O.T.R.

“Trust the Universe”: Miss Jupiter Talks New Single, Believing in Yourself, and Music Industry Post-Quarantine

Miss Jupiter talks about her latest single "Modern Revelry (I Won’t Hide)," anxiety, and an upcoming sophomore album. Cover photo: Don Q. Hannah Photography

A blush of anxiety seemed to flush the early bits of the conversation, but if anything Michelle Rose was a gentle reminder as a writer to appreciate these talks with musicians, now more than ever. Rose’s backdrop appeared to match perfectly with her tee, moving with the streaks from the golden hour to better make herself visible on the new wave of the future, Zoom.

Quarantine life wasn’t treating Rose “too bad,” whereas she did miss people but seemed to be “thriving” in her own space. “So it’s like well now that everyone else is on their own I don’t have to feel so weird.”

Instinctively the talk opened with a shared ache for live music, and comments of society “resetting” and the realignment of our own priorities quickly followed.

Leading the cosmic force that is Los Angeles’ Miss Jupiter, Rose’s talent spans from the space-rock band to an artisan running the art-esque clothing store, Spacedust. Centered around an imaginative artistry, Rose’s free-spirited philosophy seemed to battle with the artist’s own anxious thoughts. Despite these contrasting elements, the poetic nature of Rose naturally lead to a simple mantra: “trust the universe.”

Miss Jupiter (Don Q. Hannah Photography)

After a musical pause, Rose has kept busy since Miss Jupiter’s 2017 full-length, Amagianascience, compiling songs for at least two full-lengths and even starring in the short film Lexical Gap, written and directed by Yoko Okumura.

Of these songs to be on the forthcoming LP, comes one that was created years ago, but takes on a new life during the world’s current state of mind. “Modern Revelry (I Won’t Hide)” and its power rock drive flourished from the signature psychedelics to a classic glam rock aurora. The words seemed to embody a call after liberation as Rose’s vocals polished the rolling tempo.

A similar, freeing characteristic, unlaced during my questioning of supporting local artists in the absence of live shows. The “creative struggle” of getting pennies from streaming platforms seemed to prove a challenging obstacle for independent artists. Ever the optimist, Rose wasn’t worried so much about the financial aspect — acknowledging that merch and Bandcamp seemed to be the best way to show support for any local artist.

And through her own observation of many artists who are finding it difficult adapting, Rose encouraged that a “like” and simple share goes a long way, adding that there is a “huge, emotional, spiritual aspect” in being an artist besides supporting individuals financially.

Michelle Rose displaying handmade masks via her shop on Spacedust

“Hopefully I will reach people, and hopefully it’s worth it and you know, just to help inspire people. And I feel like well even though it doesn’t look like it’s coming back to me financially, directly through the same avenue, kind of just trust the universe that it will come back in some way….”

By the end of the talk it seemed that Miss Jupiter was a mystical being attempting to figure out the throes of humanity. Whereas the person itself was so human.

Rose continued to aptly move with the light throughout our conversation. And in the most perfect ending, everything seemed to tie with the words of “Modern Revelry.” What follows is a condensed version of our 45-minute talk.

Michelle Rose of Miss Jupiter via Zoom

Let’s talk about your new song. You originally said that in the email that you penned this in December of 2015. So why did you hold on to it for that long?

Oh man. Literally, just personnel shifts in the band, things just like, I don’t know. I think things just always take a long time in music and it always feels like, when I’m writing it, feels like ‘this is so appropriate for right now,’ and then I worry that the time that it is going to take to finish, [it] is not gonna be applicable anymore, or appropriate for the times, but it always ends up proving me wrong; the universe is like ‘this is still valid.’

When I wrote this I had a completely different lineup playing this with me. So it’s been kind of developed, tumbled like stone, and all sorts of different people playing on it. And I guess it just came to be an opportunity last year where I had some people who were available and we worked on just rehearsing this specifically, instead of spending time on shows and stuff like that.

