Described as a state of mind that relates to both romantic and platonic relationships, ‘Limerence’ refers to the “intrusive, melancholic thoughts” and the “involuntary, intense desire” we experience when falling in love with someone. This myriad of conflicting emotions is what inspired Jessica Winter‘s upcoming EP of the same name. Set for release tomorrow (10th Feb) via Lucky Number, the London-based artist has transformed her heavy experiences of heartache into five new glossy, energetic pop gems.
We caught up with Jessica to talk about her new record, what she’s learned from falling in and out of love, and her anticipations for her upcoming SXSW appearance and support slots touring with Rebecca Black…
Hello Jessica, it’s been a while since we last spoke! We were big fans of your EP, Sad Music, which you released back in 2020, but a lot has happened since then. You now have a new record on the horizon now, talk me through what inspired the songs on your new EP, Limerence…
I think it all started with the final track of the EP, which is called ‘The Love Song’. It was a stream of consciousness thing, it was almost like verbal diarrhea. Life can be quite chaotic, especially with love, and having no control over it. It was just all of my thoughts and feelings coming out. So I was thinking about why these things were happening in my life, what patterns I kept following, and then it got into other things things like addiction, which is where ‘Funk This Up’ came from. That track is to do with sabotaging yourself through drugs, drink and sex. You know that’s the place that you can go to to escape, but that it will hurt you, but you end up doing it anyway. It’s like the angel and the demon complex. So I think from those two songs, I was like, ‘Wow, that’s a lot issues going on there!’
I wrote ‘Let Me In’ a long time ago, but it is also about struggling with the same kind of love issues. ‘Choreograph’ is more of a perspective of society in itself. It’s about where we’re at, in terms of what we portray love as and what we deem as happiness. I think ‘Choreograph’ is the standout track for me. ‘Clutter’ is the pop banger, which I’m really proud of, but I feel that ‘Choreograph’ is the best song, for sure. In terms of production, it has three different genres in one. It starts as a piano musical theater ballad, and then goes into a disco, trance-y big chaotic mess at the end. It’s really dramatic. It’s just one of those songs that doesn’t come around very often. It stands on its own. It’s all about the lyrics for me on that song. The desperation to just find something real.
So when I put all of my songs together, I realized there was a running theme to do with love. I think the EP is also a reaction to what was going on in 2020 too. We all went into lockdown, and I think we’re all yet to realize how that has affected us in the years to come. It’s amplified all of our demons in some weird way.
There’s something about your music and the way in which you tackle quite dark concepts, but with such a euphoric pop twist. I think that’s a real achievement.
Thank you! I don’t want things to just be doom and gloom. You’ve got to entertain!
Exactly, you’ve got to have the light with the dark. That’s how it works. Something that I do find really entertaining are the music videos that accompany your singles, especially your most recent ones ‘Choreograph’ and ‘Clutter’, which features Lynks. Talk me through your approaches to making them…
I feel like you can’t take yourself too seriously. There’s a real fine line between taking yourself too seriously, but also not being a joke. So I’m always treading that fine line. But with ‘Choreograph’, it had to be quite a grandiose kind of video, because I was talking about that classic Hollywood-style type of love. So obviously, I had to have a rain machine and do a video where I was recreating ‘Singing In The Rain’…
I always feel like I need to juxtapose things, depending on the song and the content. So with ‘Clutter’, it’s such a shiny glossy song, so with the video, it was more like a very British reality. A gloomy day in a vintage car, not in Hollywood with a rain machine.
I love the group of older women who feature in the video. I also love the concept that they have “left their husbands in order to seek a new life, filled with independent energy and hotness…”
It was so nice working with the women in the video, because they ended up giving us some words of wisdom. They were telling us about the different stages in your life as a woman, and how you come to different realizations at different points. It ended up being almost like a therapy session! They said not to worry, because it does take women a lot longer than we think to work out relationships, and what they want and need from a relationship. It can take people up to their 40s to suddenly realise, ‘Oh, my God, this is what I need out of life!’
We’re so put upon with the idea of ‘you need to be this, and you should be this’ by a certain age, especially in romantic relationships. It stops us from thinking ‘actually, what do I want?’ It takes women a lot longer to get to a point where we can actually go ‘this relationship is making me ill. I’m not going to do that anymore.’
That’s good advice.
