Paz Lenchantin is a bassplayer, violinist, singer, composer. She is known for her work in the band, A Perfect Circle, and most recently, Zwan. Paz will be featured on three songs on my forthcoming MEN c.d. I love her energy.
After a studio session, we took off in her car on the L.A. Freeway. As the wind blew through our hair, we taped the following exchange on a micro cassette recorder.
Jarboe: Is there a language in music? Talk to me about the language(s) that you speak in music.
Paz: Music is my first language. Both of my parents are musicians, and they introduced music first to us in the family before all else. I realized recently that to me. its all about music. As much as I do painting or animation or other media and I thought I was avoiding music, I’m not. I learn more about doing music by doing other things than I ever thought . Music to me has the most language of all languages.
Jarboe: What’s an early music memory from your childhood?
Paz: I remember thinking as a child that music was a magic trick to unfold. I was raised with classical. We weren’t allowed to listen to anything other than classical ,really, in the household. I remember listening to the Beatles in the grocery store with a friend when I was eight. I asked the father of my friend, ” What is THIS ?” It was a different time signature, a different meter…completely different than what I was used to. When the father said it was the Beatles, it stuck in my head. I had lots and lots of questions. I’ve been trying to answer those questions, I guess, ever since. I listen to as much music as I can and it is all a part of an awareness, an understanding..
Jarboe: Share a technique or a visualization that you utilize to focus/concentrate while performing?
Paz: Music can be like a thought in a shape of a dot. This dot is what I try to expand.
Jarboe: In my opinion, body language is a most important aspect of live performance. It can make or break a show ‘s impact. I was mesmerized by your performance at the A Perfect Circle shows I attended.
Paz: When I was a child my violin teacher didn’t allow movement in class. It was very difficult for me not to move. Music and movement are symbiotic to me. My teacher showed me how to put that energy I was putting in my movement into my playing. I understood this method but later I came to realized that movement through music made listening more alive and clear.
Jarboe: Do ideas/melodies come to you in places like L.A. traffic?
Paz: Melodies are everywhere. I just try to catch them!
Jarboe: What are you working on now regarding your solo music?
Paz: I am working on new material, and collaborating with friends, and if I could figure out how to do just that forever, my life will be always full.
Jarboe: Where is your listening in terms of style ?
Paz: I always listen to music. Not everything I listened to at one time is something I can understand now. Still, I can listen to Iron Maiden and find its absolute harmony and listen to Leonard Cohen and find its similarity.
Jarboe: What direction would you like to take your music ?
Paz: I think my ultimate goal is to compose music for movies because that makes the most sense to me. Music to movement. Right now…..I found a woman called Radio . She is in a band called The Need and I am working with her along with other musicians who I have a lot of respect for and am learning along the way playing music with people who push me — like you, Jarboe.
Jarboe: What has your experience been thus far in A Perfect Circle being the woman in an otherwise male rock group ? Do you see one’s sex as significant in the interaction, supposed power play, or dynamic of a band ?
Paz: I only know how to be woman in a situation. A woman is a powerful being. Music is very sexual to me. I enjoy making music with men. I am, however, going to play in a band just for fun in an all woman band with Melissa Auf Der Maur of Hole and Smashing Pumpkins, Sam of Hole and Radio of The Need. That should be a lot of fun. It will be my first time in an all girl band.
Jarboe: What are some things you do to energize ?
Paz: Hiking, breathing, Looking at paintings…..
Jarboe: Do you enjoy living in L.A. ? What is your ideal location for a home ?
Paz: Most of my friends and family live here in L.A., so it is what I call home, but I love traveling. I would like to think that I don’t live anywhere really. But for now I am here. And it’s good.
Jarboe: You have a website with a lot of personality. What do you want the visitor to your site to experience ?
Jarboe: What were some of the surprises on the Perfect Circle tour?
Paz: Our dinner date at your home was beautiful. Thank you.
Jarboe: What’s the coolest thing that’s happened to you since you’ve been in what I’ll call “show business” : the concerts, the photo shoots, the interviews, the recordings, the public persona , the whole thing …
Paz: I think my favorite part of all of this is the night my brother opened for A Perfect Circle. That was the coolest feeling. My brother’s band Big Milk. I’ve been so proud of him my whole life. Wanting him to do his thing as I do my thing. Something about the unity of family, the unity of love together in a place sharing a moment is pretty damn cool.
Jarboe: What is the happiest 5 minutes you’ve had in your whole life?
Paz: The thing about happiness that always puzzles me is that it contradicts the whole ‘living in the moment’ and if we start thinking about what made us happy and the past and the remembrance of it, it confuses me because the happiest moment is now. You are carrying all your past and your experiences with you and so it is a collective memory. Right now, I hold all those happy moments. I have all those moments with me.
Jarboe: And alternately, if a person is in the moment, they aren’t clinging to unhappiness.
Paz: Time is a funny thing. Time to me is very non-linear. So the only way to grab onto anything is to stay with the moment. That is where your growth manifests. If I let go of that, if I think too much about the past, I let go of the moment.
Jarboe: What is one thing you have head to overcome ? Is there any particular obstacle you see as what you have gone against to turn it around and achieve ?
Paz: I guess everything is a test for yourself if you really want something. Constantly go through walls, through tests as to how much we really want to pursue our passion, our focus. Music challenges me constantly. I realized that I can’t do much without it. Without music, what I would do is… I would probably be a whore.
Jarboe: Thats an interesting answer. I love that. For the female musicians out there, what would you see as 3 truisms and/or advice?
Paz: Listen to your body… move in it your own way… best way you know how… Perhaps music can help you with this.