Artist To Watch | Leo Herca
1. What band or album have you been into lately?
Mark Whalen , Mustard Service and Kate Bollinger
2. Remember that episode of The Simpsons where Ray Romano was Homer’s best friend?
I don’t, actually I’m not a big fan of the simpsons, sorry. Dont hate me.
3.Favorite album of the year so far?
Jinx by Crumb.
4. What band do you think that you could beat up in a fight?
5. What did you grow up listening to?
Mexican pop rock and trio’s music.
6. What is the worst advice you can give me?
When you have to wake up early but you’re not sure if you'll hear your alarm, stay awake all night.
7. If I move to Mexico, can we start a duo?
Sure! I play the guitar solos though.
9. What band has inspired you the least?
10. Any underrated artists or bands that you think we should check out?
Hullo, he’s Canadian and he makes nice music, I’ve talked to him a few times and he's cool.
Born Loser Magazine: To start things off, can you introduce yourself
Leo Herca: Hola amigos, I’m Leo Herca from Oaxaca, Mexico. I love to travel and I love sitting by the window when it’s raining outside. I enjoy chocolate and horror movies. I’m a night person and an animal lover.
BL: I know you recently started releasing music, but how long have you been playing and performing?
Leo: I started practicing guitar when I was 13. I used to watch YouTube tutorials in the beginning and then I went to a music school for 5 years. I was in a few bands playing rock, jazz and blues in cafés and bars just for fun. In 2017, I started making my own music but it was something new for me so I wasn’t sure about the sound I wanted in my music. It took me a while to define my style. 6 months ago I started producing and releasing music in a “formal” way and here I am, it’s been a short time but it’s going pretty well.
BL: What inspired you to start writing and releasing your own music?
Leo: Love, personal experiences, sad and happy emotions… I was feeling blue after a break-up, so I wanted to make a song about this girl. I had tried to write a song before but I never finished anything until then. As you can see, most of my songs are about heartbreak. Don't tell anyone but they kinda come from the same situation. I’ve written happy songs as well and songs that are not related to any person but I haven’t recorded those yet. I’d like to try writing a song about someone else’s experiences, maybe soon.
BL: What has been the most challenging part so far?
Leo: As a solo artist it’s always harder to produce music cause you need to do all the work and cover costs, so things have taken longer than what I thought. I have many songs written and I’d like to record them all as soon as I can but the logistics and my wallet don't make it easy. It’s been hard to find the resources to produce my music. I don’t have much equipment at home, so I think my creative process has not been as wide as I would like, since I can’t experiment with many sounds and instruments. I’m happy with the results so far though.
BL: What is it like being a part of the “bedroom pop” music scene where you’re from?
Leo: I'm not even sure if there's a bedroom pop music scene in Mexico. Maybe there are many artists but I don't know them. I know people who make similar music in Spanish but I wouldn’t call it bedroom pop. I’m almost sure I'm the only guy in my Little city playing this music but I really hope I can find more people interested, so we could collaborate and all play together in a festival.
BL: What is it that drew you to this sound?
Leo: The mix of sounds. A lot of bedroom pop artists mix sounds from jazz, hip hop, soul and that’s music I’ve always loved. I do like all the background around this music, so I just fell in love with it.
BL: Is there a big music scene where you’re from?
Leo: Yes, my city is very small but there are many talented musicians and bands releasing new music all the time. Most times they separate and start new bands but at least they keep making music. They constantly organize music festivals to promote their music and a few bands have been very successful in my country.
BL: Do you think that things like streaming platforms and social media have helped you get your music out there?
Leo: Definitely, the only way I’ve promoted my music so far is by posting videos on streaming platforms and social media. I met a guy who owns a YouTube channel dedicated to sharing indie music (Sound of Rain). He posted one of my songs and that was a big push, that’s how people have found my music.
BL: My personal favorite song of yours is “Moon Lovers” can you give us some background on that song?
