Q&A: Soapbox Soliloquy’s Jasmine Deja discusses new Good Morning Dragonclaw LP, three-song video montage

The album will be released on June 27. A 12-date east coast tour kicks off in July.

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click to enlarge Q&A: Soapbox Soliloquy’s Jasmine Deja discusses new Good Morning Dragonclaw LP, three-song video montage
Samantha Louder/Soapbox Soliloquy

“It deals with today, tomorrow, and yesterday. It’s a new fantasy world I made for myself that I hope excited listeners might frolic in for a while to find relief from the plights of being human.”

Jasmine Deja is explaining Soapbox Soliloquy’s new LP, Good Morning Dragonclaw, which she is releasing on June 27 before the band plays Ybor City with Brazillian psych-rockers Boogarins.

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The album was recorded at Sarasota’s Sweet Mango Manor,  at a condo New Smyrna and at  Rhom Bus Window Studios, which Deja says is “a fancy name for my old bedroom at ye ol’ Roser house” in St. Petersburg. It features a lot of help from friends including her fiancé — PLEASURES’ Katherine Kelly — and The Nimbus Initiative, a seven-piece live band featuring Nick Boutwell on synthesizer, Gino Capone on bass guitar, Fernando Diaz on various keyboards and sound effects, Drew Giordano on lead guitar, Riley Morgan on 12-string acoustic guitar, Trevor Mustoe on drums, and Deja on rhythm guitar and singing.

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“This is a very special lineup, with people whose talent far surpasses my own that just so happen to be some of my closest friends,” Deja explained. “I respect them all to the ends of the Earth, and because of such, I know their time won’t always be mine, so I thought it was important to get an audible snapshot of it while I still could.”

To celebrate, Soapbox Soliloquy released a new music video featuring three songs from the album, “Fire Sale — ” “Father’s Funeral” and “You're Two Stone Dad” — stretched across a nine-minute clip filmed by Samantha Louder. 

“After shooting all the footage, it was clearly too much for a three and a half minute song,” Deja said about a concept video for “Father’s Funeral.”

“Those three songs made sense as a trilogy anyways, so [we] changed the plans. In doing so, I reaped the benefits of incidentally drawing attention to the later half of the album, which I feel usually gets ignored anyways, so that's a neat added perk to it all.”

Watch the video below, and get more information on Soapbox Soliloquy’s show with Boogarins via local.cltampa.com. Preorder Dragonclaw via Blind Not Deaf or call your local record store to see if they'll carry the release. See tour dates at the bottom of this post.


Boogarins w/Winter/Soapbox Soliloquy
Tue. June 27, 8 p.m. $9-$12.
New World Brewery, 1313, E. 8th Ave., Ybor City.

“Fire Sale,” “Father’s Funeral” and “You're Two Stone Dad” — the songs are in the meaty part of the LP. Why choose them for the video?

It was actually originally going to just be a music video for “Father's Funeral” because I sat down with the album thinking of what would make most sense to shoot a video for. That was the first one that I could come up with a simple to display narrative for. Then next thing you know, after shooting all the footage, it was clearly too much for a three and a half minute song, and those three songs made sense as a trilogy anyways, so [we] changed the plans. In doing so, I reaped the benefits of incidentally drawing attention to the later half of the album, which I feel usually gets ignored anyways, so that's a neat added perk to it all.

Who did the artwork for Good Morning Dragonclaw?

A close family friend from Indiana painted it, Tom Torluemke. I've known him since I was 10 or 12, because he's the infi-love of one my mom's closest friends from college, Linda Dorman. He's incredibly talented and inspirational; his art is discipline, so it was really special for me when he agreed to work with me on this and the final product of course totally blew any hint of expectation out of the water.

In the video you get a letter from the label and a bill from the studio. Do you really do that many drugs when making an album?? 

You know they always say...it's not the destination, but the journey that matters most.

You are always writing. That can't all be the muse just speaking to you. What sorts of things do you practice in your life to keep the creative juice flowing.

