Talk about girl power! A year after young punk rockers The Linda Lindas went viral for their powerful rendition of their original track “Racist, Sexist Boy” at the Los Angeles Public Library, the band – which proudly touts “half Asian/half Asian” heritage latinx” from members on his social media accounts and website – has found success that even the wildest daydreams during class could not imagine happening so quickly.
Drummer Mila de la Garza (11), guitarist Lucia de la Garza (14), bassist Eloise Wong (13) and guitarist Bela Salazar (17) have since signed a record deal with Epitaph, sold the legendary Los Angeles Troubadour, appeared on James Corden and Jimmy Fallon’s late-night shows, played NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series, and released their debut album To grow.
Oh, and rather than the usual family vacation or summer camp that most kids their age do during the break between school years, they hit the road on tour. The Linda Lindas are ready to open for Japanese breakfast and make a european mini tourand have booked gigs from festivals such as Primavera Sound and riot partyand more.
Before their loaded summer, Billboard caught up with the band to talk about their debut album and newfound success.
1. Where are you in the world right now, and what is the setting?
Lucy : I just finished dinner, so now I’m sitting on the living room couch with Mila.
Bela: I’m in my room, sitting at my desk. Procrastination on my homework.
Eloise: I also just finished my homework. Let’s get to the group stuff!
2. What was the first album or piece of music you bought for yourself, and what was the medium?
Bela: I bought myself the first Pretenders album on vinyl.
Eloise: I bought a 5-6-7-8’s 7″ single and a Shonen Knife 8″ single!
Mila: Lucia and I need to fix our record player!
3. What do your parents do for a living, and what do they think of you becoming a musician?
Lucy : For Mila and me, our father is a music producer [Grammy winner Carlos de la Garza], and he was in many bands when he was younger. He supported me a lot! My mom doesn’t play any instruments, but she’s just as supportive and helps out with a lot of band stuff now, and she used to work in fashion with Bela’s mom, that’s how we met!
Bela: My mother is a designer and my father does visual effects. They were honestly super cool with me playing music because they love art so much themselves!
Eloise: My mother is a graphic designer and my father is a writer. They’ve always been good at supporting me doing what I want and immersing me in the DIY culture, so they’ve taken my role as a musician right.
4. What was the first non-material thing you bought for yourself when you started making money as an artist?
Bela: I bought myself an old SLR film camera!
Lucy : I don’t think I’ve really bought anything, but we do a lot of vintage shopping!
Mila: Also get a lot of boba…
Eloise: I bought earrings for the band.
5. If you had to recommend an album to someone looking to get into punk music, what would you give them?
Bela: bad brains yellow tape.
Mila: The Muffs self-titled album.
Lucia: Comfort me by Amyl and the Sniffers.
Eloise: Ends of life by the neighborhood brats.
6. What’s the last song you listened to?
Bela: “Californication” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Lucy : “Let It All Go” by Francis of Delirium.
Eloise: “Swish and Spit” by Cher Strauberry.
Mila: Not sure, but probably something from Paramore or The Regrettes.
7. What are your musical influences?
Lucy : Right now I’m listening to a lot of Mannequin Pussy, The Breeders, St. Vincent and Orla Gartland.
Mila: Paramore and Les Regrettes.
Bela: Julieta Venegas, Rosalia and Biela.
Eloise: Redd Kross, Teenagers, The Go-Gos.
8. If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be?
Bela: Lauren Hill.
Lucy : Sleater Kinney.
Mila: The Go-Gos.
Eloise: Yoshitomo Nara.
9. What are your career goals?
Bela: Travel in the world.
Lucy : Make more music, meet more people!
Eloise: Keep doing what matters to me and keep having fun.
Mila: Do a cartwheel every day.
10. “Racist, Sexist Boy” really blew up! Has the subject of your song ever heard it? If so, what was his reaction?
Mila: Eloise and I wrote the song together after my school experience. But we don’t know if he heard it! If he did, he probably doesn’t even know it’s him.
Eloise: And who cares! It’s not about him anymore.
11. How has school changed for you since “Racist, Sexist Boy”?
Lucy : It’s pretty much the same for me!
Eloise: Yeah same here.
Bela: I’m a senior, so whatever!
12. You recently performed at the Tiny Desk Concert. What dream event would you like to perform at?
Lucy : We all want to go around the world!
Eloise: And I wanna play Gilman Street [in Berkeley, CA].
13. What message would you like your fans to take away from your debut album?
Lucy : You never stop growing, but that’s not a bad thing.
Eloise: Cats are great.
Bela: I just hope you like it!
Mila: Me too!
14. What is your favorite song from To growand why?
Eloise: They’re all fun to play, so it’s hard to decide. I will say that I’m particularly proud of the bass lines of “Talking to Myself”, “Fine”, “Nino”, “Remember” and “Cuántas Veces”.
Lucy : “Oh!”, because we all wrote it together.
Bela: “Why”, because it’s so much fun to play live.
Mila: “Racist, Sexist Boy” is always fun too!
15. Aside from K-pop, there isn’t much Asian representation in music in the United States, especially in rock and punk rock. May being AAPI month, how do you hope The Linda Lindas can change that?
Mila: Maybe we’ll inspire more kids to try?
Eloise: Or get more parents to expose their kids to cool music?
Bela: What if more adults got into it?
Lucy : Yeah, why is it always on us kids?
16. Are there any causes or charities you are involved with that you would like people to know about?
Lucy : We’ve all worn shirts by Tees 4 Togo, which is an organization run by Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill, and the Peace Sisters organization. They raise money for girls in Togo to get health care and education. And all you have to do is buy a cool T-shirt!
17. Where is your favorite place to listen to and experience music?
Bela: I use Spotify.
Lucy : Sometimes I use Apple Music and sometimes I use Spotify, depending on what I’m listening to or what I have in my queue.
Eloise: Go to shows or play records and make mixtapes.
18. What is the best business decision you have made so far?
Bela: I do not know!
Lucy : I don’t know either, but all of the label, management and booking people we’ve worked with so far are so amazing and supportive, so some decisions have to work!
Eloise: Get snacks. Also drink hot water. Hot water is good. Does this count as a business decision?
Mila: Go with the flow.
19. Who has been your greatest mentor and what was the best advice he gave you?
Lucy : We have so many amazing and supportive mentors. Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino is our group mom – or “momager” – and she always tells us how important it is to take care of our mental health. So sometimes we take breaks and go to Color Me Mine together!
Eloise: Jawbreaker’s Adam Pfahler told us not to obsess or stress about this moment ending, but to enjoy it while it’s happening. He also invited our band to play with them in New York and LA!
20. Any advice you would give to your (even) youngest?
Lucy : I told myself that everything changes, and to take everything one step at a time
Eloise: Write a journal because things go by so quickly. I haven’t gotten used to doing this yet, so I guess that’s advice for myself as well. I hope it will only be for me younger by the time this is released.
Bela: I mean, I’m still pretty young. Ask me in, like, five years.
Mila: And I’m only 11. Ask me in 10!