Jayden's Playground
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Jayden's Playground

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"JAYDEN'S PLAYGROUND in Whatz Hot Magazine"

Within the panorama of the El Paso music scene, Jayden's Playground are
a rare diamond. No other band sounds like them or does music in a
similar style. Trip-hop, alternative, ambient, experimental are the
terms used to describe this trio's special sound. Indie is the term
they feel describes what they do. I call it a New York style of modern rock jazz,
something you would find if you walked into a hip N.Y. lounge at 3 am.
Their uniqueness offers them the luxury to be able to fit perfectly in
a small coffeehouse or crank up the sound to play for a stadium crowd.
The music lends itself well to both extremes because of its soulful
melodic jazz rock appeal and the band's musical ability to make the
music come alive in every performance. Seeing them play live, you will
agree they are something special.

The band is comprised of only
3 individuals: Jamie Hernandez on vocals and keyboards, Saul Ibarguen
on drums, and Erik Vasquez on guitar. Each individual solidly lends
their talents to create the musical landscape that is Jayden's
Playground. Hernandez' heart wrenching vocals take center stage. For
her to do any other type of music with her voice would be an injustice
and travesty of her natural born talent. Hernandez who is only 20 years
old, started singing around the age of 9 but was never in choir or
vocally trained. Singing wherever and whenever she could, developed and
honed her talent early on. Citing an eclectic array of influences such
as Jewel, Bjork, Brandy Carlisle, and Imogen Heap,
Hernandez' voice is catered perfectly to the rock, pop, and jazzy mix
of the band. Whether she is doing a happy, pop flavored song or a deep
painful break up song, the listener is able to feel the joy or relate to the pain. Her mood and tone in her voice brings
forth the passion that is written in the lyrics. She is not simply singing a song,
she is giving life to those lyrics. If that is not special enough,
Hernandez also commands the keyboards while she is singing. Her
keyboard playing is the primary sound of their music, the canvas for
which everything else is added to.

Guitarist Erik Vasquez, 28, plays the jazz chord
rhythms, doubling the sound of Hernandez' keyboard playing. All the
while he stays under the radar, never stepping out of bounds to make
himself some sort of guitar hero. Even though his playing is influenced by one of the founding fathers of heavy rock and roll, Jimmy Page, Vasquez maintains a low key style of guitar playing. "There's more to life than just power chords,"
he points out. Playing music that was not the stereotypical sound that
got him interested in playing with Hernandez and Ibarguen."Seeing them
play, I recognized that fashion of music was similar to the songs that
I was writing. They were not afraid to experiment and create a
different sound. Something that wasn't just distortion or screaming.
Something that was entirely new to the music scene.. I wanted to be a
part of that."

Saul Ibarguen, 23, is a monster of a drummer for being self taught. Hailing Buddy Rich and Lamb Of God's Chris Adler as being influential, Ibarguen's drumming alone casts a heavy rock
shadow on Jayden's Playground. His desire to make music, which was not
metal, made him seek out working with Hernandez. He explains, "I wanted
to have a band on the side that was doing something different like
ambient, experimental music.
I didn't want to play metal anymore. That's all I used to play before
and I just wanted something new." Ibarguen's drumming is the driving
force that sets the pace and intensifies the passion of the music, a
symphonic dance and duel with Hernandez' keyboards and vocals.

Seeing the band live you will be impressed with the music coming from this trio, then sometime during their set you will realize that their bass
player is missing. He's not missing, they don't have a bass player. Not
having a bass player, or rather a bass sound is a musical decision on
their part to keep the dynamic of the band going. Vasquez and Hernandez
alternate playing the lows and highs which make up for what a bass
would be handling. Listening to the music you do not hear the bass
missing nor does their music suffer from not having a bass sound.
Experimental indeed, which is why you should check them out. Jayden's
Playground is truly a live band who thrives on playing for a crowd. The
band gigs relentlessly. "We will drop everything else because this is
what we love to do," Hernandez exclaims. Their upcoming calendar for
March, which you can find on their MySpace page, is filled with different shows they will be a part of at the Percolator, Take
II, UTEP Battle Of The Bands,
and some gigs in Las Cruces and old Mesilla. While juggling work and
gigs the band has been working on their debut CD, which they plan to
have done by April. There is no title for the CD yet but the band, true
to their sound and nature, is already formulating it to be different.
The CD, Hernandez explained, will be a conceptual album of songs,
"Jayden is the character figure of our band. The whole album is
different chapters in the life of Jayden. Each of the songs is written
from all 3 of our life experiences but is told through Jayden living
those experiences and the listener will be able to identify them self
as Jayden." Ibarguen added, "Jayden's Playground is where she finds
serenity and peace and where she finds that is through music...that is
her playground." I can't wait to hear the album.

