Sweet Sweet Music spoke to Leslie Pereira about Good Karma, Big Stir, the art of writing a memorable A-B song, and feeling at home on stage.
Buy it here (at Big Stir)
How did this record come together?
This is our second recording effort as a band and we’re excited to be releasing this album with Big Stir Records who we happened to meet while playing out in support of our first CD. Rex and Christina began to include us in their live shows and it was a perfect fit. With this record, I wanted to stick to the 3 piece punky-surf-pop style but felt great harmonies would further the pop element of my vision. I feel lucky to have great musicians Jeff Page and Rob Lontok at my side as well as my wife Paula Venise who helps with background vocals and percussion. Rex and Christina introduced us to their friend and colleague Karen Basset (from The Kariannes and The Pandoras) and we hit it off right away. We recorded 13 songs in one day with one pizza break at her studio in Hollywood Hills. Here we were with 13 songs recorded and ready to mix then BOOM, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Karen and I had no choice but to mix and produce the CD remotely. I had never worked that way before so there were some challenges but Karen and I forged ahead. By the end of the summer, we had 13 rockin’ songs. I wanted to put out an album of songs that would remind the listener of a favorite childhood memory, a rekindling of love, or encourage them to keep rocking no matter what age. It’s no secret we are all seasoned performers and just want to have fun and act like teenagers sometimes. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.
You can pick 3 co-writers to write new songs with. Who? … and Why?
Tom Petty because he knew the art of writing a memorable A-B song with a rockin’ feel that made you want to listen to over and over. John Lennon because he knew how to collaborate with other songwriters, understood harmonies, and lived by the motto less is more which I appreciate in songwriting. David Bowie because he is the best performer of all time and I loved his fearless attitude.
What’s the gig you will always remember? And why?
One of my favorite gigs was playing a Summer Series Band Contest at Universal City Walk with my band It’s Me, Margaret. The contest was all summer long and we played in front of thousands of fans including my mom and Paula’s parents. We won, of course, and were pegged the best band in Los Angeles. It was epic!
Playing music in front of a crowd. What’s all the fun about?
I’ve been playing in front of audiences for a very long time. It’s the ultimate reward and why we rehearse so hard. I love it! I feel most at home on stage. I know I can speak for the rest of the band on this that performing well-rehearsed original songs is thrilling. We love it when fans come up after the show and express their love for certain songs and appreciate our set. It’s really fun!
You can’t control the way people ‘hear’ your music. But if you could make them aware of certain aspects, you think, set your songs apart. What would they be?
I think part of what sets our songs apart are that all our songs are written and completed in “The Magic Cave”. They come from an organic feeling or mood. Some start with a guitar melody, then a drum beat along with the bass line. We are such a good ensemble of musicians that even an idea from Jeff or Rob can turn into a whole song within minutes. It does take some time to add the vocal melody and lyrics. Then we arrange by “trimming the fat” and voila, we have a great new song that embodies our sound. It’s truly thrilling to hear the final results of our creative collaborations.