They may be precious, but they’re not your baby. Meet Precious Kid, a three-piece glitter rock group from Orange County, California, fronted by the inimitable Justine Dorsey. The band has been playing shows in the OC/LA circuit for a while now as “Justine and the Highs”, and you may have seen them anywhere from smaller DIY venues to The Troubadour. Precious Kid describes their sound as “the Cranberries on coke” and “the kinda dancing you do when you’re angry”, but that only scrapes the surface. It’s tender, with bite. It’s raw but deliciously playful. With every listen, Precious Kid’s music is an open invitation to cake your face in purple glitter, drape your body in animal print, and zip up your tallest platform knee-high boots. The band expands upon the musical narrative begun by the new wave artists of the 80’s with a decidedly fresh 21st century attitude – promising a new generation a taste of authentic post-punk glamour in the Instagram age. And the glitter? That’s the band’s trademark by this point, worn by its members like warpaint both on and offstage – and sold to fans every night at their merch booth while their contemporaries market the same old tee-shirts and hats. I am reluctant to admit that rock is dead for as long as Precious Kid is around.
Modern Girls had the chance to chat with Justine (vox/guitar) and Kassie (bass) from Precious Kid about their music, aesthetic inspiration, and – of course – fast food picks. Sit back, relax, and prepare to lose yourself in your new favorite band. Glitter sold separately.
Modern Girls: So, how did you guys all come to start playing together – and what’s the story behind “Precious Kid”?
Justine: I’d put out music under my name for years and I started to feel restless at my own shows. I just really wanted a band. I met Kassie through a friend who’d played with her before, and then Kassie had known Charlie, our guitarist, for a while, so we brought him on. At a certain point I couldn’t see ‘Justine and the Highs’ as a lasting name. I kept coming back to Precious Kid, so we changed it. We’re still looking for a drummer, soooo if there are any OC/LA drummers reading this, hmu.
MG: How do you want people to feel when they listen to your music or come to one of your shows?
Justine: Glamorous and welcome.
Kassie: I hope that our music and live shows create friendships and a sense of community or belonging. I was a massive, massive Jonas Brothers fan back in the day and attending Jo Bro concerts and meeting other fans are some of my best tweenhood memories. Basically, what I’m saying here is that I want to be Joe Jonas.
MG: Precious Kid is has been likened as the proto-pop answer to The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, and St. Vincent. While I definitely hear some of those influences in your tracks, I also hear strong undertones of 60s pop and even 70s rock a la Blondie and even the Runaways. What artists do you look to for influence?
Justine: You’re right on with the 60s/70s stuff. I love a lot of English post-punk – Gang of Four, Siouxsie and the Banshees. I think the harsher stuff I listen to gets filtered through and comes out poppier or sunnier, the way it would with a lot of New Wave bands. There’s always some bizarro New Wave song we get obsessed with. And we love Talking Heads.
Kassie: When I write my basslines I always look to Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads and Paul McCartney’s basslines. The both of them create such melodic, riffy lines. St. Vincent is always on the mind of me and Justine when we’re in the studio. We gotta have them odd guitar/synth sounds.
MG: Similarly – aesthetically, where do you guys look for influence?
Kassie: I’m just trying to be a rhinestone cowboy mixed with 1980s Bret Michaels.
Justine: Honestly, just, like, watch Xanadu and you’ll get it.
Justine: I usually don’t have a concrete plan for the videos. I do have a bunch of disconnected images/scenes floating around my head that all tie together somehow via the song, and once we get those down (the last two have been shot on DV tapes) I just figure it out how they fit together in editing. Editing can be infuriating but it’s almost my favorite part of the process. I didn’t realize how much it affects the emotional impact of a video. I honestly love making videos so much I wonder if I write songs just so I can make videos for them.
MG: The Jaded music video features a lot of fast food. Here’s the hard-hitting question: what is your fast food go-to?
Kassie: WingStop boneless wings – ORIGINAL HOT!
Justine: Del Taco – cheese quesadilla, medium fry, Coke.
MG: What is your favorite show you have played so far, and why?
Justine: When we opened for Wallows at the Troubadour. Everyone we love was there and it was packed so it felt really cozy. There were people I’ve never seen singing Dirty Disposition, which was the first time that’s happened to us.
Kassie: Playing Troubadour in LA was a serious check off the ol’ bucket list. We also recently traveled to Pennsylvania to play Musikfest. Traveling for shows is always such an adventure. We wreaked havoc in a casino directly after getting offstage and ‘ya girl left with an extra $40 in her pocket from a ‘The Godfather’ slot machine.
MG: If you could curate your own Precious Kid music festival, who else would be on the bill?
Justine: Frank Ocean. New Order – I would force them to play all of Power, Corruption, and Lies. The Garden (duh). Blood Orange. Tyler the Creator (also duh, and he comes up during The Garden’s set). Olivia Newton John and John Travolta doing the entire Grease soundtrack.
Kassie: The answer is simple – Criss Angel. We’d play at 10am and the rest of the day would showcase the MindFreak himself, Criss Angel. I’d work his merch booth.
MG: What’s next for Precious Kid?
Kassie: Lots of shows, lots of new music and videos, and lots of glitter.
Justine: A new single and video! And hopefully we get that G dang drummer.
Watch the band’s latest video for Jaded, directed by Justine: