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By Noah Hubbell
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Sarina Simoom has existed in various forms since 1995, when Jenna Herbst started the band in Washington, D.C. Herbst has been in Denver more than ten years now, and the band has been sort of on and off during that time. Currently, Sarina Simoom is Herbst on guitar and vocals, Wes Magyr on bass and Todd Bills on drums. This week, the band will release a new EP, Love Songs for Joseph, that's more measured and emotionally vulnerable than 2008's The Fawn. We talked to Herbst about letting go of the details and the delicate nature of connecting to an audience.
Westword: What would you say this album is about?
Jenna Herbst: It's about accepting who I am — what life is, what I am, what other people are. Accepting things the way they are, which is really hard for me sometimes.
But you think, on this album, you've achieved that in a way you haven't in the past?
Absolutely. I was sick, and then I got this inner-ear thing, and I couldn't sing in tune. It was a nightmare. It took months to go in and do the vocals, and I was still getting over being sick, and I was like, "I don't like the way I sound."
In the past, I would have just kept redoing it. We did first and second takes. I wanted to express on this album love for myself in hopes that that is what we can offer instead of something else, which I think I've offered in the past, which is judgment and denial.
Do you think the emotional background of a song is more important than the notes and rhythms?
Yes, I do. I mean, I certainly think songs can be enjoyed on all kinds of different levels, but I think that when we receive music, we're getting a lot of stuff from the person who created that. And it can be so incredibly healing when that person can transmit to us their own self-love.
Is there a thing about this album that might be particularly compelling to someone who doesn't normally listen to local music?
I've been told that our live performance is much better than our recorded performance. So if you really like live music...
Do you find that to be a problem — that people like the live version better?
I do, because I'm so introverted. My fantasy is that I could never play a show, that I could just make CDs. But once I'm on stage, I absolutely love it. It's just getting myself there that's hard.
When you're playing the songs live, do you feel like it's a new experience every time, or do you feel like you're replicating the experience of writing the songs?
When I play a show, I always think I'm going to be bored because sometimes I get bored at practice, playing the same songs. But then once you play it live, because so much of music is the sound and the hearer being unified in that moment, it's absolutely new every time. It's shocking, but it is — it's new every time.