Karen Wassia (Les Singes Verts) on Her Band, Influences, Pregame Ritual, and Future Plans
I got a chance to talk with Karen Wassia, the lead vocalist for the up and coming band, Les Singes Verts.
Jesse: To start things off, how did Les Sings Verts come into existence?
Karen: Most of us met ten years ago, but some of us have known each other longer. It began as a reggae workshop that evolved into a band.
Jesse: Very cool. So, how did you get into reggae?
Karen: I got into reggae music thanks to the reggae workshop. We started out playing ska, rocksteady, and reggae and then attempted to perfect these styles, particularly old school ska and rocksteady music. The band had existed for ten years and I have been with them for seven of them. The first five years the band members changed quite a bit but we have stabilized since then.
Jesse: Well, your sound is great. What's your current lineup?
Karen: Thank you! Two guitars, two keyboards, drums, percussion, bass guitar, two saxophones, a trombone, trumpet, and of course, lead vocal.
Jesse: And that is you.
Karen: Yes, of course.
Jesse: Do you play any instruments or only sing?
Karen: Yes, I play piano but not in the band.
Jesse: Nice, so who are some of your biggest musical influences?
Karen: Ken Boothe, Alton Ellis, Jacky Mitoo, Tommy Mc Cook, Skatalites, Curtis Mayfield, Sam Cook, and of course rock music. I also like a lot of bands on Stax, Studio One, Motown, and Trojan records.
Jesse: Cool, so what do you do outside of music?
Karen: I'm an event planner.
Jesse: Do you have any hobbies?
Karen: Yes, I love dancing, and creating things like soaps, jewelry, etc.
Jesse: What are you currently working on musically?
Karen: Well, in October we begin work on recording a new vinyl album that will be set for a 2018 release.
Jesse: Nice, so do you have any pregame rituals before a recording session?
Karen: We don't really have a set ritual. We play through a song perhaps two or three times and then we all record together, live. However, sometimes I will isolate myself in a cabin beforehand, but it all depends.
Jesse: I see, very cool. Do you ever get nervous before a live show or recording session?
Karen: Yes, I'm always nervous before a live show, but after one song I loosen up and am able to enjoy the present moment with my fans. However, I'm never really nervous before a recording session. But now, I have a couple questions for you. Who are you, Jesse? And how do you know us?
Jesse: Cool! Well, I'm a musician and producer from Texas currently on a hiatus in South America. I love reggae and am always on the lookout for new music, so I decided to create a platform to share underappreciated music I love and also help proliferate and promote it. I found you by digging through hundreds of indie reggae albums online, then fell in love with your rendition of Personal Jesus—your soulful vocals paired with the classic rocksteady rhythm is just superb.
Karen: Okay, very nice! I love that you're passionate about what you do and thank you so much for doing this interview!
Jesse: Very cool. Thank you, Karen!
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