MBG aka Carolina ‘Leena’ Rodriguez is a multi-talented artist and producer who we’ve connected with for an exclusive interview to talk about her newly released debut EP “Have a Alright Day”. MBG wrote, recorded, produced and mixed the EP by herself, so it is only right that we pick her brain about the project, her inspirations to create music, as well as the band that she’s a member of called Common Chase.
After reading our Q&A with MBG, be sure to stream and share “Have a Alright Day” on your preferred streaming service, and connect with her on social media!
Congratulations on the completion and release of your debut EP "Have a Alright Day". What are you most proud of with this project?
Thank you so much! I’ am definitely most proud of the production of this EP and how I was able to create all these sounds from my head to my laptop in the comfort of my own bedroom all by myself; it’s kind of empowering actually. It’s a weird thing listening back to my final mixes after recording all the tracks and twiddling some knobs here and there.
I find myself asking in the end, “how the hell did I do this?!” I tend to under-estimate myself a lot and this is one of those times I REALLY under-estimated myself but in the end I feel pretty proud of the results and the amazing support from my family and friends and the positive feedback has been pretty helpful as well.
You've mentioned that three of the EP's four songs were written, produced and recorded in your home studio. What would you say was the hardest part about working on your music in that environment as opposed to a professional studio?
I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s not the hardest but it was a little annoying. It’s the lack of space in my bedroom haha. I have a pretty small bedroom to start and to have all of my gear crammed in this small bedroom it can get kind of cozy especially when I have to record guitars and mic cables are just everywhere on the floor and there’s only one little spot for myself beside my laptop where I’m able to press record.
That’s another thing too I literally taught my little sister for like a day on how to get the right gain on a microphone so it “doesn’t go in the Red” [which means that the audio shouldn’t distort] and how to record so when I was recording vocals for the EP I didn’t have to press record and run into my closet before I miss my spot in the track! My sister would be recording out of the closet while I was inside singing into the microphone. She was pretty helpful with the EP in terms of being the recording engineer on certain tracks where I needed the extra hand. And don’t even get me started when I have to tear everything down after recording.
While compare to a professional studio you have tons of studio space! Some with more than one room! And recording engineers for days where one controls the soundboard and you got a team of people setting up and tearing things down for you all you have to do is show up and tune. Also I guess having very limited access to professional [and expensive] gear as well. There’s only so much I can invest in my studio but I work with what I have for now.
Do you plan to shoot videos for any of the EP's songs? If so, which ones?
Well, I just released the music video for “Make My Day” the same day the EP was released but I’m in the midst of recording a live session video next month which I’m pretty excited about.
You're not just a solo artist/producer, you also a member of a four-piece band called Common Chase, where you play bass and provide backing vocals. Tell us about the band and how its music compares to your solo work.
Yes! The Common Chase is an alternative rock band. The project started about a year and a half ago when me and two of the band members all went to the same music program together at Seneca College in Toronto. Two of them came to me and asked if I wanted to be in the band and of course I agreed and after we graduated we’ve been an active band ever since playing a lot of shows in Toronto and hopefully other cities in Ontario.
The music is quite different each time because with the Common Chase there’s a lot of experimentation and collaboration happening therefore different songs are made and most of the songs that are out now were already individually written by each band member. With my solo stuff I try my best to fall under the umbrella of ‘Rock n Roll’ and stay there without making a hard left or least not now when I’ve just started my solo project and I’ve some what found ‘my sound’ that works well with my voice and I can shred on my guitar haha.
I’ve only been songwriting for almost two years now but so far writing rock songs has been the most fun to write and I got ballads here and there as well. I’m still trying to figure out how to release those kinds of tunes as well.
What are some things/places/people that inspire your creativity as an artist/producer?
Toronto has been quite an inspiration. Most of my friends are from Toronto and I’ve met them all in the same music program in Seneca College in Toronto and just surrounding yourself with other artists in the music scene is quite motivating. The community is very tight and just so supportive of each other it’s amazing! It really keeps me going as an artist.