By Joshua Miller
Los Angeles-based The Linda Lindas are punk to the core. So when the Cypress Park department of the Los Angeles Public Library requested the band in the event that they needed to carry out there as a part of their Asian American Pacific Islander heritage programming, it was a simple resolution. They noticed it as a enjoyable solution to elevate consciousness of racial points (the band members are Asian American and/or Latinx) and promote equality, in addition to a solution to assist one in every of their favourite libraries.
“We instantly stated sure as a result of we love the library!” says 14-year-old bass participant Eloise Wong.
The band additionally options Wong’s cousins, sisters Mila de la Garza, 11, on the drums and Lucia de la Garza, 15, who performs guitar. 17-year-old household buddy Bela Salazar additionally shreds on the guitar. On the cusp of releasing their debut album, Rising Up, they appear again on the gig that made them a viral sensation.
“We all the time try quite a lot of books anyway,” says Lucia, “however in the course of the pandemic, Eloise and I had been reserving and selecting up books stacks at a time.”
Throughout their efficiency, surrounded by a few of these identical novels, the band launched right into a fiery model of their track “Racist, Sexist Boy,” which was impressed by a detrimental expertise Mila had with a classmate.
“Mila and I wrote it as a result of she was mad at her classmate who stated one thing racist and I used to be fed up with all of the sexism I’d seen since I used to be in kindergarten,” says Wong. “It was a solution to course of our emotions, and the track got here out actually quick — just some hours over Zoom.”
Mila says it was a “good alternative to play loud music in a spot that’s often quiet.” As an added bonus, they received to eat there.
None of them ever fathomed the video of the efficiency would go viral, a lot much less the sheer attain it might have worldwide. Within the days and weeks forward, it obtained over 4 million views on Instagram, Twitter and different social media. It additionally garnered reward from Hayley Williams, Questlove, Flea, and members of Rage Towards the Machine and Sonic Youth.
“None of us anticipated the video to explode,” says Salazar. “I imply, it’s a library! I’ll always remember that day at college when my telephone wouldn’t cease vibrating solely to search out out it was our band that was taking on my feed and that musicians like Flea and Questlove had been sharing the video.”
Mila provides, “It was wonderful to see all of the assist we received, and it was additionally a little bit unhappy to see how many individuals might relate to it.”
The members say they’ve a blast taking part in the track at their exhibits, particularly because it’s taken on added, extra inspiring which means. “As we hold taking part in it, it’s gone from being an offended track to being a joyful and empowering one,” says Wong.
Virtually a 12 months after their efficiency on the library, the band is releasing Rising Up digitally tomorrow (April 8), with bodily codecs out June 3 by way of Epitaph Data. The complete scope of their rising recognition hasn’t fairly dawned on the group fairly but (“All the things kinda occurred on-line so we haven’t fully skilled all of it,” Bela says), however now that they’re selling the LP, it’s begun to sink in.
“Now we’re doing extra interviews and photoshoots and shall be happening tour quickly,” says Lucia. It’s been a enjoyable course of up to now, and as Mila provides, the snacks and Boba assist.
After putting viral gold in Might, the band set a objective of ending their album throughout their summer season break. A lot of the songs had been written whereas the members had been attending college remotely in the course of the COVID-19 lockdowns. “They had been a method for us to course of what was happening,” Lucia says.
Along with the pandemic, the motion for Black lives picked up, however so did hateful rhetoric towards folks of colour and the LGBTQ+ group. These weighed closely on their minds as they composed tracks. “And simply rising up, which is difficult anyway however much more troublesome whenever you’re away from mates, household, and normalcy,” says Salazar. “We had been fortunate to get to undergo it collectively.”
Over the course of the album’s 10 songs and roughly 26-minute runtime, the band captures the complexities of getting older, the nice and dangerous, and determining one’s identification.
In “Speaking to Myself,” the band examines the maze that nervousness and stress drive us to navigate, usually “about issues we can’t assist.” Nonetheless, the band stays hopeful, singing, “I’m nonetheless right here and I’m nonetheless livin’.” In the meantime, on “Oh!”, the band examines the tug of battle of deciding the proper time to say one thing private. The track begins with the lyric, “Oh once I say one thing / I want I had shut up (oh!) / And when I attempt to assist / I all the time screw issues up (oh!).”
