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Girl In A Coma Wakes Up and Rocks Out
Thu, 06/25/2009 - 15:58 — ekrisher
By Courtney Egelston > Syracuse University

Somewhere in between Houston and Alabama, Phanie Diaz, of Girl In A Coma, stops rocking out long enough to talk about her music, dreams, and ink. Phanie (drums), her younger sister Nina (vocals), and longtime bff Jenn Alva (bass), have been together ever since junior high; and after reaching Top 25’s on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart and iTunes, they’re not stopping anytime soon.

CM: Your music has been described by critics as alternative rock, punk… How do you describe it?
Phanie Diaz: It’s a blend of what we’re all in to. I call it rock n’ roll, but when we get together it always makes a different mix.

CM: A lot of your songs deal with guys (I’ll ask him, Mr. Chivalry, Celibate now). Have you all had similar relationship experiences or do you find yourselves clashing on lyric ideas?
PD: Nina does the lyrics. Sometimes she shares what the lyrics are about- something she’s going through or a story she’s made up- but for other songs, like Clumsy Sky, I don’t know what the meaning is. It doesn’t bug me. I just like to play it.

CM: Why do you think college students can relate to your music?
PD: In the 90s, college radio was creating a lot of bands (REM, The Smiths). We’re reminiscent of that. Mainstream radio won’t necessarily give us airtime, but college stations are big supporters. Students are open-minded and diverse. It’s good to see different communities come together.

CM: Your bio describes your road to stardom as you ladies playing for a few local kids and then hitting the road. How did you make the decision to start traveling?
PD: We knew if we really wanted to pursue this, we had to get the music out there ourselves. So we sacrificed. Nina dropped out of high school, we left with $500 between the three of us, and we booked shows ourselves. There’s always a fear that people won’t like your sound, but if you love what you’re doing, they’ll feel that energy.

CM: Would you ever consider going back to school?
PD: Jenn and I went to college for a bit, but it wasn’t for us. Nina’s main goal is to go to college and get a better education. We all love being in this band, but it’s important to have other options.

CM: You’ve been together since high school. Was there every a moment where you felt like you made it? What constitutes “making it big” for you?
PD: Our definition of success is to do this for a living. We don’t need crazy cars. If we can make this our primary job, and live comfortably, that’s all we need.

CM: You have some pretty sweet tattoos- did you all get a matching tattoo?
PD: We all have Girl In A Coma written out. Jenn’s is on her forearm, mine’s on my knuckles, and Nina’s is on her wrist.

CM: Any advice for college musicians?
PD: Finish college because you’re already there, but keep the band going. If the degree isn’t working out for you, hit the road. You’ve got to get out there and make it happen.