Monday, September 2, 2013
10 Questions: Jessica Hernandez
Jessica Hernandez is the saucy lead singer of her Detroit based band The Deltas. She took some time and talked to BLS about her music, the road and a few other things.
Make sure you you catch her this week as she plays a show Friday night at the Doug Fir as part of Musicfest NW.
BLS: With the release of your latest EP Live at The Magic Bag you’ve been able to experience both live and studio recording. Are there elements that you both like and dislike about these two recording processes? Do you have a favorite?
JH: I recently discovered that my favorite recording process is a combination of both. We just recorded a couple new songs for a new 7'' and we recorded to tape. That's kind of the best of both worlds. It has the feel of a live show but its a little safer and more planned out. You get a live feel but if someone totally fucks it up you can just do it again.
BLS: As a first-generation American that was raised in a Mexican/Cuban household. How has your cultural up bring influenced your music?
JH: My parents listening to everything from Bowie to Buena Vista so they definitely had a big impact on my musical taste from a really young age. I still listen to all the music they got me into and I think its a big part of why my sound is all over the place. I was raised on so many genres that even though I go into writing trying to be original, i can sometimes hear where weird little things come from.
BLS: Having grown up in Detroit, the home of rocking soul and gritty rock n roll do you find your music influenced by environmental elements of the Motor City?
JH: I think everyones environment influences them, so yah for sure. Motown was one of those staples when I was growing up. My grandparents are really young and they tell me about how bands like the temptations, supremes and four tops used to come and play at their high school dances growing up. On a subconscious level I feel like the vibe of this whole album coming out is like Detroit. Its somehow really beautiful and really morbid at the same time.
BLS: You included, there are 7 members in your band The Deltas, all playing a broad arrangement of instruments. How do you incorporate all those elements into your songs with out having them feel crowded?
JH: I always write starting with a different instrument. Sometimes its a horn idea first or a piano part or even a drum beat. After I write a vocal melody that's when I figure out how much room there is for everything else. I like having a big band, but I also like simplicity and the contrast of the two. It's nice to play one song with 7 people and a brass section then play another with just a piano and vocals.
BLS: How dose the wide range of instruments effect the writing process?
JH: It basically just makes me feel like I have a lot of freedom to do anything with a song. It can stay bare bones or become this huge production and I know that either way I go I have some great guys that can pull it off. It's nice to go into writing without limitation.
BLS: Is it hard being the only women in the group, or do you like being the queen bee?
JH: I'd be lying if I said I didn't like it. It definitely isn't easy being the only women but it also some how ends up being really peaceful. The guys like to party and I like to be more of a recluse on tour. Since they have their bromance I don't feel bad hiding away to be alone. I could do with less farts and boogers in the van though.
BLS: As the female lead you seem to have been able to find a way to balance the aggression of the music with a feminine sensuality. Who are other female leads from which you’ve gained inspiration?
JH: Dolly Parton, Kate Bush, Wanda Jackson, Tammy Wynette, and basically all ladies of Motown. I feel like a lot of women back in the day really knew how to pull that off. They were all these gorgeous sensual women that were so badass.
BLS: You’re in the middle of a very extensive tour. How has the road been treating you?
JH Honestly for our first year of heavy touring I couldn't ask for anything better. Even if we have a dud playing for like 4 people in some small town, it still ends up being fun and gives you more bonding time with other bands on the road. No complaints.
BLS: What’s the one question you wished more music writers would ask you in interviews? How would you answer it?
JH: How many times has someone puked in the van after a show? 1 too many.
BLS: Name 5 bands you love but who few people have heard of?
Grupo Fantasma Del Peru