You collaborated with Lynks on that track, but you’ve also collaborated with lots of other artists before, including The Big Moon, Jazmin Bean, Phoebe Green, Sundara Karma, Walt Disco and Brodka. Juliet from The Big Moon described you as “an angel who came into her life” and helped her to make sense of the band’s song ‘Wide Eyes’, which is very sweet. What do you think makes for a good musical collaboration?
That’s probably the nicest compliment I’ve ever had! I think a positive collaboration, for me, is when people come to me because they rate what I do, rather than me having to bend or change what I do to please someone else, and vice versa. I always end up working with people that I really, genuinely love. There have been times when I’ve been put in a room with a Tik Tok star, and when I ask them what they want to do, they’ve got no idea. That’s not really a collaboration in my opinion, that’s just me working for someone.
So, I think what makes it good is working with someone who already knows what they want. They just need someone with a fresh perspective. Because sometimes when you’re on your own, you do get lost, and you need a fresh pair of ears. Just to have someone that can come in and say ‘Oh, how about this? Have you tried this?’ That’s what is good for me. I think it’s about having a shared ethos and respect.
You’ve got some great live shows coming up, including a performance at SXSW in March and some support slots with Rebecca Black on her UK tour. What are your anticipations for these?
I’m excited to go over to the states and play SXSW because I haven’t done that before. I’m not expecting anything other than to just to have some fun!
I’m really excited to play with Rebecca Black too. I love her new music, it’s so good. I think she’s gone through so much, from her parents buying her a day in a recording studio for her thirteenth birthday, up to now. I don’t think they knew how much that would change her life at the time. I love the fact that she’s having a moment now.
You’re taking this call from inside a recording studio, so does this mean you’re recording more new music? What can you tell us about that?
I’m writing an album at the moment actually. Well, I’m desperately trying to write it. I’m just never happy with any anything I do. At the moment I’m just in writing mode, but at some point I’ll stop and review everything.
Taking time away from things is useful in all walks of life, but do you think this is especially useful in terms of music? Is it important to you to have gaps between your records?
Completely! This is what I feel is kind of wrong with the pop world, is that you have to try and bang out a song in a day – and then that’s it. No one ever goes back to it and tries to refine it. I love refining, going back and really taking time over things and then having a break, not listening to it, coming back to it refreshed. I feel that that process is dying in pop music, but I’m going to try and keep it alive. I come from an indie background, from bands and stuff like that, so that’s probably why I do it like that. But making pop music is what I really want to do.
Do you think people’s attitudes to pop music have changed since the introduction of Tik Tok? You mentioned earlier that you had worked with someone who was famous on the app, and it wasn’t the most equal collaboration. What are your thoughts on this new online culture around music? I find it hard to wrap my head around sometimes.
I feel like Tik Tok a great platform to make silly videos and make silly songs. I think it’s really entertaining, but the thing that it doesn’t really account for is artistry. You’re making content for that platform, and that’s great, and there are people that can do it really, really well. It can translate on to Spotify, but I don’t think people really care where it comes from, or who it was made by. They’re not going to want to go and see the artist live necessarily. I just feel like that it separates the two, and I think trying to urge artists on to Tik Tok, to create for Tik Tok, has to be done in a certain way.
As an artist, it’s really good to try and stay authentic to what feels comfortable for you, because these platforms change so often. In five years time, I think that Tik Tok will have so many more different levels to it, so I’m not going to obsess and change my entire diary to factor in Tik Tok all the time. The way in which we use it will probably change, or it might even just go altogether, just like Vine. We’re in this crazy technology age, unfortunately. We’re all still so new to this.
That’s a really good point. Tik Tok feels like the biggest thing ever, and you can’t live without it. But truthfully, it could just disappear tomorrow, because it’s just all digital, isn’t it? It’s not tangible. This makes me feel better about not being on the app…
Finally, we always ask people we interview to recommend some new music to us. Who have you been listening to recently?
I really love JVKE and his song ‘Golden Hour’ at the moment. It just does it for me. It’s like if John Legend was on speed or something. I love Hemlock Springs as well. She’s got this song called ‘Girlfriend’, which is just brilliant. It’s kind of like 80s lo-fi, but the song is basically two chords and it just builds and builds and builds and is really beautiful.
Thanks to Jessica for answering our questions!
Follow Jessica Winter on bandcamp, Spotify, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok & Facebook
Photo credit: Nan Moore