By Morgan M. Hurley | Editor
Rock ‘n’ roll mommas stage a love letter to those they are leaving behind
Danielle LoPresti and Alicia Champion are two names that anyone involved in or who appreciates the music scene in San Diego are familiar with. LoPresti and Champion, both musicians in their own right, launched Indie Fest in 2004 and have lived a whirlwind of a life ever since.
In just the past five years alone, the couple has adopted a boy they named Lucian, fought a hard battle against LoPresti’s cancer diagnosis, gotten married, produced IndieFest 2015, and filmed a Christmas video that went viral. Champion also filmed a solo video, and they wrote and recorded a new album as well.
As the couple prepares to move away from the city they’ve called home together for more than a decade to a new life in the Bay Area, they are asking both friends and fans to come celebrate their departure. Note — this is not your mom’s going away party, but it certainly is a rock ‘n’ roll mom’s way of doing things.
Join them June 3 at Music Box for a farewell concert that features “the Best of IndieFest,” which will include Danielle LoPresti and the Masses and several esteemed guest performances. They will be introducing their latest record, called, “House of D” and Champion’s solo video, “Bi.”
Gay San Diego recently caught up with the magical music duo to see what is in store.
(Gay San Diego | GSD) What does “House of D” mean?
(Danielle LoPresti | DLP) The title of the new record is about the new genre of music I’m doing in album form for the first time. I’ve been a big fan of deep house and and “chillout” music for a long time and have moonlighted with many house DJs over the years, adding vocals to their tracks. I wanted to make this record a lot sooner, but finding time for our own creativity has always been tough with IndieFest taking up so much of our time every year. Actually, it was hard enough to keep regular albums coming with The Masses, let alone divert off path to do something new and adventurous.
(Alicia Champion | AC) The year we put IndieFest on pause is the year we churn out new material like never before [laughs].
(DLP) Makes perfect sense, though.
(GSD) I was surprised to read this was Alicia’s first video, ever. Is the song from the upcoming album or a separate project?
(AC) Yup! First ever. And this single, “Bi,” is in fact an entirely separate project that happened all kinda quickly and took me by surprise.
(GSD) Will the new album have more videos up on the new YouTube channel?
(AC) Well, my YouTube channel is new, and this will be the only new release for the time being.
(DLP) However, our very last piece of business before we leave town is to shoot the first music video off the “House of D” album (which will feature some very special guests). That video will be coming out later this summer.
(GSD) It took three and a half years to make “House of D” – considering everything, was it the most challenging album thus far?
(AC) Well, we launched the crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo in the fall of 2012. It went great, and we reached our goal by November of that year. Unfortunately, what happened in December [cancer diagnosis] sideswiped us all.
(DLP) Since all of the following year was dedicated to surviving — not only the cancer but the chemo — our music projects were put on hold. It’s been really nice to get back to creating now that that nightmare is gratefully behind us.
(GSD) Does the record document Danielle’s battle with cancer? Motherhood?
(DLP) There are a few references. I think it may be the most joyous record I’ve written, though of course there are a couple of songs with some bite. It’s no secret that music is not only my therapy, but my favorite tool for social justice. I love to use it to process some of the hardest and most mysterious aspects of life and to hopefully knock some sense into folks — including myself.
(GSD) Why are you moving and why the Bay Area?
(AC) This move has been a long time coming. The stars just happened to line up this year.
(DLP) The move is really all about family. Ever since my sister [Eveoke Dance Theatre founder Gina Angelique] and brother left the city, and now that my mother has moved north also, we’ve been feeling more and more the absence of family as we raise our own. As we prepare to adopt our second child, we know that we want our children much closer to their cousins, grandparents, aunties and uncles.
(AC) Leaving San Diego is really so hard. We love our community so much.
(DLP) Oh my God, so much … I can’t even explain how much sadness I feel about leaving this incredible circle of friends, creatives and social justice advocates we’ve had the blessing of collaborating with over the past decade. Not to mention how hard it is to leave our house.
(GSD) Will there ever be another IndieFest — here or elsewhere?
(AC) There’s lots of stuff in the works for IndieFest. There are a couple of entities in San Diego that are interested in sponsoring its continuance, and we have interest in the Bay as well to strike up a possible second event. So we’ll see what happens.
(GSD) Tell me about the event at Music Box and why it was important to have this going away event.
(DLP) The June 3 show will be a lot of things. It will be the CD Release celebration for both “House of D” and Alicia’s debut music video, “Bi,” which I might add, also features a very special guest.
(AC) It’s also a chance for us to showcase some of the extraordinary art that’s been featured on the stages of IndieFest over the past decade including Gill Sotu, Laura Jane, The Brothers Burns, and DJ Double Score. We’ll even be screening a couple indie short films, one of which stars our good friend and past IndieFest film artist, Annika Marks (“The Fosters”).
(GSD) What has motherhood been like for a couple of rockers?
(DLP) But amazing! We’ve definitely been forced to learn how to shorthand a lot of our preparation and perfectionism when it comes to work. There’s just not the same time any more to prepare as thoroughly before a session/show or shoot. So we’ve had to learn to trust ourselves a lot more, bless the process with all its possible imperfections and just swing for the fences.
(AC) Which is what Danielle has always done anyway.
(GSD) Anything you want to say about what else is in your future.
(DLP) Our next project will be the music video for the first single from “House of D.” The song is called, “Holy,” and it’s my answer to the religious rights’ argument that same-sex love is wrong. Annika Marks will also star in this video as our lead, and we’ll be joined by Emmy-winning director Mike Brueggemeyer.
(AC) And hopefully we’ll return back home to visit annually — maybe even more if we’re lucky — to play shows, visit and support friends, and to participate in important community events.
(DLP) We’d love that so much.
The Farewell Concert for LoPresti and Champion, featuring the Best of IndieFest, will take place Friday, June 3, at Music Box (formerly Anthology), located at 1337 India St., Downtown. VIP tickets are already sold out but general admission tickets can be purchased in advance for $10 (or $12 day of show) at tinyurl.com/zxe3tw3.
—Morgan M. Hurley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.