Hailing from the vibrant streets of Chicago, IL, La Rosa Noir emerges as a post-punk powerhouse, infusing dark and dreamy surf tones with a nod to the moody alt rock of the '90s. Comprising five talented members—Yeshi Regalado as the mesmerizing frontwoman and singer-songwriter, Jannese Espino shredding as the lead guitarist, Dmitri Snyder adding trumpet and synth magic, Christian Ovalle on drums, and Kevin Martinez thumping the bass—the band's cool and fun sound encapsulates their upbringing on both the north and south sides of the city. Recently dropping their highly anticipated album "Arellano," produced by the maestro Alex Gonzalez, La Rosa Noir celebrates a triumphant five-year journey in the Chicago music scene. The culmination of two years in the studio has brought forth an album that holds profound meaning for the band, culminating in an ecstatic album release show at Sleeping Village on December 16, featuring stellar acts like The Renters, Future Nobodies, and Machine. This event isn't just a personal victory but a collective win for the latinx/poc creative community and local music scene, a celebration made possible by the unwavering support of fans, friends, and fellow local bands. Join us on December 16 at Sleeping Village as we revel in the achievement of crafting an album that resonates with the heart and soul of our vibrant city.
Q: In your opinion, what are the essential qualities that make a “good songwriter”?
Yeshi Regalado, Frontwoman of La Rosa Noir - Being vulnerable, writing about things you normally don’t talk about but emotionally wear on your sleeve.
Jannese Espino, Lead Guitarist of La Rosa Noir - Being a good storyteller.
Q: What is the basis for writing attention-grabbing music in the year 2023?
Yeshi Regalado, Frontwoman of La Rosa Noir - Write something emotional and feels good when you hear it.
Jannese Espino, Lead Guitarist of La Rosa Noir - Having hooks.
Q: What has it been like working with an indie record label as opposed to working on your own?
Yeshi Regalado, Frontwoman of La Rosa Noir -It’s really nice to have a larger team to work with and gain assistance from. They help a lot with press and guidance.
Jannese Espino, Lead Guitarist of La Rosa Noir - We have deadlines so we’re on a schedule and everything we do is deliberate.
Q: Can you pinpoint some specific songs and songwriters that changed the way you write music?
Yeshi Regalado, Frontwoman of La Rosa Noir - Slop by Forth Wanderers. When I first heard this song my heart exploded and every brooding emotion in me poured out of my veins and onto my skin with the help of this song/band. It was just one of those experiences you know when you listen to a new song for the first time. I absolutely love the lead vocalist’s moody voice and lyrics. The cool guitar tones over the deep, warm rhythmic bass and drums. Everything about this song inspired me to further explore the alt rock and dreamy shoegaze genre with La Rosa Noir. It was one of the songs that influenced the writing and creation of Lavender Warm, along with High by Slow Pulp. Another really good shoegaze female fronted band.
Jannese Espino, Lead Guitarist of La Rosa Noir - I’m a huge fan of Jimi Hendrix as a songwriter, he’s a poet in the same way as Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie, but he's overlooked because of his virtuoso guitar playing and larger than life persona and image. Little Wing and Bold as Love are standouts for me.
Q: Do you find it hard to be inspired by artists that are younger than you, or are you motivated by their energy? Can you name any new artists you find inspiring?
Yeshi Regalado, Frontwoman of La Rosa Noir - I find myself being inspired by younger artists and their energy. One I can think of is a local female lead singer, she fronts Scarlet Demore. When I first saw them a few years back I was completely blown away. I remember sitting down for the band prior to them and as soon as I heard her sing I stood back up. I couldn't believe how emotional and intense she sang. It was easily one of the most powerful showcasing of talent I’ve witnessed in a while. When I found out the band was barely 21 I was shook. We’ve played a few shows with them since then and every time I see her perform live, not only do I get inspired to get better at my craft but I also find myself feeling an overwhelming sense of pride. Kat of Scarlet Demore is also a latina lead singer for an alt rock band and we’re both a part of something really cool and amazing, the local Chicago music scene. Seeing her and other younger female lead alt bands makes me so happy, motivated, inspired and proud that we really are out here. Doing what we love and trying to feel something doing so. It’s kinda working out for us so far haha.
Jannese Espino, Lead Guitarist of La Rosa Noir - Scarlet Demore are a band I’m influenced by at the moment. They recently had a sold out EP Release Show at Lincoln Hall that blew me away. We’re lucky to have Alex Gonzalez (guitarist of Scarlet Demore) produce our album Arellano.
Q: For your new album, what inspired the lyrical content, album title, and overall vibe?
Yeshi Regalado, Frontwoman of La Rosa Noir - The lyrics in our recent album “Arellano” were inspired by my life’s experiences. A lot of the lyrics I write are about my mom, my perspective of her and emotional response to her passing of cancer when I was 21. She died in my arms. I also write about my broken relationship with my father and I guess sometimes my broken relationship with myself. The more lighter toned songs like New Gods and Lavender Warm are about me mending that relationship with myself. Remembering to follow my “gut feeling” and that no matter what I do in life or where I end up, my God or your God or all of our Gods will be there at the end of day, waiting to receive us in their sweet embrace and that everything will always end up being okay :)
I named the album Arellano, after my mamacita’s maiden name. She was one of the strongest women I’ve ever known and she happens to be the one who inspired my love for singing. In this album I write a lot about relationships. Whether they be with myself, the women and or the men in my life. Life is hard and music and writing has always been a way for me to respond to its harshness in a healthy way that can actually bring comfort to others as well. Realizing this skill makes me feel like I have a superpower which is an incredible feeling. .
I really wanted this album to feel warm, heavy, and thick with emotion. I love the dreamy dissonance of post punk and the fiery penetrative energy that alternative and punk sounds ignites. I grew up on that and feel like that will always be an energy that influences how I view the world and write my musical response to it.
Jannese Espino, Lead Guitarist of La Rosa Noir - I approach all the songs Yeshi brings to the band with the mentality of “How can I service these songs?”. I don’t ever think I can change her original piece and instead think of what I can add. When I introduce a song I like to have a title for it to establish some kind of theme then I leave the lyrics to Yeshi, I’ve already done enough!
Q: Do you find that you ruminate over writing songs and hold on to them for a long time before including them on a record? Or do you prefer to write them, release them, and be done with them? Do you ever revisit old material to do a re-write or once it’s done it’s done?
Yeshi Regalado, Frontwoman of La Rosa Noir - We’ve been working on this record for about 2 years and every single song on this album has been refined and evolved throughout that time period. There was actually one song that we thought was done at the beginning of recording the album then at the last minute we all felt like it wasnt ready. It’ll either be released as a single or on the new ep we hope to release next year. I feel like it's normal for artists to create a piece of work and not complete it immediately. It can happen sometimes but most of the time I write a song, I keep it in my back pocket until there's a moment of inspiration that encourages me to complete it, and then before I know it it's done.
Jannese Espino, Lead Guitarist of La Rosa Noir - I like to have songs for a long time and tinker with them until I feel like I’ve chiseled out the definitive version of the song. Moving forward however, I want to trust my instincts more and move quickly with an idea as opposed to coming back to it over and over again.
Q: Were there any lessons you learned in the writing and recording process for your current release that you will take with you into your next project?
I learned that it's easier to record a finished song than finishing a song while recording haha. IYKYK 😭