Leo: I had this tune and I needed to add lyrics. I wanted it to talk about heartache but while I was thinking how to start the song I saw the phrase “I know your ego can’t afford to be somebody else’s” on a video´s comment that I was watching, so it made me think about a girl I had recently met and the situation we were going through. I opened my notes app and the words started flowing. I wanted to add a girl’s voice to the song so it could mean that maybe both people feel the same way. A good friend of mine (Eva) offered to help and I loved the idea. Also, there was a part in the song that was supposed to be a solo but then I thought it would be nice if we had a conversation instead, like a rap thing. We tried to figure out something and finally I decided to keep only her voice. She wrote those lines based on the context I told her.
Who do you consider you musical inspirations?
Leo: The first bedroom pop artist I found was Clairo, 3 years ago when she released her first songs. I really liked her sound, so I started looking for related music and I found artists like Rex Orange County, Cuco, Jakob Ogawa, Mac Demarco and Michael Seyer. All of them made me fall in love with this music in the beginning but who inspired me the most to make my songs are Rex, Cuco and Los Retros.
BL: Have you had the opportunity to play any shows yet?
Leo: Not yet, but I really want to start playing my music live, so I can promote it that way. Plus I’d really enjoy playing my songs with a full band. I’ve been looking for musicians to join me but most of them want to play different music styles and others want to play their own music. I don’t know any other musician in my city making bedroom pop music but I’ll keep looking and I’m sure I’ll get a band this year.
BL: Your native language is Spanish, but all of your music is in english. What are the benefits of being able to draw inspiration from two cultures, and bring them together?
Leo: I’ve always listened to a lot of music in English but I never thought about making music in another language. I tried to write songs in Spanish before but in time I realized it was so much easier for me to express my feelings in English. It’s hard to explain but I felt I could be more open and say things that I wouldn’t say in my language normally. I really like how bedroom pop sounds in this language plus I wanna get to more people around the world so singing in English seemed like a good idea.
BL: What would you like to transmit through your music?
Leo: I use music as a way to release my emotions. When I’m feeling down I grab my guitar, I start playing random stuff and I feel better instantly. I want people to release their emotions through my music, that’s what people do right? When they are sad they tend to listen to sad songs because even if it makes them feel worse at the moment, they feel better after-- it’s a way to release your emotions. I’m glad to know my music can connect people somehow. The other day I was on Facebook and I saw a guy sent my song “moon lovers” to a girl, and she replied she felt the same way so it made me think maybe now they are in a relationship. Maybe they send songs to each other and maybe something that I created means a lot for those two people even if they have no idea who I am and why I wrote that song. I wanna make people feel. Whatever the emotion, I want them to feel through my music.
BL: What is the most important thing to you when you’re creating a song?
Leo: Expressing true feelings and trying to convey them as well as possible through the sounds. I want my music to be able to generate emotions in the people who listen to it.
BL: If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be?
Leo: Rex Orange County. He inspired me to start making my own music and I haven’t stopped listening to his music for almost 3 years, so I can say he’s one of my favorite artists. I like the way he is as a person. He seems to be very focused on music and doesn’t care so much about being a celebrity. At least, that’s my impression.
BL: What is something that you want our readers to know about Leo Herca?
Leo: I like to help others with their personal problems, especially when it comes to feelings. I'm not an expert but I have experience, so if you ever need to be heard or want advice just shoot me a message.
BL: What are you currently working on?
Leo: I have a few songs that I’d like to record as soon as I can but I decided I want them to sound a bit more Jazz, so I’m still working on the arrangements. I hope you can hear at least one of them before the new year.
What can we expect to see from Leo Herca in the future?
Leo: A lot of new songs and shows! I’m gonna keep making bedroom pop but also experiment with new sounds. I wanna collaborate with emerging artists and make a lot of content on the internet, music videos, live sessions and videos of me talking about life and sharing my musical knowledge so more people can start making their own songs. I have many ideas, I just need to find the right people to make it happen. Some things are not easy but that’s what makes them more exciting. It’s a challenge. I know what I wanna do and I’ll make it happen, no matter if I’m successful or not I’ll always enjoy the process.