Studio A presents Mixtape Volume 1, an exciting compilation episode of six of our recent bands performing singles from their albums. Featured acts include Chelsea Wolfe, La Santa Cecilia, Best Coast, Quetzal, The Internet, and Deap Vally.
Read more about these SoCal bands in their own words:
Los Angeles-based musician Chelsea Wolfe's hypnotically entrancing vocals, layered guitar textures, and pulsing rhythms lit up the stage for Studio A.
On Creating the Album "Pain is Beauty"
Chelsea Wolfe: For me, the themes are very elemental. Starting with nature itself and one of the first songs that I wrote for the album was 'The Waves Have Come,' which is a song I wrote after I watched a lot of documentary footage of the earthquake in Japan and then the tsunami that followed. And seeing first hand stories of people who experienced that: losing their loved ones and their homes. So that was kind of like the first theme of the album that I realized that I was kind of stuck on; that sense of great loss or that nature affects humanity. Then I started thinking of the darkness of nature in general, how it's so beautiful. It can be so heavy and so overwhelming: Forest fires, and lava flowing, and really beautiful dark things like that. So that was one of the main things that inspired a lot of different songs on the album. Then comes this sense of loss and also tormented love. It's looking at love in a more realistic way, that it takes a lot of work and that there can be a lot of pain in love as well.
Grammy Award-winning group La Santa Cecilia draws inspiration from all over the world, utilizing Pan-American rhythms like cumbia, bossa nova, rumba, bolero, tango, jazz, rock, and klezmer music. Watch their exciting performance on Studio A.
José Carlos: That whole experience with the band of me not having the proper documentation -- I was brought here at the age of six years old, and I lived here for 26 years. I went to school here, just like millions of dreamers here in L.A. and in the U.S. We were brought here with our parents. I was brought here at the age of six, and I realized one day that I couldn't get a driver's license. Even though I spoke English, even though I went to school here, even though I went to college here. I couldn't get a license or even a job. We felt the need to write this song because of the experiences we were living; through our parents and friends, through everyone. Fortunately, I was approved for the deferred action...and finally after seven years, after starting the band, I'm so happy to say that after seven years I was able to travel back to Mexico with the band and perform at an important event called "Viva Latino." But we can't forget the struggle or the people that are still without papers, the immigrants that come here to look for a better life, who are looking just to support their families. We're still continuing in our support to all those people out there, and we're never going to forget. We have to support each other. I think that's the key of life: support one another.
Beachy rockers Best Coast deliver reverb-drenched guitar, Laurel Canyon strums, and subtle country edge to KCET's Studio A.
On the Southern California Influence
Bethany Cosentino: I grew up in LA. I've lived here my entire life with the exception of the year that I lived in New York. And I've always been just kind of fascinated by Los Angeles and California. I feel like it's such a magical place, it has such a special vibe that I feel like a lot of other places don't have. So when I write music, even if I'm writing a song about a boyfriend or a friend that I'm no longer friends with or whatever I'm writing about I feel like I'm not straightforwardly being like "Ok, this song is about Los Angeles." There's a vibe and an energy behind the songs that carry this Los Angeles energy, you know? And people are constantly saying that to me. They'll be like "Oh, I listen to your music in the dead of winter because it makes me feel like I'm on a beach in Southern California." And I'm like "Well that's exactly what I wanted to do." So I feel like when I hear that I'm like "Ok, cool I've done my job."
The Grammy-winning band Quetzal mixes sounds of traditional Mexican "son jarocho" music with a contemporary twist. Catch their lively performance on Studio A.
On the New Generation of Chicano Identity
Quetzal Flores: My parents generation responded by preparing to take up arms, you know, by an armed struggle against a repressive government. And which, for our generation, we're thinking about it a little bit differently. Because 1.) you can't compete with the weapons that they have. 2.) That's not where we want to go with this, they're not our teachers, you know? Martin Luther King said that. Those are not our teachers. And so we want to build these vehicles that are going to help us travel out of the way of this falling structure. And so the fandango, hip hop, and cyphering, these modes of convening, la convivencia, that important word, again that goes with dignity and hope convivencia. Those ideas are the vehicles that help us move out of the way.
The R&B duo known as The Internet -- aka Sydney "Syd tha Kyd" Bennett and Matt "Martians" Martin -- performs "Dontcha" in the KCET Studios.
On Writing Music
Syd tha Kyd: Personally, I can't write when I have to write a song. if it's like "Oh, we have this album. We have 12 tracks and we've written six. We need to write the other six" I can't do it. You tell me I have to do it, I can't do it. But if I'm just sitting in the studio one day and the beat is on, and I'll just hear something in my head or something like a few songs off the last album, a few songs off both of our albums are about that way where we thought.
For instance for "Sunset" on "Feel Good," I woke up one morning, and checked my text messages and there was so much going on. And the first thing that came into my head when I got up was "Life is a mess." And that ended up being the first line in the song, because for some reason I was working on the song the night before, couldn't come up with anything but then I thought about that and was like... And the rest of the song I swear just came.
We have one song that we made that's about loosening up, about just going with the flow. We have another song we made about timeless music, compared to timeless relationships.
Channeling titans of rock and riot grrl punk, power duo Deap Vally unleash a bombastic style of guitar-and-drums mayhem in the KCET's Studio A. Julie Edwards and Lindsey Troy met in a knitting class but their music is anything but well-mannered.
On Starting the Band:
Julie Edwards: I used to own a knitting shop, called 'The Little Knittery' in Atwater village. And one day, Lindsey walked into my store to take a crochet class. And the rest is history.
Lindsey Troy: Yeah. So I took a crochet class and Julie taught me how to crochet. The class was three hours long, there was only one other person in it. So, we were chatting a lot and we bonded. And then I kept coming into the store after that, asking for help with my project, and just basically wanting to hang out with Julie. She'd be first to hang out with me because she was at work. And then she asked if I wanted to start a band with her.
LT: That was that. I think we were just kindred spirits, you know. Just one of those things you can't really explain.
Know a band that could be good for Studio A? Let us know!