Heartthrob, known to some as Jesse Siminski, was raised in Northern Michigan and was heavily influenced by the Chicago and Detroit scenes. It was there that he was exposed to the sounds of Richie Hawtin who would have a continuing effect on his musical career. After moving to New York and hooking up with Magda and Troy Pierce, Heartthrob's productions got the attention they well deserved and the rest is written.
HigherFrequency was able to talk with Jesse on a recent tour in Japan and find out about the Heartthrob's life.
> Interview : Nick Lawrence (HigherFrequency) _ Introduction : Len Iima(HigherFrequency)
HigherFrequency (HRFQ) : First, we want to talk about “Baby Kate”, the remixes are out now.
Heartthrob : The remixes are out now from Minus. Troy Pierce, Magda, Konrad Black, Sasha Funke Adam Beyer, and Richie (Hawtin)
HRFQ : It was pretty much a Techno Anthem at the end of the year, were you surprised?
Heartthrob : Yeah, it’s been a surprising track for me. I’m really thrilled with the reception of the tune and the fact that it was remixed and people took such care and interest in the song. When I was making it, I was a bit unsure. I was really taken by this melody I had written. I would always go back to it for weeks and thinking a long time on how to use it because it’s such a strong melody. With some of my other productions, it’s not quite the same so I was unsure at the beginning. In fact I was shy giving it to my comrades. But I think some of the most successful experiments are those that you’re unsure about.
HRFQ : How do you find the confidence to say “Here it is”?
Heartthrob : In this relationship I just give what I make and it’s cool. There’s always an appreciation and respect for what you’re doing. His attitude, and the attitude of the other label mates I give my stuff to, informs me of positives and negatives of what I’m doing. It’s open.
HRFQ : About a year ago, you, Troy Pierce and Konrad Black did a remix of Booka Shade.
Heartthrob : We did a remix that was an evening together. I was in Berlin, where the two of them live, and we had a night of drinking and hanging out together in Troy’s studio. It was like “Hey let’s do this remix, it’d be really cool to do this together”, and the process of sitting together and just being comfortable to push through and get something really fun that reflects our taste. I think it was successful because it was so easy to work together.
HRFQ : The Minus crew seems like a family, but do you ever feel that people focus more on the label as opposed to your music?
Heartthrob : I think that lately it’s not necessarily about my music as much as the focus is on the label. In a way that critiques the label in a negative light that doesn’t respect what each artist is doing. I think the reaction to the last slew of releases from maybe the last year and a half or so have been really positive. I wouldn’t say its threatening but it strikes a nerve in other’s involved in music. Maybe a natural reaction to…I wouldn’t say bitter but something along those lines. I’m fully invested in my friendships and the label as a project that is something positive for myself, my friends and the people who enjoy this music. That’s the basis. To get that kind of feedback can be painful but that’s feedback. When you present anything to an audience it’s open forum for whatever. I get a lot of positive reinforcement from people, I get a lot of critique from others and I have to feel lucky to have the attention of people who are interested in music. It’s going to be that way. I think that’s a natural part of this sort of music. Independent music is based on word of mouth and the internet but things happen between friends.
HRFQ : ‘Time for Ensor’ is about the artist James Ensor. Do you see music as art? Especially dance music, a lot of people think its fun, do you see a lot of art in that?
Heartthrob : Yeah. For me as a creative person, I’ve had the most success expressing myself through dance music. My personal history with music has been connected to dancing, from childhood to present. At the same time I’ve always been fascinated by artists. And have always wanted to align myself to that because I feel that it’s the highest thing you can do to express yourself. So that record is in alignment to something I value. So, absolutely.
HigherFrequency (HRFQ) : So do you see yourself becoming more involved in other forms of art?
Heartthrob : Yeah, my background is in visual arts like painting or drawing. Right now I’m focusing on making music but I also do things for myself. It’s a process, making music, being creative, and so on. Being put in the direction of being creative for me works well when it’s multi spectrum. So expressing ideas, or formulating ideas in music, either in the studio or writing notes on paper, or drawing, etc, it works well together.
HRFQ : Will we ever see a combination of that together?
Heartthrob : I think my career as a musician is just beginning, I’ve worked on it for many years but now there’s an audience. So it can only expand from here. My commitment is to making music. Doing drawings and other visual work is more to fuel that. It’s a different game, producing artworks for the art market. I’m very comfortable and happy to be producing music for the electronic music market. If people take interest in what I do or if I decide to present that to that other arena, so be it. At the moment it’s not something I’m that interested in.
HRFQ : You did some vocals on an upcoming release. Is that something you always wanted to do or was that frightening for you?
Heartthrob : No, the track was a very natural, fun thing. This is one part of my process that is really important. The track ‘Nasty Girl’ I did the vocals basically for myself. Two years before I did a similar track and the idea was to do a serial song event. It’s basically an homage to lady friend’s of mine. When I did the vocals it was an inception to my friendship with John (Gaiser) and I gave him the vocals and said do something with this. Then he took it and made the track. I gave him a recording of five minutes of me going off, ranting, or being Rick James or Prince, or people from my musical heritage.
HRFQ : The name Heartthrob is quite an arrogant name, why did you choose it?
Heartthrob : I have this title and it’s a blessing and it’s also a bit of a weight. It’s a nickname that Magda gave to me when we first became friends. I guess it’s about seven years (ago) now. When we met, her perception of me was that I was really wholesome, polite guy. It was like a heartthrob character, more like a young actor from the 50’s, not James Dean but before that. Before the badboy image became cool, more sterling… It could be taken the other way. The label asked me to create an identity, so that was my nickname through my friendship with Magda so when I was invited to record it made the most sense.
End of the interview