What is your band’s name?
Derek: It’s got a few meanings…first is a nod to our musical influences. We’re GenX’ers, and came of age during the Classic Rock revival that happened in the late 80’s/early 90’s, just before grunge broke. Lenny Kravitz’s second album of the same name was hugely impactful, and also happened to be a name that works well for a band fronted by two rockin’ moms.
Jen: Yeah, we’ve got 7 kids between us. We’re moms and we’re a little bossy.
What is your genre of music?
Derek: We call our music New Classic Rock—rooted in the elements that made that genre great, with some modern touches that make the music relevant today. Saturated, guitar-driven riffs over a rock solid rhythm section, soaring solos, and layered arrangements summarizes our instrumental approach. Our sound is also unique in that we are fronted by two female vocalists who trade leads and harmonize off each other, often within the same verse or chorus. Our producer Jim McGorman was struck by Jen and Latifa’s singing together, how their vibratos sync up, to the point where it is sometimes hard to tell where one voice ends and the other begins.
Latifa: Singing in harmony is definitely important to us. When Jen and I met it was something we connected around right away. We both love singing harmonies and our voices blend in a really satisfying way.
Give us a little bio about you.
From our website: “Northern California based female-fronted rock band, Mama Said, has a distinctly retro sound inspired by classic rock of the late 70’s/early 80’s, and the classic rock revival of the early 90’s. Their debut album “Change in the Weather” will be released Spring 2022. The songs feature addictive vocal melodies and beautifully textured guitar hooks, but their intention is also clear, to make an album about growth, change and coming together. Mama Said is power and attitude with an almost timeless sound. This is the New Classic Rock.”
Latifa and Jen met singing in a cover band in 2016. Jen and Derek are married so when the cover band needed a guitar player, Derek joined. The three had a chemistry musically and personally and decided to launch an original project together in 2019.
Who are your influences?
Derek: The Blues greats…Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page
Jen: I love the iconic rock voices like Melissa Etheridge, Joan Jett, Stevie Nicks and today, Elle King. But I also love a little punk and funk, too.
Latifa: Southern soul all the way…Aretha Franklin, Allman Brothers, Janis Joplin, and today, Larkin Poe, War & Treaty
Are you signed?
Not as of yet!
What is the meaning behind the single ‘Diamonds & Cigarettes’?
Latifa: It’s about growing in relationship through polar opposites.
Derek: Yeah, the tension of our own past “opposites attract“ relationships was the inspiration behind this song. Lyrically, we had fun exploring unlikely combinations and the visuals they evoked—love by a thousand cuts, dancing on quicksand—the joy/elation/fulfillment undercut by the unstable foundation, sense of foreboding, and deeper knowing that this won’t likely last.
What was the writing and recording process like?
Jen: When Covid shut down live music we had to decide how the band was going to keep moving forward. One of the “Covid silver linings” was that we had dedicated time to write and record together.
Latifa called up Jim McGorman who she worked with many years ago in LA and asked him to produce the album. He plays keys and backing vocals for the Goo Goo Dolls, and because of Covid he had a break in his touring schedule–we took advantage of that! We travelled back and forth to LA for writing sessions with Jim and another co-writer, Rob Vallier, and even did a couple Zoom writing sessions. Then we recorded in Jim’s LA studio. We Covid tested before and after and went from the studio straight to the hotel and that was it, lol. Jim was amazing to work with and we love how the album turned out.
Describe the track in two words.
Latifa: “Pretty in Pink” Oops that’s three!
Jen: But yeah, “Retro 80’s.” I agree, this track has a very “Pretty in Pink” vibe. Like it could be in the bins at Trax Records. Ducky and Andie would totally love this song, haha.
Derek: EAR WORM
Who did you work with on the single?
It was co-written with Jim McGorman and Rob Vallier. Jim also played bass and produced it. Mark Slutsky played drums and Steve Fekete consulted on guitar sounds and arrangements. They all have ridiculous talent and resumes a mile long. It was a thrill to work with them.
Will we see an EP or an album and if so, can you give us a teaser of what to expect?
Derek: Ultimately we’re releasing the work as an LP. Song-wise, we’ve got a range of sounds from the pop-influenced vibes of “Diamonds & Cigarettes” and “Gimme” to rockers like “Change In The Weather” and “The Needle, some mid-tempo grooves like “My Kind of Crazy” (our next single release), and even a stripped down acoustic number called “Down to the River.”
Latifa: This album was written during the pandemic and political stuff going on. We felt drawn to themes of hope, the human spirit, and the power of love in all of its forms, but most importantly its power to bring us together.
Jen: Yeah, love and unity. It’s been said a million times in a million ways, and we’re adding our voices too, because it’s important. We’re looking for a tipping point for when we can all just be more tolerant, more loving, more unified. We want our music to reflect that optimism, seeing through differences and making connections, building bridges.
Do you have any live shows or a tour coming up and if so, let us know where we can catch you at?
So far we’ve got shows booked close to home. We’ll be at The Blue Note in Napa, CA March 31.
What else can we expect in 2022?
SHOWS! It’s great to have shows booked again. We’ll be releasing the rest of our album and playing live to support it.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Latifa: Doing the NorCal circuit of festivals, selling albums and merch, and having great connections with fans live and on social media.
Jen: I’ve always said I want to have no idea where I’ll be in 5 years because I’ve always surprised myself! It’s usually way better than what I could have “planned.”
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
Latifa: “Living the Dream”
Jen: “How does it get better than this?” I like that it’s an expression of gratitude for what is, and at the same time an invitation for more.
Derek: “Yes and…” In life and as a rule of thumb for jamming. Take what a player brings and lift it up and keep building upon it.
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
Latifa: the lyrics, lol! Water, lavender oil, chapstick…
Jen: yeah, the lyrics, haha! I’m easy I guess. Water, and I’m ready to go.
Derek: Isopropyl alcohol spray for fingertip calluses, spare strings, and at least one more guitar than I’ll actually need, lol.