As a music photographer and journalist cutting her teeth in the lively and humid city that is New Orleans, I have had the opportunity to shoot hundreds of thousands of photos of our musicians and have toured with many of them. I have met jazz legends and photographed massive festivals, but some of the most influential people I have encountered along the way are the ones that no one is talking about. There is an absolute necessity in treasuring, studying, and celebrating New Orleans’ culture, especially for the young transplants like myself of which we have no shortage. But upon arriving in the Crescent City, I immediately became fascinated with the up-and-coming bands, the projects, the rehearsals, the process.
Four years later and I am still eager to learn about the roots of a band and, more importantly, why they choose to live and play in New Orleans and how that affects their music. This series will be comprised of emerging talent whose music is informed by prolific musicians, but are also developing their own music and genres. Perhaps even more imperative than being influenced by the musical spirit of New Orleans, these are artists that have learned from, are inspired by, and truly love the city we call home.
First up is Tasche de la Rocha who got her “start” the New Orleans way—by busking on the street. De la Rocha and her music grew on the sidewalks of the French Quarter and has evolved to become the leader behind (and in front of) Tasche and The Psychedelic Roses.
When did you start playing music?
I started playing piano as a release when I was in high school but became truly addicted to music, specifically guitar and trying to sing, when I was about 17.
Where did you grow up and how did you end up in New Orleans?
I grew up in Portland, Oregon. I visited New Orleans after Katrina with a non-profit circus I was raised in and fell in love with the city. Not long after that was when I discovered music. I visited on my first music tour and told myself there was no doubt I would live here one day. After a few years I took a risk and put everything I owned in a van and moved to New Orleans.
Describe your music.
There are different renditions of the music that I play. I have an eight-piece band that is a mixture of doo-wop, glam rock, soul, psych rock, grunge, and love song. There are four singers including myself and we sing chordal melodies that create a haunting tone, and three guitar players including myself. The baritone guitar is played through various pedals making layers of sound. The drums and bass drive us. It’s fun and inviting music. You can dance or sway to it. It’s feminine and masculine and makes a genuine effort to connect to the audience. From that project has come another with just the other singers. We connect to feelings of love, pain, and beauty while blending our voices with my guitar. I also play solo a lot and would describe it as dreamy and emotional. My voice is its own sound. People often describe it as old or timeless and I can understand that.
What has been your favorite performance experience in New Orleans thus far?
I don’t have favorites but one that is memorable is Delish da Goddess blowing my mind at my album release party in 2017.
Which New Orleans musicians most inspire you?
I would say the musician community as a whole inspires me more that any specific musician. People’s drive through all the BS that goes with being a musician inspires me most of all.
Favorite place to catch live music in NOLA?
Every place has different charms and I really can’t choose one over the other. Bars will be a different experience than a house or garage. But as far as venues go, I enjoy BJ’s and Saturn Bar. I can remember having a good time at those places.
What do you love most about this city?
What is your favorite non-musical activity to do in New Orleans?
I like to fight. I take and teach martial arts as well as box sometimes.
Favorite food to eat in NOLA?
I eat at Siberia a lot.
When is your next performance in New Orleans?
September 15—at Siberia.
Where do see your career as a musician going in the future?
Ideally, I would like to be playing alongside other national and worldwide bands that I admire. I would like to be touring comfortably most of the time. My only job would be to write and play music solo or with various musicians of my choosing, playing good and tasteful festivals, and to be inspired to continue to make something unique. I would like a sacred peaceful place to go and re-inspire myself away. Most of all, I hope to have multiple albums out that offer music and performances that I am proud of.