Known as one of the best party bands around, High Waisted has been getting press all over the place for its infectious, happy indie rock sound and their propensity for a good time. But behind the party facade, the group is pretty serious about cannabis and the benefits it can provide for our community. We spoke with vocalist and guitarist Jessica Dye and drummer Jonon Bernstein about their musical goals and projects, and how cannabis is treated in New York.
How did you get started making music?
Jess: I started writing music as a form of therapy. I never intended to share my music with the world until I realized what a rush it could be. This band was born in New York City over spicy tequila and cold beers.
Who are some of your biggest influences?
Jess: Not so much as to whom, but what. New York City. Being abandoned by lovers. Watching the sunrise from rooftops with friends. Mistakes. Psychedelics. Skinned knees. The desire to make people dance.
What are some of your upcoming musical goals?
Jess: We want to put out our sophomore album on a great label. We want to create the fourth addition to our series, called The Acid Tapes, and have friends guest star on it. We want to tour Japan!
Cannabis can be a natural mood stabilizer and allows everyday anxieties of life to fall away temporally. It lets us focus on doing what we love. Not all of us partake in using cannabis, but no one holds judgment. It’s also social; it can bring people together.
Do you have any shows, music, or records you want to announce?
What is it like being a band that consumes cannabis in New York City? Is your local scene welcoming to it?
Jono: The New York City scene is pretty cannabis-friendly, especially among fellow musicians and audiences. Some clubs turn a blind eye to smoking or vaping inside the venue, but all in all, it’s best to be discrete and share when you’re among friends; enjoy that high. Not to mention, there are a ton of delivery services. It feels like a normal part of pop culture here, even if it isn’t legal.
Has cannabis ever been a theme in your music?
Jess: Absolutely. In our tune “Party in the Back,” I reminisce about good times in our favorite neighborhood, The Lower East Side, hanging out as a band, “I was stoned and drinking on Ludlow.” We actually titled our first record On Ludlow as a result of all the good times we’ve had in the dives on that block.
How has cannabis impacted your lives?
Jono: Cannabis can be a natural mood stabilizer and allows everyday anxieties of life to fall away temporally. It lets us focus on doing what we love. Not all of us partake in using cannabis, but no one holds judgment. It’s also social; it can bring people together.
What do you think could be improved about legalization so far?
Jess: The laws state to state should be more uniform. We wish there was a national standardization of the industry that protects farmers, distributors and consumers.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Jess: We try to treat everyone we meet like it’s their birthday. Rock ‘n’ roll needs more kindness. I love when people underestimate us as women in music; it’s a huge motivator to rise above and work harder.
Band Name: High Waisted
Genre: Indie rock
Location: New York, New York
Most Recent Album: On Ludlow and a split seven-inch with The Coax