Music's always been at the center of Jade Castrinos' life. Her mother sang and her father played guitar, filling her life with sound since well before she was born.
"When my mom was pregnant, [my father] used to put those big '80s headphones over her belly and blast me out with Zeppelin and all kinds of classic rock," says the Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes singer, who's about to go out on tour fronting her own band. "My mom says I would start freaking out in her stomach ... dancing in there," says Castrinos, whose pint-size physique disguises a big voice these days.
After co-writing the song "Home" in the mid 2000s, Castrinos and Ima Robot vocalist Alex Ebert would go on to form Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes.
The song epitomizes their vibrant baroque-a-delic chamber-folk approach, with graceful strings and bright brass gilding a dusty, ramshackle '60s psych-roots jam. The duo's harmonies and vocal interplay harken back to the rich sonorous tone of '60s Brill Building pop.
Small wonder the ode to friendship ended up being the biggest hit on the band's 2009 full-length debut, Up From Below.
"Who can't relate to wanting to go home or appreciating the people who made you feel at home?" asks the impish brunette. "We were really stoked on it and just excited and happy about what was in the air at that time."
"It all just happened naturally," she says. "We met friends of friends, and everyone just sort of came together for the purpose of making the songs come alive and it's kept us all together ever since."
Currently the band is taking a break, and Castrinos is using the time off to pursue her own side project.
"I've just been writing songs that I've kept to myself since I was 11. A lot of them are really embarrassing, but I've just decided that if I don't express myself, I'm going to explode. So it's more out of necessity," says Castrinos. "I'm just following through with what I guess I would say is my reason for living."
Castrinos' touring repertoire will include "Fire & Water," a track on last year's iTunes Session album that was inspired by a draw from her Motherpeace Tarot cards.
"I drew this card called Temperance and the card is about fire and water uniting and dancing in ecstasy," she says. "That had a lot to do with it, and just knowing this world is so much pain, and wanting to send some love out there to try to make it a little better."
She also promises to play some new songs and maybe a Neil Young cover or two.
Meanwhile, the Zeroes will soon be reassembling to start work on their second album. Unlike its predecessor, which developed out of some demos that Ebert put together, this one is expected to be much more collaborative.
"Everyone has ideas and everyone is writing on this record a lot," she says. "It's just a really creative process and I'm excited to see how it turns out."
While Castrinos is still processing the band's sudden success, which she attributes to her bandmates' attitude and demeanor, their positivity, she says, is what made the magic happen.
"It's been crazy and amazing, and we've all gotten to travel together and have crazy life experiences" she enthuses. "It's been really fulfilling."