And it’s like, ‘ok lets just really get some recordings down.’ And actually a big part of that was my friend Neil [Soiland], who is being listed as a co-producer because he’s been kind of a cheerleader for me, in just you know…I go in and out feeling super convinced of my abilities and then going really insecure and not knowing what I’m doing. And we literally had one night, we hung out in his car, and we listened to some of the songs I’ve been working on and he was really, really encouraging and said ‘Michelle you gotta work on recording this.’

So just from him saying that was like you’re right, ‘ok. I can do this, let’s figure out who can be the players on the album and start organizing things and setting things up.’

Did the song take any changes since 2015 to now, or when you recorded it?

Not really. I think it’s pretty much [the] same vibe, same character. I feel like I got the right people though to really push it as far as it can be pushed. I feel really happy about that and yeah, other than just a little bit of spacing or you know, organization of the song, like ‘how do we do this, how do we do that,’ but it pretty much had its form all together. Even that APAHM show that you guys covered like, two years ago, I’m quite sure we might have opened with this song. We definitely played it there.

Yeah. I wish we could’ve celebrated again with moonroom.

I know, yeah.

The timing, I feel like more than now it was needed, especially everything that was happening with the pandemic.

Right. Especially for this culture, specifically. Looks like [moonroom] is planning a virtual thing?

Yeah! [APAHM Benefit Film Screening, May 24-31]

But what are your thoughts, just in general regarding the blind ignorance that has come from that, if you want to talk about that, considering it is APAH [Asian Pacific American Heritage] Month.

Well that’s, I have to say that I feel that I’ve been exempted from it specifically, like myself, I haven’t experienced anything, at least to my knowledge–

–I’m glad.

Yeah, luckily. But I am aware that it is going on and it’s, I don’t know. I mean like, for me it just feels like ‘oh well, this is typical.’ Typical of people to scapegoat other cultures and blanket things with negative- like why, what’s the point? 

Absolutely no point.

Miss Jupiter (The Moroccan Lounge, 2018, Martin Santacruz Jr. for GUM)

You mentioned that you were having these thematic pockets [in the song] to break out from “mental confinements” not so much physical, which is perfect in this time. Do you wanna explain a little more about that, about that process?

Yeah, I mean, pretty much a song just kind of pops in my head and sometimes it pops in [at] different times, so like for this one the verses kind of came separately, than the chorus…. So for me it was like, sometimes I can’t really explain where this comes from.

Obviously it comes from things that I am thinking about, but I think it’s something like, I guess overall the song is kind of you know, talks about the conflict — kind of the inner conflict between wanting to enjoy life and be out there celebrate[ing], whatever have fun, versus knowing that there’s some ugly stuff going on in the world. And trying to reconcile that and I think a lot of people choose to, or actually need to, ignore issues in the world just to survive — just to get on in life. 

Otherwise we get bogged down by things, especially highly sensitive people get bogged down by tragedies and it’s not really healthy for our psyche, but then again, there’s the danger of going too far in that direction and being completely ignorant of everything that is going on; being really egotistical like ‘I just care about myself having a good time.’

So, I guess the chorus ‘I won’t hide’ is me really, with my own insecurities about– I feel like Miss Jupiter is this gift I’ve been given from the universe that I’m supposed to do and, well it’s a gift and a curse, right? [laughs]

So it’s like I feel like I get these downloads of songs and stuff and I need to spread the word, and I need to say what comes out, but I’m also really afraid of the implications of that or even you know to the extreme.

What are the implications for people possibly speaking out against, conspiracy theories and stuff? Like actually right now, you know we all are so used to communicating on social media, but are we at risk by doing that? And so in a way saying these things that are on my mind, but not knowing like am I vulnerable? I feel like a lot of artists, musicians in the past had to, you know we kind of have a consistent understanding of things and the problems in the world, but then can we speak about it publically?

When the media is controlled by other interests, so try not to be afraid of that, but I think that’s why a lot of songs come out…we have to be poetic about it. We have to kind of slip these ideas in, in ways that only certain people might understand which doesn’t necessarily convey to everybody what is actually going on. 

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