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"Jadewood-One Fan at a Time"

Houston rock band Jadewood is on a mission -- to earn an audience, even if it has to do it one fan at a time. Jadewood's three members -- Elias Sanchez (vocals/guitar), Librado "Lee" Cerda (drums) and Saul Sanchez (bass) -- dropped by the Houston Press offices to tell us about their plan for success.

Jadewood is (l to r) Elias Sanchez, Lee Cerda and Saul Sanchez.
Subject(s): Jadewood Houston Press: You guys started in 2004. How did you get together?

Elias Sanchez: It started off it was just me and Lee, both on guitar. Just a two-piece, acoustic. Then I started recording some songs, and I gave a copy to Saul. So then he wanted to join the band, too. He said, "Can I play guitar?" and I told him, "No, not guitar. We have enough guitars, but you can play the bass."

Saul Sanchez: But I didn't know how to play bass, I just learned jamming out with them.

Elias: At first we were just jamming, not even thinking about performing. We were just letting the sound develop. But then eventually we were thinking about playing live, so that meant that we were going to need a drummer and we made Lee play drums.

HP: Tell us about your name, Jadewood? Does it mean anything? How did you come up with it?

Elias: That was the hardest thing, was to come up with a good name, because we would think of a good name and then we would look online and it would already be taken.

Saul: Usually by ten different bands, in a bunch of different states.

Elias: Actually the band was formed at my house and the street that I live on is Jadewood, so since that was where we started, we thought Jadewood would be good. Luckily we looked online and nobody had it.

HP: You guys have a new EP out, called One Way Road.

Elias: Right. We had put one out before, one that we aren't proud of. Later we decided to go back into the studio and record something better, so we went to Sugarhill Studios, and over a period of three days we did this EP. We think it came out really good; it's something that we're proud to hand out to people.

Lee: Not like the last one; we were kind of like, "Sorry!" every time we handed it to someone.

HP: The name One Way Road, is that because Jadewood Street is one-way?

Lee: No, Jadewood's not a one-way street. We named it that because we think that there's only one way for the band to go. We can only go up, get bigger and better.

HP: Who influenced your sound?

Lee: Before I picked up the guitar I used to play the accordion, so I was more into Tejano music and old Spanish stuff. Then in high school I started listening to Korn and stuff like that. It wasn't until I met Elias that I started listing to Guns N' Roses and Eric Clapton. Actually, "Tears in Heaven" was the first song that I learned to play on the guitar. I saw Elias play it and I said, "I need to learn that song!"

HP: So when was the last time you picked up an accordion?

Lee: The first time I picked up a guitar (laughs). I went and pawned my accordion and bought me a guitar.

HP: And who influenced the rest of you?

Elias: I grew up during the grunge era, and I learned the guitar just by learning how to play whatever songs were popular at the time. Now my biggest influence is probably Livehouse. Guns N' Roses, oldies, Led Zeppelin.

My dad listened to classic rock a lot and he got me into that, like the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, the Beatles. Now we've found our own voice, our own style, even though we were influenced by lots of folks.

Saul: My parents were real strict about the music we could listen to, and the only thing that we could agree on was oldies. It wasn't until I got to college that I started listening to rock music. And [Elias] kept giving me Guns N' Roses albums to listen to. My first concert was actually Metallica with Godsmack, and that was awesome.

HP: So what's it like now for you to be on stage and be playing to really small crowds? Do you have it in the back of your head that you're going to fill arenas like Metallica or Godsmack do?

Saul: It's tough to get up there and there are just nine or ten people out in the audience. We put a lot into our songs and we want to do a good show, so when nobody shows up it's hard. It seems like at each of our shows so far, when we're getting ready to go on, one of us has to pump the other two up because it is discouraging that the audience is so small.

Lee: When we did our show at Wired, there weren't really very many people but there were two people right up front, and they were just dancing and having a good time. That gave us energy, because even though it wasn't full, it was still important to put on a show for them.

Elias: Just as long as people get to hear the music, it's worth it.

Lee: If we pick up at least one fan every show, that's good. We just want people to hear the music. We'd like to get more than one at a time, of course (laughs), but if that's how we have to do it, that's fine with us.

Plus we're n - Houston Press-Olivia Flores Alvarez


One Way Road EP 2006
In These Walls 2008



Written By: Dan Kimpel--Music Connection

Melodic, moving and memorable: Jadewood unites a shimmering modern sound to the expressive clarity of their songs. With their new CD, In These Walls, the band expands on a homegrown sound to encompass a larger musical and conceptual panorama. Still, what hasn’t changed is the organic nature of the music and the camaraderie between the three musicians, a trio of young Texans; Elias Sanchez, lead vocals and guitars; Saul Sanchez backup vocals and bass and Lee Cerda, drums, whose signature sound that is much more than simply the sum of its parts. Producer Randy Miller – notable for his work on multiple Grammy-winning projects with La Mafia – was behind the board at Tierra Studios as the band brought in 30-40 possible songs, and tracked the strongest ones for the project.

Houston, Texas, the nation’s fourth largest city and the band’s hometown, boasts metal, emo and experimental scenes, and Jadewood’s radio friendly sound might seem an anomaly. “It’s pretty different, more commercial. It’s nothing we intentionally do, it’s just the way we write,” says Elias. All three members contribute to the songs as they evolve naturally over time.

Jadewood, the band’s name, is derived from the street where a converted shed was their first rehearsal room. “We wanted a name to commemorate where we started from,” notes Saul, who says that the band has since moved up to a larger space. “It was hot in there – it gets pretty humid in Houston.”

The members of Jadewood have diverse musical backgrounds: Lee, who first played accordion, would jam on Tejano standards with his dad’s friends at parties. Eventually, he expanded his instrumental repertoire to include keyboards, guitar and drums. Uniting in a duo with Elias, a self taught guitarist and emerging songwriter, the two invited Elias’ cousin Saul, a musician raised on oldies and classic rock, to become a part of the band when he became proficient on bass, an instrument that he also learned on his own. One more change would determine the final lineup: after auditioning perspective drummers, Lee took over the stick duties.

The band takes advantage of their stripped down sound by sometimes performing acoustically, allowing them entree into listening rooms where they can meet new fans in an intimate environment. Prophetically, with the romance in their melodies and lyrical themes, their audience is often weighted to the female side.

I've heard life is but a breath and then it's over
Ever since the day you left it's hard to breathe
--“Let You Go”

“Love is a strong emotion that everyone is connected with,” Elias notes. “If there’s angst, or a breakup or a bad relationship, one way to get that out creatively is to write music. You write about what you know about.” The title of their latest CD, In These Walls, reinforces this creed as it reflects the band’s origins in their undersized practice room, with four walls around them. It remains a vial touchstone, as the core of the sound, the streamlined simplicity of three friends creating music, is not dependent on studio gloss or production techniques to give it emotional resonance. “It’s organic,” Lee concludes. “I like to think that if we stripped it down to a box and an acoustic guitar, people would still like it.”