By Davis Blount
If you are at all familiar with Provo’s local music scene, you have more than likely seen or heard Stephen Cope’s handiwork in one form or another. The producer for acts like Bat Manors and Quiet House also guest performs in a slew of other bands and runs a local studio, Studio Studio Dada. Under the moniker Officer Jenny, Stephen has released a lot of noteworthy music via Bandcamp and is preparing to release a new album, ~*Queen of Cups*~, on September 19th.
So, first things first. Officer Jenny isn’t something that jumps to mind as the name for a solo indie-folk artist living and recording in Provo… Could it be a nod to the Officer Jenny from the Pokémon series?
Yeah, it was a reference to that… at least at first. Since then it has kind of evolved into its own entity. A lot of my songs are like anti-cop and so I find a subtle irony in the fact that Officer Jenny is like the one good cop out there.
With some of your previous recordings, you have had a really folky sound. I imagine it something like if Sufjan Stevens were to ever step into the recording booth with Bright Eyes. Can fans expect something similar with your upcoming release, ~*Queen of Cups*~?
Yeah, so ~*Queen of Cups*~ is kind of in the same direction. I definitely did more lush orchestral arrangements, so it is more serious and somber sounding… lots of flutes, lots of horns, etc.
To that point, a lot of the songs that you make are pretty irreverent. Are those same sentiments going to shine through in your new release or will you be looking to go for something more serious?
This new album is taking a step away from that. The lyrics and the theme are covering more serious topics like religious and sexual identities. In my demos it has that same kind of thing but definitely in a more flippant way. This album approaches the subjects in a more somber way, but I would also say that the end result is more beautiful. A lot of my stuff tends to be sillier. This new album will read more like a hymn.
Do you have any plans for a show to debut the new album?
Yeah, I’m actually hosting a show at my studio, Studio Studio Dada. It will be really cool because I will be playing with a bunch of my friends and making it an actual orchestral performance. The show will be on the same day as the album release. Saturday, September 19th.
Have you ever noticed that acts that record in your studio affect the way that you make music?
Oh, definitely. It is cool as a studio owner and producer to see the different ways that other people make music so that I can become a better musician myself. Working with Bat Manors and Quiet House in particular has gone a long way in shaping how I make music. I feel like it has broadened my musical spectrum to see other musician’s ideas.
Are there any artists who are recording right now in Studio Studio Dada that you are excited about?
Violettas is going to be releasing their album soon. It is a project headed up by Elizabeth Holden and I can’t wait for people to hear their sound. It’s like a 60’s pop band but in an almost ironic way. The band plays like a self-aware 60’s pop band… really lo-fi but upbeat. Kind of like Of Montreal, ya know? Also, Jesse Quebbman-Turley is releasing an album called Naps. I think it will be really good… it’s kind of like an avant-garde freak-folk album; lots of pump organs and the like.
What are your goals going forward both with your label and with Officer Jenny? Do you have any long term plans?
That’s an interesting question… I guess for me, I am really happy with what I’m doing now. I’m interacting with different groups around Provo and I’m helping with some things that I’m excited about, like the Medusa Collective. I like that I have the freedom to work with friends and work with albums with the people that I love, but I’m not tied to any projects. I like that I’m free to do what I want to when I want to do it. My long term goals for Officer Jenny is just to continue to be a part of this community.
So, the question that New Shack donated to you was this: “Why is New Shack not your favorite band?”
I would like to ask the readers “Why is New Shack not your favorite band?” I’ll pass that question on one step further to all the readers. I think New Shack is brilliant. They have so many awesome artists: Cat Leavy, Eric Robertson, Madelyn Boyer, and Seve. I’m really excited about Cat’s presence in the music community because she is such a strong-willed female presence in the community.
Additionally, Cat’s question for Officer Jenny was two-fold: What Facebook sticker emoji would you use to describe Officer Jenny, and additionally, what Facebook sticker emoji would you use to describe New Shack?
Wow. She wasn’t messing around. Okay, I’ll pick two: One for the good days, and one for the bad days.
For the good days:
For the bad days:
For New Shack, it would have to be the glamorous fried egg in a cocktail dress:
Lastly, is there a question that you would like to donate to the next artist?
Okay, so for me I’ll do something kind of sentimental: What has been your favorite Provo Music Scene moment?