Girl Power! part three – Girl in a Coma
by: Diego Martínez
Groups fronted by women go a long way. Ever since our mothers dreamt about gangsta lovers a-la The Shangrilas or when they stared at themselves in the mirror, comb in hand, extending their arm to plea a stop sign in the name of love, just like Diana Ross and her Supreme pals Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard. Even during the ‘jazz age’ and the first 50 years of the 20th Century there were young females who sang through our darkest hours. And there we were, clapping along. Oh, those were the good old days of dames singing catchy tunes, taking orders and putting out a happy face for the world to see.
Nowadays, however, things have taken a turn. Like their contemporary men peers, women are in charge of their creative destiny, proving each and every time how credible and authentic they can really be. Most all-female bands are now self produced; they write their own songs, play their own instruments and figure out their dance moves if they have to. In the spirit of our just-released WOMAN issue, The WILD has searched far and wide and gathered the opinion of four girl groups. Four different approaches to the fact that women still run the show in their own sweet way: The Pipettes, Girl In A Coma, Stone Darling and Au Revoir Simone.
Part three, Girl in a Coma
Could you describe your experience growing up in San Antonio, TX, surrounded by family and music?
Phanie Diaz: There is such a rich culture in SA. Music was constantly on from rockabilly to country to Tejano. That is why our music goes all over the place.
It’s undeniable the influence that The Smiths had in your sound. How did you got exposed to their music and what do you love most about them?
Phanie: When I was in high school I met a girl named Debbie who was listening to Viva Hate on her CD player. She loaned it to me and I fell in love. I learned all I could about Morrissey and The Smiths, and showed Jenn. Nina, being my little sister, heard it constantly. She could not help but to become a fan.
How does the band’s dynamic work?
Phanie: Nina writes all lyrics and guitar parts. She shows us the main foundation of a song and Jenn and I write our parts. We then come together as a band and arrange it. Once a while we just jam and a song comes out of it. That’s how we wrote “Race Car Driver.”
What comes to mind when it’s time to write a new song or prepare a whole album?
Phanie: When the time comes we start prepping ourselves mentally. Our music comes from what is happening around us.
You’re constantly touring and delivering solid live performances with each gig. Do you cope well with ‘life on the road’?
Phanie: It’s really our lives. We love touring and being out there playing for the people. Without music and touring I am not sure what we would be doing.
How does it feel to have the great support of Blackheart Records and its leading lady, Joan Jett?
Phanie: It’s always surreal and amazing. She is a great supporter to have. Very smart and humble.
Besides Joan, are there any other female heroes you all look up to?
Phanie: Frida Khalo, Kathleen Hanna, Selena and our mothers.
What’s your appreciation on the role you’ve played in not only representing women in the music industry but Latinos and the LGBT community?
Phanie: We are very proud to be all the things we are. When we first started as a band we never thought what we were doing was important. We were just playing music. To see these young females, Latinas or gay, telling us we inspire them and make them feel comfortable being in their skin really opened our eyes to what we were doing for each community. It’s great and we do all we can when we can.
Name the coolest thing about being an all-girl band.
Phanie: Breaking stereotypes.
What does the future hold for Girl In A Coma and Latino rockers everywhere?
Phanie: Tour, tour, tour and more albums!
Last but not least, what is your WILD wish?
Phanie: That all female bands will actually be called a band, and not just a category.