Ximena Sariñana on Boys, Bands and Why The Valley Trumps Echo Park
Last week we told you about Mexican indie-pop star Ximena Sariñana, who just embarked on her first American headlining tour as part of her U.S. crossover attempt.
Ahead of her Wednesday appearance on KCRW's "Morning Becomes Eclectic," here are some of our favorite outtakes from the afternoon we spent with Sariñana hanging out in her new home of Studio City. Topics include first heartbreak, being a homebody and that time she got lost on Mulholland going to Dave Sitek's house.
On working with album producer, TV On The Radio's Dave Sitek:
"I'm a huge TV On The Radio fan. I wish I could write like them. The first time I met him I was so nervous because I arrived half an hour late -- I got lost because my GPA broke. I was wandering around Mulholland Drive, almost crying, like 'Shit shit shit!' And then I got to his place and he immediately made me feel so comfortable. He's very like 'Let's drink some coffee, let's eat amazing food!' A great producer can bring out the best from you without even letting you notice, and Dave was a lot like that. I think the best lyrics are the ones I wrote with David. It was immediate camaraderie. We became really good friends."
On writing her song "Echo Park":
"I had already written almost 30 songs for the album, and I was like, I'm sick and tired of all this 'serious' bullshit crap in my lyrics! I'm sick and tired of writing about my emotions. So I wanted to write something that would make me laugh a little bit. So I came up with the concept of falling in love with the cliché who's like 'Oh I like film, I like art, I play guitar.' I spent so, so much time in Echo Park doing the album, and that's where they all live. But guys like that are all over the world, I've come across so many."
On why she prefers the Valley to Echo Park:
"I like not living where all the musicians live. It's nice to remind yourself that there's something else in the world than music and artists. My neighbors having nothing to do with music, and it's great to be able to have that. Besides, it would kind of weird to be running into everyone you know all the time. I already feel like an outsider, completely, so I can't pick up on why an area like the Valley might be 'less cool', the way that other locals can. I don't see that stuff. I see mountains. I see trees. I see places I can walk to."
On the men in her life:
"My first crush was this guy, you know, a couple years older, he smoked pot in the subway. He seemed really mysterious, at the time! [laughs] He dedicated a song to me at a show, but then didn't call me later. I was devastated. Then when I was 16 I was super in love with a skateboarder. Of course. Then 19 through 22 I was in love with a documentary filmmaker, who looked like they had just picked him out of a trashcan and dusted him off. And then of course I was super in love with a filmmaker from Brooklyn. Yes, I've fallen into that cliché. Over and over again."
On being a homebody:
"I'm already 40 years old. [laughs] No really! I read. I go to yoga. I cook. I'm really trying to teach myself how to cook right now. I tried to go to this restaurant the other night for a late dinner, but it was too crowded. I'm glad that it was, I would've looked like a real super dork on a Saturday night, eating and drinking by myself!"
On the albums that changed it all:
"I had my heart broken for the first time, by that pot-smoking guy, and I remember buying all these records like Nirvana and Radiohead and Fiona Apple's The Pawn... and listening to this music and crying over this dude. You feel everything so much more intense [sic] at that age and the music really spoke to me. That's when I decided to take music more seriously and go to school for it."
On transitioning to English songwriting:
"It wasn't easy. There were times I felt like essential parts of me were getting lost in translation."
On her initial impressions of L.A.:
"At first, when I was recording my record, I really didn't like L.A. I didn't know anyone, and it's very individualized. If you wanted to, you could have no contact with anybody, ever. And that was hard to handle. It felt really lonely at first. But then I got the hang of it."
On how she ended up in the Valley:
"I just wanted something that was close to every single freeway because I spent so much time driving on the damn things [when we were recording my album]! So I looked at a map, saw all the freeways right here, and said 'There!' It's biking-friendly, and that's enough for me."
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