Interview with Jillian Riscoe of Red Velvet Crush

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The band Red Velvet Crush from Kansas City, MO, comprised of band members Jillian Riscoe and Daniel Mendala, spent most of 2014 touring with their debut in Nashville and then continuing throughout the Midwest.  And … they don’t seem to be slowing down this year. We can expect more shows, some new music later this year, as well as more music videos.

Lead singer Jillian Riscoe works tirelessly in promoting her band and does a great job.  She was chosen several years ago to attend the Grammy Museum Music Project, has won Acoustic Performance of the Year (4th award in 2 years) in the 2014 Project Backstage Midwest Music Awards, had more radio airplay from FM and online radio stations and podcasts alike, hosted On The Rise Open Mic for spring/summer at the historic Midland Theater, had weekly residencies at both KC area Bar Louie locations for fall/winter, released a line of eyeshadows with Belldonna’s Cupboard Cosmetics, and released an acoustic single.

We caught up with Jillian and Daniel at the NAMM Show last month in Anaheim and had a chance to find out what’s new and exciting with Red Velvet Crush and what fans can expect next!

GGM:  Hi, Jillian, it was great to catch up with you and Daniel at the NAMM Show last month in Anaheim, CA. How was your trip and overall experience at NAMM this year? 

JR:  Hey Tara, it was really good to see you again among the wonderful musical madness that is NAMM. We had a great trip – a long drive but very scenic and we love being on the road. Overall, NAMM was a lot of fun – nonstop as it is – we met some cool, new people, hung out with fellow musician friends, checked out the Daisy Rock booth of course, did interviews including one w/ Music Junkie Press and received a few partnerships from great brands such as Sinister Guitar Picks, K’LA Straps and Telefunken. The warm, sunny weather was nice compared to the snowy, cold weather back home. Looking forward to summer NAMM in Nashville this summer and for NAMM in California next year!

GGM:  We actually met you in person for the first time (after many emails) at the NAMM show back in 2011, I believe it was. You were performing on one of the stages for Daisy Rock, one of your endorsers. In what ways does the team at Daisy Rock help support their endorsees? 

JR:  Yes, we played full band and opened up acoustic for Lisa Loeb and it was our first time, back in 2011 – a pretty cool first time if you ask me, we were so grateful to have those opportunities. Daisy Rock is very empowering in regards to being positive and supportive to female musicians and all that they do in such a man’s world it feels like sometimes. They are great about letting endorsees know about various music related opportunities and creating a community among all female musicians. 

GGM:  You’ve done a lot since we first met. For instance, you were chosen to attend the Grammy Museum Music Revolution Project. Can you share with us that experience and how it helped you in your songwriting, playing, and overall understanding of the music industry? 

JR   I try and take every musical and creative type of experience into the knowledge of what I do as a musician and in the music business …  I was able to meet some movers and shakers in the industry that I looked up to and received feedback from on a professional level; any opportunity like that you have a chance at – seize it and make the most out of it. Create 10 opportunities from one and always strive to learn more and more each day.

GGM:  Red Velvet Crush is your new band and you toured quite extensively last year. Tell us a little about your music and the tour. 

JR:  Red Velvet Crush – we describe it as female fronted pop/rock act from Oz – Our latest effort, our EP, Smoke and Mirrors – we called it a mix of Katy Perry meets Guns ‘N Roses. We’ve had a lot of great opportunities by working hard and doing what we love in the short time we’ve been a project thus far; released a music video, played on dozens of radio stations, opened up for bands such as The Dreaming/Stabbing Westward, Tantric, Art Alexakis of Everclear – our tour consisted of a big radio show with Tantric, Nashville and other Midwest dates – we look forward to touring more this year and after our new music is released – we love being on the road.

GGM:  So you’re heading into the studio to record this year and plan on releasing an album either later this year or early 2016. What can fans expect to hear on this new album?

JR:  We’ve found our producer for the new music, Josh Gleave, and are in the writing stages of what is to be released. I can’t exactly say what to expect except more honesty, truth and musically bolder and bigger. We’ve got a lot of stories to tell and we hope to express it through what you’ll hear on your headphones or stereo. It’s always an exciting, unique and interesting process, creating the new music that is. 

GGM:  When did you first start playing music and who were your early musical influences? 

JR:  We both started performing as kids and playing in actual bands as teenagers; some of Daniel, our guitarist’s early music influences include old school country music, Simon and Garfunkel, ‘80s hard rock like Guns ‘N Roses. For me, it would be any and all pop music and 50s/60s doo wop, pop, Motown and rock music from those eras.

GGM:  Among your guitars, which is your favorite for performing?

JrR:  Can I be biased and say any and all Daisy Rock? 😉 For Daniel, he loves his Taylor acoustic, BC Rich, PRS, and Les Paul.

GGM:  Red Velvet Crush is endorsed by several companies. Can you tell us about these companies?

JR:  Daisy Rock Guitars, Belladonna’s Cupboard, Telefunken Elektroakustik, K’LA Straps and Sinister Guitar Picks – all wonderful companies with amazing products – please check them out for yourself, we are so excited to be endorsed and partnered with these wonderful brands. 

GGM:  So besides music, on the fashion side, you have partnered with Belladona’s Cupboard Cosmetics on your own line of eyeshadows. That’s exciting because I understand they’re a vegan, cruelty free and gluten-free cosmetic company. Tell us about that venture.

JR.  It was really exciting to me as I’m a cosmetics junkie and they make a great, ultra pigmented product that wears so well – especially for the stage. We’ve been with them for over a year now and have become good friends – we did a photoshoot featuring the eyeshadows at the historic Midland Theater here in Kansas City and started the idea out by naming an eyeshadow they created after our song “Monster,” to which they also did the make-up for the music video of that song. Check them out! You can purchase our line of eyeshadows and the ‘Monster’ pigment @ BelladonnasCupboard.com

GGM:  Sounds like there’s a lot going on for you for 2015. Thanks, Jillian, for taking the time to chat with us and we look forward to your new music! 

JR:  Thank you so much Tara – we appreciate your continued support – we’ll see ya soon – rock on! 

Cover Photo:  Jillian Riscoe and Daniel by Rachel Evil Photography

For more on Jillian and Red Velvet Crush, visit their site:  redvelvetcrushmusic.com

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