Indie pop stars, Gingerlys, took over The Palisades Monday night. I had the pleasure of sitting down with front-woman Jackie Mendoza and lead guitarist Matt Richards to talk about love, life, and the pursuit of indie rock fame (their drummer Brian was unable to join as he had recently been hit by a car. “Dammit Brian you always do this” Jackie jokes on the phone).
From the moment Gingerlys’ set started off, they sounded bigger and brighter than their means. Upon first impression, the band sounds like they are being held back by the physical confines of the space. Their music has a “big” expanding quality, and very serious dance party potential.
The red/orange lighting as the backdrop at The Palisades show felt perfect. One would imagine listening to a Gingerlys record cruising down an open highway in a convertible with the top down, at sunset. The metaphor is meant to evoke feelings of release and happiness, as if Alice in Wonderland herself tried to create a rock band.
The songwriting process of Gingerlys is largely centered around guitarist, Matt Richards. His style is reminiscent of the early 90s. Matt’s background is very interesting, as the music scene on Long Island where he grew up was what you might call, limited. “I wasn’t allowed to listen to anything growing up. My rabbi microwaved my Van Halen CD in 7th grade to make an example of me. I’ll never forget how a CD looks when it’s microwaved”.
Matt presents the song ideas to the rest of the band in, more or less, their final form, where the other members will add their opinions and tweak it.“When you are writing a song, there is a certain energy only you can connect to. It’s not until you show the song to other people do you find out what’s good and what’s not so good”.
The band’s biggest challenge “is collaborating. We all come from very different places. Jackie loves electronic pop, I love anything rooted in alternative rock, Brian is a jazz musician, Colin loves stuff from New Zealand. It’s hard sitting down to write a nice little pop song, but as hard as it is, there’s a lot of creative energy and great ideas that come out from forcing a collaboration like that” Matt says.
Lead singer Jackie Mendoza says she would listen to ragtime and swing if she had to listen to one genre for the rest of her life. “I love the energy of big band, the dancing and the freedom”.
Jackie is a new edition to Gingerlys, and this influence is apparent in what she brings to the band. Though quite reserved, she has a contagious energy while on stage. She spent the set bouncing around, playing synth and delivering fun, awesome, and memorable vocal melodies.
It is hard to imagine the band without Jackie because her voice fits in so beautifully with the existing soundscape. Gingerlys is a very independent minded group themselves; they released a 7” with ShelfLife in addition to some other exciting plans in the works for this summer.
The band says they are taking some time off from their ridiculously busy live performance schedule of nearly 100 shows this year to sit down and work on 10-12 songs for a full-length album. They have two singles with Connor Hanwick of The Drums under their belts and are going back in June to finish. We’re really looking forward to their release and be sure to watch out for it on AtypicalSounds in early fall.
You can listen to their most recent EP here.
Written by Alessandra Licul