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q & a



The following are EARTHA’s Answers to interview Questions that have been published in several publications:

1.  What three words sum you up? And what is an interesting fact about you that no one else knows?

From a personal standpoint, I would say that the three words that summarily describe me are “sincere,” “peaceful,” and “shy.”  However, from an artistic standpoint, I would say that the terms that most accurately describe me are “creatively unpredictable,” “artistically courageous,” and “highly energetic.”

Well, I don’t know how interesting you will find this, but I absolutely love, love, love the National Geographic and History Channels. I can watch them for hours.

2.  How would you describe your music?

My music is creative, energetic, melodic, and thought provoking – it’s unrestricted.  In my latest CD “Ink Dry Blue”, although I use elements that allow the music a little freedom and deviation from a standard genre, I use electric guitars and instrumentation that are consistent with Rock Alternative.

I like to write music that moves the listener, but I like to write lyrics that engage the listener emotionally and intellectually. I want my lyrics to compel the listener to consider the possibility of certain circumstances or conditions in his/her life. It’s sort of like ‘putting the foot in the other shoe’ because while we are all different, in many instances, under the same circumstances we are all the same.  Certain things are just universal and speak to us all the same way – be it relationships, commitments, love, hate, fear, betrayal, etc.  This album consists of 16 tracks that touch on those issues.

The title of my CD “Ink Dry Blue” symbolizes the strength of the words we speak and the commitments we make.  We specifically came up with the concept of “ink drying blue” to analogize the importance of the words we speak with that of signing a contract.  I liken the permanence of blue ink to that of the things we say because that bespeaks our character.  Often, we measure the strength of an agreement by the paper on which it was written. For example, if an agreement is inked in blue, it is more binding and enforceable than the one “signed” with just a spoken word or a hand-shake.  Usually when we commit contractually to something of importance, we memorialize it in writing and sign our names in ink because in our society it is the instrument that most represents the evidence of our intentions and good faith.  So similarly, when we say we are going to do something, we should let our words be the “ink that dries blue,” so to speak. So to that, I’m just saying, be of good character, and honor your word.  If you said you’re going to do something, do it. Let the words you speak be your “ink that dries blue.”

3.  What do you try to communcate with your sound, or your music?

While my sound is laced with elements that may be complementing to several genres, my music is Rock Alternative.  My latest CD “Ink Dry Blue” has electric rock instrumentation with melodic electric guitar riffs, heavy use of vocal harmonies, and a mix of major and minor key tones.  However, in keeping with my free and unrestricted musical style, on some tracks, I introduce acoustic rhythm piano, strings, or industrial sounds juxtaposed with softer melodic attributes for dimension.  So musically, I have fun with the musical pallet. 

Lyrically, for this project “Ink Dry Blue”, we wrote songs that speak to the human condition.  With the tracks on this CD, collectively, we wanted to touch on how we relate to one another; our shortcomings, uncertainties and insecurities; challenges we overcome; and promises we keep or break. 

4. What song do you wish you’d written?

I like well written songs:lyrically, musically, and structurally.  I’m not sure that I wish I’d written these songs, but “Dear Agony” by Breaking Benjamin, “Afterlife” by Avenge Sevenfold, and “Carry Me Down” by Demon Hunter are such great songs, that if any of those songs had come to me, I would be very pleased.

5.  As Michael Jackson had the Moonwalk and Elvis had the snake hips, what do you have that makes you unique?

Although in both examples, you have identified dance movement as the unique quality, I am going to assume that you are not limiting it to solely dance.  I have several qualities that underline my uniqueness. However, if I have to mention only one, it is the quality of my voice.  “Deep and Gravely”, “Sandpaper-Raspy”, “Rough and Gritty” are just some of the terms I’ve heard to describe the sound of my voice.  Growing up, I was always told that my voice is unique.  Frankly, what else do you tell a very young girl with a voice as heavy as that of an adult? And adding to the distinction was the incongruence between the way I sounded and the way I looked.  I was really tall and thin with a croaky voice.  Singing as a child, I utilized a falsetto soprano until I discovered that I wasn’t using my natural voice.  But once I did, even though I would peak at a certain range, my voice seemed to have a rugged edge to it.  I have always been unmistakeably identified by the quality of my voice.  I couldn’t change it, even if I wanted to.  So that’s what I have that makes me unique.

6.  How did the band form? How long have you been together?

Some time ago, we met at a performance.  Over the course of several months, after jam sessions and conversations, we all connected on a musical and personal level. So we decided to play together, and we’ve been together ever since.  The band consists of three electric guitarists, bassist, keyboardist, drummer, and myself.

Our musical team has been together for many years.  I have been with my same producers and songwriters (Helsa Ariass and Glaurys Ariass) since my first recording.  However, over the years, we have made some valuable musical additions, and have come to know and rely on each other as a team.  We are excited about the projects on which we are currently working, and planning

7. What has been the hardest part of being in the band for you?

Well, I have really lucked-out with my band because everyone is wildly talented, committed, responsible, and has a great attitude.  When we are creating, rehearsing, or performing, we spend quite a bit of time together.  So I will have to say that the hardest part for me is making up time for the “rain checks” I have to give family and friends.

