I'm a musician from Plano, Texas, but I've been in Portland for about 12 years, and I've been playing guitar for probably 23 years and been out gigging since 2004. I started out in a band in college called Chico Y Los Gatos. That was my band name for years. I released two albums of original music. I was actually a theater major, and then I switched to English and majored in English, but all at the same time had this band going that I would play in Denton. When I was in Portland, I got into a lot of tribute bands. It's almost all women tribute bands and stuff, so that's been really fun, and got my chops up by doing that.
I never thought I would enjoy tribute bands so much. But it turns out, you know, if you learn other people's music, you're really expanding your Encyclopedia of music knowledge, you know? I love learning guitar riffs from classic rock. That's why my main gig right now is Major Tom Boys, all female-identified David Bowie cover band.
What's next? That's a big theme in my music. Now that I'm in a marriage, there's this... I can write about that. I do, actually. I have one song about the time I fell in love with my wife. She had cancer at the beginning of our relationship. I didn't (until years later) write about that time, but I feel I captured it really well. At the end of 2008, when I met her, it was a hard time.
My album title comes from a drive out to Astoria, Oregon. Out there you'll see trees taken out because of deforestation. I always thought it'd be cool to do a photo shoot out in one of those areas because this is, sad beauty of it. What do these trees have had to say, that are gone now? I'm trying to figure out, what would my ancestors, how would they have responded to this? You know, the destruction that we're seeing, that seems to be beyond our control? When did the scales tip? When did things go too far? When do we let technology run without us? Was there a moment we could have stopped things? Is there still a moment to stop things, you know? Is it okay to still be comfortable in our lives, you know? That's something I asked myself a lot now too.
I have another song that says, "Stand in the middle of the road a crow or a sparrow. Wait for the car to lose control. Ride the wind or the window." When you come upon a bird in the road, it doesn't matter how close you get, they will fly over, you know? So that's what I was thinking about. I was thinking about the way they stand there right at the edge until it's the last second. Don't be afraid to let things get scary, and put yourself maybe in danger artistically as well. Another verse says, "Jump from the highest of the bluffs. Point your feet towards the river. Sink till you're almost out of breath. Kick your legs and go deeper." It's about pushing yourself to go further into your fears. It's essential to practice that in your art and then in your life.
Music, it's a vehicle for connecting with people that you might not connect with otherwise, and always has been, and will continue to be in the future. That song I mentioned earlier called, it's called Oceanside, about falling in love with my wife. I had a man come up to me at a show, talk about how it reminded him of him and his wife, you know, and falling in love. I was, "Oh, that's so sweet." It's relatable to anyone that falls in love. You know, and that that's the importance of music.
Artists, particularly in this country and a lot of countries are not valued. If I was going to change a belief system, and if I wanted to speak to one goal in the life that I've always had in the back of my mind was, how do I sustain artists, you know? And, the belief system is believe that artists are valuable. Practicing art, viewing art, experiencing art, making art, all of that stuff is so healthy for you. It's vital for your health. It's crucial for your education and learning. Art is absolutely essential. You know, I still have trouble committing to the job I'm in, because I feel if I get too stuck in it, I'll never quite get my music out there. I feel trapped in my job. But, be okay with another career -- you're going to do your art, no matter what. If you do it and you practice it, and you get yourself out there, then you're doing it., there's nothing... What else is making it than doing it?
I used to write more about relationships when I first started writing music — the ups and downs of dating. What I've written about has diversified as I've gotten older, and I write about more significant things now than my personal relationships. I write about more social issues now.
I am biracial. I'm half Mexican, half white, Italian, but I'm a white-passing person. So I feel there's the responsibility of white people to do better for people of color. Being that I'm biracial, you know, being true to my Latinx roots about that. I do need to do better as somebody that's both a person of color and a white-passing person of color.
I wrote a song that goes right before…it was around where the inauguration of Trump was, you know. I was trying to figure out how to move forward without a heavy heart. The song starts with, "Quiet down your mind, nobody's fooled, nobody's here by mistake,," basically trying to say this is, you know, we're all here. We all brought us here. The song asks: "I call to the beasts who live within the ocean waves."
What's next? How do I respond, and how do I take responsibility?