Audio Visual is a 10 part series exploring the fashion choices of local musicians. The Bay Area music scene is nothing if not diverse and this noncomformity is as evident in clothing as it is in music. With this in mind, Audio Visual strives to analyze the connection between the sartorial choices of musicians and their work.
Part of a burgeoning electro-indie pop wave, Birds & Batteries have more than left their mark on the San Francisco scene. Their particular brand of sophisticated, beautifully structured and incredibly hooky pop recalls private eyes, crooks and villians and retro-futuristic film. In the third installment of Audio Visual, we speak to Jill Heinke about her approach to dressing on and off the stage. Birds & Batteries will be at the Triple Crown on June 8th (9:00 pm).
More photos and an interview with Jill after the jump:
Meghan Logue: How big is your closet?
Jill: Three times the size of my boyfriend’s.
ML: Wow that’s pretty big. Is it a walk-in or…?
Jill: Well we live in a studio so my clothes in habit two dressers, a wardrobe and another wardrobe that wouldn’t fit in our room and is in the garage.
ML:Â That’s impressive! So do you guys actually have a closet in your studio?
Jill: Yeah let me clarify that. There’s no actual closet.
ML:Â When you’re shopping do you prefer vintage to new?
Jill: Whatever fits best and looks best. It’s usually not vintage on me, on my frame.
ML:Â What inspired your outfit for the evening?
ML:Â Sassypants! Is that a phrase that you live by or a mentality that is Birds & Batteries born? Or is it like a personal motto?
Jill: It’s semi-inspired by my musical alter ego, Jilbert.
ML:Â When you’re getting ready to go to a show and getting dressed, what goes through your head? What are all the factors considered?
Jill: How short can it be without showing my heinie. Basically how much can I push the envelope and still be comfortable on stage.
ML:Â So comfort is something that’s definitely considered but it’s also an aesthetic reasoning?
Jill: It’s a factor. Yeah, I’d say comfort comes second.
Jill: To how I feel in it.
ML:Â So confidence is key.
Jill: Oh yeah. You know what it’s like, you’re a girl. You’ve probably tried on 8 different things.
ML:Â Oh hell yah, on the way here I tried on 4 different outfits.
Jill: And your bed just starts to pile up with everything you whip off.
ML:Â I try to keep it neat, I straightened but there was a pile growing.
Jill: Tornado to come home to, I understand that.
ML:Â Do you have a day job?
ML:Â How does what you wear on stage differ from what you wear to work? And I guess what is your day job, as an ancillary question.
Jill: It’s night and day. I teach music to kids.
ML:Â So you have a career in the music as well as pursuing musical extracurriculars.
ML:Â So you have to keep it pretty tame at work?
Jill: I still try to keep my character. That’s one thing that I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is to only buy things that I’m really really ecstatic about and that look really really good on me, not just on a rack or as a fad. So even when I go to work I like to wear things that I’m excited about putting on. I don’t have any blah. I don’t have any blah items in my warddrobe. I try to have them all be a piece.
ML:Â Do seasonal changes effect your clothing either in the workplace or with Birds & Batteries?
Jill: On stage it’s always hot and sweaty. I’ve never worn a wool sweater on stage, if that’s what you’re looking for.
ML:Â Along those lines. You don’t wear winter clothes for wintertime shows, you go cool and breathable stuff throughout?
Jill: Not necessarily. Tonight, it’s winter. I went through a couple of things that were too light of palette so I went with something darker.
ML:Â Can you name any major style influences? Is there somebody who’s clothing you really admire who you try to emulate? Or perhaps a figure in your past that you admire in terms of fashion?
Jill: I enjoy dressing up, you know, I’m a girl. I’m the only girl in the band so I feel like it has a special significance because it visually represents part of what we’re putting onstage. That said, it’s hard to sit and talk about shopping without —
ML:Â –feeling super girly and awkward?
Jill: Yeah. Ok. Well I don’t have a television. In terms of musical women icons… You know, what influences me is just what sparks something when I see it and how it looks on me. Cause there’s so much shit out there. You know, like one in a million things will fit your body really well.
ML:Â Right, like every piece of clothing is built for a different body type.
ML:Â My last question was do you think the Birds & Batteries effects the way that you dress? Would you dress differently if you were in a Swedish pop band, for instance?
Jill: I think it does influence what I put on but Birds & Batteries music has such a wide breadth of styles that I don’t feel like there’s a niche way to dress for this band. There’s no dress code.
ML:Â Is there anything you’d like to share?
Jill: Well, I just try to have fun with what I wear. Like I said earlier, being the only female on stage, there is an element of people watching you just because you’re the girl. Not that I’m taking advantage of that but I try to have fun.