Someone: “I started writing a story in my head, fuelled by my surroundings”

Someone, a.k.a Tessa Rose Jackson, is both sat in a musical niche, producing superbly atmospheric and personal music, and also one of the more complete and thoughtful musicians you’re likely to come across. In fact, she sits in a very similar toned down realm to one of my bigger obsessions of 2023, Arny Margret.

From the stunning and downbeat ‘True Love Will Find You In The End’, to her beautiful latest offering ‘Owls’, which comes complete with its own unique form of artwork (a kind of vinyl-based animation activated using an app), Someone is nothing if not inventive.

She’s also sensationally good – I’d highly recommend sticking a track or two on whilst reading the below:

Music, art, video… your creative world seems to span a wide spectrum. Do you see all these things as one big connected whole?

I do indeed! When I was a kid, I used to write these wild, outlandish stories and was sure I was going to be a writer when I grew up. Then I fell in love with music and my love for storytelling just got morphed into the whole. I see myself as a professional dreamer, almost. I like imagining myself in make-believe places, making up sounds and situations that don’t exist or are a colourful embellishment of reality. Anything that tickles the imagination is gold for me.

Can you tell me a bit about the mini movie and how it came to be part of Tribeca?

Another person I know who is a professional dreamer is my dear friend David Spearing. He is a film director, and we bonded early on in our careers over our obsession with quirky, heartwarming stories. We’ve made so many music videos together by now and we see it as an opportunity to create these ‘mini movies’, as we like to call them. Not your average music videos, but proper little stand-alone narratives, usually totally over-the-top when it comes to design and aesthetics and always with a little nod to sci-fi, or magical realism. For ‘I Guess I’m Changing’, I had the idea for a story about an android stuck in a sterile,
controlled cubicle with no knowledge of the outside world, just doing the same routine, boring tasks day after day after day.

And then one day, she discovers a hint that there may be a bigger world out there, far more colourful and exciting than she’s ever imagined, and that sparks her to start rebelling, breaking the system and ultimately freeing herself. For me, it’s a direct translation of what the song is about: allowing yourself to zoom out sometimes and seeing the patterns you’ve worked yourself into – and finding a way to
break out.

Joseph Bisat Marshall is an incredible set designer who we always work with, and he built this magnificent, clever set that could be transformed into different cubicles for the different stages of our android’s day. Hannah Mason is an incredible dancer and performer, and she just deep dove into the role of the android. We spend three days together fully immersed in making the film, it was a proper little magical bubble. And when it was done, I was so proud of it that I took a leap and submitted it to a bunch of festivals – not really expecting to get into any as there is so much competition out there. But then out of the blue I got a phone call that the film had been selected for Tribeca Film Festival in New York!

It was quite surreal, we were overjoyed and so honoured, of course.

Tell me about the experiences that inspired ‘Owls’

My partner Darius is also a musician, a keyboard player and fellow producer, and we sometimes collaborate on the Someone material. We were on a road trip through America, from New Orleans through Memphis and up to Nashville. There was something so crazy and other-worldly about the experience, there was so, so much music but also the culture and the vibe was so different from what we’re used to in Europe and the UK.

Especially while we were on the road, when we passed through proper rural America, it felt quite dark and ominous at times. Just this feeling that there was so much going on beneath the surface, a lot of things left unsaid, a lot of unknowns. Plus – we were watching the last season of Twin Peaks at the same time, so I think that put me in a certain kind of headspace too.

While we were there, I started writing a story in my head, fuelled by my surroundings… the combination of sweet romance and a lurking, mysterious dark side. In fact, when we got home I wrote a full screenplay for an indie, arthouse musical called ‘Owls’. Perhaps one day we’ll make it.