We had the good fortune of connecting with Jesse Bergen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jesse, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
‘Split your lungs with blood and thunder when you see the white whale! Break you backs and crack your ores men, if you wish to prevail!” Those are some of my favorite lyrics from one of my favorite bands, Mastodon, and I frequently use them as an affirmation. To me, the “white whale” represents a final goal. For me, that would be success with my band. Working on the band can be frustrating and tedious at times, but anytime I feel like faltering or giving up, I think about that kind of sea splitting, bullheaded determinism that these lyrics convey, and it motivates me to keep going. I’m not going to stop until I catch that white whale.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started playing guitar at 7 years old. I remember the first time I really started playing for real, I had no idea what to do. It hurt and memorizing all the frets and strings felt herculean. There was blood and tears, but over the next few years I slowly gained mastery over my instrument. The same thing happened when I took up singing shortly after and I had to learn to control my pitch and breath. Eventually, guitar became less of a physical challenge, but that’s when the mental challenges started to appear. I could play guitar, but how do I make something original with my guitar? What do I even want to make? I began to collaborate with different musicians trying to find an identity, but I went through a lot before I found one that suited me: the metal community. Then I had to figure how to actually write a metal song that I would like. Then I had to figure out how to write a song that one ups that song. And then an even better song. On and on and on… I was 15 when I played my original music live for the first time. 8 years as a musician before a played a song that I wrote live for a crowd. 8 years of practice and patience led up to one show… and it kind of sucked. We were sloppy, our songs were generic. But we kept going. We got tighter. We wrote better songs. It’s been hard, but the truth is, I’ve never genuinely considered giving up. For all the years of tedious practice and failing endlessly, I wouldn’t quit. I couldn’t quit. And you want to know why? It’s gonna sound cheesy but… Music is my life. It gives me purpose. Everyday I wake up with a goal, something to improve on. I believe that life has no inherent meaning, but that we give our own lives a meaning. My meaning to life is to make the best music I can and to spread it as far as it will go. I know I’m not changing the world in any huge way, but if I can write a song that makes someone smile, even if its just my bandmates, I can go to bed satisfied.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Of course there’s the big obvious places, like LACMA and Sunset Blvd. I would also recommend visiting The Smell. Outside of quarantine, The Smell hosts shows almost every night. There’s always a ton of cool bands playing and the club is a non-profit that also helps out a bunch of other charities. For food, I would take them to Granville in Burbank. They make a Cheeseburger pizza that is soooo good… I’m hungry just thinking about it. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have to give a big thank you to my parents. They are the ones who got me into metal and got me into playing music. Everything I know about booking shows and promoting comes straight from them. They have been so supportive every step of the way and I absolutely would not be where I am today if not for their consistent love and support.
Other: Bandcamp link for our latest single: https://diabology.bandcamp.com/album/the-softest-grave Spotify link: https://open.spotify.com/artist/3srw5ejiGBU468sC4SCMgE?si=tbJHl0ORS9Wef3wrbWWoJA
The artwork is done by Anditya Dita. All other photos were taken by my parents.