The Miami rock music scene is still small-scale compared to the ones in LA and New York. Yet, every now and then you may be lucky enough to witness a band that eclipses others with talent vast enough to go far out. One of these bands is Womanhouse, a powerhouse of sound with a strong female lead vocalist that recently hit the local stage.
The band got their name from an art venue in California that celebrated women and explored their societal roles. Womanhouse was the first public feminist art installation and performance space, which took place in the early 70s. It’s an appropriate name for this ubercool band. Vocalist and lyricist Emily Afre’s voice is reminiscent of Grace Slick’s from Jefferson Airplane, a band with a strong female lead from that era, and the band has psychedelic rock undertones with melodic vibes.
I got a chance to chat with her and the rest of the band: the rhythm section is held down by Björn Roland on drums and Carlo Barbacci on the bass. On guitar are Andrés Nuñez and Steve Montoya.
We discussed how they got together, their epic recently-released single Gaucho, “some type of jangly, alienated-cowboy waltz” as described by the band, and what they are planning for the future.
Miami Chronicles: How did you get together? How long have you been playing?
Bjorn Roland: I walked into a tea shop that we frequent, specialTEA, and spotted Emily jotting down some words, what I thought were lyrics.
Emily Afre: I remember complaining to Björn about how I wanted to make music, but that it was difficult to find people that resonated. I also don’t adequately play guitar or piano, so it was frustrating not being able to create.
BR: I asked her if she was interested in playing music together and, initially, she had some reservations about being in a band. However, I quickly recruited my longtime friend, Steve, who I had played some covers with in the comfort of my garage during high school. Once he was on board with the idea of seriously making music with others we asked Andres, who I met through the radio station at the university and whom Emily met in high school.
Andres Nuñez: I had just come back from a two week trip abroad where I somehow decided that I wanted to dedicate my life to music and decided to get back to some songs I had written a couple of years prior. I wanted help with this new project and jammed with Björn because he was a good friend and I respected him as a drummer. Emily and our bassist at the time, stopped by our session that night. They later asked me if I would be interested in joining and after giving it a shot, we wrote the structure for a song named Bay Bridge, the first time we played together. So, I decided to dedicate my time to this music. This was around June 2018.
BR: After a series of bassists passed through, we stumbled upon Carlo at Churchill’s, who was intrigued with our sound at a show we had filled a spot for. There was a night Carlo came to jam with us and we went to eat afterward at Flanny’s. I decided to propose the idea of playing drums for Mold, a project Carlo had been putting together at the same time, as long as he agreed to play bass for Womanhouse. Without having a second thought he said “I was thinking the same thing.” At that moment it finally felt like Womanhouse was actually complete for the first time. It was something that took a year to put together leading to our first show in mid-May.
MC: Can you tell us about your first release Gaucho?
Steve Montoya: This track came about one night in November of 2018, it had been brewing for a while before its release. Björn passed by and we fiddled around on a couple acoustic guitars with no clear intention or goal–just us channeling whatever we had going on inside. There was some type of jangly, alienated-cowboy waltz to be had. The main melody was created that night and, after playing it for the crew, we all jumped on board pretty quickly. Emily instantly caught onto a feeling of vigor and solitude which chimes through perfectly and the rest followed suit.
MC: How would you describe your sound?
Womanhouse: At its core, we’d like to think the sound is intimate, often moody. Our music tastes can vary a good bit so we each tend to deliver our own little offering. Ultimately, though, we’re just emotionally charged and that often leads to moments of tension, ascension, and release within the songs. Sometimes it’s explosive, sometimes it’s brooding, usually it’s loud.
MC: What can we expect to see from Womanhouse in the near future?
W: Our first EP is scheduled to be released by the end of the year. We’re really excited to share it with everyone. We’re currently working on more songs that we hope to be able to share with you all in 2020.
I am definitely looking forward to hearing the new songs and seeing more of this band. To stay up to date on their events check out more from Womanhouse on Instagram @womanhouse_ , YouTube and on ITunes.