Rituals of Mine is an electronic duo made up of two talented women: vocalist Terra Lopez and instrumentalist Dani Fernand.
Both members hail from Sacramento but the band has worked to solidify their kinetic sound in Oakland, and more recently, Los Angeles. Their newly released, self-titled album speaks volumes to the group’s expertise in creating hard-hitting tracks with heavy hearted lyrics. SF Sonic had the opportunity to find out more about Rituals of Mine in advance of their show at the UC Theater in Berkeley on March 29, 2017.
SF Sonic: What’s your favorite part about making music in a duo?
Terra Lopez: I love the connection that Dani and I have – on and off the stage. She and I have been best friends, practically family now for nearly 10 years so we know one another very well and we create pretty seamlessly now. We are usually always on the same page when it comes to creating and what is working, not working, so it’s effortless in that regard.
SF Sonic: How is the new album, Devoted, different from your other projects?
Terra: Devoted is an album in which we knew that we wanted to work with producer Wes Jones. We knew that we wanted to create a minimalist electronic album where we focused primarily on beats, bass, and vocals. I feel like it was very stripped down compared to our past work and we achieved what we were hoping for.
SF Sonic: This question is for Terra Lopez. With gut wrenching lines like “you poison my blood with your tongue” and “there’s no need to understand this ending,” I’m wondering what the process of writing Devoted was like for you?
Terra: I was going through a pretty terrible breakup during the recording and writing of that record and I truly felt like these songs got me through that time. I was clinging to these songs, to the lyrics and they helped me see beyond the pain that I was going through. Writing and singing has always been therapy for me but this was a different beast entirely for me this time around. It was therapy, it was a savior, it was what got me through.
SF Sonic: The track “To Show You Violence” is hauntingly melodious and gave me the impression of a funeral. Dani Fernandez, what inspired the instrumentation of this song…the entire album?
Dani Fernand: I always write based on the mood that I’m in. I wrote that song while living in Sacramento, CA where I spent a lot of time alone and was writing nearly every day. I was very isolated which I feel comes across in that particular song. I was feeling very alone and very isolated so that just came out. I was also pretty hooked on listening to soundscape/cinematic music at the time so I know that was in the space I was in.
SF Sonic: I noticed that in the song “Into Solemn Hymns” there’s a reference and repetition of the phrase “rituals of mine.” So, you know I’ve got to ask, why did you decide to change the name of your duo from the familiar Sister Crayon to Rituals of Mine?
Terra: I have always felt that Sister Crayon was more of a representation of just me so it felt strange for me to have additional band members involved and still go by that name. I had been feeling this way for quite some time and then I lost two very important people in my life within six months of each other and that solidified that I needed to change the name. It just didn’t feel right going on without them under the Sister Crayon moniker. It was a time for change and growth.
SF Sonic: I realize that you are both originally from Sacramento, but I’m wondering how living in Oakland influenced the single “Ride or Die,” especially since the stunning slow motion video is shot in Oakland? Is there something about the town that inspired “Ride or Die” or the entire album for that matter?
Terra: Oakland absolutely influenced that entire album and our writing process and style. It’s such a beautiful, inspiring town that feels more like home than anywhere else I’ve personally lived. The culture, the music community, the essence and vibe of the night life there truly shaped my perspective. The people and friendships we formed there have directly influenced our perspective and helped shape that track.
SF Sonic: What excites you most about being signed to Warner Bros? What’s one thing that you look forward to in taking your artistry to the next level?
Terra: Warner Bros. has given us the resources to help with our vision. I think that’s the most exciting part about working with them – that and the incredible team on our side there. They care and listen and just want to help develop this project. Very grateful for that.
SF Sonic: What’s one thing that you hope that fans will take away from hearing your album and seeing your live show?
Terra: I hope that fans can feel the passion behind what we are doing and creating and that it resonates. If it can help them get through the day, then awesome.
Buy tickets for the Rituals of Mine show at the UC Theater on March 29, 2017.
Listen to “Devoted” by Rituals of Mine: