Discover more from Volatile Weekly
Interview: Joanna Ramirez
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I come from a family of musicians on both my mother’s and father’s side of the family, so it was always in the blood. I’ve always managed to hold down office day jobs so I guess I’m doing it but my life would feel very incomplete without being part of a music community.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I enjoy reading, walking in nature, yoga and meditating. I believe focusing of the mind and getting to stillness can help creativity flow.
How long has your band been around?
I’ve been a professional musician since 1994.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Based in Austin, Texas for the last 24 years. I think the main influence has been to create original music, as Austin is filled with great songwriters.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
It’s all me! My musical vision, interpretation, and direction.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
My most memorable and exciting show was playing the songs from my album for the first time in front of an audience, a year prior to it’s release, at The Saxon Pub in Austin, Texas. The energy and response from the audience was amazing.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
My favorite venue is The Saxon Pub in Austin, to play and to go see music. Intimate room, amazing sound. There are many places where I want to play – one in particular would be The Cactus Café, another iconic and historic venue in Austin.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Sade, Maxwell and Mary J. Blige.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Rehearse well, whatever songs you are doing, original or covers, and treat your band members with respect, especially on the gig. I would tell my younger self to appreciate and take any opportunity to perform.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Always trust your instincts – about people, about your musical inspirations, about the next steps on your journey.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
That would be “Sundays” as I wrote it primarily as a tribute to my mother, who passed in 2017 but wanted it to also be a song of comfort for anyone who’s experienced loss of any kind.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
I really love the danceable and strong groove songs in my set. But it’s “Sundays” that gets requested, which I’m really grateful for that says to me that it really connects.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
My songs are written from a very personal lens, based on my life experiences or those experiences I’ve observed and find a personal connection with. I’m usually recording ideas, whether vocalizing melodies or beats, sometimes with lyrics. Then I’ll bring to my band members and explain the arrangements that I hear for the tunes.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Hopeful and positive, and a challenge to look at life and it’s purpose in a new way.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
I can’t say that I have – the musicians I’ve worked with in the last 5 years are consummate professionals and we all like and respect each other a great deal.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
I’m working hard to line up more live performances in Austin and other Texas cities, like my hometown of Dallas, and Houston and San Antonio, where I’ve played with other bands in the past.