Q&A with the Sirens

xqsi_sirens

Music listeners in the United States tend to have a wide selection of bands representing different shades of the US  cultural spectrum. But finding a unique band is something that comes around only once in a great while. The Sirens are as unique as they come, and these queer Latinas definitely know how to bring a crowd to their feet with their punk rock beats. On a breezy and cool evening in the Eagle Rock area of Los Angeles, these rockin’ ladies sat down with xQsí Magazine and shared a little about who they are, and what they are about. Mars (lead guitar and vocals), Heidi (rhythm guitar and vocals), Dejah (bass and vocals), and Jazz (drums) had no problem sharing the 411 about The Sirens in a most interesting and emotional way.

XQSI: How did The Sirens come about and how long have you been together?
HEIDI: About 8 years ago Mars and I took guitar lessons at Ramona Hall Community Center here in L.A. and we had a teacher who gave us the idea of forming our own punk rock band. He said there weren’t many girl bands out there and he felt it was a good idea to form a group. He later became our manager. Then Dejah joined the band about 5-6 years ago and Jazz came along about 3 years ago.
MARS: Yea, that and destiny brought us together!

XQSI: It seems as though your music has many different influences and styles. Are there any artists whom you four have drawn inspiration from?
DEJAH: We all love different styles of music and we kind of bring a little from each into our own rhythm of music. For me, I’m a big fan of “The Stitches.”
JAZZ: I was a little punk rock kid and now that I’m a drummer, I’ve drawn inspiration from Travis Barker of Blink 182, and Green Day.
HEIDI: I personally love The Beatles, No Doubt, Gwen Stefani, India.Arie, and Spanish music!
MARS: Same with me, I listen to everything and Spanish music is a big part of us all. We have a few Spanish songs, including a song called “Burrito”, which starts off with a ranchera beat then goes straight into a punk beat then goes back to a ranchera beat. It’s a lot of fun to play and our fans love hearing it!

XQSI: Being an all-Latina, LGBT band have you ever encountered any prejudice or stereotypes?
MARS: Wow, can we tell them about the time in Long Beach when… (band breaks out into laughter). After we had performed at a venue, a woman came up to us and was shocked at how well we performed in English and was surprised at how we crossed over into punk rock music from playing ranchera music! She thought we were a ranchera band! (laughter)
JAZZ: For the most part we usually get more shocked looks that we are an all-girl band performing punk rock music and have been told more than once that ‘we’re pretty good considering we’re all girls!’ (laughter again)

XQSI: You’ve traveled to many cities and have played throughout North America. What location stands out?
HEIDI: We were invited to play at an event in Guadalajara, Mexico around a year ago and that experience was a little surprising and a whole lot of fun!
MARS: We were surprised at the amount of fans we had during our performance over there. When we play locally we see a lot of familiar faces in the crowd but we thought, ‘who’s gonna know about us in Mexico?’ It turned out some radio stations had been playing our music on the air and a fan base began to develop and during our show we had a group of fans jumping and singing to our music and requesting songs from our CDs. It was awesome!
DEJAH: Especially the way they treated us over there. We were treated like rock stars and they put us up in a hotel, and we got to mingle with the different artists that were also there to perform. It was so much fun!
JAZZ: We also played in Mexicali, Mexico and at first the crowd was kind of rude.
MARS: The dudes down there were yelling ‘¡Quítense la ropa!’ But then we started performing and by the end of the show a lot of them were coming up to us, asking us for autographs and requesting to keep our drum sticks. That rocked!
JAZZ: We also love performing in Arizona. We have a huge amount of fans out there.

XQSI: The Sirens have taken part in charitable events and most recently you took part in AIDS Walk Los Angeles which is a 6 ½ mile walk that raises money for people living with HIV/AIDS. How was that experience?
MARS: Yup, to be at such a worthwhile event and to see our fans taking part along with us in something that benefits so many people is incredible.
HEIDI: Knowing that this is something that affects so many people in the LGBT community and to be a part of something that helps them survive feels amazing. I also have a personal connection to this.

XQSI: Heidi, would you care to elaborate on your personal connection to the event?
HEIDI: Sure. My brother passed away from AIDS back in 2008 and before that happened I was ignorant on how much it affected our community. I didn’t know much about it at all. But after he passed, I did a lot of research and learned a lot about HIV/AIDS because I feel if I would have known what I know now he could still be with us today. So taking part in events like this is very important to me because I don’t want others to go through the pain of losing someone to this disease. People can live a long time if they take care of themselves, even if they are infected. No one has to die. I want to help educate people about this.

XQSI: Thank you for sharing such a personal period of your life with us.
HEIDI: No problem. It’s important to get the message out there.

XQSI: Not too long ago ‘The Sirens’ made an appearance on a national television show, is that correct?
DEJAH: About a year ago we came out on NBC’s “Knight Rider”. The show got canceled but not because of us (band breaks into laughter). There was a scout from the show who was at one of our performances and she got in contact with us and wanted us to make a cameo in the show.
JAZZ: That was so cool! You could find the episode on Hulu.com.*

XQSI: In closing, the issue of bullying has been in the news recently. LGBT kids have been taking their own lives as a result of the excessive torment they receive in schools. Is there anything you would like to say to these kids?
MARS: There is something I would like to say to these children. Kids have to know that regardless of what situation they are in, people will always try to put each other down because of their own insecurities. LGBT youth shouldn’t let others succeed in bringing down their self esteem (voice cracks). There is a quote by Dr. Seuss that I live by. The quote is “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” So just keep that in mind. Those that don’t see the beauty in you don’t belong in your life so move on.
HEIDI: Find something you could express yourself with and I guarantee that can help so much. You’re all beautiful and unique and don’t let anyone tell you differently.
JAZZ: Find people who accept you for who you are and things will get better.

XQSI: ‘Sirens,’ thank you for taking the time to speak with us. It is very much appreciated.
THE SIRENS: THANK YOU!

*To see the clip of the “Knight Rider” episode featuring ‘The Sirens’ go to the following website: http://www.hulu.com/watch/58337/knight-rider-knight-and-the-city. The ladies appear at 23:56.
Be sure to like the “The Sirens” on Facebook and friend them on Myspace. Their music can be found on iTunes.

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About the author

Antonio X Garcia

Antonio X. Garcia was born and raised in San Diego and was brought up in a heavily Roman Catholic home by Mexican parents. He now resides in the city of Los Angeles where he is pursuing collegiate degrees in Political Science and Creative Writing. He also sits on the board of a social justice organization called the Latino Equality Alliance.

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  • Gavino

    The Sirens Rock!!! Thanks for posting this great interview! ;) Liverbeater Family luv, great job Tony!

  • Richard Corral

    I smell a pulitzer prize in journalism…

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