeply personal lyrics. We recently caught up with her with a mission; to ask…5 QUESTIONS FOR JESS HALL.
What’s the last GREAT album you’ve recently listened to?
The most recent album I’ve listened to that really blew me away has to be A Little Blood Never Hurt Anyone by one of my favorite local bands, Sleeping Patterns. The combination of musicianship and emotion poured into this album really tugged at my heart and soul. Honestly though, there have been some really incredible albums being put out both on a local and national scale. It’s been a tough year deciding which ones have really pulled my attention the most. At the end of the day, I always go back to My Chemical Romance’s masterpiece, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge because my music taste has stayed pretty much the same since I was 13. That’s probably one of my favorite albums of all time.
What band or artist would you most like to share a bill with?
Oh jeez, that’s a tough one. I have so many bands I would love to share a stage with. However, most of these bands are no longer in existence. To be honest, I don’t think I can even answer this question. I like playing with all bands of all types and tiers. Playing with a local band that you’ve never heard of that ends up blowing you away with their live performance is incredible. Getting to share a stage with a band you’ve admired from afar, regardless of who it is, sounds exciting. I’ve had the pleasure of being able to experience both.
What passions and hobbies do you follow outside of music?
When I’m not playing music (which isn’t often), I really enjoy being outside. I love hiking, swimming, walking,- basically exploring anything that has a beautiful view. Being on tour is my favorite because we get to drive through different states with different climates and landscapes. I love being able to wake up in a new place every day. I also enjoy photography, video games, petting animals, and writing.
What’s the one thing about the music scene as a whole you’d like to change?
I would love if larger bands with more of a following brought more local bands with them for the ride. It’s a tough, competitive industry, and I find resources for lower-tier bands to be scarce. It would be nice if we had the opportunity for more exposure – whether we’re opening the show with a 20 minute set, or accompanying a band on their tour.
I’d also like to see more spaces open up. Venues for DIY bands come and go like quicksand. Half of the places we played on our summer tour don’t exist anymore. It would be nice if there were more safe spaces that encouraged local art and music to flourish. I am very fortunate to have our band based in an area that is so rich in culture and the arts. I can only hope more cities and towns begin to work on making more spaces for us to create in.
What was the crystallizing moment when you knew you wanted to be a musician?
(This question comes from the previous 5 Questions interviewee Tim Howd of The Only Humans: Here)
I knew I loved music since the day I was able to speak. However, when I was 8 years old, I had found my father dead in my own home. My older brother disappeared. Later, I lost all of my grandparents within the same year. By 14 years old, I felt like all I knew was how to let go. I lost interest in most things. Nothing is permanent, so why even bother doing things that made you happy? After several years of struggling to find what made me feel complete, I finally re-realized what my purpose was: to play music.
To teach people how to take their negative energy and put it into something positive. To help inspire people to take what they’ve lost, and put it into something expressive and beautiful. I regained what I had lost through putting my emotions into music. Now, each song I write has a little piece of the people I’ve lost. It’s like they’re always with me. I really hope our music can inspire those who have loved and lost to keep pushing through
– Lee Martin
oldsoul’s music can be found at their BandCamp as well as event dates, or check out their Facebook page for further news and information: