Name: Anna Luisa Petrisko
Hometown: Inner Space
Lives in: Outer Space
Past Bands: Eggs on Leggs, Moon, Quagga, Schwule
Current Bands: Jeepneys, Mother Popcorn
Day Job: MFA Student
Fave Food: Coconuts
Fave Boss B*tch: Mindy Abovitz
Jeepneys is the tonal conduit of Anna Luisa Petrisko. Her Filipina Feminist Tropical beats are atmospheric, polyrhythmic, ambient, danceable and experimental. Jeepneys frequently features guests and collaborators, including Nora Vecchi on Harp and Mel Pak on synth, sampler and bass. The result is an otherworldly collage of sound.
Anna Luisa is the co-founder of the Bay Area Girls Rock Camp and has served as director for the last four years. She also studies with renowned Free Jazz violinist India Cooke. As her Ate (elder sis), fellow queerdo Filipina Mestiza artista and sometimes collaborator, my personal connection with Anna Luisa runs Deep. I love Mother Popcorn, her phenomenal WOC lady percussion duo with the brilliant Adee Roberson. They chill hard. When I was doing Sta-Prest in the 90s, this is all a part of the musical movement I wanted to happen back then!
Jeepneys Electro Pinayism Waves are mesmerizing. Time travel with her to new terrain…I am bringing my gongs…
Jeepneys has a very layered mix of styles/genres. What is your current set up?
My gear is very percussive-centric. Drums are my true musical calling. I make beats on hardware such as the Electribe ESX, which is also a sampler. This machine allows me to write melodies and produce cool synth sounds too. I also play an array of acoustic instruments including a toy piano, Slovakian wooden flute, violin, and roto-toms. I use a contact mic that goes through a multi-effects unit called a Kaoss Pad to manipulate the sounds of these instruments. I also sing through a Boss Space Echo Pedal and use a Loop station.
How do you feel about Pinayism in a Musical/Art movement sense, repping Filipina Mestiza-ness? Meditations on this?
Our cultures are in our blood, our ancestral memories, deep in our psyches. I don’t believe we can separate our art from our cultural identities, it seeps in and seeps out. I am a mixed-race Filipina and Slovak — a Mestiza! Besides stating the obvious, which is that I named my project Jeepneys (one of the most salient cultural icons of the Philippines), it gets deeper than that. My Lolo and Lola ran a Jeepney business in Manila. Jeepneys themselves are re-contextualized from U.S. military jeeps. Taking an item that has been discarded by your colonizer and turning it into something functional, beautiful, and unique — this is what’s up! I see parallels in the way that I use junk and discarded instruments in conjunction with fancy electronics to make new hybrid sounds. Hybrid sounds for a hybrid Mestiza! The future meets the past meets the present, full circle.
I see a mix of intuitive-ness and intentionality in Jeepneys. How do you approach beatmaking and songwriting?
That’s interesting that you picked up on that. It starts off as pure intuition, the meaning is almost always discovered afterwards. I rarely know what I am writing about until I am deep in the process. Once I put it out there, the cosmos, the spirits and the ancestors reveal what the work is. Then it becomes alive in this way and the lyrics/melodies/structures start to make sense.
The ancestors are speaking through your drum machine!
By Iraya Robles, drummer of Sta-Prest
Photos by Tosh