After stealing her moniker from a bit character in Wes Anderson’s cult classic Rushmore, Mr Little Jeans demonstrates she has a talent for finding pieces of pop culture ephemera and reinventing them in her own image. MLJ’s cover of ‘The Suburbs’ injects the Arcade Fire anthem with moody synths and haunting vocals that give the track a whole new energy, making it unmistakably her own. But the new album Pocketknife is packed with original songwriting that reveals a talent for intelligent, offbeat lyricism.
Who is Mr Little Jeans?
Hello! My name is Monica Birkenes and I’m a girl from Norway. I sing and I write what some might consider electro-pop. My partner in crime has been Tim Anderson for the most part, but I’ve also worked with other producers along the way. Maybe this could go on my OK Cupid profile?
How has your move to LA had an effect on your life and music?
There’s a lot of amazing talent and music going on in LA, which is a luxury to be able to take advantage of. In other ways, I wear a lot less clothes than I used to, which is nice!
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced so far as an artist?
Paying my bills. When I first started out with Mr Little Jeans I kept getting a lot of great opportunities and it was a challenge to keep making music (sometimes in different countries), and pay rent at the same time. It still is!
What are your major inspirations?
Everyday people living everyday lives. Being brave, stupid, smart or just human. As far as music goes I get inspired by different things all the time. A bass line there, a melody line here, a drum sound, somebody’s voice in a certain register… Little things like that can be very inspiring.
You’ve breathed a new life in ‘The Suburbs’. What attracted you about the song and how do you feel you’ve brought your own personality to the track?
I loved the song itself and felt I could do a whole different take on it. Hopefully my voice and the sounds I added is enough to make it sound like “me”.
What are your plans for the future?
Album release and album release show. That’s as far as I got with my planning!
Check out Mr Little Jeans’ rad new album, Pocketknife.