Jesse Damon of Geskle discusses his new EP, ‘Rose Colored Glasses’

Jesse Damon gives insight on his creative influences, future plans and separation from TikTok

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By Caitlin Joy, Collegian Correspondent

In 2014, 12-year-old Jesse Damon was given his first guitar. Living on a desolate farm in Tennessee with no internet, no cable and sometimes no electricity, there was little to do to pass the time. So, when his father bought him a guitar from a local pawn shop, music became his solace.

“[The guitar] was a piece of ass, it was terrible,” said Damon. “I was really into Nirvana at the time, so I got the guitar and started learning Nirvana songs. I did get to go to town on the weekends, so I would go there to have internet. 20-minute drive to town, I’d get a notebook and I’d write down all the tutorials for the Nirvana songs and all the other ‘90s bands I thought I was super cool for listening to. And take them back home, learn them… and you can play as loud as you want to because it’s in the middle of f—ing nowhere. That’s what started it.”

Damon lived in Tennessee for two years before moving to a suburb outside of Worcester, Massachusetts. With access to new people and a larger community, Damon was finally able to fulfill his dream of having a band. Named “Ocean Plaza,” Damon and his bandmates performed shows locally. However, they had trouble finding someone to produce their music. After high school, the band split and Damon went solo. That’s when he met Aaron Garcia, also known as Pillbook, who became his producer and close friend.

With the help of Garcia, Damon released his first EP “Rose Colored Glasses” under the name Geskle, a nickname he was given in high school and stuck with ever since.

Damon spoke about the sound of his EP and where it stems from.

“We went for a lot of the bedroom pop-y kind of sounds. It’s kind of a mix of indie rock and s— like that.

“Tame Impala has a huge influence on me because he writes really good songs, but at the same time they’re easily listenable too. I think bands that are easy to listen to but still do something different and convey messages and aren’t just super bland pop music, that’s what I’m really into and that’s what I’m trying to replicate.”

According to Damon, “Rose Colored Glasses” is a narrative of his past. It’s a bittersweet documentation of the rite of passage that is leaving high school, leaving people and the melancholy that follows.

“The whole EP is about me getting over multiple people in my life. I had to accept that they were no longer there. They moved on and I’m moving on.” Damon explains.  “That’s such a multi-faceted situation… I think it encapsulates loss and moving on.”

Damon even explained his EP triad as stages of grief.

“‘Vivid’ is when I first realized that most of my friends, my ex-girlfriend and all these people are going to college and I was like ‘Well, s—, this sucks.’ And then ‘Ruby’ was when I started to realize that I didn’t need them, and I could be alright. ‘So She Goes’ is super chill because it’s like recovery, the shot of morphine.”

“Loss is the easiest thing to write about for me, because it’s like the only thing that I feel in a huge way. I’m not a very emotional person, but I feel loss very heavily. It’s such an easy topic to write about; it’s so universal.”

I first found Damon through a video he posted on TikTok, promoting his song “So She Goes.” Although TikTok is filled with musicians promoting their content,

(Image via Geskle Instagram)

Geskle’s high quality production and dreamy bedroom-pop aesthetic stuck out. It seemed to do the same for other viewers, as he gained 8,000 streams on the song in one night.

“’So She Goes’ wasn’t getting a lot of streams, it was the worst song on the EP, and then I was like, why aren’t people listening to this song? It’s the best song. And I knew it was the best song. And then I realized that it was because they were listening to it at the wrong time of day.”

To solve this, Damon posted a TikTok with the song playing in the background and captioned it, “I wrote this song that’s best listened to from the hours of 1 am — 5am … It’s called ‘So She Goes.’” The video now has 40,000 likes and 153,000 views.

Damon seemed unenthused to be talking about TikTok, chuckling and shaking his head when I brought it up. I asked how he felt about the app and the attention he got from it.

“It was a cool start, It was definitely a cool start. It was fun doing it because for the first time I actually gained a following.”

TikTok is often not taken seriously as a platform for creators. This can be tough for artists and other entrepreneurs who want to reach a large audience on a creative platform while also retaining respect and independence. Damon went on to explain his important distinction between promoting his music on TikTok and being a TikTok musician.

“It’s a great place to advertise my music, but I don’t want to be known as a TikTok artist, I want to move away from that platform. But it is one of the best platforms for advertising, I would not be where I’m at without it. At the same time, it has this weird energy around it that I don’t dig, so I try not to post all that frequently.”

“I find more gratification when people message me saying they found me through Discover Weekly and liked it or something like that, because that means they had absolutely no bias, they heard the music and they liked it. I think TikTok almost makes the music sound better to people for some reason. There’s no problem with it. I just want to make sure it’s the music that’s good, not just me as a person, you know?”

With a growing audience at such a young age, I asked Damon how he envisioned his future. He had this to say:

“Definitely music-oriented. I want to tour once touring starts up again. I eventually want to buy a van and turn it into a living space. I’m very attracted to any sort of life that isn’t secure. You can’t really plan your life, you have to just go with the punches. The more you try to plan the less s*** that’s going to happen to you.”

Damon also elaborated on how he wants to expand onto other creative endeavors.

“I want to get into film more. I’ve always wanted to direct films. Anything with the arts. I’ve always wanted to program my own video games and shit like that. Anything that people can interact with is what I want to do, anything that people can form opinions on. I just want to do things that people can enjoy. I’m very much an entertainer at heart.”

At the end of our conversation, I asked Damon if there were any other small artists he’d like to recommend, to which he replied with “Origami Angel, Ovlov, Lunar Vacation, Tomtsu, Circus Trees and, of course, Pillbook.”

From the very beginning, Damon was quick to display his down-to-earth character, eager to open up about himself and his past. He spoke on some of his current and future projects, which all reflect his ability to be adaptable and adventurous in his field. With his talent, charisma and ability to connect with others, his pursuit of becoming an entertainer seems like a natural and inevitable route. It’s clear that we’ll see innovative and exciting content from Damon in the future.

Caitlin Joy can be reached at [email protected]