8.  What did you do before you were in a band?

Smoke pot and write poetry (Just Kidding :-D)  Before the band, I wrote a lot of poetry and songs, and played any instrument I could get my hands on.   As I structured my songs lyrically and arranged the music, I was introduced to many unconventional instruments.  So I just became enamoured with the idea of experimenting with different sounds and infusing them into my songs.

9. Tell me a bit about your early days and how they differ from now?

My early days were a bit frightening.  I’ve always been a bit shy, although on stage, I metamorphosize.  In the early days, I would become really anxious before performances.  I used to have this weird habit of icing my face before performances just to calm my nerves.  However, over the years, I’ve become much more comfortable.  I no longer go through those rituals. I still prefer a little quiet time, to meditate and focus.  I have matured in many areas of my life.  I now exude a confidence, which only comes from knowing who I am; and just realizing that has allowed me an unrestrictive creative discipline.

The only thing that hasn’t changed much is the shyness, I suppose.  While I am very social and enjoy interacting, especially on a personal level, I still lay back sometimes. However, I find special ways to reach out to others, even outside of the music.

10.  What were the first CDs/records you bought.

Wow, I buy so many records, it seems like I BUY everybody’s records.  I can’t remember the first CD I ever bought, but particular records I remember buying and absolutely loving are Aerosmith “Get A Grip”, Sting “Ten Summoner’s Tales”, Korn “Korn”, and Kazuhito Yamashita “J.S. Bach/ The complete suites for solo cello BWV.1007-1012 [Guitar Version]”

11.  What's the band up to over the next few months?

Over the next few months, we’re gigging, gigging, and gigging, then taking a very short break to do some sit-ups before we begin writing sessions for more good stuff.

12.  Who would you count among your inspirations?

Over the years, many artists/ musicians/ songwriters from different genres have inspired me on multiple levels.  However, in rock, I count Jimi Hendrix, Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Frank Zappa, and Slash prominent inspirations.

13.  Who has helped you the most get to where you are today?

Irrefutably, producers and songwriters Helsa Ariass and Glaurys Ariass have taught me so much.  They have been most instrumental in my professional career.  They taught me how to structure songs, as we spent countless hours writing lyrics, writing, arranging, and recording music for my projects and collaborating with other artists and musicians.  I’ve been given great advice and wise counsel over the years.

14.  What’s been your journey, for example, ‘from the bedroom to now idea/dream’? 

My journey has been one of persistence, musical progression, personal enlightenment, and great prudence.  Before I began my recording career, I was happy just writing my poetry and strumming my guitar.  But as I started putting my ideas for songs on paper, that’s when my learning experience began.  While working with Helsa and Glaurys, I learned about song structure, melodic patterns, lyrics, arranging, etc.  Through this process, my ideas were born and brought to fruition. Since then, I have written, produced and released three albums, one single, and gained a wealth knowledge in this journey.

15.  What keeps you going as a musician or band?

Life inspires me to create.  As a musician, what keeps me going or making music are spurts of creativity. When I hear a beautiful song, or see a wonderful performance, get sad news or experience anything that moves me, I get inspired and my creative juices kick in.  I’ll spend hours playing my piano, my guitar, or whatever instrument I’m moved to play.   

As a band, the things that keep us going as a unit are primarily communication and respect for each other.  The band members are wildly creative and innovative, but the lack of creativity is seldom the reason bands break up.  Usually, the things that break up a band are the breakdown of communication and the lack of respect for each other because then the acrimony sets in and the creativity suffers.  So those two elements are big with our band.  Whatever it is, let’s talk about it.  We’ll be able to work it out because we are friends, who respect each other.

16.  Where would you like to take your music?  In terms of places, or developments in your sound, etc?

Where I would like to take my music is less about the physical place and more about the audience, the people. While I am keenly aware that certain spaces are more acoustically suitable for performance, I try to focus more on audiences because I perform for people, not for walls. So, pretty much, anywhere people will receive my music is cool. In terms of sound development, I’m still learning and evolving, so I’m pretty sure that future projects will bear all the landmarks of my musical journey.

17.  Best item of fan mail you've ever received?

I have received several pieces of mail that have really moved me.  However, one of the more memorable items of fan mail that I have received is a letter from a man who came to one of my shows and thanked me for performing the song “One By One”.  He shared with me that he was the father of a U.S. soldier, who had been caught in cross-fire in Afghanistan the week before.  He also shared that that day was also his son’s birthday, so the song was very timely.  “One By One” is a song that I dedicate to heroes (soldiers, police officers, fire-fighters, etc.), who put themselves in the line of fire to protect the rest of us. I wanted to highlight that in this world there are some special people who run “into the fire,” while the rest of us run away from it.  At any rate, days after the show, the father sent me a very moving letter in which he expressed that the song would encourage his son.  I was humbled and more than honoured to send it to him.

