We recently had the great pleasure of interviewing the Long Beach band Masks We Made. The duo features the vocals and lyrics of Andrea Sepulveda and the guitar and bass of Nando.
The DIY band released a 3 song EP back in 2011 and are set to release their new EP Front Lines at the end of May. We are big fans of the band’s transcendent sound which combines alt rock and dream pop.
LBI: Can you tell us how the band came together?
Andrea: Our former drummer used to work with my brother-in-law and one day he shared that I wrote songs. He contacted me and suggested we jam sometime. Nando was there to play bass. We all clicked, we became friends and the band formed. This was in 2009.
Nando: During the winter months of January/February of 2009 my friend Silver and I would jam out and exchange random musical ideas. At one of our sessions he mentioned that his co worker’s sister in law played guitar and was writing her own music. He would be jamming with her soon and I asked him if they needed a bass player. A few weeks later we met up and had our first practice in my living room.
How did you come up with the name of the band?
Andrea: Before the band formed, I had my folk-y acoustic songs on Myspace and wanted to think of a stage name. So I spent some days thinking about it and one night during a bout of insomnia, I found myself working on an art project at 2 am making paper mache masks. I thought up the Masks We Made. I liked that it could be representative of people and identity. When the band formed, they liked the name and so it stuck.
When you play live do you add any other players or do you tend it to keep it to just the two of you?
Andrea: For a long time we had a drummer but now it’s just the two of us though we were just recently discussing adding other players to help us out live. We love jamming out.
Who are the artists that influenced you to become musicians?
Andrea: I first started out learning acoustic guitar and I wanted to play and write like Johnny Cash. I was influenced by Bob Dylan and Townes Van Zandt. I also started attending a lot of concerts around that time and was deeply impressed with Conor Oberst and Jenny Lewis. Their songs and stage presence really made me think, ‘I want to do what they do’.
Nando: One of my earliest memories of wanting to become a musician was seeing my cousin’s band play in my backyard in the early 90s. Bands like Operation Ivy, Tijuana No, Sonic Youth, Raul X and Marcus Pablo are some of the artists that influenced me. Watching Trent Reznor break keyboards on stage and swing from cables sealed the deal.
In your band bio you describe your music as having an ethereal quality. We would agree. When we first heard your music it reminded us of many of the great shoegaze bands of the 80’s and 90’s such as Mazzy Star, The Jesus and Mary Chain and Galaxie 500. Are you fans of the shoegaze movement?
Andrea: Thanks! We have heard of these comparisons before and find it a big compliment. We are fans of those bands though there is no intention to sound shoegaze or fit into a certain genre.
Nando: Mazzy Star is just soothing. Love her. I remember back in high school my sister did a dance performance to “Fade Into You”. Indeed a staple in my upbringing. Darklands is on my morning commute playlist to work. I dig the Mary Chain.
Can you tell us about your new EP?
Andrea: Our upcoming release is a three song EP titled Front Lines . We plan to release it at the end of May so it will be released soon! We’ll have it available online through our social media sites and we hope to have some physical cds ready soon after to sell at shows.
Are you planning on having a record release party?
Nando: No plans on a record release party but we would really like that.
What do you like about being a Long Beach band?
Nando: We like being a Long Beach band because there is a vast diversity of cultures and acceptance. We really like how the community has different events for local artist support. We also like how mostly everything is walking distance. We can run our errands and not leave the city. Lastly we like being a Long Beach band because it’s a musical whore.
What is the very first record that each of you bought with your own money?
Andrea: My first music purchase was TLC’s Waterfalls. It was the single. I obsessed with that song and the video! The first record I bought was Romeo and Juliet: Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack. I damaged the cassette from listening to it so much.