RFB Host Profile: Jesse Roth of “The Mess”
RFB: Hello, Jesse and welcome to Radio Free Brooklyn! Tell us a little bit about the creative (or other) path(s) that led to you doing your show with RFB.
JR: Long story short, I was your typical attention-seeking child who turned to *the theatre* (I’m legally obligated to put those asterisks there), before ultimately losing my mind to a BFA program for four years and then moving to NYC to do comedy. My only outside hobbies in college were an on-campus theatre group (I can’t stay away!) and for one semester, I co-hosted a radio show with my friend Brady Richards. We played lots of fun stuff, mainly pop and indie rock, and would just gush over tunes together on a weekday morning. Flash forward to, ya know, this here global pandemic, and your girl needs hobbies! Music is the #1 thing keeping me sane right now, especially living alone. I’m discovering new music, making playlists, I’m even teaching myself some stuff on keyboard and guitar — it’s just an all-encompassing passion for me. BTW: I hate silence!!! (Haha… but really.) Oh, and I love to hear the sound of my own voice (winks).
RFB: What made you choose RFB?
JR: I’ve been a guest on Colby Smith’s Young Person’s Radio, and when I visited the studio thought it was absolutely the coolest place. No surprise that Tom, Shane and the team run such a well-oiled machine on the backend; they made it so easy to set up recording live from home and they answer every silly question I have. Right off the bat, I was told that my vision was the most important thing when it came to the content of the show, and I was free to do my “thang.” I feel very supported, and I’m excited to do this show for a long time.
RFB: You’re focusing on pop music — how do you think the genre has changed over the years and what gives your show a different take on it?
JR: What I love about the term “pop music” is that it covers so many genres. Popular music is music that a lot of people relate to, of course it’s going to be catchy, relatable and feel insanely good to listen to. To look at pop music through the years is to also look at society and, more importantly, culture. Pop music unlocks so many other pieces of culture for me: movies, television shows, fashion, books — POP MUSIC SAVES!!! My “take ”on it is simply that I eat it up, every single bite. The Mess is very much me filtering all I am absorbing (as I try to keep up with the latest chart toppers while also educating myself on the classics) and putting it out into the world in a different package each week, whether there’s a certain theme or topic, or a guest. The possibilities are endless… but pop is forever.
RFB: I love that you’re also a comedian! How are you going to blend the worlds of comedy and music? Or are you creating a whole new genre?
JR: I don’t have any specific plans about blending the worlds, apart from the idea to maybe script more of my talking bits and include jokes (what do we think?). I’m not really trying to be funny, but I do aim to express my genuine opinions about music. What’s fun about The Mess is it can be whatever I want, be different every time and evolve. I also used to listen to a lot of comedy and improv podcasts, like Doughboys and Comedy Bang Bang, and would love to figure out fun bits or something. I’m open to ideas from the crowd.
RFB: Give us a hint of what listeners can expect from each show.
JR: I don’t want to keep hammering the idea home, but truly the show will be different every time. For example, a past show was titled “Group Hang” and I played songs by big groups like ABBA, The Mamas and the Papas and A*Teens, and the week after, my friend and amazing artist Sarah Dooley came on as a guest to talk about her new album which had just come out (Is This Heartbreak). What you can always expect, though, is good music.
RFB: What is the takeaway you hope people get from The Mess?
JR: My philosophy behind The Mess is about throwing spaghetti at a wall and seeing what sticks. I love that image so much. To me that’s the best part of creating, just having an absolute blast. Maybe you throw something out there and it falls, but it’s the doing it that makes you feel alive. I hope people reading this or listening to the show find ways to create without inhibition regularly. I also want people to remember that POP MUSIC SAVES!!!
Tune in to The Mess, Mondays at 6:00 pm.