Tour manager extraordinaire Shelly Simon asks her friends Cindy Sukrattanawong and Jessie Meehan (WASI), and Caroline Rose some questions on their creative process and what keeps them pursuing their dreams from the road. Here's what went down.
By Shelly Simon
Caroline Rose // Photo by Shelly Simon
What does it mean to be an artist? What are some sacrifices you endure to make art your living?
Cindy: To me, being an artist is allowing yourself to be creative, and fully embracing it. And one of the biggest sacrifices I make on a day-to-day basis in order to make art the central part of my life are basic human necessities like sleeping and eating. There just isn't enough time in a day.
Caroline: It means not having health insurance, showering with powdered shampoo, being able to distinguish which band mate's farts belongs to whom, and never being able to have a normal relationship. But with that said, it's still the best job ever.
Jessie: I’ve always made certain life decisions to be able to play music as much as possible. In the past I’ve worked minimum wage jobs that allowed me to have my evenings off to practice/ play shows. Now, I have a job that lets me work less and do more music. For many years I struggled to pay rent and get by, but for some reason every month I’d be able to sell an item on Ebay to be able to survive. Being an artist is navigating life through a certain lens and then telling a story about it. I’ve had to go through a lot of medical stuff as well. Getting through these things and appreciating what I have has really helped me when it comes to my artistry.
Cindy Sukrattanawong // Photo by Shelly Simon
You’ve been making music for a while, what the hell keeps you convinced this makes sense? How do you get inspiration to keep going?
Cindy: Something that really inspires me is watching live videos of my favorite bands, or physically going to a show and watching people perform. There's something really magical to me about being able to watch someone perform, and be vulnerable and passionate about what they are doing. I do think about it a lot, that it doesn't really make sense to be doing this. But, I like to keep the mentality that at the end of the day, I play music because I really love playing music, regardless if anyone is listening or not.
Caroline: Well, I've been making music for almost 15 years, which is the best, and that's what keeps me going. Doing it as a profession for 5 years has been really taxing at times, and scary, and emotionally draining, but somehow it still makes sense. I guess I've also just come too far to quit at this point.
Jessie: If I was doing music for myself this whole time, I would have quit a long time ago and it would have been way more depressing. My band [WASI] has really made it a point to be authentic and take strides to create our own space and community because of it. We do as much as we can to work with others and that in itself gives us the motivation we need to keep pushing. If I can inspire just one kid through living my truth and experiences, then it’s enough to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
After the Nth hour of rehearsal is accomplished, what’s the first thing you want to do?
Cindy: I think after a rehearsal, my general feelings are determination, and the yearning to always be better.
Caroline: Chug a beer and play a show, duh! You set that one up on a tee!
Jessie: Eat! We all love to eat, so we will usually go to Stout for (veggie) burgers or to Silverlake Ramen for ramen.
Jessie Meehan // Photo by Shelly Simon
Who’s a band you’d like to open for?
Cindy: I would love to open for the band Now, Now. Not only do they seem like really great people, but they've been one of my favorite bands for a very long time.
Caroline: Cherry Glazerr. I really, truly believe it would be the most fun tour ever.
Jessie: Matt and Kim has been a dream band for us to open for. We are a hype band and could really pump their crowd up.
We know you can sing, and play, and you can certainly slay, but can you cook? If so, what’s your dream meal to make for your dream person—living, not dead. Unless you want to have a picnic in a graveyard, I’d be open to joining.
Cindy: I actually can cook! At least I'd like to think that I can. If I had to cook a meal for my dream person, it would be vegan ramen for Carrie Brownstein because that's probably the best dish I could cook, and it's comforting, and I think anyone could appreciate that.
Caroline: Yes! I can. Though, I rarely do these days. I make a mean chili and cornbread. My mom is from the south and cornbread was the first thing she taught me to make. And, Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
Jessie: I can sort of cook! One of my favorite things is this pasta that our guitar player Kai showed us. It’s noodles with Veganaise, soy sauce, Tofurkey sausages, and mushrooms mixed in. I’d have to say my dream person to have lunch with would probably be Angela Davis. I would love to hear her stories and know what she did to get through even crazier, harder times. She is a real inspiration to so many generations.
Where’d you snag that snazzy guitar strap?
Jessie: Fanny’s House of Music! We were in Nashville for a show and had to visit the store. I decided it was time for a new strap and when I saw the one with the Fanny’s art printed on this amazing, high-quality strap, I had to pick it up. Absolutely love this strap and it is going to go with me everywhere.
Jessie Meehan is an LGBTQ activist and badass bassist, brainchild, and vocalist of WASI.
Caroline Rose is a magician and multi-instrumentalist of the New Groove Church aka Caroline Rose.
Cindy Sukrattanawong is the hardest working musician in the world / Love Nothing (Bass), WASI (Guitar), Littlest Sister (Guitar), Batwings, Catwings (Guitar).
Shelly Simon is a freelance photographer, writer, and drummer in LA, SF, and NY.
If you like this article, you'll love the rest of this Issue. See more in this month's magazine, here.