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Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas

Soulful indie alternative from bilingual powerhouse

Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas

Thu, August 16

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

Doug Fir Lounge

Portland, OR

$13.00 - $15.00

This event is 21 and over

Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas
Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas
Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas return with TELEPHONE//TELEFONO, the follow- up to 2014’s debut SECRET EVIL.
TELEPHONE//TELEFONO marks the Detroit-based outfit’s first full-length bilingual recording, a double-LP pairing English and Spanish language versions. Songs like the “Run Too Far//Escapar” and “Oh No” see Hernandez & The Deltas fusing a smoldering Latin groove into their already one-of-a-kind sound clash of pop, psychedelic rock and punk cabaret, lead by Hernandez’s vocal power and the band’s boundless versatility.
Why a bilingual album? As a second generation Cuban and Mexican-American, Hernandez felt it her duty to further explore her Hispanic heritage on The Deltas’ sophomore recording. With that in mind, Hernandez visited Mexico City for a second round of recording, tracking all-new Spanish language vocals at Topetitud Estudio in Mexico City by Latin GRAMMY® Award-winner – and SECRET EVIL producer – Camilo “Milo” Froideval. Despite growing up more than 2,000 miles to the north, Hernandez formed a life-changing connection with Mexico City.
“There was something about Mexico City that just clicked with me,” Hernandez says. “If you could imagine all of the best parts of your favorite U.S. cities and wrapped them into one, that’s Mexico City for me. It has some of the beauty of L.A. and the grittiness of Brooklyn, there’s skyscrapers and palm trees and historic neighborhoods with cobblestone streets, cathedrals next to nightclubs and tiny mescal bars. There are certain pockets where there’s a real country Norteño feel and then turn the corner and think you were in New York or L.A.”
Hernandez knew songs written and recorded in English required more than simply translation – a full rethink was needed to truly give them equivalent poetry in her second language. Though admittedly only “seventy five percent fluent,” Hernandez spent two full weeks speaking almost exclusively in Spanish, singing for hours in a friend’s studio to create a kind of muscle memory. She further pushed herself to use Spanish in ways she had never previously attempted, rewriting the TELEPHONE songs with the invaluable aid of her mates in Mexico City.

“I thought it was important to figure out how to articulate the same way I would in English,” she says. “We sat down and talked about, ok, what am I trying to get across in this song, what am I trying to make someone feel or understand, and then basically rewriting. A couple translated better than others, a couple were almost totally rewritten. Their message is the same but expressed in a totally different way.”

“The languages are so different,” Hernandez says. “Saying one thing in English might sound completely ridiculous in Spanish. It’s a lot harder to be sensitive and romantic in Spanish without being kind of cheesy. There’s this fine line you have to walk in the Spanish language, where in English there’s no problem singing a punk song about a girl that broke your heart.”

As a result, TELEPHONE//TELEFONO proves to be a genuinely unprecedented work of duality and impossible-to-ignore relevance. Songs like “Hot To Trot,” “Break Your Heart” and “Apologies” see The Deltas’ brand of Motor City magic taken to the max while their Spanish counterparts unveil fresh meanings and emotive power.

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Founded in Detroit in 2009, Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas made their Instant Records debut with 2013’s DEMONS. The EP earned national attention, with The Huffington Post declaring, “(Hernandez’s) memorable voice is only one of the textured colors on a multidimensional palette.” SECRET EVIL followed in 2014, once again earning critical attention. Rolling Stone, Nylon, New York Times, KEXP and MTV agreed with NPR's Weekend Edition who said "song after song, one thing is consistent: a powerful, undeniable voice." Paste Magazine simply called the Delta’s one of the “best bands of 2014.”

Hernandez led The Deltas – Michael Krygier (guitar, vocals), Steve Lehane (bass, vocals), Taylor Pierson (keys, accordion, vocals), John Raleeh (trombone), and Stephen Stetson (drums) – through two years of hard travel in support of SECRET EVIL, including countless headline gigs, supports with such like-minded acts as Gogol Bordello, Social Distortion and St. Paul & The Broken Bones, and festival sets at Lollapalooza, ACL Music Festival, Osheaga, and Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival.

In winter 2016, the band set up their gear in a Northern Michigan cabin and spent a full week woodshedding their next album in blissful, blizzard solitude.

“We had no television,” Hernandez says. “No internet. It was negative 10 degrees and snowing. We sat down and talked about which songs really tell the story of where we are at this point in time. Where we’re at in our lives, where we’re at in our careers. Then we would just play and play, every day trying to write a couple of new songs.”

Hernandez was married in the spring but continued writing until The Deltas had a selection of 40 new songs to choose from. The band began recording at studios in Royal Oak, MI, Brooklyn, NYC, and Topanga, CA., with Hernandez co-producing alongside Eric Hoegemeyer (Jacuzzi Boys, Hundred Waters) and Deltas bassist Steve Lehane doing double duty as engineer. The sessions captured all the fire, excitement, and unity gained by The Deltas’ almost nightly performances while supporting SECRET EVIL.
Intensely personal and provocative, TELEPHONE//TELEFONO ultimately stands as a profound proclamation of the true spirit of America and its unlimited capacity for rebellion, assimilation, and creativity. Much like Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas their own selves.

“I believe you make a statement by being positive,” Hernandez says. “How can I make that statement and speak for other Latin young women without just making a fist? The best way to get through to someone with opposing views or a negative perspective is for me to just shine as a human being and an artist. Hopefully that’s enough for us to make a positive impact.”