Novicain Road

Novicain Road is a four piece group from San Roman, Ca. They're good for rock n' roll and estrogen-induced badassery. They were kind enough to do an interview with me eailier this week. Read below for they details!

Please introduce yourself and tell us what you do in the band.

I'm Ella, I play guitar

I'm gabby, or Gabrielle Venom, and I sing and write lyrics for Novicain Road.

I'm Jack, I play bass

I’m Jayden Hammer, and I drum and occasionally produce

Nice to meet everyone! Mind telling us how Novicain Road get it's start?

Ella: Novicain Road started when Gabby sat next to me at a school rally halfway through our freshman year, at the beginning of 2015. We jammed a few times and put out flyers and advertised on social media for a bassist and drummer. I was introduced to Jack by a mutual friend, and I thought of Mia (who is no longer in the band) who I knew played a bit of drums. In December of that same year, we were introduced to Jayden and she joined originally as our lead guitarist but has taken over on drums the following year in 2016.

Jack: Gabby and Ursella and I had a mutual friend that introduced us right after they started the band. It had always been my dream to be in an all girl band, so this was the greatest opportunity!

Jayden: A mutual friend told me that a local all-girl band needed an additional lead guitarist, and I ended up joining in December 2015.

Solid, friendship is key! Desrcibe Novicain Road with three words?

Ella: Diverse, ambitious, nerdy

Gabby: compassion, power, sisterhood

Jack: Feisty, fearless, like a family

Jayden: Powerful, Aggressive, Family

What is your best and worst memory from playing live?

Ella: My best memory performing live would be our last show ever at Red House in Walnut Creek on December 16, 2016 (they closed down a few days later). We had a full house with all the friends we've made from going to that venue over the past couple years, we were really tight as a band, even with having our friend Logan Barsell fill in on drums last minute, and we had some really poppin' new songs that we still play at shows a year later. My worst memory playing live was this wine stroll in San Bruno. We've never been asked to play an hour long set so I thought we were unprepared and had to play more covers than original songs.

Gabby: The most fun I ever had on stage was actually at the 2016 Battle of the Bands at the Pleasant Hill Teen Center. The crowd response was amazing, and I remember getting on stage, screaming, and smearing all of my make up all the while telling the audience to do the same. When we played our heavier songs there was a pit and people were rocking the fuck out. Best energy I've ever seen at one of our concerts.

Jack: Best memory of playing live would probably be when we played a wine stroll, and some people recognized us and requested a song! Worst was with our former drummer, and she just stopped playing halfway through one of our covers because she got lost and couldn't get back on. Super embarrassing!

Jayden: My best memory was probably our second or third Red House show on September 2nd 2017, I had no idea I was going to be able to play the show until the night before and I was so happy to be on stage that night and I think that was one of the most “in the zone” shows I’ve had. As for my worst memory, I’m going to have to agree with Jack’s worst memory which was definitely embarrassing.

Are you girls still in school? How is it balancing music and academics?

Ella: ,Yes, we are all still in school. Jack graduated high school in 2017 and is a part-time student at Las Positas College, while the rest of us are high school seniors. On average, we practice 1-2 times a week, and each practice is about 2 hours. I take classes at Diablo Valley College as well and that often assigns more homework and reading than what I get from school so it does get in the way of music sometimes.

Gabby: It can be difficult managing school and band, especially since a majority of us are high school seniors who are in the midst of preparing for college. Still, we all find time to practice on our own and commit to at least one day a week where we can meet.

Jack: I'm at Las Positas studying music production and vocal performance, so I find that a lot of what I learn there I can apply to my career in the band! I also work at JAMS music in Dublin, which helps me so much in the gear department.

Jayden: It’s definitely difficult to manage school and music overall,but for me personally I’m going to be going to college for music, so I’m able to focus more on music in general in my life than academics.

In your opinion, what is Novicain Road's defining song?

Ella: I think "Skin" is our defining song because the song itself is badass and fun to headbang and dance to, but the lyrics are a political commentary about how so many Americans are becoming desensitized to the tragedy we always hear about on the news and how many people who identify as a conservative or voted Republican in the 2016 presidential election choosing to be ignorant and not educate themselves on how their votes affect minority citizens, at least from what we've noticed. There's also a line at the end of the song that says "I used to hate my skin." I've interpreted that as in generally being uncomfortable in our own skin, whether it's the color and our ethnicity, or our self confidence and body image. Although we all still struggle with being comfortable in our own skin, as we've gotten older and more mature, we've all learned to be proud of what we look like and how our past experiences shaped us to be who we are today.

