Long Beach power rockers Bella Novela have been active since 2007, blending the big tunes of ABBA with the pomp of Queen and the epic metal of Iron Maiden. They're about to release their fourth album, and they're playing a record release show with Fartbarf at Alex's Bar this weekend, so we chatted with singer Jackie Laws.
L.A. WEEKLY: When did the band form, and what was the mission?
JACKIE LAWS: We formed about 10 years ago. We’ve been friends for quite a long time, and we were at a rock & roll summer camp for kids where we were camp counselors. After the kids would go to sleep, we were so inspired by working with them and writing music that we would start writing our own music. That’s how the band started. We started working together, and we share a common goal and idea with our musical tastes.
Your fourth album, Incinerate, is about to drop — how has the style evolved?
I feel that with this album in particular, there’s a lot of anger and rage behind it and a lot of stuff that’s going on in the nation right now. As female musicians, and among women in general, we’re able to channel a lot of those societal feelings into this album. I think that really helps give us a vision and a goal to write to.
There aren’t a lot of female rock musicians that are out there right now. When we play, people say we sound just like No Doubt or (insert female band here), just because there’s not a lot of representation out there. Jannea [McClure, drums] and I will go to the Guitar Center sometimes, and people will be like, "Oh, are you buying this for your boyfriend?"
We’ve had a chance to work with some of the summer camps for girls out there, and it’s been really awesome. Being able to be an example for the next generation of musicians that are coming up. This is something that you can do — you don’t have to fall into this subservient mold. All our albums have a general theme to them. This album in particular was more about women, female empowerment, and how to make our voices heard at this time.
Where does the name came from?
It comes from a play on "telenovela." Our last album was based upon a telenovela, an ’80s Mexican soap opera. It was a play on those words, and then trying to show the big, dramatic part of these storylines and make a musical representation of it.
What do you think of the state of the current metal scene in L.A.?
It’s hard for us to find bills to play on. Even in the last 10 years, going to live shows has evolved. People are more into electronic music, people enjoy going to more DJ nights, so to really find a scene that we can fit in is a little difficult. We get thrown onto all sorts of bills. But we’re waiting for a resurgence of rock.
And the Long Beach scene in particular?
In Long Beach it’s nice because there are a lot of local venues. The Long Beach music scene has always been close-knit. Most people in bands are in multiple bands or working in multiple venues. There’s more of a grassroots feeling in Long Beach, as opposed to L.A., where there are a lot of pay-to-play venues. That can be damaging to a scene. It forces people to be a commodity as opposed to developing a scene.
Do you enjoy playing Alex’s Bar?
We love Alex’s Bar. I used to work there. Alex is one of my good buddies. It’s an amazing local venue. That place has done so much for the scene, and for touring bands, too. For people that aren’t really on the 15,000 club and above, for people on the smaller club scene, it’s a hot spot for that genre of music.
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Are you familiar with Fartbarf?
We’ve toured all over with those guys. They’re our homies — we love them. They’re pretty wild. Synth-pop. Very different from our style, but somehow it works.
What can we expect from the set?
We’re super excited — this is the first time we’re playing this album in its entirety.
When this show is done, what else do you have coming up?
We’re working on a couple of videos that will come out a little bit after the release of the album. After that, we’re working on some summer touring as well. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get it all together in time but we have vinyl coming out, too. This will be the first vinyl pressing of our music.
Bella Novella play with Fartbarf and NewEvil at 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 6, at Alex's Bar.