Raquel Thompson: Reflecting back on your music career, what have been some of the most challenging things you have had to face and overcome as a female in a metal band?
Jessica Pons: Moving to a new country (United States) and starting a band from scratch was very challenging and much harder than I could've imagined. I was born and raised in a small oil town in Venezuela. I founded an all-girls rock band called “Naturaleza Muerta” (Still Life) and began playing as a touring musician in my country and recorded an EP. Our love for music took us over 2,000 miles in our travel from our hometown to Tampa, FL in 2007. The band disbanded a year later. Lack of support, money issues, and personal struggles ruined it all. I spent 2 years after that looking for the right people to form a new band. I finally met the guys in 2010 and we started Red Calling.
Raquel Thompson: Have you ever had to deal with any circumstances that made you feel uncomfortable and maybe unfair in the music industry because you were a woman?
Jessica Pons: I have, but mostly when I used to play with my first band because we were all women. Once we had a gig at a venue and we ended up learning it was a strip club when we were already on stage when we started seeing the girls dancing to OUR music (in Venezuela things are a little different lol) We did a few songs then left. I guess the show promoter thought this was funny. Still, sometimes some guys joke around before I play with Red Calling cause they prob think I suck at playing guitar, but after we play they’re really nice and supportive.
I’ve heard some terrible stories about sexual harassment and misogyny from other female musicians and it’s very sad. I always hear people talk about sexism in the music industry and I’d really love to see more women in key positions at the top. But we definitely must speak up if we see ourselves in these kinds of situations. We shouldn’t settle for double standards, men and women should be treated equally.
Raquel Thompson: Tell us some of the most powerful moments you have experienced as a female in this industry.
Jessica Pons: Playing in summer festivals, get radio airplay, having interviews with big outlets, etc. It is great to be able to share your thoughts, music, and art on big platforms and have access to thousands of people that get to hear your message. We focus on helping people that deal with depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts, our music, and lyrics lean heavily towards those topics.
Raquel Thompson: Who do you go to when you need advice on your music, stage presence, or handling different scenarios?
Jessica Pons: I'm pretty visceral when writing music and lyrics. When I'm on stage I feel compelled to act on the lyrics, dance, and engage with the audience. I’ve never received any advice on these things, but I'm definitely open to get some input. I have requested advice on areas like recording and production, it's great when you’re working with awesome producers, it is a huge learning experience.
Raquel Thompson: What advice would you give other young women who may be thinking about being in a rock or metal band.
Jessica Pons: Take your time looking for the right people, personal and musical chemistry is super important. Be disciplined and have consistency. Focus on all aspects of your music project, having a band involves a great deal of commitment, a lot of boring stuff too if you wanna do this professionally. Also, practice with your instrument every day, work out, and eat healthily, you always wanna be energetic when performing on stage. Fight for your dreams.
Raquel Thompson: Do you have a favorite song Red Calling has recorded and why is it your favorite?
Jessica Pons: I love our new single “Torture”. This is a very personal song, writing it was a way for me to cope with all the craziness we’ve all been through lately. I love the mix of vulnerability and heaviness that we achieved with the music. It really shows where Red Calling is musically at the moment. It is also the first time we have 100% creative control over video production. Our guitar player was the Director/Editor and we all helped with cameras and production, so it was amazing to learn so many things.
Thanks for having us, make sure you check our new single/video “Torture” and stay tuned for our next release! You can find merch and all social media links at www.redcallingmusic.com. Please stay strong and positive, have faith, and keep music alive. Thank you!