Jayden's Playground will not disappoint you. They will surprise you and leave you wanting more. - Andy Lawless


"Jayden's Playground in Fusion Magazine"

What do you get when you take a sexy vocalist who plays an array of instruments, a very determined drummer, and a guitarist who could very well be a reincarnation of Buddy Holly? You get Jayden's Playground. This El Paso-based indie, trip hop band is taking over the hearts of many and is combining genres of music that other musicians would be too scared to touch. Did I say they were from El Paso? (If you've followed my work this far, I hope you can see a pattern. )



One fine day in April of 2008, the winds were just right and energy in El Paso was flowing. It went around town looking for something or even someone. As destiny would have it, this energy ended up in Jamie Hernandez, Erik Vasquez, and Saul Ibarguen. The energy made them cross paths and fused them together. They weren't just a group of friends anymore; they were a band. Ok, that was my acid trip version of how I pictured Jayden's Playground getting together but you get what I'm saying; when you meet certain people it just clicks sometimes. That's what happened to them. Just ask Jamie who said, "It was kind of weird how we got together. We met, started talking, and found out we shared a lot of the same interests; especially when it came to music."



The first few gigs were kind of rocky but eventually they found their sound. Interestingly enough, the name Jayden means God Has Heard. The name was actually coined by Jamie and Saul at a restaurant one night. "We were talking about the names we would give our children. The name Jayden was thrown out there and it just stuck." Said both Jamie and Saul. They say behind every great band, there is a great woman. I think that Jayden's Playground is doing really good because they play all the damn time and can be seen everywhere! This was all made possible by Carmen 5 Star Booking, a one of a kind promotions company run by none other than Jamie's mom. (Here's to you Mrs. J.P.) The future looks good for the dynamic trio. Projects are in the works for an album release, a possible tour, and who knows. According to Erik, "It would be nice to support myself with my music but I don't really care about that. All I want to do is make music."



I just saw Jayden's Playground at the Hidden Hookah one night and I have to say after that night, I really respect them as musicians. Not only are they just getting better but the amount of followers they have is astonishing. I applaud them for their valiant attempt to let El Paso know who they are. A couple of things happened at the Hidden Hookah; I got a free t shirt, and I'm now a fan of Jayden's Playground. You should check them out; I'm sure the same might happen to you. www.myspace.com/jaydensplayground. This is Matthew on the Rocks saying, "Is that a churro in your pants or are you just happy to see me?" - Matthew on the Rocks from Fusion Magazine


"Utep Prospector Interview -"Playful Ambient Sound""

Jayden's Playground may be the new kids in the scene, but they are progressing just as fast anybody else. The upstart group is scheduled to perform at the Wednesday Music Café in October and will also perform for an art exhibit at 8 p.m Sept. 12, at the Percolator, 217 N. Stanton.

"We practice two times a week, averaging four shows a week, and just playing as many shows as we can and I think that's why it took off so fast," vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Jamie Hernandez said.

Exposing their trip-hop vibe, while exploring other traits of genres such as rock, jazz and ambience, Jayden's Playground is providing El Paso with new musical material to listen to. Although the group is relatively new, the members have been playing in different bands for many years.

After losing her bassist, Hernandez, founder of the band Momento Mori, a bass and guitar duo, met and added drummer Saul Ibarguen to help revive the group. Hernandez met guitarist Erik Vasquez at work and soon invited him to round out the line-up of Momento Mori.

The trio soon realized that the music was no longer Momento Mori and took the name Jayden's Playground, an entirely different sound from the acoustic-folk of their previous endeavor.

"We started to make a totally different kind of music and this band allowed me to use keyboard, and cello. Eric came in and used his effects and this is what it turned into," Hernandez said.

The name originated from a kids menu at Applebee's. Ibarguen inserted his and Hernandez's favorite name in front of the word playground and the name stuck.

"We just love the name Jayden and decided to use it," Hernandez said. "Later on we found out Jayden had a really cool meaning so we kept it."

