INTERVIEW: Jessica Louise Dye of High Waisted


New York City’s High Waisted take a modern spin on the conventional surf rock sound, adding a bit of punk rock edge to keep things interesting. The band is based on the Lower East Side of NYC, the definitive rock n’ roll neighborhood, and that comes out in their music, as well as offstage. We talked to frontwoman Jessica Louise Dye about the band, their latest album, “On Ludlow”, and touring ahead of their show at Boone and Crockett on July 3rd. Check it out:
B&E: For anyone who hasn’t heard of High Waisted, how would you describe yourselves?
JLD: Best friends who eat too much dollar slice, nerd out over vintage records and can toss back beers like the best of em’.  Oh, and we play surf rock music that will make you wanna dance, hold hands and find a beach to suntan on.

B&E: Listening to “On Ludlow”, there’s a heavy surf influence in your sound, but you’re from the Lower East Side of New York City. What bands do you think influenced the sound of the album?

JLD: The lower east side was a huge writing influence, our record is an ode to all landlocked surfers.  We’ve spent a lot of time devouring The Ventures, Link Wray, Dick Dale and The Trashmen.

B&E: Is there a surf scene in NYC that we don’t know about? Does the sound go over well with local crowds?
JLD: There is a actual surf community at Rockaway Beach that is close knit and thriving.  In terms of a surf rock music following?  I think people appreciate a good melody they can shake their hips to.  It’s universal, young and old.  Make em’ dance, make em’ feel.

B&E: Visually, especially in the “Party In The Back” video, you guys are partying all over the place. Is that kind of chaos typical of a High Waisted tour?

JLD: Tour isn’t anywhere as tame as that video (wink).  The music video for “Party in the Back” was our typical night out in the LES throwing back some beers, nommin’ some za’. We all work within a few blocks of one another.  Running around Ludlow bar hopping is what’s so cool about NYC.  You can become part of a neighbor community.  We wanted to to be true to life, even if life is a little wild at times (sorry moms!).

B&E: Keeping with that theme, we always love hearing about what goes on when touring. Any crazy road / show stories that you’d like to share?

JLD: I’ll stick to a few memorable moments…
We played a huge house show in Lansing once, took really strong molly, had a fire alarm pulled, piled onto the lawn with hundreds of kids in the snow wearing our guitars so we weren’t robbed, waited for the fire department, got the okay and went back in and rocked even harder.
Another time we were cramped into a kitchen is this old dingy house in Athens, Ohio, a rad DIY show space.  We we’re turned up way too loud and kids were climbing on top of the cabinets and fridge to squeeze in to see us.  People kept pouring whiskey into our mouths as we played – my guitar was sticky for weeks.  I joking screamed into the mic for someone to give us acid and next thing you know some dude dropped a hit on my tongue.  I swam all the way back to NYC.
One year for Halloween we dressed as the entire cast and creatures from Mario World, our friends included.  We were playing a backyard party and it started pouring rain.  Everyone’s costumes were soaked, scary face paint melting, but the whole crowd helped us get our gear inside to safety.  Nothing more terrifying than drunk people in costumes, soaking wet.

B&E: What should people expect from your show at Boone & Crockett on July 3rd?

JLD: Good old rock ‘n’ roll music.

B&E:  Lastly, (most importantly), you’re playing Milwaukee. What’s your beer of choice?

JLD: Cold.

High Waisted play Boone & Crockett on Sunday, July 3rd.
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