Dedicated to Women Guitarists and Bassists
dsd highres 4392

Get to Know Deep Sea Diver’s Jessica Dobson

October 27, 2016
Written by
Jamie Ludwig
Photo by
Matt Wignall

She Shreds Birthday Bash and Issue 11 Release Party is fast approaching and we couldn’t be more thrilled that Seattle indie band Deep Sea Diver is headlining the festivities.

Comprised of multi-instrumentalist Jessica Dobson on guitar, drummer Peter Mansen, guitar/synth player Elliot Jackson, and bassist Garrett Gue, Deep Sea Diver was launched in 2013 when Dobson walked away from a career playing with artists including The Shins, Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, and Beck in order to focus on her own music. Following a stunning debut album, History Speaks, and two EPs, the band released its sophomore album, Secrets, on its own High Beam Records, in February, 2016, showcasing the next step in its evolution of dreamy, propulsive pop/rock laced with heady atmospheres and gritty guitar work

Learn a little more about Dobson before the show below and join us this Saturday night to catch Deep Sea Diver at She Shreds’ Birthday Bash and Issue 11 Release Party at Disjecta in Portland.

She Shreds: Who was the first musician to make an impact on you growing up? How so?

Jessica Dobson: It’s so cliche, but the first musician that I remember having a substantial impact on me was Paul McCartney. My parents had all of the Beatles records and some of his solo albums on vinyl and I probably learned how to talk by reciting lyrics from their albums because my parents played them religiously. I aspired to be a multi-instrumentalist because I saw pictures of McCartney playing drums, bass and guitar.

Tell us about your first guitar? What do you play now?

My first guitar was a 1970s 12-string Takamine that I stole from my dad. My little fingers could barely fit around the neck but I made it work. Nowadays I’m married to my Elvis Costello Jazzmaster and my Starcaster reissue, which I modded out.

What is the last book you read? Would you recommend it?

The last book I read was The Goldfinch by Donna Tart. It won a Pulitzer Prize and it is undoubtedly worth the read.

What is one unexpected item you must always have with you on the road or onstage?

On the road, I bring an assortment of fake strands of hair that are braided (I call them “flare”) and I only put them in my hair when I play shows because anything “costume” related, even if it’s subtle, helps me step into my performer role on stage.  

Name an artist you would love to collaborate with? Why?

I would love to collaborate with Janelle Monae because I adore R&B and hip hop and she is ruling that world right now.  The Electric Lady was my favorite album of 2013 and it’s such a weird and glorious concept album that reminded me of some of my favorite Bowie records. She takes risks with her arrangements and her live shows are so transcendent because she performs like its the last show she will ever play every time. She is truly inspirational and is someone that I could learn a whole lot from if we collaborated.

Name a song that always seems to get stuck in your head.

The song “Cruel” from St. Vincent is often stuck in my head because it has that killer guitar hook in the chorus that I tend to play whenever we are sound checking before a show.

What is your favorite piece of gear? How does it affect your sound?

That would have to be a straight up tie between my Juno 60 and my Electro-Harmonix Memory Man. The Juno 60 was my first introduction into analog synths and it is so dreamy, warm and huge sounding. When I write, i often go to the Juno first because it puts me in a certain mood that is almost childlike, and that mood is what helps me create without overthinking things. The Memory Man has my favorite gritty slap back sound and gets real weird when you turn up the delay and the chorus on it all the way.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned over your musical career?

The biggest lesson I have learned is that comparing yourself to other artists or bands and their perceived level of “success” is always a bad idea. It distorts the process of creating and causes you to start doubting your talents and what makes you unique. The music business side of things is the worst crutch to ever attempt to lean on and you just have to try and protect the place that you create from, and trust your own taste and instincts.  

What fuels your creativity these days?

The top two things that fuel my creativity are going to live shows of bands that I adore and hanging out with people who are not afraid to be vulnerable about their lives. I’m not one for small talk. I like to get down to the nitty gritty and I love to try and take those conversations and let them influence what I’m writing about.

Is Deep Sea Diver dressing up for Halloween this year? If so, what are you going as?

I’m a chronic procrastinator when it comes to Halloween costumes, and the best ones always come to me the day of. We will most likely be scrambling around on Saturday before our show with She Shreds getting our shit together. Costumes TBD…

Our Official Newsletter

She Shreds Media: Our mission is to educate, empower, and inspire people through unexplored musical and cultural landscapes. Our vision is to continuously refine, redefine, and reimagine the possibilities of how music connects us, ensuring an inclusive and accessible music community 100% of the time.
She Shreds Media
She Shreds Media