Hernandez played in several bands including Sorin, Momento Mori and Elysium. Ibarguen also played in the metal band Sorin before coming over to play drums for Momento Mori and Jayden's Playground. Vasquez was the guitarist for the alternative band Fallen Heroes.

"Each of the bands we were in slowed down and they were put away," Vasquez said. Now our focus is on this band.

In April, the band hit the ground running as they meshed and produced music quickly. Within a short amount of time, they were able to play their first show.

"We played a show right away and I don't think we were ready for it, but it came out pretty good and people liked it," Hernandez said.

Jayden's Playground's experimental style has left the doors open for many ideas. The members work off each others ideas and collaborate as a unit.

"Each of us has our own input, and it just comes to together so well and so fast," Vasquez said.

They take as much from The Roots as they do from Portishead, infusing it into something not conventionally heard. In their music, you can hear instrumentation such as cello, ukulele, and the warm jazz vocals, that pleasantly surface sculpting their experimental sound.

"Every one of our songs completely sounds different from each other," Hernandez said. "We like to have surprises."

Hernandez's lyrics come from situations she's observed like relationships, love, poverty, and other problems people face in life.

"It comes from everywhere. We try to focus on different things instead of just relationships," Hernandez said.

Their music has drawn praise from many and even a notable name, Laura Lynch, one of the founding members of the Dixie Chicks.

"She came up to me and said she heard us from the road. She said 'you need to quit your day job because this is going to be your career"', Hernandez said. "That night was amazing that she did that."

Rough, self-produced demos of their music can be found on their Myspace Web site. Tracks include the indie-pop "Heart Invasion," the melancholy "A Million Ways," and more.

"We worked really hard on it. It was really pleasing to be there, on your own, doing it and putting more time and effort," Hernandez said.

Currently, the band is working on recording songs to be released later this year for a possible album. The group is working with a producer and friend, who asked not to be named, to bring their tracks to life.

"When I was in Momento Mori, he liked what I was doing and I told him about Jayden's Playground. He's like 'you know what, I'll help you guys out'," Hernandez said.

The record is still in primitive stages and until its completion the band will work on writing more material, performing in local shows and touring.

"Were trying to have more merch before we leave town, of course more music and to overall better the music we already have," Hernandez said.

Plans to tour in the latter part of September are still in the process, but for now, people can still expect to see many more local shows.

"It's an experience and people should have fun. We're producing some different sounds," Ibarguen said.

For more information on Jayden's Playground visit www.myspace.com/jaydensplayground.

Justin Anthony Monarez may be reached at prospector@utep.edu. - Justin Anthony Monarez


Discography

All She Knows LP

Photos

Bio

Within the panorama of the El Paso music scene, Jayden's Playground is a rare diamond. No other band sounds like them or does music in a similar style. Female fronted, Trip-hop, alternative, ambient, indie, and experimental are the terms used to describe this trio's special sound. From the warm vibrations of the cello, the sweet keys of the piano, a guitar that executes a diverse sonance, jazzy and soulful vocals influenced by many genres from country to rock and the heavy rock drumming that grounds the band. It’s a New York style of modern rock jazz, something you would find if you walked into a hip N.Y. lounge at 3 am. Their uniqueness offers them the luxury to be able to fit perfectly in a small coffeehouse or crank up the sound to play for a stadium crowd.

The trio is comprised of: Jamie Hernandez on vocals and keyboards/cello, Saul Ibarquen on drums, and Luis Ortega on guitar. Each individual solidly lends their talents to create the musical landscape that is Jayden's Playground. Hernandez' heart wrenching vocals take center stage. Ibarquen's drumming is the driving force that sets the pace and intensifies the passion of the music, a symphonic dance and duel with Hernandez' keyboards and vocals. Guitarist Luis Ortega, plays the jazz chord rhythms, doubling the sound of Hernandez' keyboard playing. Seeing the band live you will be impressed with the music coming from this trio. Jayden's Playground is a live band who thrives on playing for a crowd.

Each of our songs are written from all 3 of our life experiences, but are told through Jayden (our own fictional character) living those experiences. The listener will be able to identify him/herself as Jayden. Jayden’s “Playground” is where she finds serenity and peace and where she finds that is through music…that is her playground.

Management and Booking Contact
Carmen From 5STR Booking and Promotions
(915)328-4445
For other information email
jaydensplayground@yahoo.com