Interview: Montaigne winding up for WOMAD

Catch Montaigne in all her ethereal, fire-spitting glory at WOMADelaide on 10th March at 9pm on the NovaTech Stage.
Catch Montaigne in all her ethereal, fire-spitting glory at WOMADelaide on 10th March at 9pm on the NovaTech Stage.

We catch up with one of our favourite Aussie musicians, Jess Cerro AKA Montaigne, to have a chat about her whirlwind last six months, her upcoming spot on the WOMADelaide bill and her avid love of dragons!

It’s no secret that, with an ARIA under her belt after the release of her debut album ‘Glorious Heights’, Montaigne is hot property in the music industry right now – and not just in Australia; she’s also turning heads abroad.

“It was pretty special,” she says of her ARIA for ‘Breakthrough Artist’, “It’s a pretty rare experience in anyone’s lives so I cherish it all the more for that.”

Montaigne now-famously downplayed her ARIA win in a hilariously adlibbed acceptance speech on the night of the awards, quoting the 16th century philosopher Michel de Montaigne and saying that she’d rather stay on her feet than sit on the world’s highest throne.

Well, she wasn’t lying; the 21-year-old songstress has already begun conceptualising and writing for album number two!

“I’ve got a lot of content already, it’s just a matter of curating well and producing it well,” she says, “[I’m] not recording yet, but I’m currently just in the process of assembling songs and then recording the demos.”

“I think you can expect it to be as eclectic as album one—as personal and emotional as album one—and potentially more dynamically diverse.”

Now, we could have mused over the excitement of new music from this fantastic, young Aussie talent all morning but, despite a visibly busy tour schedule over the course of the next few months, Montaigne has booked a spot on the bill for WOMADelaide in March.

The pop sensation says she has never experienced a world music festival prior to her Friday 10th March appearance at the popular Adelaide festival.

Montaigne is winding up for WOMAD this March

Montaigne is winding up for WOMAD this March

She lines up alongside acts from Adelaide to Iceland and beyond; Dope Lemon, The Specials, A.B. Original, Parov Stelar and D.D. Dumbo are just some of the names on a list which has drawn a great deal of interest already.

The eclectic, eccentric nature of the festival is sure to suit Jess’ style, and she’s already coming up with a few fabulous, flamboyant costume ideas for her set.

“I’ve got some stuff… I don’t know where it fits on the crazy scale, but it’s cool!”

“It’s pretty disorganised… if it’s not ready by the deadline I’ll just do a last-minute scramble through my wardrobe to see what’s happening.

Unfortunately we won’t be hearing any of the Sydney native’s new material at WOMAD—she’s keeping her cards very close to her chest—but we can expect her usual, passionate delivery and quirky onstage antics as she takes our ears on a Glorious journey.

She’s also hinted at the possibility of a collaboration of sorts with Adelaide producer Bad Cop, and she’ll be in town for a couple of days surrounding the festival to work on some fresh content – watch this space!

In true Adelaidian fashion, though, we had to mix it up; we asked Jess to which animal her music could most relate, and her response was the best one we’ve had yet!

“I have an affinity with dragons,” she explains with childlike enthusiasm, “My whole thing with dragons is I just grew up loving fantasy and adventure, and a lot of the things I love have dragons in them.”

“In my own internal universe, I see them as a misunderstood creature… there’s a thing that the real Montaigne—the philosopher—said that ‘I’ve never seen a greater monster nor miracle in the world than myself’ and I feel like a dragon properly encompasses both of those things.”

Catch Montaigne in all her ethereal, fire-spitting glory at WOMADelaide on 10th March at 9pm on the NovaTech Stage and, if you haven’t already, grab a copy of her ARIA-winning debut album ‘Glorious Heights’ here.


Cover image: Triple J
Womad image: Tony Lewis

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