Listening is important, there’s so much in the world still worth cataloguing from your position in the scatter plot, but there’s also lots to get distracted by, so people generally miss out on the incidental brilliance of the world that I draw from a lot. Forcing yourself to write is also important, I used to write a whole lot under those conditions when I was in college. It was weird, every time I had an important essay to write I’d always have to set a whole day aside to write it because it seemed I'd usually fall off track for a fair amount of time and end up writing a song or two. Procrastination with a purpose, so it felt a little less guilty.

Since graduating, I still try and keep learning stuff everyday, information intake that’s important. I also try to force myself into as many strange situations of collaboration as possible, in my own bands, as well as my friends’ bands. Forcing yourself into rethinking your own songs with a new group of people as well as learning other people's songs, and trying to figure out where your swing and their swing meets, it all forces you outside of yourself. In doing so it keeps me from being comfortable, it keeps me stimulated, exploring, and a little stressed trying to juggle it all, which in turn, keeps me inspired.

Are you able to detail the album a little more? Where was it recorded, written, who played on it etc.?

The album is called Good Morning Dragonclaw, it deals with today, tomorrow, and yesterday. It’s a new fantasy world I made for myself that I hope excited listeners might frolic in for a while to find relief from the plights of being human. The first and the last song on the album, “Payroads” and “Lucy Love,” are two songs I recorded with The Nimbus Initiative, the seven-piece live band rendition of Soapbox. This line up includes: Nick Boutwell on synthesizer, Gino Capone on bass guitar, Fernando Diaz on various keyboards and sound effects, Drew Giordano on lead guitar, Riley Morgan on 12-string acoustic guitar, Trevor Mustoe on drums, and myself on rhythm guitar and singing. This is a very special lineup, with people whose talent far surpasses my own that just so happen to be some of my closest friends. I respect them all to the ends of the Earth, and because of such, I know their time won’t always be mine, so I thought it was important to get an audible snapshot of it while I still could.

Similarly, Dragonclaw has lead guitar and vocals from my fiance Katherine Kelly, who plays in everyone’s favorite alien band, PLEASURES. Other than that, everything else on the album is done by me. I recorded it in a few different places, as my setup is pretty portable: all high volume stuff I recorded at Rhom Bus Window Studios, which is a fancy name for my old bedroom at ye ol’ Roser house, then I also recorded some vocals, guitar, and synth at a condo in New Smyrna, and in the Bamboo Room at Sarasota's finest, Sweet Mango Manor.

Back to the video. Who storyboarded that?

I story boarded it, very loosely on 10 or so index cards after going on a walk with Katherine and her dog, Lou. I knew all the scenes that were needed and where to shoot them, but tried to keep it open, because I knew my friends were funny and clever enough to help me fill in all the blanks better than I could have on my own. I edited and directed it, Samantha Loder shot it, and my bandmates that are joining me on tour this summer, all agreed to star in it: Nick Boutwell as Big Brother Nick, Gino Capone as Torgo Johnson, and Drew Giordano as Pretty Good Dad, with special guest appearances from some of The Nimbus Initiative, Fernando Diaz as caught man no. 4, Riley Morgan as concerned brew no. 2, and Samantha as Tammy, Unpaid Customer no. 0.

When do you think you'll know LP release plans, physical, etc.?

Funny thing is about the LP is, it’s already pressed on yellow vinyl with pink and orange splatter. However, I’m currently just trying to figure something out for packaging. As my original idea of finding someone to do large double sided full color posters for the jackets is proving harder than I thought...but I’ll definitely have it figured out by tour! That being said, we’ll be taking pre-orders for the vinyl on the Blind Not Deaf website and it’ll be on availible on iTunes/Spotify/Bandcamp and all those digiformats, as well as CD for our show with the incredible, Boogarins next week on the 27th.

click to enlarge Q&A: Soapbox Soliloquy’s Jasmine Deja discusses new Good Morning Dragonclaw LP, three-song video montage
c/o Jasmine Deja

About The Author

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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