Mexico City’s most mesmerizing shoegaze singer will put you in the best kind of trance.
Carla Sariñana may be at the start of a budding solo career, but she’s hardly a newcomer to the music scene. The Mexico City musician started her own rock band, Ruido Rosa, a decade ago, and has been waxing poetic and playing bass for them ever since. Now, she’s carving out a space for her newest incarnation, Silver Rose, born out of an interest in the shoegaze genre of the late ’80s and a desire to learn how to sing. Re-released earlier this year, her self-titled EP plays like a dream pop soundtrack to summer, layered with synth, electric guitar, and nostalgia-imbued lyrics. Makes sense, since she wrote it over a particularly creatively stimulating summer in L.A. We caught up with Carla to talk artistic freedom, what it’s like to sing in two languages, and, obviously, roses.
You co-founded Ruido Rosa 10 years ago, and have been in the band ever since. What made you want to strike out on your own?
I had been listening to a lot of shoegaze and psychedelic music, and just knew I wanted to play that type of music. I really identify with it. So, since I didn’t know how to sing or play the guitar, I took guitar and vocal lessons that year to be able to finish my own songs without depending on other musicians. I had this inner drive to make songs, I just knew I had to try and get it out of my system. Now I can’t stop.
What’s the music scene like in Mexico City?
It’s great. Its quite small right now but growing more and more each year. We all kind of know each other, so its fun to go to festivals or shows and hang with not only other musicians, but also your friends that understand and support your music, too. There’s a lot of diversity, from punk and metal to shoegaze and psychedelic bands—really good music proposals.
Where did the name Silver Rose come from?
I was looking for a name that sounded glam, shiny, romantic, and nostalgic, and always thought a rose really resembled that. A friend of mine had suggested the “silver” before, and I just knew. Later on, I researched to see if there was a rose called “Silver Rose,” and there is. It means “love at first sight.” The first songs I ever wrote were about that. It was a sign, I guess.
You’ve said before that you’re drawn to the style of the ‘70s, and your music is often classified as shoegaze, which came out of England in the late ‘80s. What about these eras inspires you creatively?
Everything, especially the whole nostalgic feeling about it. The fashion, the style, the bands, the vibe, all of it.
Tell me about your writing process.
I generally start with the melody and a very simple bass line or some accords. I let the melody take me into the words, by singing different vocals to see what works best and generally some words come out. I work around that and it all comes together. I figure out what the song is going to be about after I have that nailed down.
You wrote this EP over a summer in L.A. a couple years ago. What was your experience of the city, and what effect did it have on your music?
I love everything about L.A. The sky, weather, beach, food, people—the whole vibe. It’s all so inspiring.
I moved around in the indie music scene and played bass with a band called Wallburds, so I got to know a lot of local bands playing at The Echo, The Satellite, Non Plus Ultra, and all those type of venues. Since you are surrounded by shows, music, and people doing creative things all the time, it inspires you to do the same.
The video for your song “Take Me Home” plays as a montage, with footage of you in L.A. spliced with psychedelic visuals, and lyrics like, “Oh oh, make me feel alive” and “Take my heart with you” almost frame it as a love song to the city. Was this your intention when writing the song?
When I wrote it, I just wanted the lyrics to be about an encounter between two people in a very sweet, romantic way, but also a bit hypnotizing, melody-wise. In the end, I released this song when I was coming back home to Mexico. It was a way to say goodbye to my time in L.A.
Half of the songs on your EP are in English, and the other half are in Spanish. Was this a conscious decision? Is there a relationship between subject matter and language?
It wasn’t, really. I grew up with English around me at home. My mom has always spoken to me in English. I’ve always thought in English and Spanish, so this came naturally to me. I’m also completely independent as an artist, so I didn’t want to control my songs. Some sounded English to me, while others came naturally in Spanish. That’s just the way I heard them in my head.
In the video for your song, “Suenos de Amor,” you juxtapose the dark theme of suicide with light, even youthful visuals (baking a cake with poison, pouring pills and milk into a bowl and eating it like cereal). What was the thought process behind this?
I got together with the guys from [production company] Fuerzas Básicas to talk ideas for the video, and they already had this idea.
I thought it was hilarious. I didn’t want it to just be a video of “me being pretty.” It had edge, so that was fine by me. The whole idea of me dreaming up ideas of how to do it, but in the end failing completely, is quite ironic. It’s dark but romantic, and I think Silver Rose is kind of like that. I also love their work, so I wasn’t worried at all.
What’s up next for you?
I’m putting out a video for a new single called “Noches” in a few weeks, and have a few shows coming up as well. I’m working on new songs, so I want to try and record the next EP by the end of the year. In the meantime, shows shows shows.
Check out Silver Rose’s video for “Take Me Home,” below.