Hecuba`s optimism

Hecuba: The best band in LA? Devendra Banhart thinks so...

Text by Terence Teh

The internet is calling the Hecuba “super sexual”. Devendra Banhart is calling Hecuba “the best band in L.A”. Thumbs up either way then. Recently coming of a US summer tour with Bat For Lashes, Hecuba (Isabelle Albuquerque and Jon Beasley) make glorious sci-fi inspired, Greek tragedy electronic love songs with a feel totally individual from the rest of the fast growing Los Angeles Manimal Vinyl family. Hecuba’s brilliant debut album “Paradise” is out in the UK in August.

Can you talk about your art and film backgrounds?
Iz Albuquerque: We first met while Jon was working on a film that he was making about a woman whose post traumatic stress convinced her that she had been abducted by aliens. I ended up playing the woman, so our first collaboration was really a cinematic one. Our second collaboration was a musical called "Aldiss" (named after the sci-fi author), but it wasn't possible to do it the way we wanted to at the time. Eventually we will... when we befriend an orchestra.

How about non-musical inspirations?
Jon Beasley: During "Paradise" we were influenced a lot by Kubric, Disney, Martin Kippenburger, Chaplin, David Hockney, Speilberg, Chester Himes. When we work, we really like to think in terms of images and story in order to make music.

What are the LA essentials that you could not live without?
Iz Albuquerque: Triple D fake boobs, eatin’ a taco, getting high on beats, reading LA Record on the bus, watching my sister's dances, Dublab, perverts dressed like Sponge Bob!

I read you’re massive fans of Michael Jackson?
Iz Albuquerque: “Thriller” is one of a handful of albums that I have deeply loved for my entire life. I think that MJ will go down as a Bach of our times. In his death and life he just proves again and again the power of music. If we had to introduce ourselves to aliens with only one piece of work I think it should be "Human Nature" blasted through the universe. I bet even aliens would cry.

Devendra has dubbed Hecuba “the best band in L.A.” The pressure is on.
Iz Albuquerque: Ha! It’s crazy how supportive Devendra has been of us and so many people. He was actually the first person to ask us to do a show. He is a real crusader for bands that he supports. A soul singing Joan of Arc.
Jon Beasley: For our "Suffering" video he came and played a 50’s Kenneth Anger hot rod mechanic. He shaved his beard and got so in character that people can barely recognize him.

How’s Manimal Vinyl, that’s quite some family of amazing bands over there.
Jon Beasley: Paul (the founder and owner of Manimal) is awesome because he doesn't fall in to the indie box. It’s a really small label but he sees everyone as almost larger then life. He does it because he loves the music and I think that attitude really spreads to the artists. Now we just all need a sugar momma. Ha!

Your music is tragic, yet optimistic.
Iz Albuquerque: It’s Greek yo!
Jon Beasley: It's hard for music to not be optimistic. Just in being there, it's a form of optimism. Punk was optimistic. Even a requiem is.

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