18.  What music do you have on repeat in the CD player?

Right now the music on repeat is that of Slipknot and Avenged Sevenfold, and occasionally for a change of pace and variation, we kick in classical music.

19.  What gear do you use?

Although we are always alternating and picking up new gear, for our shows, we usually use Fender Strat, Gibson, and Ibanez electric guitars; Fender bass; Marshall and Fender Amps; and DigiTech RP1000 and Boss GT-10 Pedals; Yamaha synth pads; Tama/ Sabian drums and Sabian/ Zildjian cymbals.  For our acoustic shows, we use acoustic guitars, acoustic-electric guitars, bass, congas/ cajon.  But who knows, for the next show, we may just use a Rattle and Kazoo (Just Kidding).

20.  What's your best on-tour story?

We were on our way to a festival, and the keyboardist decided he would meet us there because he had to take care of some personal issues, so he was not going to ride on the tour bus with us. We offered to take his gear in the bus with us so that he would not have the worry about trudging along with heavy equipment, but he refused.  He assured us that he could comfortably throw it in the back of his Range Rover, and meet us there.  So off we went.   We got there, unloaded, and prepared.  Three hours later, we catch a glimpse of a tiny rusted car “pub-pubbing” along the street. It was the keyboardist squeezed into this matchbox car with a 6 foot keyboard that stretched from the back seat into the front windshield.  At that point, our concern about how he was going to get his gear out of the car was greater than the one we had about him getting to the gig on time.

Here’s another one.  During one particular gig, in the middle of a song, our drummer busted his snare head, and being the quick-thinker (jokester) that he is, he immediately fixed the problem in the most unconventional way.  Of course, I heard the drastic change in the percussive sound, and the crowd reaction.  However, since I was in the middle of my verse, I didn’t turn around to see what the uproar was all about.  All I knew was that the rolls and hits were sounding rather thin.  So when I eventually turned around, I saw that the drummer had positioned a tambourine between his legs, and continued to play the tambourine in place of the snare as intensely as he had before his snare head busted.  I had no choice but to play along.

21.  If I was contemplating either coming to your show or sitting at home and watching TV, how would you convince me to come out?

As the saying goes, “He who is convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” Therefore, starting with that premise, I would have no choice but to drag your TV set to the show and place it by my return monitors.  I have a sneaking suspicion that you’ll be there, and I won’t have to convince you to come out for the next show. :-D

22.  If you were to send someone to prison for crimes against music, who would it be?

Generally, the stages in our lives are earmarked by the musical soundtracks that artists and musicians produce.  Therefore, if I had to send someone to prison for crimes against music, it would have to be any scrooge who would try to ban music and creative expression.

23.  If you HAD TO date a member of the same sex, who would it be?

Someone who is honest, direct, and a little eccentric.

24.  What do you demand on your rider?

Bubble gum, Jolly Ranchers candy. :-)  Really, all I need is a good backline, and I’m good.

25.  Is it hard being a new band in today’s industry?

I suspect that in some ways it’s hard being a new band in today’s industry, but in many more ways it may be easier. Today, with the use of the internet and social networks, there is definitely more market saturation, thus more competition.  However, that is the very medium that allows independent artists and bands a platform on which to display their talent.  So, today artists have an outlet and an opportunity to start building, albeit on a small scale, their base of supporters.

26.  How important is the internet and social network sites to the success of your band?

In today’s environment, social networks are extremely essential to promote music, build awareness among supporters, and connect with people all over the world.  The internet and social networks have been particularly important to us because they have allowed us the opportunity to launch cost-effective promotional and marketing campaigns; sell merchandise directly to consumers; and even have real-time chatting sessions with supporters.  Moreover, we have been able to meet people with ours same interests and skill sets from different regions of the world.

27.  Who was the last person you called/text last night?

The last person I called was Mulberry’s Pizza. I asked him a very important and pointed question: How much more extra cheese do I get with the ‘Extra Cheese Large’? :-)

28.  Where do you want to be in the future and/or where do you want your band to end up, (example: top of the world)?

In the future, I want to be wherever my music allows me to connect with people in a real and significant way.  While I find being “on top of the world” fascinating, that’s not necessarily the sole measuring stick I use to assess the success of an artist.  I want my music to be successful in that it serves its most intrinsic purpose.  When someone walks up to me after a show and tells me how my performance affected him/her, I’m reassured in my heart, “This is why I do it.”

29.  And if you were to take me on a trip to your hometown, what would be the first place we’d go?

I would take you to one of my favorite spots; it’s a quaint café in Los Angeles, California.  The food is always delicious.  It’s a great conversation little spot and very comfortable and casual environment. You’d love it.

30.  What is a message or statement you want to convey to your audience and the world? 

A lot of the problems in this world have come about from breached words, broken promises.  In the end, your words will be the witness against or for you.  So, let your character be measured by the strength of the words you speak.  If you made a commitment to do something, do it.

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