MUSE MOMENT | Jamie-Lee Dimes

We first met with Musician Jamie-Lee Dimes, two years ago in the Fall, Negroni in hand at a little dive bar in New York.

We spoke of where we saw ourselves heading in our careers, why we live and breathe the passions we pursue, and how we were going to achieve our outrageous dreams.

Two years on and many cities later, we talk with Jamie about just how much we can achieve when you really believe in yourself & what you do.

Here, Jamie talks to us about life on the road for recent North American Tour, recording her new album, what inspires her music and the freedom it creates - to the announcement of Jamie’s New Zealand tour!

 

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You’ve been in how many different states in the last 6 months?
JLD | holy moly. 26 states in six months. A lot of country borders, and a lot more cities. I'm really exhausted. 

We’ve closely followed your musical journey over the last few years, tell us about some of the places you’ve lived during this time & your reason or want for being there?
JLD | I'm a little bit addicted to living in multiple places. I lived in America the majority of my twenties. I always loved how the sates applaud you for being ambitious and you can make something out of nothing. in Australia growing up on the gold coast, it's very sheltered and safe. I get very restless. New York has electric energy, but now I go there and it just reminds me of hustle and punishment - like you grind your core working, and relax by getting drunk at a dive bar. 

I moved to California after a few years living in New York, its a lot more like where I grew up on the Gold Coast. I've spent a lot of time in the California desert the last two years, where I feel like I've grown the most as human. I had some emotional issues I needed to work out and just having open earth space to think. It's close to LA so I spent some time there, I always try and move to LA and something traumatic will happen like a death, or something intense, so I'm not sure I'm supposed to be there.

I went to Mexico for six months in 2018. I went to Higuera Blanca, a small rural village on the beach just out from Sayulita and that was unbelievable. the most beautiful beach and I just swam in the ocean for two weeks, crying in my casita at all the changes going on in my life. I got a bus to the middle of Mexico to stay in San Miguel de Allende. I thought it was a small town in a desert and I had packed nothing nice to wear only beach clothes, but it was a Spanish colonial party town that was by far the most life-changing experience for me. I met a lot of people who are like me in many ways, had lived in many countries and cities, were bicoastal, and freelance creatives. It's an artist town, and a lot of beautiful people influenced my life and direction my time there. 

Mexico city is unreal. I want to live there one day, its a Spanish speaking Latin new York. I spent my thirtieth there too, I had a table of friends eat tacos and ceviche at Paramo and went out Latin dancing all night drinking mezcal - kind of like heaven in a city. 

I've lived in Melbourne Australia - that's a great city for music, art, food and I recorded both albums there. I also have support in friends there and it makes it easier when recording. Gold coast is my hometown and I love going to Byron Bay, Burleigh Heads and being a beach bum in summer. 
 

"I was almost ready to give up on all my plans in music and life. I just lived, loved, and had a lot of people fill my emotional cup - something I had sacrificed my whole twenties."

 

How have the cities you have lived and worked in influenced your approach to music?
JLD | New York influences me politically, fills me with rage, makes me feel so jaded, and exposed to harsh realities that I have to write about it. 
California desert gives me space, silence and escape I need to process my thoughts, emotions and ideas. Its a place with few distractions so you just play music for hours. 

Melbourne - The people I've been spending lots of time with this year have a music studio, so when I wasn't recording, I was writing music or playing music, which felt really positive. 

Mexico - fills your emotional cup and gives you the strength to pursue your goals. It reenergizes me. 

Gold Coast - is where my mum is, and I can just hide, have a routine, and plan things and go to the beach in between.  

Jersey City gives you your own apartment for cheaper than a bedroom with five roommates in Brooklyn, the commute is longer, but you have a whole apartment to write without the distractions. its also a good transition leaving new York and makes you go "fuck this, I'm moving to California."

Los Angeles makes me extremely stressed and I can't get anything done but soak in Korean day spas and wish I wasn't there. Maybe one day my experience will change and ill get an apartment and hideaway in the canyons.

Tell us about how the title ‘Waste of Time’ came about?
JLD | I spent 48 hours in a recording studio in Brooklyn recording another version of this song, which I threw in the bin after. Then after about a week of wanting to give up on the idea, I changed around some of the chord progressions and had two friends call me within 10 minutes wanting life advice, and I just started rewriting the lyrics and melody and chords, and the chorus came first. It's about the idea of regretting things on your death bed, I know for me that is my motivation. It's relatable. I don't want my life to be a waste of time. 
 
