Rob Watts- First of all, how are you doing today?
Priscilla Hernandez- Exhausted, I’ve been working on mixing and fixing mistakes in the recordings of some songs of “Ancient Shadows” , my upcoming cd, at this time, our rhythm of working is frantic, it’s almost done yet still there are a million things to finish and polish. It’s a dream come true, I want it to be something I feel proud of.
Rob- What part of Spain are you from?
Priscilla- I was born in La Palma (Canary Islands), then I moved to another island, Tenerife, where I lived till 2004, when I decided to move to the mainland in order to find opportunities for my art and music. I moved recently to Barcelona, in the north-east of Catalonia, Spain, which is considered here as an “open door to Europe” in Spain. It’s a very cosmopolitan and cultural city, and I hope it brings new chances, this is in fact my first time living in a big town.
Rob- Can you tell us a little bit about the Canary Islands?
Priscilla- Canary Islands belongs to Spain, though they are placed by the western North-East African coast. We enjoy an ever spring nice weather, and some paradise landscapes. Every island is completely different, an enormous amount of contrasts. I was born in “La Palma” the most occidental one which is well known world wide as “La isla bonita” (the beautiful island). The ocean, the forests, the mountains, it has everything for a retirement and for quiet living. I moved to Tenerife afterwards to study and this one is a little bit overpopulated and the environment not so pure and wild as in La Palma. I think I was privileged being raised there, still regarding other aspects you can get “island fever” after a while. When I started to have a serious urge to fight for my music, I didn’t find much space to evolve there.
Rob- That must have been hard. What is the music scene like there?
Priscilla- Not very good, and very discouraging. Most of the few artists born in the canary islands that have had success out of Spain, are not even known by the ones living there. Except for a few songwriters, in the Spanish standard way. The idiosyncrasy of the musician is completely inexistent, ……of course I’m excluding with all respect the regional folk music which I highly respect. There are a million groups playing covers in “salsa”, “reggaeton” and other latin genres, and it’s rather exhausting, because most of this acts doesn’t even have a self-repertory but just cover success and play joyful for little villages. As you can judge by the style of my music I was the discordant note, and I was aware I was not in the right place. I was starting to gather some recognition not only out of the islands but out of my own country, and still there were no pubs where I could gig, or that would consider an act with such repertory. I attended some meetings focused to protect the alternative music there, and it was completely focused in jack and rock, as if these were the discriminated alternative genres, so no new age, film music, and even less ethereal gothic was to be considered as an option for an artist in there. I do hope to spread the world about the wonderful place I grow, and thus I claim everyone, singer-songwriter from the Canary Islands, and I really miss them.
Rob- When did you get interested in performing music?
Priscilla- I composed songs since early age. I liked writing, and often the poems easily turned into songs. I didn’t know to play an instrument by then and I used to record my own voice in a tape, layering it many times, just like Enya, but way before and not so brilliantly …haha. This inclination for music was absolutely private. I was rather quiet and shy. Never felt like wanting to be a singer, but there was music inside of me as a composer.
Rob- What was the name of the first song you wrote?
Priscilla- Lestar, a song about a magic horse with golden wings, can’t it be more naive? I was five or six by then, and I even dared to start to mess with a casiotone little keyboard. I have many songs that I wrote in my childhood that have been rescued many years after….not that one, precisely. like “sueño muerto” which was released in “I steal the leaves” cd, written when I was 8. In fact for “Ancient Shadows” I will rescue “the voice of the night” written when 10 and “Away” written when 12. You would wonder how I can remember them, I saved the recordings in tapes and in fact I have a nice wide registry of my young recordings, especially during teenagerhood. My secret and hidden passion now coming to light.
Rob- In 2002 you self-released your debut CD titled “I Steal The Leaves”. How long did it take you to record that album?
Priscilla- It wasn’t a serious release but more with a demo mood. When I was 18 I already knew I liked to write music but I never consider myself for singing so I tried several times to look among my friends. I took a break from the university in the 2002 and rescued my old keyboard uploaded some songs to mp3.com back then and they had great success, thus I spent that year learning how to record at home, bought a good keyboard and made some formal home-recordings and also some collaborations with other acts. I just joined them into a demo-cd. It became the most sold in new age in mp3.com, and about the non mp3.com version I sold quite more than I expected, till it become more a handicap for me. I didn’t have a way to distribute but sold them myself and I reached a point it was just too complex to sell world-wide. When I left it, I had 400 queries more of it in queue. I sent an apology and put myself in the way of making a product to feel proud of. I wasn’t happy delivering what I considered not a good representation of what I could archieve and in fact this new cd of mine is being done thanks in part to the donations and encouragement of my listeners and fans. Thank you all of you!
Rob- What style of music are you a fan of?
Priscilla- Mostly soundtracks. I confess it’s been ages I don’t see mtv and I have no idea about what’s in the radio or nominated for the grammys. I like rather quiet music, very dramatic, classical and also film scores like the ones of Danny Elfman and Joe Hisaishi, to name a few. About groups and singers I would pick my favourite which is “Tears for Fears”, “Cocteau Twins”, “Sting” and many others.
Rob- So now you are getting ready to release your new CD titled “Ancient Shadows”. What style of music can we expect from the new album?
