Jesse Gage has been storming the DFW Underground Music scene for quite some time now. The Fort Worth Musician is vocalist for several bands such as Big Heaven with Amanda Hand, and Robot Therapy. His latest release out of Dreamy Life Records, Robot Therapy’s Life is Weird is now available on Bandcamp as well as Big Heaven’s, Strike a Match Released January of this year.
By: Araya Alford
EN LA CALLE: So, first off, give me some background. What initially got you into music, and what got you into playing music?
JESSE GAGE: My brother got me to play drums in his band when I was around twelve. We mostly played house shows. My brother is also responsible for introducing me to a lot of music.
ELC: That’s cool! What bands did he get you into back then?
JG: A lot of punk-ska like Leftover Crack and Choking Victim, and then just punk in general. One Christmas he gave me a Subhumans album, but then a few years later he gave me my first Bob Dylan album. I also remember being super young and my mom having this VHS of Michael Jackson music videos she would play all the time. There was a mini series on TV about Michael Jackson, and watching it was a family activity. And my Dad was a DJ when I was a baby. Also my grandpa says he used to put headphones on my mom’s stomach and play cumbias and mariachi songs when she was pregnant with me. Maybe I never had any choice, haha.
ELC: That’s so interesting! Such a wide variety! Do you think any of these tie into your influences and how you see yourself as a musician today?
JG: Yeah I have a deep love for pop music of all kinds. One of the first movies I remember seeing is La Bamba. Like that movie, and just the whole story of Ritchie Valens and Buddy Holly’s plane crash are things that I don’t remember not knowing. And so many 50s songs are burned into me. People in my family have super intense connections with music. And most of it is pop music. So I think a dream of mine is to matter in that way to someone. I write in a poppy way also.
ELC: That’s awesome. Yes, I agree. Great film. What have you been working on lately with your solo project?
JG: I have seven or eight songs ready to record. I haven’t totally decided on a sound yet. Just going to sit with them for a few weeks. Also thinking about bringing in more collaborators for this one. I’m changing my mind a lot at the moment.
ELC: If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be?
JG: Woah, heavy. This should be an easy question haha. The dudes from this band Herman Düne.
ELC: Haha, cool. Why would you choose them?
JG: Panic. Like when you’re at a restaurant and you’re not ready to order so you just say something. I think I’m mostly thinking of lyrics. They’re really cool because they’re French, but their songs are in English. So that comes out in super interesting ways. I’ve just listened to them since I was like seventeen and they are still interesting to me.
ELC: So, what was your inspiration with your recent release “Captain or the Whale”?
JG: As far as sound goes, I was listening to a bunch of Thermals and Thin Lizzy. “Captain or the Whale” is a super personal song. My wife had a miscarriage last year, and it’s about that, in a way. Also, just kind of dealing with it. So I just sort of wanted to make that a really small release. It was just way more personal than any of my other stuff. So I guess it was inspired more by life events than anything else.
ELC: I’m so sorry to hear that. I did notice that it was a more emotional take. What are some other common themes throughout your music?
JG: I think most of my songs are about trying to figure out my place in the world—trying to sort through life, dealing with fear, you know…fun stuff. I would say that most of my songs are about life events. I usually just bury it more. Sometimes I also write from the point of view of people I know.
ELC: It’s intriguing that you play with focalization, also. For listeners that haven’t heard of you, how would you describe your sound?
JG: I think because I hear it so much, I just tell people it sounds kind of like Mountain Goats with a Daniel Johnston vibe. But I usually try to avoid that conversation at all costs, hahah.
ELC: What’s the biggest challenge for you when making music?
JG: Management and public relations are challenging for me. I never really know what I’m supposed to do, or when I should release things, or even what I should release. Kind of wish somebody would tell me what to do, hahah.
ELC: Haha I bet it is hard to know the right time! Speaking of releases, when is your next release?
JG: Hoping to have something ready by the end of the summer. Big Heaven is going to record in the next few weeks. Also busy juggling all the bands I’m in, haha.
Catch Jesse Gage playing multiple bands all over the DFW area in many clubs and venues!