The band feels these themes of rising up are a common message that applies to everybody. “We hope it resonates with everybody and never simply youngsters,” says Lucia. “You don’t cease rising up after you’re a child!” They filter this message by a dynamic vary of influences, together with punk, post-punk, power-pop, and new wave. Everybody within the band takes turns singing on the album, permitting extra variety of their songs.
For instance, on “Sexist, Racist Boy,” Wong and Mila ship spitfire vocals on prime of a charging melody that may match snuggly subsequent to riot grrrl classics. And in “Rising Up,” Lucia vocals pair effectively with the band’s triumphant power-pop romp.
“I believe that it’s nice for us to have 4 vocalists,” says Salazar. “We get to indicate the sorts of music every of us listens to as people, and all of it works collectively to type a very cool depiction of ‘punk’ or our definition of punk. Like I grew up listening to quite a lot of rock en español.”
Lucia discovered inspiration in bands corresponding to The Beths and The Breeders. Mila admires Blondie, Greatest Coast, and Go-Go’s, whereas Wong drew from bands like Avengers, Adolescents, and Black Flag. And within the studio, the band had a well-recognized face serving to them: Grammy-winning producer Carlos de la Garza, who’s Mila and Lucia’s father. Moreover making the songs “extra rockin’,” his presence put them relaxed whereas recording.
“It’s nice to have the ability to have a producer who we belief and are comfy with, particularly for our first album,” says Lucia. “It’s additionally nice to get to know him differently now.” Mila provides, “Earlier than, we didn’t actually know what he did for work!”
The band has come a good distance since forming a couple of years in the past. In 2018, they began taking part in collectively in a new-wave cowl band of youngsters assembled by Dum Dum Women member Kristin Kontrol for the women-led company Girlschool, which offers varied technique of empowerment and encouragement to younger ladies in music.
“I’ve been going to punk exhibits since I used to be only a child, and infrequently went with Lucia, however the Girlschool venture was the primary time I used to be requested to be in a band,” Wong says. “After all, I stated sure to Kristen and naturally I requested if my cousins Lucia and Mila may very well be in it, too.”
For Mila and Lucia, devices had been all the time straightforward to search out round the home rising up. Nevertheless, they hadn’t thought till then that they may truly play them. “After the primary apply with us and another youngsters, we invited our household buddy Bela to affix us as a result of we knew she was taking guitar classes,” Mila says.
Whereas their energized and eclectic covers had been removed from good, Salazar says that she had a lot enjoyable that she needed to maintain taking part in as a band. “I used to be invited to play one other present that summer season and requested Lucia, Eloise, and Mila to be my band,” she explains. “After that, we didn’t wish to cease! The Linda Lindas fashioned after that.”
The band’s identify was impressed by the 2005 Japanese movie Linda Linda Linda and the Blue Hearts track “Linda Linda.” They constructed up their chemistry by gigs at all-ages matinees in Chinatown. They ultimately opened for riot grrrl legends Bikini Kill and Alice Bag, in addition to Greatest Coast and Bleached. “It was nonetheless only for enjoyable, however then we had been requested to open for Bikini Kill, received to look in [Amy Poehler’s movie] Moxie, and did the library video,” says Lucia. “The band being greater than a passion simply sort of occurred.”
“Attending to play the small punk profit exhibits in Chinatown for my college’s music program once we began helped us rather a lot,” provides Wong. “It was an actual small stage, however we received to play with and get to know lifers like Phranc, Alice Bag, The Dils, the Alley Cats, and Mike Watt. And Greatest Coast and Bleached have been coming to our exhibits because the starting, too. It was superior to play The Scent, the DIY membership the place they got here up from! Being a part of a multigenerational underground music scene like that may be a actual honor and thrilling to be part of.”
The band is at present within the midst of a nationwide tour and shall be on the highway a lot of the 12 months. They’re opening for The Beths, Jawbreaker, and Greatest Coast this spring and are a part of the When We Have been Younger pageant in Las Vegas in October. As for what’s subsequent, it’s fairly easy.
Wong: “Taking part in extra exhibits.”
Salazar: “Touring the world.”
Mila: “Getting Boba in each metropolis.”
Lucia: “After which making extra new music!”