Jasper Lotti’s pop is as dark and chant-like as it is danceable and catchy - she calls it dystopian pop. After recently releasing her third single “Ur so Vague”, the LA/Maine-based artist is now preparing her upcoming EP and a performance art piece.
Do you think growing up in White Plains, New York, has affected you as an artist?
100% – White Plains is a suburb skirting NYC, and it had this raw immigrant energy when I was growing up. I have always thought about deep concepts, like the universe and purpose. Everyone in White Plains was on their hustle and routine; no one knew what I was talking about. Even now, I always feel like an alien, on the outside observing. That’s why I feel so strongly to be an artist and create the conversations that I can’t have.
When and how did you get into music?
When I was around four years old, my grandma noticed that I was always singing and picking up melodies from the radio, she insisted I start lessons. So I went to a woman in our neighborhood who taught classical Hindustani music in her living room. My school music teacher was this sweet West African man who also directed the local gospel choir, which he asked me to join. So I grew up singing both styles of music simultaneously.
What are your inspirations?
I have synesthesia, so really anything that makes me feel something. Lately, I’ve been inspired by buildings under construction. They are in this weird nodal stage of composition that intrigues me. Anime and sacred texts are also endless sources of inspiration for me.
When did you find your sound and how would you describe it?
I call my sound dystopian pop, or “dyspop.” Over time, I just got better at recognizing what sounds made me feel some type of way. I followed these natural inclinations once I started producing and the sound found me. I like producing music that’s pop-leaning, but possesses a lurking darkness – a sarcasm almost.
You have previously stated that you ‘strive to showcase the beauty in absurdity’, what are the absurdities you see in the world? How do you feature them in your work?
I feel like the arbitrary nature of society – placing labels, categorizations, definitions of success – is so regressive for humanity. We create so much destruction. But there is some warped beauty to finding hope within this. When I produce, I try to find unconventional sounds and make them beautiful through vocal melodies. I make assonance out of dissonance.
Your lyrics seem to be personal - what is your process of writing? How much of your own experiences can be found in the phrases?
My lyrics are a combination of my firsthand experience and dreams. I have ADD, so it’s hard for me to sit and write. Instead, I record voice notes, write on my phone and in my diary whenever I feel phrases float to mind. A lot of the times it’s in the middle of the night, I’ll randomly wake up with words or melodies. If I don’t catch them, they’re gone.
Talking about writing, what idea is behind the relatable dance track Crying in the Club?
I was thinking about how people glam themselves up for the club but ultimately get in their feelings. There's something about writhing around in the darkness to thumping bass that's extremely cathartic. It's just a bunch of sad clowns grinding on each other.
I’m also curious about the latest single Ur So Vague, what that does this track represent for you?
Ur So Vague is about being attracted to mystery. There’s something magical about being with someone who’s “vague” – love feels limitless.
Would love to hear more about the Ur So Vague video and you're aesthetic - what are your thoughts behind it?
At the time, I was thinking about my grandpa's brother's death. He passed away sitting on a golf bench, he had a heart attack and was dead for like five hours but no one noticed. People probably assumed he was resting or napping? I was really inspired by concepts of death in public space, how a corpse is objectified. In my head, it just visually works with the song.
photography MARIO LOPEZ
art direction JORDAN RICHMAN
styling ISSA ISRAEL
courtesy JASPER LOTTI
interview VERONICA JONSSON
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