Priscilla- I think it can be a good example of ETHEREAL GOTH. I recently discovered this is really a genre and to add more that it’s often called as FAIRY VOICES or CELESTIAL VOICES, so it can’t be more fitting. My story is a little bit strange, as I have had the chance to be signed up to eight times, even with two major. But I am not a vocalist, I am not changing the spirit of my music and I was strong enough to say “no” the right time, I’m not giving away the rights of my songs without guarantees. I was discouraged a while, especially when you turn down a deal that could change your life economically, it’s hard to convince yourself, it worth the sacrifice because you believe in yourself and what you do. I am in a sweet moment right now, just about to see my efforts becoming a real official release, and I have to thank so many, especially Héctor Corcín, my dear, who is there all the time helping me, and Carles Reig who is helping me also in the studio. So “Ancient shadows” compiles my favorites, gathering some old songs ,already featured in my previous cd, but completely re-arranged and remastered, and vocals re-recorded in studio, and also brand new material as “nightmare”, “haunted”, “the prince and fairy” and many others. 17 tracks with 17 different tales, talking about fairies, bitter willow trees, haunted houses, night horror and nightmares, forgotten fairies, the forces of nature, ghosts in love and all that topics that has become the distinguishable trait of my music. Yet again this cd will be dedicated to Kira , http://www.yidneth.com/?pag=kira my most beloved friend
Rob- So aside from music, you are also a very talented artist. At what age did you start painting?
Priscilla- Very early, my father is also a painter. He paints landscapes and has certain reputation in the Canary Islands. I still have a drawing of mine from when I was two years old . I did it inside a fairy book of Hans Christian Andersen I still have and worship. I never stopped drawing since.
Rob- Let me say, your illustrations are absolutely beautiful. You seem to be drawn to fairies and dark gothic scenes. How did you become interested in these themes?
Priscilla- I have always said that I have a deep fascination for the romantic and spectral side of ghost tales, and the spellbinding dark spice of fairy tales. When I say I believe in them what I say is that I believe in their wisdom to show the children what is right and what is not. I have a nice collection of illustrated treasure-books. In fact my concept of dark is closer to sadness and bitterness than to evil
Rob- Can you talk about your comic project Yidneth?
Priscilla- Yidneth is a personal project. A comic I’ve scripted, illustrated and painted myself. It is done in colour pencil and ink, not a very usual way to colouring ,especially when some more “printable” techniques, as acrylics, or digital painting is much faster and easier to bring a neat result. Yidneth is a cross-over adult fairy/ghost tale. It has 74 pages though I stopped about the last third of the story. I got some publishers interested, but I have not had luck in the big comic editorials in Spain where I submitted my dossier to. I think it’s a rather unusual and interesting concept and that will see the light some way. After finishing the cd I will compel myself to finish it, it has consumed a lot of time and I think it deserves to be publish, in the worst of cases, is something that I wouldn’t mind to add as a highlight of my website.
Rob- you are also a fan of comics. What are some of your favorite comic tales?
Priscilla- I like Satoshi Koh and Katsuhiro Otomo. From the first I would highlight “return to the sea” which I found extremely interesting, from Otomo, the popular Akira. I am also fan of Hayao Miyazaki, both as a film maker and as an illustrator as in Nausicaä. I also like Sandman, something that I discovered because it shared some common points with yidneth and some friends suggested me to read. And well I enjoy almost any alternative comic, “the house of secrets”, “the books of magic” anything far from the standard superhero.
Rob- Do you have anymore upcoming projects that you’d like to promote?
Priscilla- I recently joined the community FAIRIES WORLD community where I’ve been supported by the british author David Riche, http://www.fairiesworld.com/fantasy-art/ , who has published several fairy books world wide. I am very grateful to David because he has become not only someone providing an asset to my art but also a dear friend. But it has all started and it’s too soon to tell. In the meanwhile, while I’m finishing my cd, I’m starting to work in some collaborations for tv, or scores, but still too soon to announce.
My mate Héctor Corcín http://www.hectorcorcin.com is also a musician and composer and he’s helped me so much in my own project that we feel tempted to make a single together that is already taking shape but will be for the first time co-written by we two. We together created a platform for the promotion of NEW AGE INDEPENDENT artists, in Spain, and also in the world. This is already on the way to become a legal association of musicians and is starting to get press and recognition as a initiative that is helping many artists already. You can get to know about this project in http://www.nuevasmusicas.org
My brother has also started singing, and I have the illusion to record something together as well…. who knows…? he’s the handsome one of the family, I think he has a great presence, but he does not write music, from here I send an encouragement to him.
2006 is starting to be really promising.
Rob- Do you think we will see you soon in America performing your music?
Priscilla- Might be not very far… I’ve had some approach regarding that. I recently moved to Barcelona and I’m a solo act, but I need to hire musicians. Living so far away and having to look for musicians for the gigs makes things rather complicated, especially if there is not a sponsor, but I have already performed out of Spain and performing at the other side of the ocean is also very appealing. It’s not so unlikely but yet again I have to be rather cryptic still, I’m in a point of many “castles in the sky” that could take or not take shape.
Rob- Did you enjoy our interview?
Priscilla- Absolutely, and very grateful of your feature. Thank you very much to OCEAN VIEW PRESS for your kindness and support!