It was a total pleasure to sit down for an interview with such a lovely bunch of musicians performing live for the first time at John Hales ‘Hereford Rocks’ gig as the four-piece unit known as Mexicola. They were clearly excited and slightly distracted…who could blame them though, the crowd were heavily anticipating the performance. The pressure was on.
Bass Guitar – Colette Nicholls
Electric Guitar – Simon Bedford
Electric Guitar/Vocals – Ria Parfitt
Drums – Jonah Webb
Hereford City Centric: Simon and Ria, you once were in a band known as Artstar who seemed to be doing pretty well playing around the counties, when and why did you bring Artstar to a halt?
Simon/Ria: We finished with Artstar 2 1/2 years ago due to being overwhelmed in our personal lives. We really needed to take some time for ourselves. We planned to reform as Artstar but then Mexicola happened.
HCC: I have to admit that since I was never able to see Artstar perform I was hoping there would be a reunion. I came across some of your music and live performances; I was instantly a fan without ever being there. Are the songs you perform with Mexicola all originals or are you performing Artstar songs mostly?
Mexicola: We are doing originals, covers and two songs from Artstar called ‘Icarus Is My King’ and ‘Make My Day’. We currently have 3 new tracks recorded but are trying to making time in our busy lives to write and record enough songs to make an album.
HCC: Well everyone should know that patience is a virtue. I haven’t seen you perform but I am seriously excited to see a band that features two female musicians. Hereford feels like it is stuck in a man’s world when it comes to rock, punk and Indie. Edgy female acts are seriously sparse. We have a multitude of acoustic female acts singing pretty songs but the tapestry is rather thin in regards to anything edgier and more powerful. We fortunately also have Claire Perkins on the case as well.
So Tell me a bit about the two new additions that came to form Mexicola.Mexicola: Colette Nicholls is our new bassist who is a local and Jonah Webb who plays the drums is from Oxford but currently resides in Wales. Jonah has been playing in bands for years. Their talent brings a lot to our new sound.
HCC: Does the name Mexicola derive from the Queen’s of the Stone Age song by the same name?
Mexicola: Yes it does.
HCC: Who is the lyrical songwriter and what is going on in these songs…what do you write about?
Ria: I write the lyrics but as the dynamic of the band gels we hope to have a collaboration going amongst us all. They were poems I wrote in my bedroom that turned into songs. I had no idea it was possible then I realised I could really do this.
HCC: It is only fair and you could really create something amazing together with your diverse catalogue of music influences. As you know 2016 was the year Hereford came alive again, what is your opinion of the current music scene in the city?
Mexicola: The Booth Hall have been important in bringing the music community together. There are collaborations happening on all cultural levels. They are bringing everyone together. Having a venue like this available locally means that young bands just starting out don’t have to worry about commuting in search of venues because The Booth Hall is in the centre of town. Also, the smoking ban really killed off the local music scene across the country and really has taken a while to recover.
Find Mexicola on Reverbnation HERE
HCC: Brilliant…and true!!! Having to get their kit to another city and finding a following somewhere new when you are just starting out can be discouraging. Well we hope that outside bands want to come to Hereford now..the thing is they actually do! (Culture Shock @The Booth Hall December 1st indeed!)
How do you identify Mexicola’s sound? What are the musical influences that inspire this sound?
Mexicola: You could say we have an Indie Rock feel with elements of blues and Jazz thrown in. Between the four of us our influences are pretty vast. They include indie, goth, Bowie, Kurt Cobain, Hendrix, Stevie Nicks and artists who are songwriters.
HCC: So what is the local Hereford band beside yourselves to look out for?
HCC: Good choice! They are some cool dudes and I officially fan love Cherryshoes. So Ria…I am picking up on quite a unique image from you that seems to come from a natural place, rather than contrived…tell me a bit about what is going on with that awesome 1940’s pink pleated dress you are wearing. In fact, you look amazing all around. I can’t help but think of Florence Welch when I see you.
I know it is your night but you always look pretty cute. As a makeup and fashion blogger for It Girl UK nothing tickles my bonnet more than a woman who owns her style – the kind of women capable of starting trends rather than following them. You get me I’m sure.
Ria: My ex-landlady runs Camelot Vintage does lots of fairs, festivals and has an Etsy shop, so I raided her stash (big smiles). I spent time channelling the rock look but I am pretty over that phase now and find myself more inclined towards a more feminine Art Rock style (ohhh I like). I am also a big fan of Jayne Pierson‘s DIY Punk collection.
HCC: You don’t have to tell me twice! Google you are so my friend. I am going to guess you paid your rent on time. So I need to test you guys to see how culturally clued up you are. What makes a bowl of PHO?
Mexicola: We have no idea! What is it?
HCC: OH NOOO, let’s get you clued up then. Quoting the Pho Cafe “Pho [ pronounced fuh] is the Vietnamese national dish; an aromatic, nutritious and delicious rice noodle soup served with a side plate of fresh herbs to add as you please. The addition of these herbs and table condiments is an essential part of eating phở and adds another dimension to the dish – add chilli paste for a kick, fish sauce for extra saltiness, garlic vinegar for sourness. Don’t hold back. ” You can have thin slices of beef, chicken or pork in your Pho. Sorry I haven’t found it in Hereford yet but I used to eat a lot of Pho back in the nineties when I lived in the new Chinatown of LA (Alhambra).
Lastly, what was your first album, single, cd or cassette?
Simon: The Charlatans – Some Friendly on Cassette (I had that on cassette!)
Jonah: Black Sabbath – Paranoid on Vinyl
Ria: I can’t remember that exact one but it was mostly like Kylie Minogue, Madonna or Eurasia on CD (hey we are ladies…it happens and Madonna was one of my top fashion inspo’s)
Colette: Mine were singles on casette of The Red Hot Chili Peppers – Under the Bridge and Soul Asylum – Runaway Train
You can kind of tell people’s ages by the media their first album’s were put out on, but I won’t go any further since my first album was Working 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton on vinyl. Now dating myself and this makes me realise I was destined to be a weirdo from day one.
The night was a success for Mexicola which I review in my next upcoming article, so if you want the verdict be on the look out for my next review.
Booth Hall Photography by Nick Vidal-Hall
Upcoming shows in November @ The Booth Hall Hereford
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