Courtesy of Daniela Riojas
Emma Felicia, the lead vocalist of Creatura, has played music for the greater part of her life. Never shy or doubting of her talent, she “opens the door” and destiny unfolds, building upon a lifetime of preparation, from her studies in psychology (Carl Jung being a frequently mentioned source of inspiration and perspective) to her childhood (she picked up the guitar at age 10) and bringing together a talented crew of musicians, matured and shaped in their own years of experience, to form the psychedelic rock group that will be releasing their first EP, “Open the Door,” on March 28.
Felicia had been a solo artist in the years leading up to Creatura, describing her experience with other musicians and experiments as a “revolving door” that would eventually bring together members Marc Anthony Smith (Percussion), Andrew Salinas (Cello), Jeff Oli (Bass) and Andy Suhre (Guitar).
Smith met Felicia briefly in 2009, but it would be another two years before Felicia was working at Krazy Kat, an instrument store located down the road from the White Rabbit and Hi-Tones, that she would run into him again.
Her second day on the job brought her and Salinas together. While he was looking for a used cello, she was looking for a talented musician to jam with. Not a week later did Smith come in, a guitarist looking for drum mallets, and, reuniting, Felicia recruited him as a drummer.
Smith recalls her ambition as his inspiration to play in Creatura, “She said wanted to play Psych Fest, and I thought that was completely ridiculous, (“Overly ambitious!” Salinas adds, amidst laughter) but she was serious, and I wanted to see where this ship was sailing.”
Incidentally, the band will perform at Maverick Music Festival on March 21st alongside The Black Angels, an Austin band who played a major role in bringing the Psych Fest to Austin and has since then blown up in the psychedelic scene, playing festivals such as Bonnaroo.
Salinas recalls hearing Felicia perform Etta James’ “At Last” at a local venue prior to meeting her, remarking. “That girl had some pipes.” Oli, who had just returned from eight months of backpacking across Europe and living in hostels, happened to drop by Krazy Kat that same week, and coincidentally knew a close friend of Felicia’s which brought the majority of the band together through a web of mutual friends and a mutual love for music and performance.
Suhre, a musician from Boston, would be recruited later but in the same fashion, waking up to a text from Felicia, whom he had met the night before, asking if he was coming to practice today.
It is no secret that Felicia’s ambition spearheads the bands progress and the release of “Open the Door” was no exception.
“She picked a date to release the EP, brought it to us, everyone agreed that it was cool,” Salinas explained.
“I opened the door, that’s my job” Felicia added. “She opened the door and we didn’t have any clothes on, we didn’t have our (stuff) together, we weren’t even packed…But she picked a date and publicized it.”
Soon after they got themselves together, the group began recording with Luke Dawson (The Revolators, Spin Drift, Hall of Truth) at Roadhouse Rags, a recording studio musician costumer, in Austin, fully equipped and made of cedar. The studio time was well spent and they were able to post their EP online for purchase.
“When you’re really proud of something you want to share it” Felicia explained.
The leading lady is always appreciative of her band mates though. Each member has a crucial role in the dynamic, and, when the group was first rehearsing, she admits she couldn’t always keep tempo and many of the songs were written for a solo performance, but Felicia and Suhre worked together to rewrite them to bring out each instrument, and worked on Felicia’s tempo.
Each member is genuinely thankful for the opportunity to grow. To talk a bit about the new release, in “Out of Time, Out of Mind” the balance becomes the spell of syrins. Slowly, single notes introduce Felicia’s voice, luring you closer as pounding drums announce every sure step forward and begin slowly stirring, building to an energized release that quickly recedes, teasing your attention and drawing you in further.
“Wandering in madness, if I ever sleep. Eternal children won’t cry, don’t cry for me. Fall on your shadows, lay beneath the sea.” The lyricist comments that her writing is abstract rather than directly reflecting her life, but that this allows her to connect to the audience by inviting them to imagine their own meaning and together drink from “that great creative well that human beings draw upon.”
She follows by explaining, “everybody has access to that… and if that’s what I’m drawing from, who am I to question where that comes from. If this is coming out of me, well then that’s what is coming out.”
Recording the EP is the result not only of determination but also of an outpouring of community support. The band has been funding the project through fundrazr.com, an online service like kickstarter, that connects small projects to the international community, and through which they have raised nearly half of their $2,000 goal.
To support them and follow their progress you can find them on Facebook and Bandcamp. Don’t miss their EP release with Flower Jesus Quintet and Low Times March 28th at Hi-Tones. Doors open at 6:30. $3 Pre-sale $5 Door.