Los Angeles art-rock artist Poppy Jean Crawford recently released her debut EP, JeanJeanie, a five-track collection of raw surging songs rife with gritty garage-rock savors and darkwave shoegaze flavors.
Only 20-years-old, she’s signed to Danger Mouse’s 30th Century Records and has toured with Starcrawler and Brian Jones Massacre. Poppy is the daughter of Casey Niccoli, former girlfriend of Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction. Niccoli appeared on the cover of Nothing’s Shocking.
Describing her gift on guitar, Poppy Jean told Jeff Cubbison of Impose Magazine, “I’m an accidentally good guitarist. I started playing just because I wanted to have chords to go along with my music.”
Since she’s discernibly better than “good” on guitar, and her music is so visceral and seductive, Guitar Girl Magazine interviewed Poppy Jean to find out more about how she got into music, what kind of guitar she plays, and her songwriting process.
You were exposed to music and art from a young age. How did you get started in music? What’s the backstory there?
It’s just what I was meant to do. I didn’t wake up one day and say, “I’m gonna be a rockstar” or anything like that. I always sang and performed. But after my first breakup is when I really got the bug! I was in so much young love, broken heart pain. I needed a way to work through it. And here I am now.
What inspired your new EP, JeanJeanie? Some might infer a connection to the David Bowie rocker “Jean Genie.” Any correlation there?
My EP is a compilation in a sense, everything I had been playing live for the last year … well, a very curated version of my live shows. I couldn’t afford to do a full album! Unlike songwriting, title deciding is not my forte! I was racking my brain on a name for this album … and then I look over at my Bowie record, I saw “JEAN GENIE” and BAM! That has to be it. I have a deep connection with Bowie, but we can get into that later.
There’s a dark, raw edginess to the EP, almost wickedly erogenous. Is the eroticism simply stylized, or are you making a statement.
Wow. I wish it was that deeply planned out, but no. Sexuality is just a part of my essence. I don’t really think about it, or even see it until it’s pointed out to me. But I’m not that innocent. I do love sexy music, and if listeners walk away from my EP feeling flustered, I wouldn’t mind.
What kind of guitar do you play?
A cherry red Rickenbacker.
If you could have any guitar, what would you choose?
A black as night Rickenbacker!
What is your writing process? Lyrics first, or music?
I do both at the same time actually. I get a feeling or an idea, I grab my guitar, I find a key, jum a melody … Think of a phrase … then it flows. I only put down my guitar to write the lyrics on some crumpled papers I found lying around.
Who was your first concert, and who has been your favorite so far?
My first official “CONCERT CONCERT” was a KROQ Acoustic Christmas. I was a freshman in high school, and I brought my best friend at the time, Adina. It was at The Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall. Arcade Fire headlined. I thought I was so cool and quickly learned after my first D.I.Y show it was “uncool” HAHA.
What was your first album on cassette, CD and/or vinyl?
My first vinyl was Belle and Sebastian Write About Love. That and a Charles Manson record my mom’s boyfriend had hidden away.
Which five albums and/or artists would you not want to live without?
PJ Harvey; Radiohead; Thom Yorke; 90’s trip-hop. Ugh, and I can’t answer the rest.
Do you have a guilty music and/or entertainment pleasure?
I’m a TV junkie! I can watch crap all day, and I do!
Why make music? I mean what’s the point?
Deep. I’m stupid that’s why!
What’s next for you musically?
I’m just gonna keep on keeping on … and we’ll all have to see what happens next.