This album has such a different feel to your previous one ‘Liminality’! What were the main differences between your inspiration?
JLD | Completely different headspaces. My first album was influenced by my time spent dancing fulltime at a school on Broadway. I would gravitate to the piano in the ballet rooms to write music for dance pieces. I was also on anti-depressants when I wrote the lyrics and layered it in the studio, but I definitely envisioned that project being for dance and film.

My first single Waste of Time was very different. Its more structured and pop but still has an ethereal melancholy. I was writing songs for universal Records in Europe and had management when I first started writing this album. 

This song went through about four stages. I thought I had my whole album and then life took a turn and I ended up in the middle of Mexico with everything I had built over the last few years falling apart. I was almost ready to give up on all my plans in music and life. I just lived, loved, and had a lot of people fill my emotional cup - something I had sacrificed my whole twenties. All the years of hustle in America left me pretty jaded and empty. I wrote my whole new direction to the album in Mexico unexpectedly after not having the right pop synthetic sound for some major labels and management and coming to a crossroad of writing what I thought was important or sacrificing my whole style and values for an opportunity. I took the songs from Mexico and then hashed out the rest in the California desert.
 
I came back to Australia to record with Mick Turner from Dirty Three and I just started recording the whole new direction on a Spanish nylon-string guitar in the studio and in the moment decided this was the album and Mick used a lot of the first take nervous energy on it. I actually had a gas boiler burn my face really badly in Mexico the first day I started recording the new demos in Mexico. I had to move apartments and I borrowed someone's guitar and sat on a couch in Mexico all weekend recording demos to send to Mick, the new direction just seemed more current.

I swear everything that could happen to stop me from finishing this album has happened, and the test has been to just finish it no matter what - it's getting mixed now! My next single Hide in My Head will be out soon, it was produced by Tim Maxwell and has a duet part with William Maxwell - two Melbourne songwriters, musicians and brothers in the punk rock band Loser, and previously Apart From This. Tim took my Skeleton song and ideas and turned it into a hit. He also brought out a lot of my high vocal ranges and used his magic to make it more commercial. It's one of my favourite songs. Both musicians have been big influences for me musically the last six months, and my next album which I started writing is different again, more blues undertones, Mexican picking, drone love songs.
 

"..My highlight would definitely be playing San Diego and being so burnt out and being in the back of an Uber to the show and having the radio station talking about me as a musician on the way to the show."


What are some highlights from your North American & Australian Tour?
JLD | I just finished my first American tour, it was the test run before the album. My highlight would definitely be playing San Diego and being so burnt out and being in the back of an Uber to the show, and having the radio station talking about me as a musician on the way to the show - that was a trip and made all the hustle feel worth it. Also that show I signed a chick's chest and the DJ of the afterparty played my first album as a DJ set, and I stayed in a mansion on the water and woke up and went for a swim - it was very rock n roll/
 Overall the highlight is that now I've done it, it feels normal and not scary and I'll do it a lot more. It was my first time touring this year and it was highly taxing on my body but I can see how much I've grown in three months and that is a highlight. 
 
What is your personal style most influenced by right now? 
JLD | Mexican women, my time in Latin America. Statement dresses - wearing Brooke Barrett stardom dress which makes me feel like Stevie Nicks in the seventies - the perfect style! Also, the fact that I can wear a new Zealand designer being born in New Zealand makes me feel connected to my roots and proud!
 
Looking back at what you’ve accomplished through your journey so far, what are some of your biggest milestones?
JLD | Going to dance school in New York, going to business school, releasing my first EP, renovating a house in the middle of the desert and turning it into a music space. Releasing Waste of Time and doing my first tour in Australia and the USA without any help. Recording my first full-length album with the guitarist from my favourite band who made my favourite albums, doing a shoot for Brooke Barrett in Melbourne, and all the travel I've experienced. I'm releasing my next single in the next six weeks, so hopefully, I get some more opportunities to come my way. 
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Jamie has a new single 'Hide in my Head' produced by Tim Maxwell being released soon, and will be touring Australia & New Zealand, kicking off September 13th 2019.


TOUR DATES TBA:
Auckland
New Plymouth
Wellington

 

You can follow Jamie's tour by any of the following: 

http://jamieleedimes.com
Instagram

Spotify

Buy the 'Waste of Time' single
Buy the 'Liminality' EP


Jamie wears the Stardom Dress in size Small.


Creative team:
https://www.instagram.com/wolfgang_thewolf/
https://www.instagram.com/ameliae.mua/

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We love hearing stories of what makes these strong women who they are today. If you have an interesting story you think will inspire others, send us an email with your Instagram account and the story you’d like to share! You might just become the next Muse for Brooke Barrett, for You.

  

August 09, 2019 — Brooke Barrett

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