Belladon’s Aimee Jacobs and Anastasya Korol joined together to create a unique sound full of synths and harmonies to create a unique pop-synth sound that continues the tradition and legacy of women in the forefront of rock. Backed by Heather Nation, Alex Bravo, and Billy Petty, the band has burst into the San Diego scene with three successful singles and a nomination by the SD Music Awards. We got the chance to talk to the band a little bit about their sound, influences, and how they go about creating their sound.
1. Tell us a little about your journey, how did you all meet and form Belladon?
A bit of a long story but most of us met at a studio space here in San Diego called the San Diego Music and Art Cooperative. Heather, our guitar player is someone I didn’t know at all but a friend of mine recommended I reach out to her because I was looking for a female guitarist who can sing. We all just became great friends through making music together even though at first we didn’t know each other super well.
2. Our name, REVOLT, means to Revolt against anything holding you back and live the life you’ve always dreamed of. How did you choose your name, and what does it mean to you?
We chose Belladon over the other names we were playing with because it felt very feminine. The word has a lot of fullness to it because of its long Italian vowels. It’s based on the Belladonna flower, which is a poisonous flower. We liked the theme of something beautiful that you shouldn’t play with or touch.
3. Have there been any major milestones or challenges you overcame in your journey that stands out to you? How did these events come about, and what was it like overcoming or experiencing them?
The last 6 months has been pretty crazy. One of our members was hospitalized, our studio space flooded, a bill called AB5 just passed which basically puts anybody in privet contracting work at financial risk. People who gig or freelance are kind of screwed because of it. Meanwhile we are putting out an album any day now and trying to repair our studio so we can go back to some kind of normal. One of our members lost their voice during tracking so things got delayed. It’s been rough but we are still here. I suppose we aren’t through it yet but we are close.
4. As a woman lead band in the industry, do you think your gender identities shape, challenge, and/or influence your sound and work ethic, if so, how?
Yes. The music has a lot of strength, almost aggressive. But it’s still very womanly. So, I guess gender is a big influence on the songs I write. I wanted to see women in positions of strength and power join forces so that’s what I facilitated. Turns out other people wanted to see that too. Having three women who can all be leads in one place brought the project to a place I didn’t know it could go. That being said I’m very glad that our rhythm section is men. Balance over dominance. We hold ourselves to a pretty high-performance standard because we all teach, and music is our purpose. In general, there is media pressure toward women to do everything better than the other person. This poses some internal problems that a lot of my female friends have. Work ethic wise I just have to watch my back in different ways than a man would.
5. What does your musical process look like? How do you go about creating a song?
The project started out as just myself with a laptop trying to make demos. So mainly these songs came together because I had a skeleton of the arrangements. I got lucky and found really great players to help me finish them. My personality is very prevalent on this album we are putting out because of that. But moving forward I definitely want to take a different approach. Now that I have players that I admire and respect I want the newer music to be equal parts of everybody’s character.
6. We know intentionality in your sound is important, what does intentionality mean to you in terms of sound, and in what ways do you go about expressing it within your music?
The best way I could describe this is I see the album as one person going through different moods and elements of their personality. Each song is a representation of a different face one person can have inside them. This double EP we are putting out, each song has a different reaction to a different event but all experienced by the same person. The narrative is really what keeps the album sounding cohesive even though each song is a different version of the same person.
7. What sort of sounds, emotions or message do you hope your audience experiences when listening to your music?
For me music is a place where it’s okay to amplify myself. Being ridiculous, dramatic, impulsive, these are all generally destructive behaviors if you want your life to go smoothly. So a lot of these songs are the only place where I can release that energy that I’m not able to release in my life.
8. If you had to make a playlist that describes your sound, what top five artists or songs would be on it other than your own?
Kate Bush, Prince, PJ Harvey, St. Vincent, the Bangles
9. What advice would you give to those who are on similar journeys to make their own dreams a reality?
Always be learning and don’t say bad things about other people.
10. We know you’ve been working on music and performing recently, what can we look forward to from Belladon in the near future?
Well we have our first record coming out. We decided to make it a double EP and put all of our more dreampop songs on one side and our more aggressive darker songs on the other side. We will be back playing live shows again around April. If you follow us online or join our email list you’ll definitely know when and where our next performance is and when the album will be available. If you go to our website you can sign up for our email list and follow us on spotify ♡