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Terra Lopez, Sister Crayon

How would you describe your music?

We have had a few reviews liken us to Mazzy Star, Portishead, a "non-Brooklyn MGMT". I would describe it as Electronic-R&B. I think we incorporate a bit of hip-hip/trip-hop/electronic/...It's a manic hysterical vocal arrangement for sure.

What is your role in your band? In the studio? In business or marketing decisions?

I started Sister Crayon. It used to just be a solo project but I always wanted more-more sound, more players, more dynamics. It is now 4 of us and we all have roles in the band, I would say that I have a huge role in the band. I have done most of the booking and managing of the band in the past. We now are all taking an active role in different areas. In the studio, it's the same thing. We all take an active role in our instruments and the overall feel of the music. I am huge huge huge into vocal arrangements and the overall mood of the songs. I have a good relationship with our engineer so we will be in the studio for 16+ hour days sometime, working on songs. The same thing with business decisions. We are lucky enough to be working with a label, so we don't have to do everything. But we definatly get the final say on pretty much everything, and I am the main contact for the band with the label. As a band, we make all the decisions together.

Describe your gear.

I sing and record loops live on stage. I use a kaos pad as well as a Boss Loop pedal as well as a Line 6 Loop Pedal. I sing thru the effects pedal (and also clean) while looping live to our music, matching the BPM's of the music to the vocals.

Related Themes: Gear

Do you think being a woman and a musician is different from being a man and a musician? If so, how? Was there a moment that made a difference clear to you?

I think everything is different being a woman compared to being a man. Living in a patriarchal society, it is inevitable to be treated differently as a woman (in any business/art realm). In the past, I would have sound guys at venues that we would play at that would think that I was just some girlfriend of a member...and then they would see us play and then come up after the show to say how much they liked our sound or whatever. I tried to never let it get to me though. I always thought it was funny. I think that it's getting better for women but there is still a long way to go. It's always a little scary to be a woman and to try to create art and try to be taken seriously. People will always look at the way that you look before anything, no matter how good your voice may be or how genuine your lyrics will be. First thing, will always be how attractive you may or may not be. It's sad.

Related Themes: Onstage

Do you see differences between generations of women musicians?

There are differences for sure, I believe. I think that there are great things going on now and there was amazing female musicians in the past as well. I have to say that even though I adore many contemporary female musicians, I am a sucker for the past. Watching old videos of Billie Holiday and hearing the real pain she felt in every song, or Patsy Cline crying during songs...man, you don't see that everyday now. You know? But I think that women have more of a presence in music today, which is great. I think that more women are creating music that has not only become popularized in society but that is loved and adored by the world.

Related Themes: Off The Clock

Did anyone ever give you any valuable advice about making your way in the music industry? What advice would you give to a woman musician just starting out?

I don't really remember any one single thing that has stuck out, other than people who have just told me to keep it going. There has been a lot of support for the band that I am in and I appreciate it so much. It's amazing to me that people even listen at all, you know? I would just tell someone that if they have the feeling where they would not feel complete or even alive if they were not making music, then go with it and stay with it and run with it. If it's genuine, people will respect it and see that. Genuine music/genuine people will always win. I believe that.

Related Themes: Advice

Why did you choose to play the instrument you play?

I've always sang. I used to be really shy when I was younger and would never sing in front of anyone, but when I was alone in my bedroom-man. I would jump on my bed and grab a hairbrush (you know, the classic tale) and sing and scream and dance to Elvis, Diana Ross & The Supremes, and 50's music. It was always 50's music. I would charm my stuffed animals that I would have lined up in my room. I lived a completely different life in my bedroom. I was about 5 when I first started this. Gradually, I couldn't prevent from singing. I started a band in high school and played a lot in the area. And I've been in different bands ever since...all sounded drastically different from one another. I finally feel complete in Sister Crayon.

Related Themes: The First Time