in the Category: music
Jackie Mendoza was born and raised in the border city of Chula Vista, California. LuvHz, her debut EP, was recorded alongside Rusty Santon (Panda Bear, Animal Collective, DJ Rashad), and blends the cultural influences of her hometown and her motherland of Tijuana, Mexico – an eccentric mix of electronic pop, Latin-driven dance beats and vibrant soundscapes. We sat down with her to talk about long-distance relationships in the digital age, the Myspace deletion fiasco, and turning the page.
Interview by William Markarian-Martin
Photos by Jill Verhaeghe, shot in NYC
You’re originally a ukulele player, right? Was that your first instrument?
My first instrument was piano. My mom would take me to lessons when I was about four years old but I would hide under the piano and I didn’t pick up the ukulele until high school. I play other instruments when I record; guitar, bass and autoharp. But mostly ukulele... and I play an electric ukulele live.
When did you get into making music digitally?
I started making music digitally around the time GarageBand was first installed on Mac computers. I would go to my friend Grettel’s house and we would make songs and record with GarageBand and we posted our music on MySpace under the name ‘Audiosyncrasy’. This was in middle school, but it wasn’t until my sophomore year of college that I was introduced to Ableton, and then I started making my own beats and arrangements.
I tried finding my old Myspace profile recently. Do you still have those recordings?
I checked as soon as the Myspace deletion fiasco happened and everything was gone :(
Even though it’s a solo project, it’s like I’m in a band with my computer and midi controllers and I hope they won’t suddenly shut off during a set
How does technology influence the way you make and play music?
Sometimes I feel like I rely on technology too much when I make and play music. But it’s influenced the way I write and opened up possibilities to create a sound that was unique to me and my experiences. I used to have a vlog and record covers and post them on YouTube, and later on started uploading original songs to SoundCloud. It’s helped me connect with people and share my music globally and I’ve been able to collaborate remotely. But it also has its downfalls; even though it’s a solo project, it’s like I’m in a band with my computer and midi controllers and I hope they won’t suddenly shut off during a set.
How do you respond to the downfalls? Do you ever feel the need to withdraw from the digital?
It’s weird but I think it’s where I feel most comfortable, or I’m very used to living in that space. There are days where I don’t feel like looking at my computer screen and I’ll solely write on guitar or ukulele.
‘De Lejos’ is about your long-distance relationship with your girlfriend… I wanted to ask about your experience with that? How did engaging with someone digitally impact the relationship?
Even though we were far away, technology made communication very accessible and we kept in touch all day through FaceTime and texting. ‘De Lejos’ is the story of how we met and our long-distance relationship. It was a delicate time but we were able to get to know each other and become intimate in alternative ways.
‘Your Attention’: is there a story behind the unrequited online love that the song is about?
It’s a song about a breakup, cutting communication with that person, and wanting to reconnect with them. It’s the oldest song on the EP. I wrote it in 2015.
I know you’ve spoken quite a bit about working with Rusty Santos. Is there anything else you want to say about working with him?
I feel really lucky I met Rusty. I had a hard time finding a producer I could trust and work well with. I didn’t have to explain what I had in mind for the music, he got it right away and added his own flair to it too. We ended up recording ‘Mucho Más’ and ‘Puppet Angles’ in the studio kind of out of nowhere.
You’ve said that ‘Mucho Más’ is about there ‘being way more out there’ and the ‘what’s a mystery now will make sense eventually’. What do you think is out there?
The song is about overcoming depression. When you’re going through it, it’s hard to see the positive side of things. Once the depression fades away, it’s like cracking a code or turning a page. Instead of thinking, Why do I feel this way? I think, I’m glad I’m on the other side now.
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