An eclectic mix of concert-goers shuffles along in line at a sold out show at the El Rey in Los Angeles. Backstage, makeup artists, videographers, publicists, and managers scurry about with that certain buzz that only comes from the anticipation of a live show. The crowd’s chants of “UH HUH HER” bleed through the walls. UH HUH HER is minutes from stepping on stage. They seem to be the only two things which remain calm in the swarming room. In what is to be their only stop in LA for their tour supporting their new EP, Black and Blue, they somehow find the time to answer a few questions.
Ellenwood Interview: Uh Huh Her Camila Grey + Leisha Hailey 4.1.11 @the El Rey Theaters
Ellenwood What does the album title Black and Blue mean to you and what’s your favorite track on the album?
Camila: For me it’s been a hell of a year and the title is kind of indicative of being a little beaten up in a lot of different ways; emotionally, physically, by touring so much. I’ve been on the road for a year now, nonstop. I haven’t gone home. So it’s a lot of things. My favorite song at the moment is Philosophy because it’s just fun. It’s a really fun song to sing and it’s kind of different from a lot of the stuff we tend to do.
Leisha: That’s actually my favorite too and it’s my favorite because it’s so different.
Ellenwood So what do you love and hate about recording?
Camila: I just kind of love it. I really don’t hate it. I tend to kind of flourish in that department. If I have to get another job and can’t tour, I just want to be in a room recording things.
Leisha: I love and hate it for the same reason which is I think you can get trapped in this time warp and make things too precious and over think things so much. What I love about playing live is you really get to like, for instance, all the songs that we play live that were already recorded I almost enjoy them more the way we do them live because they’re a little more ballsier they’re just like more meaty and..
Camila: In the moment.
Leisha: In the moment, right, and I think when you record, you have this time limit and you, I don’t know… there’s something about the pressure of recording, but it’s kind of wonderful too. You can flourish in it.
Ellenwood Any interesting stories during the recording process? Any fun stuff going on?
Camila: There’s so many. We were so lucky to do a lot of the recording of the record, we did have at our studio, half at Henson recording studio which is like to me, “Ahhhh”(sings angelically) you know you walk in and angels are singing. It’s just inspiring there. You never know who you’re going to run into like Eddie Van Halen will be walking down the hall or whatever. It’s just so cool.
Leisha: We were pretty much taken under the wing of Henson. All the people that work there for some reason helped us finish this record and it’s one of the most magical, memorable experiences of my life, I’m sure Cam’s as well.
Camila: We were very, very grateful for that, for sure.
EllenwoodWhat kind of gear do you use? Any specific brands you’re loyal to?
Camila: We love Fender.
Leisha: We’re Fender freaks.
Camila: Fender girls. I do love to play a good Vox but for the most part Fender and.. Nords and I like Korgs a lot. Those are my two main, Nords and Korgs.
Ellenwood What is your songwriting process? Do you write together or bring riffs and just jam together?
Leisha: It’s been really different, we met as strangers and I think it took us a good year to two years to figure out each other’s styles and kind of bring the best out in each other. I think we finally did that on this last record and we both wanted to definitely rock more and just get a little bit more raw than Common Reaction. We write separately…
Camila: And together… we bring some old stuff. There are some old songs I wrote.
Leisha: There’s a song we call the college song cause Cam wrote it in college and I love that song. I said to Cam, please get it to the band.
Camila: So it’s kind of a smorgasbord of different things that we bring.
Ellenwood You recently performed at SXSW. What was that like and how did it compare to your first appearance in 2008?
Camila: I think we were so new, we were so green not experienced as a band at all back then so I think we’ve grown exponentially since then. Now we’re kind of getting our little legs if you will so just that in and of itself is so huge to be able to come and go on stage and be seamless and not be worried about what chord am I playing.
Leisha: And I think the key to SXSW is to…
Camila: To not give a shit.
Leisha: To really have fun..
Camila: Because it’s not ideal it’s…
Leisha: It’s not like you’re going to walk away with anything it’s really just to meet other musicians, to see other bands that you’ve always wanted to see and everyone’s there and it’s just such a great time to run around and…
Camila: It’s my home town too.
Ellenwood Any bands catch your attention at SXSW?
Camilia: I think Fits and the Tantrums is such a cool band and I had never seen him live. I keep hearing about him and I kind-of-ish knew him back in the day. He was in a band called Wow Tiger.
Leisha: I love Wild Flag. That’s like my new thing. They’re amazing.
Ellenwood What’s been your favorite city to play?
Leisha: We just had a great experience in Salt Lake City.
Ellenwood Salt Lake, really?
Camila: SLC, man. Who knew? I didn’t know. I think you knew, but they really brought it. They were amazing. Texas always gives us great love. I think, I really, really love to go to Kansas… because I’m a weird tornado enthusiast and I keep wanting to see one so I keep going. The last time we were there actually we were in one but I didn’t get to see it because it was dark. But yeah, I love Kansas. It’s a cool weird scene that you never expect to be there but it’s there. Lawrence Kansas, check it out.
Ellenwood I’ve heard there’s some karaoke going on in the van.
Camila: Oh yeah.
Leisha: There is.
Ellenwood What are some of your guilty pleasures?
Camila: Well, um, Berlin. No. Madonna. She sang when the Saints Go Marching In… I don’t even know who wrote that. Is that in the public domain? Is it that old?
Leisha: It is. It is. Probably. It’s really just about entertaining everyone else in the van. There’s really no purpose to it other than that.
Camila: There’s a lot of Missy Elliot actually.
Leisha: We’re nasty.
Camila: Like, “Slide, slide, dip, dip, shake.
Leisha: Yeah, it’s good. We’re in there for hours, we have to do something.
Camila: We were watching The Wire, which is a great show. Yeah, really good.
Ellenwood I have not seen The Wire actually.
Camila: It’s so good. It’s really, really good.
Ellenwood Who’s the star in it?
Camila: Um.. I don’t really know. They’re complete unknowns.
Leisha: You should check it out.
Camila: The guy from Friday Night Lights is on it.
Leisha: Which one?
Camila: That one kid he’s really, really amazing. I can’t remember what his name is.
Leisha: But which one on the show?
Camila: Walker? The one that gets shot.
Leisha: Oh really?
Camila: He’s on Friday Night Lights now.
Ellenwood What can someone who’s never heard of you expect to see at a live show?
Camila: At a live show? Lots of dancing.
Leisha: No, that’s me. Only when I feel like it. I don’t know. We…
Camila: I don’t even know. I don’t even know what to expect from myself.
Leisha: I don’t even know what we look like from the other side.
Camila: Yeah, no idea. Expect to be blown away by the rock.
Leisha: No way. Scratch that from the record. (Laughs)
Camila: Please don’t print that.
Ellenwood After the tour, what are your plans? More recording?
Camila: I plan to keep just keep cranking stuff out because we know now that we can make an EP in a week and a half or whatever. We want to do vinyl and we want to make all kinds of other things. We have a lot of stuff up our sleeves at the moment that we’re trying to get in production but because we’re an indie band it’s hard to kind of manufacture all of that at once. So we’re taking it one step at a time.
Leisha: Time management.
Camila: Time management and being able to consistently put out product to our fans which we have like a direct link to which is kind of amazing nowadays.
Leisha: We have a lot inside of us that I think, I mean, I feel like we have years and years of it.
Camila: Yeah, for sure. Produce other things. I don’t know, lots of stuff.
Ellenwood That’s all of my questions. Thanks for letting me sit with you both and…
Leisha: Thank you so much.
Camila: Oh, of course. Nice to meet you.
Ellenwood Nice meeting you too.