Q&A: Ximena Sarinana


With one of the best new indie-pop albums of the year on her first English speaking record, Ximena Sariñana has a lot going for her. After a dazzling performance at Outside Lands where she won many new fans, she unfortunately started to lose her voice. But that didn’t stop the singer from powering through her illness and chatting with Bestnewbands.com and was one of our favorite interviews from the weekend.

Daniel Kohn: You said this is the second festival you’ve ever played. How do you think you performance went over with the large audience who saw your set?

Ximena Sariñana: I think it went really well. It was really cold though and I think that’s part of the reason why I’m losing my voice. But it awesome, I loved that there was a great turnout, especially at an early hour.


DK: You have a very eclectic, diverse sound that comes with your wide array of influences. How would you describe how the music from the record translates to your live show?

XS: It becomes a bit grittier in the live show. We play with a lot more energy. I’ve always been a fan of going to watch rock bands so I’ve always liked being energetic on stage. The music requires a lot of precision, so there are a lot of parts that need to be played and I’m doing a lot of stuff too. I’m kind of like a nerd with my band, making sure everything is perfect.


DK: Off stage, you are very mild-mannered and chill, while on stage you are a completely different person. Who and what do you channel while performing that brings out that side of you?

XS: Ha! I’m just chill now because I’m losing my voice. I’m usually much peppier, trust me. But to answer the question, I’ve always loved Bjork. Every time you’re going to see her, there’s going to be something different and it’s going to be unexpected. I really tried to make this record and the live set sound independent from each other and different than what I was used to playing live before. Radiohead is also one of my all-time favorite performers and I like the dynamic of very upbeat songs. I’m going through an upbeat phase and I want all my songs to be fast and loud.


DK: Do you usually play with a multi-piece band like today?

XS: Unfortunately not usually. This is how I want the band to be size-wise, but for budget reasons, we always end up with way less instruments. I usually play duo and trio shows but those are also cool because you can do other stuff and experiment with different setups and see where you can take them.


DK: Did having a full-band fill out the sound and make it easier for you to perform?

XS: I don’t know if it’s much easier because you are directing everyone. I had to be way more concentrated and a lot more could go wrong with so much more stuff going on. I actually get to play more stuff with a full-band when it would seem like I would play less.


DK: What’s the best thing you’ve discovered about San Francisco on this brief trip?

XS: I discovered this park (Golden Gate Park), which I’ve never seen before. It feels like you’re in a forest but is in the middle of a city and that’s so cool.