|Jessie and the Toy Boys|
After her Band Shut Up Stella had been dropped by Epic Records in 2008, Malakouti decidedly went solo after citing artistic differences with her Band mates. But why now a band full of Mannequins though? She admits, “I’m a bit of a Control Freak and I want full control over everything including my Art Direction. I need a Band which won’t talk back. These Mannequins will shut the fuck up”. Now that she's got your attention...
Not only serving as Props in her Performance Act, The Toy Boys as she sees them, are actual extensions of her personality, “I like to paint pictures with them when I’m on stage” - of course, not literally as in with a Brush - but you get it. Hours are spent putting together Mood Boards, mapping-out her performances visually. The Singer jokes, “If you ever visit my place, you’ll get attacked by Clippings falling out of my Microwave”.
Only recently was it announced that Britney Spears had handpicked Jessie and the Toy Boys to join her this Summer on the Blockbuster Femme Fatale Tour across North America. “I cried instantly” Malakouti reveals, “I couldn’t tell anyone as per my Management and I was actually in the Studio when I had found out.”. Careful not to ask too many questions, others around her just wrote-off her being emotional as being Feminine problems. “I’m just grateful, thankful and honoured. Britney Spears is an Icon – that’s all I have to say”. When quizzed about what her favourite Track was off of Spears’ new Disc, she told me “Criminal. I love it – it’s so amazing!”.
It wasn’t until after Shut Up Stella broke-up that Malakouti had reflected upon what it was that made her happiest. She put aside the Punk Rock and delved into Dance Pop fully. She remembers, “I woke-up one morning and just wasn’t happy. I knew I loved dancing and that made me happy, so I took some classes and finally realized that I’m actually a fucking great Dancer!”.
Malakouti lists several New Wave Acts from the ‘80s like Lena Lovich and Missing Persons among her favourites, but also tells me that she’s drawn most to what she calls “Bad-Ass Chicks”. She explains, “In Pop Music, you’ve gotta have something to say. If not, then I just tune-out. I love Acts which make me feel dangerous”, naming Cyndi Lauper and early Madonna are her biggest idols.
Writing Music comes naturally to Malakouti and she actually has over 27 Tracks to choose from for her debut Disc due later this year. A Collector’s Edition EP will be issued around June. “Melody first”, she tells me on her creative process of coming-up with a Tune. “I sleep with my Cell Phone and sometimes I rollover and mumble into it in the middle of the night before going back to bed… it’s crazy and cosmic how these Songs often write themselves", she says.
When it comes to Style, Malakouti often turns to Graphics and Prints for inspiration. She loves bold shapes and strong lines, rattling off names like Gareth Pugh and Jean Paul Gaultier as her favourite Designers. She tells me at last September’s MTV Video Music Awards, she was surprised with some Outfits from Jean Paul Gaultier confessing, “I felt like Cinderella getting to wear thousands of dollars’ worth of clothes. And literally at midnight, the Carriage turned into a Pumpkin again as I had to hand back the Couture.”. Surely this is only the beginning...
Malakouti teases that she has a named picked-out for her debut Disc, although she hasn’t announced it yet formally. “I definitely want to involve my Fannequins (her term for her Enthusiasts) and I'll be giving away a big, exciting prize to one Fan who guesses the right title. I’ll be dropping clues!”. Consider this your advance notice, Mavenati.
Watch Jessie and the Toy Boys’ Video for debut Single Push It below:
For those of you in Toronto, you can catch Jessie and the Toy Boys on Britney Spears’ Femme Fatale Tour, Saturday, August 13, 2011 at Air Canada Centre. And yes, she did promise we’ll hang when she’s here, so stay tuned for that!
Follow Jessie and the Toy Boys on Twitter here.
(Photo credit: Prospect Park Records)
(Photo credit: Prospect Park Records)