(By Jasen T. Davis) While the roots of rock & roll can be traced to American musicians in the 1950’s, mainstream electronic music began in the 1960’s when musicicians incorporated synthesizers, theremin and sound effects into their songs for audiences that appreciated the psychedelic. By the 80’s there was hardly a radio station that didn’t play synthetic rock or feature a pop band that made frequent use of drum machines, electric synthesizers and other mechanical elements. The 90’s were dominated by popularized industrial bands that included a dark aggression to mechanized music, adding punk and goth ingredients to the electronic rock recipe.
Now artists like Josie Pace are pushing boundaries even further, creating music that fuses many different elements like punk, industrical, rock & roll, synth pop and even folk music to bring a sound to audiences they haven’t heard before. Still celebrating the release of her debut album, “IV0X10V5” Pace took time off from making music, entertaining the sultry night scene at Bar Sinister in Los Angeles, California or rocking the venues amidst the cold, dark streets of Detroit, Michigan to talk about her life, passion for music, and career with Side-Line Magazine.
SL: How and why did you start studying music?
I grew up in a family of musicians and people who were into music. My dad was a singer and played the bass guitar. He also toured in a southern gospel quartet. I grew up with all that music around me. My mom loved listening to Prince all the time. I grew up listening to that, too. I started singing and taking guitar lessons when I was really young. Everyone knew I was going to grow up to do that.
SL: How would you describe your music to a person who has never heard it before?
Electronic rock. It’s more of an artistic expression than just music. I grew up writing about experiences I’ve had. As a diary to get it out of my mind. I create an art piece instead of a song. My producer and I spent a lot of time working on these songs and putting myself into each piece of art. It’s therapeutic.
SL: What kind of music do you listen to? Do you have any favorite bands?
I like classic rock a lot. I love The Eagles. I grew up on Styx. My dad was a huge Eagles fan.
SL: Your parents seem to enjoy bands that really wear their heart on their sleeve.
Anything that was real to them. A lot of artists put on a front. I don’t listen to a lot of bands like that. There’s a band called Royal Blood from Europe that I’m listening to. They’re very good. You’ve got to listen to a lot of different genres. I’ve also listened to a lot of 80’s artists like Joan Jett, Duran Duran and Pat Benetar.
SL: What’s the hardest part about the music industry?
Dealing with social media. It’s such a big part of getting yourself out there. Hours upon hours every single day going though ads and messages, posting and posting. Even before signing onto a label I had to do this. I never thought I’d have to manage so much social media.
SL: It’s difficult to stand out with an entire Internet to compete with, even when you are so unique.
It’s hard to find people that “get it.” Everyone has access to everything.
SL: Do you feel like you’ve finally made it as a musician?
I feel like there is traction. When my producer and I worked together six years ago I had no idea that this would happen. It felt like the train kept going, it was getting better every year. Then Covid happened. That was a setback, no matter what. After signing with Negative Gain last summer it picked up where it used to be. Now I’m like…how did all of this happen? Oh, because I worked a lot.
SL: What else did you want to be growing up, aside from an electronic rock musician?
Number one was rock star. Number two was comedian. Number three is the snake lady in the circus.
SL: That’s quite a list! I’ve interviewed many stand up comedians. What was it about stand up comedy that you like?
I don’t think it was so much stand up comedy. It’s being up there in the spotlight. My dad told a lot of jokes. There’s something so great about making somebody laugh. I was kind of a funny looking kid, too.
SL: What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard for being a successful musician?
The first best advice is practice, practice, practice. Hone your craft and do the best you can. Second is, say “thank you” and show gratititude. My producer and I send out gifts. Thank you cards, sending cards for everyone’s birthday. It’s really important to show gratitude and be a human being.
SL: Advice isn’t always a good thing in the entertainment industry.
If everyone is jumping off a cliff should you?
SL: What’s the worst advice you’ve ever received?
There are so many. I was on a TV show that has not yet been released. We filmed it in LA. One of the judges was Alice Cooper. He took my performance as a persona. So he called me Josie Space instead of Josie Pace.
SL: Why did he do that? That’s terrible!
He also told me while we were filming, “You need to smile more! You need to smile more!” So I immediately don’t smile. They wanted me to be someone else. Another time I was asked to get into my pajamas and eat ice cream to be more personal. They want me to be more personable!
These people are all crazy. I don’t understand it. I never cared about what beverages artists like David Bowie drank or anything like that.
Growing up I didn’t know where the artists lived or what they ate. There was something more exciting about the mystery.
SL: Your debut album is out. Is there a theme or story within the album?
I think there is a theme that I didn’t realize until later. The theme is internal conflict. I had been feeling that for many years before I decided to write this album. If this album’s theme is internal conflict the next album is about other people in my life.
SL: As a professional musician, what is your definition of success?
I guess it would be being happy and secure in what you are doing. Not fame or money. Doing something for the rest of your life. You’re not going to stop doing that because it’s what you love to do.
SL: For some entertainers fame is success. Some people aren’t happy being so famous, so there seems to be a limit.
I don’t even know. You obviously don’t want to go through life without having people know you. I don’t consider myself famous. There are different types of fame. I’ve had it before. It was exciting for me. I’ve been stopped a few times at Target.
They’ll walk up to me and say, “Hey, you’re Josie Pace I follow you!” The Princess Diana level of fame is a little scary. I read about her and what she went through. I feel like that fame is not something worth striving for. No matter what stage of fame I’d keep putting out music and doing what I like to do. I would not stop if I got too famous. I just wouldn’t stop making music. I wouldn’t try to be less famous. People do use music as a vehicle to get more fame.
SL: What’s your next goal as a professional musician?
My next goal is to tour. I want to go on a tour so bad it’s insane. I’ve never gone on a full string of dates to play. A European tour would be incredible. Just playing live is a part of the musical process. The most important part is being with the audience.
SL: Where would you go?
Detroit. Start and end in Detroit. Obviously LA where we just played Bar Sinister. Portland. It has a big industrial goth scene. Texas. Mexico City. Florida. There’s a big industrial scene there and a club called The Castle. I’ve been told about it. Most definitely England.
SL: Why does the clothing in your music videos feature a lot of black and white stripes? Your style certainly stands out using combinations like that.
It represents personal conflict. It’s also a reference to a punk Australian film called “Dogs in Space”. My music video for “Underestimated” is based on that look. I try to step up my fashion. It’s how I dress every day.
SL: Your blonde mohawk is also a signature look. It makes the rock in your music look more punk.
I love my mohawk. I’ve had it for years. I’m planning to shave my head. Just shaving it off. We’ve had close calls. Maybe by my next video we’ll shave my head. I look weird with long hair. I look too young and sweet!
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