Gabby: To add on to what Ella said, "Skin" does deal a lot with the apathy I've noticed many people having towards social and political issues, perhaps because these don't effect them. I put the song in the perspective of an individual who is in fact a minority but convinces him/herself that siding with more conservative views will make him/her more accepted by America. Headrush is I believe our most defining song, because it's pure angst- towards the system, towards individuals that perpetrate the ills within the system, etc. The song is unique because the lyrics change slightly every time depending on which issues I feel most strongly about when I'm in the zone on stage. Usually the crowd response is super entergetic when we play this song.

Jack: Skin. Its always our go-to, its always the song that gets our hearts pumping and the music flowing.

Jayden: I’m gonna have to agree with Skin, at the beginning of every band practice we’re always just like, “Uhhhhh... wanna play Skin?” and the demo recording we have for Skin has some of my favorite vocal harmonies for any track we’ve done. It’s also probably one of my favorite songs to play live because at the end I can just go all out on the drums.

If Novicain Road was a food, what food would it be?

Ella: Dragonfruit because it's an uncommon fruit that's feisty looking, and a bit intimidating but actually very sweet.

Gabby: The meatless buffalo chicken sandwich from Analog café in Oakland because we're tasty as fuck but not willing to hurt others in the process

Jack: Sushi and wasabi, cause we're raw and spicy.

Jayden: An onion, because we have a lot of layers to our music.

Okay, so a meatless-dragonfruit-and-wasabi-flavored-onion?? Just kidding! What piece of gear is most essential for playing live?

Gabby: Cables!

Jack :My Ibanez bass! I've played shows without it and completely regretted it. Nothing is as comfortable to play, nor sounds as badass as my Ibanez.

Ella: Earplugs because it's the one thing you really can't (or at least shouldn't) borrow from and return to another person. Also, it's important to have ear protection so we're not going deaf when we're barely even out of high school.

Jayden: Guitar picks. When I was still playing guitar for the band, I definitely played at least one show with a quarter.

How is recording handled for Noivcain Road?

Gabby: As of now, Jayden has been handling recording. She recorded and produced our single "I Will Be Better"! I have so much respect for what she does, as she takes the time to become more than proficient in programs like Logic so Novicain Road can record self sufficiently.

Jack: Jayden has a home studio that she works out of. We use Logic and a couple of different mics through a Scarlet interface, and that's really all we need. Our music is very pure and raw, there's no need for overproduction.

Ella: We used to record with a local producer but now we've found that it's much cheaper and more efficient to record songs with Jayden, and we can get the exact sound we want without an outside person interfering.

Jayden: Right now I’m doing the recording for the band at my home studio, which needs some rebuilding but for now it has everything we need. I really enjoy producing us as it’s so cool to go through the different layers of each song and trying to get that raw and dirty sound.

Has Novicain Road faced any negativity being an all girl band? How have you overcome it?

Gabby: A lot of people think we are the girlfriends of a band when we load our gear into venues... which is kind of funny at this point. Personally I've gotten to the point where I just make sure we prepare enough to play good on stage, because they can't judge us that harshly if we actually pull through. We have so much support from our peers, family, and friends, so I focus on that. Being a woman doesn't determine how good a musician one can be- that's practice! We know that we're just as good as any other band out there that puts in the time.

Jack: 10. Yes. People are immediately intrigued by the all-girl status, but are quick to write us off as a gimmick. I guarantee, we are not a gimmick- we're here because we love the music. I overcome any negativity by mainly just not engaging it. I know we can prove anyone wrong when we get on stage and tear it up, so there's no need to do anything but.

Jayden: Yeah, I think on one hand it draws a lot of positive attention to us because there’s a shortage of all-girl bands in the local scene. On the other hand many people write us off as the cliche young girls band, picking up instruments for the first time who are just wannabe rockstars. I think the majority of people who see us though are pretty supportive.

What does the near future look like for Novicain Road?

Gabby: We're playing a few local gigs including a DACA benefit show which we're all really excited about. The date will be announced later. We definitely plan on putting out an album before the end of the year, so stay tuned!

Jack: Releases, shows, hopefully merchandise and photo shoots. The golden days of Novicain Road are yet to come!

Jayden: More shows, more songs, more Novicain Road.

Ella: To be more specific, we're playing a battle of the bands at the Pleasant Hill Teen Center on Friday, March 16, and the Dublin Youth Expo at Dublin High School on Saturday, May 19!


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