Treefort Fest 2018
March 21-25 in Boise, Idaho
Q&A with Jenny Logan of Deathlist
By Gary Horn
Deathlist is a goth-punk trio from Portland, Oregon featuring Jenny Logan from Summer Cannibals, Maggie Morris of Genders and Sunbathe, and Pieter Hilton from Typhoon. Their music is a mix of “frenzied punk rock [songs] that riff wildly until they’re caught in a buzzy entanglement of guitar-driven chaos.” Their debut s/t album was released on XRAY Records in 2017, and their second full-length will be out in March 2018.
I caught up with Jenny this week to discuss her band, which knows how to stretch the boundaries of shoegaze and create a dense, overwhelming sound that compliments the singer’s compelling and highly personal lyrics, and their performance at the Treefort Fest in Boise.
NadaMucho.com: Tell us about your band.
Jenny Logan: Deathlist actually started as a throwaway solo project (laughs). I was touring with Summer Cannibals a lot, playing bass, and I’d get home having played the same setlist but with a lot of pent up creative energy. I didn’t know what to do with it, so I’d start writing songs and recording them. I eventually put together an EP and band, but the point was to do whatever I wanted to do, to distill all of the musical influences that I’d seen and heard and loved to make it my own. It’s really hard for me to describe my own music and I think a lot of musicians struggle with this, but it has a post-punk, gothic vibe. I write about some pretty heavy personal stuff. It’s funny, but everyone I know is a musician. It’s hard to detach from that and think about what someone might want to know about Deathlist. I’ve been playing music since I was five, I wouldn’t know what I’d do if I weren’t a musician (laughs).
NM: So Deathlist is an individual spin on what you’ve done in other bands like Summer Cannibals, Miss Rayon, Ribbons, My Teenage Stride and Sunbathe. What would you like to accomplish?
JL: I would say that it is not a goal-oriented band. Music for me is therapy. In a lot of ways it’s a way for me to access my own feelings. It’s almost more inward directed as much as it’s telling a specific story. I think people who have responded to it have been through similar things.
NM: This project was developed on a personal level. What do you want your music to communicate? How are you connecting with your audience?
For me, I’ve had some pretty shitty stuff happen in the past couple of years. My best friend died and some other stuff too. But the way I process difficult emotional stuff is less from talking about it than just being in the presence of someone who understands. I feel like that is something I can provide to other people through my music. Sort of like from an emphathy or shared experience. I’ve sometimes had people message me or hug me after a show when this happens.
NM: You’ve played the Treefort before. How is Boise different than Portland?
JL: Boise is great. It has a strong music and art community and radio station downtown. I’ve been to Boise on and off for like 7 years and I feel like I can go to a show and know people and it’s welcoming, It’s very close knit and nice. The people that I know who are from Boise tell me that Boise is not like Treefort the rest of the year… it’s more conservative.
NM: How do you approach your live shows?
JL: My live shows are a lot more rock and roll than what it sounds like recorded. Our setlist definitely has faster tempo songs. There’s an aspect of wanting to have that energy instead of sitting in a room and crying (laughs). I like playing high energy shows and shredding. I like to feel the catharsis of playing live, something I can’t get from playing slow guitar songs.
NM: What are your plans for Treefort 2018?
I’m excited. It’s an opportunity to play for a new audience because Deathlist doesn’t get out of Portland a lot. I’m actually in another band (Sunbathe) playing the festival so we’ll be hanging out all week.