The members of L.A-based, alternative R&B collective Xella join Headliner for a chat about the band’s chemistry, the genres and artists that have inspired their sound, and their recent QSC TouchMix-30 Pro live sessions performance.
What’s been keeping you guys busy on the music side?
Michelle Villegas (lead vocals): We took a little break from shows recently to finish our upcoming EP, so we just finished recording that and we're now working on the visuals and the release, which is super exciting. Basically all the behind the scenes stuff!
Can you tell us about your musical origins and the influences behind the band’s sound?
Villegas: I grew up with instruments in the house. My dad played music and always asked me to sing and so that was just a norm growing up. I finally took a chance on it by myself when I was about 16, jamming around with friends and then I guess it became what it is today with Xella – still jamming with my friends! We’ve just always used it as a safe space to express ourselves.
Wynette Manacsa (guitar/backup vocals): My dad is a drummer, and we always had a guitar laying around. It just kind of went from there, listening to all the oldies that he listened to, and then getting into hip-hop and pop punk growing up. I think a lot of our music influence comes from different places individually, so artists like Amy Winehouse and Erykah Badu. But like I said, it did come from a lot of the music that we listened to growing up as well.
We started off jamming in our friend's garage back in 2012 – we've been longtime friends throughout the years. There was a mutual friend's party that we all went to, and we kind of just reconnected again and started jamming together. Eventually it just clicked for us where we were like, ‘hey, why don't we start a band’, and everyone was super down. We've been together for a little bit over three years now.