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Feeding People front woman Jessie Jones wasn't the first mild, churchgoing girl to be saved by the Beatles. But as we listen to the 20-year-old speak about her first brush with the Fab Four, listening to the band on the radio during pre-service-youth-group activities, she makes it sound as though it were the only religious experience she can remember growing up in a devout, evangelical Christian church in Anaheim. From then on, she says, music—or at least the abstract concept of it—became her religion." I started to explore my interpretation of the world, and it was through music that I found a way to connect," she says.
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Jones, who hails from Orange, started Feeding People two years ago, after immersing herself in the music, literature and counterculture of the '60s. It's comes as no surprise, then, that the release of the band's Island Universe EP bears the imprint of those psychedelic times, infusing folk and garage-rock influences. The title track, a spaced-out offering that rides the relaxing tone of Louis Filliger's guitar and Jones' vocal intonations as she sings, "Forever, forever," was inspired by the same book that gave name to a legendary band co-founded by Jim Morrison on the sands of Venice Beach in 1965. "'Island Universe' came to me through reading Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception," the singer reveals.
The song caught the attention of Free the Robots' Chris Alfaro, who saw them perform at his bar/restaurant the Crosby in Santa Ana. When Alfaro approached her after the set, Jones says, her reaction was along the lines of "Okay, don't know you, weird dude, but thanks!" However, they would keep in contact, and Alfaro produced some of the band's early work. He then deftly remixed "Island Universe" for the new EP. The single is also bolstered by a music video directed by Dick Thompson and produced by Menaka Gopinath. "I was totally excited by their input," Jones says. "It happened to be filmed at Ray Bradbury's house!"
The support the band enjoyed early on is not without good reason. Joining Jones and Filliger are Wyatt Blair on drums, Andrew Minter on bass and Tomas Dolas on keys. They deliver a diverse arrangement of sounds that keeps audiences on their toes. Case in point: "Silent Violent" begins on a leisurely note, only to explode into hard-hitting riffs that end in rockabilly rhythms fading into silence.
"[Filliger] writes all the songs. He has a crazy music collection," Jones says. "He's a big music nerd and is influenced by all kinds of weird shit."
The shifting energies within songs are what Feeding People are all about. "I feel like I channel other people's emotions and different unseen entities," Jones says of her spiritual experiences onstage. The eerily brooding keys howl alongside pulsating riffs, leaving Jones in momentary states of transcendence. "I think that a lot of music that's anticipated and familiar is easy to listen to, but when you show them something wild, it trips them out. We're a trip, we're psychedelic, and that's the whole point!"
This column appeared in print as "Rubber Soul Searching."
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