The talents of musician Ilse Baca were brought to our attention when she took to the stage at Download Festival in 2005 as part of the rock n' roll quartet Slunt, signed to Repossession Records. The band had a fun run, they headlined the UK, supported Motorhead - and Ilse even met her Brit musician boyfriend, Paul of Zico Chain, while the band were together. Since then Ilse's been a presence in Ze Autoparts and Vera and Jane although is now working on new music. Ilse's also been a long-time vegan/vegetarian and even gave us tips of which vegan joints to check out when we headed to US for a trip one year. Read on to find out where her life is heading now, what she thinks of the music industry at the moment and what tips she'd give to a meat eater who was contemplating dating a vegan.




Shari Black Velvet: What’s happening in the world of Ilse?
Ilse Baca: I’m digging where I’m at - painting, writing, re-inventing, re-configuring. Getting in touch w/ my rock 'n' roll roots, my emotional and soul roots… remembering what it was that first attracted me to rock n roll… and I’m finally putting together a new rock band I’m excited about - super early stages, but I’m really enjoying myself.

SBV: You mentioned you’ve been writing a lot of songs. What sort of music is moving you at the moment? What sort of songs are you writing? How much of your time is dedicated to music?
IB: I'm constantly writing stuff. There was a period of acoustic-y stuff w/ a project called Vera and Jane. Most recently, working on rock tunes, which is always the most fun.

SBV: The UK probably most knows you as the bassist of Slunt, although it’s been a while since you’ve been over here. What’s going on with Slunt right now?
IB: Everyone’s doing their own thing. Pat’s got a new band, Killcode, outta New York City. Really cool band and Gaggle Of Cocks, his band prior to Slunt, released an album last year. Abby has an all girl band that Stephen Pearcy is helping put together – so I’m sure that’s gonna be hot. And Charles is always busy drumming – rock and jazz. Everyone’s good.

SBV: You played Download in 2005, which no doubt was one of the highlights of your career. What else stands out as great moments?
IB: God, there are so many! Touring with Motorhead with Slunt both domestically and internationally… opening for Camp Freddy with Ze at the Avalon for Indie 103.1’s first ever concert (RIP Indie). The great thing about being in a rock band, is most of the moments ARE highlights.  

SBV: Going back years ago, why did you decide to pick up the bass and what do you like about playing the bass guitar?
IB: Loved the power of it, the subtle simplicity. It wasn’t screaming for centre stage, yet could command total attention at any time, if need be.

SBV: What makes a good bassist?
IB: With any instrument or any art or craft, you’ve gotta have a lot of soul, a lot of heart, a lot of sweat, dedication, practice, and you’ve gotta LOVE what you’re doing.

SBV: What other talents do you have, musically?
IB: I play a bit of guitar and I think I’m going to pick up piano again. First and foremost, I’ve always been a writer, music comes slightly second to that.

SBV: Do you find it hard to get a good break in the music industry – and when you do get one it doesn’t necessarily last long?
IB: Well, the industry is pretty tough. Living in L.A, I’ve seen so many bands come and go. Personally, I’ve always had a hard time playing the game, jumping through the hoops. But, that’s not the only side to it, there’s also a genuine side, too, that honours music and art in all its forms, not just the pre-packaged ones. If you’ve got genuine talent and intentions, there will always be an outlet and audience for that. And if you’re a jerk, well, karma has a way of evening things out.

SBV: Your boyfriend is Paul of the UK band The Zico Chain. Would you ever move to the UK?
IB: Yeah. Absolutely, I love England and the UK. Already feels like a second home. It’s not that easy, though, moving to another country! All the immigration stuff is mind numbing. If Zico Chain wasn’t planning on hopefully being out in LA soon, Paul and I would’ve already made that move. We’re waiting to see what happens with Zico Chain in the next few months… meanwhile, we rack up tons of miles visiting each other (one way or the other) every month or so…

SBV: What keeps you in LA?
IB: I ask myself that daily....Nah, I love LA. It’s home. It’s been good to me.

SBV: How’s it been going out with a fellow musician? Was/is it hard because either both of you or one of you is on tour? Do you prefer dating a fellow musician because you understand and relate to each other being in the same business? What are the pros and cons? How long have you been with Paul?
IB: I never would consciously date a rocker, believe it or not. Can’t help it I fell in love with one - and Paul and I have been doing a transatlantic long distance relationship on top of it! Definitely tough, but definitely well worth it. The schedule stuff is rough. But it does make it a bit easier that I know firsthand the time restrictions and dedication and the love and the hours and the sweat and the hours and the hours and the sweat and the hours… that go into a band, so I get why Paul is doing what he’s doing. When he and I started officially dating, I had just left Slunt and Ze Auto Parts broke up shortly after that, so we’ve only had to deal w/ one rocker’s crazy schedule, which helped a bit. We met at Download ‘05 and started dating six months after that… so, we’ve been dating nearly four years.

SBV: You haven’t eaten meat for 17 years and were a strict vegan for 5. Paul has now even become vegetarian. Was that because of you?
IB: Definitely. But, I never harped him about it. He’s the only one that cooks between us, so he had to learn how to use tofu and stuff. And instead of making 2 separate meals, he’d just eat my vegan or veggie meal. He loved it and I never pushed him. I knew that if I did, he’d resist. So 3 1/2 years later… he’s suddenly feeling good about not eating any meat… and he’s kept it up. It’s really, really cute and extremely sexy…

SBV: How did you feel being vegan when he was eating meat? Did you mind having a meat eating boyfriend? Did you subtly try to convince him how wonderful vegan food was?
IB: I thought I could never be with a meateater. Yet, because Paul ate veggie when he was with me, it didn’t really bother me that much. There were times when I just couldn’t understand why he still ate meat when I had shown him such a “cornucopia of veggie delights". But, my love for him prevailed over any meat eating annoyance. And, my patience paid off.

SBV: Now that you’re both veggies how is that?
IB: I love it! He’s really into it, which is just awesome. I’m super excited for him. He loves sharing his meals with me in our daily chats and is always telling me about some new veggie thing he’s discovered. And I think he likes that you can still pig out, so to speak, on veggie food. He’s great at cooking veggie MANFOOD.

SBV: What advice would you give to a vegan or vegetarian who was going out with a meat eater, or even just liked a meat eater?
IB: I personally come from the place of “show by example”.  I think that’s the most effective for me. I’ve had several SERIOUS meat-eating friends, who have gone vegetarian or vegan and later told me I was a big influence, yet I never once preached to them. Try suggesting vegan or veggie places for dinner without making it a big deal or incorporate delicious veggie stuff into meals or barbecues, again without making a huge deal. I tend to be gentle with the idea, because many people have such a high resistance to it. Also, it never hurts to hang out on the PETA2 site, while they’re sitting next to you…

SBV: What advice would you give to a meat eater who liked a vegan but didn’t know whether to date her?
IB: Don’t feel intimidated by her veganism or feel guilty about being a meat eater. Guilt and intimidation are not good foundations for a relationship. Maybe if you choose to see her veganism as an exotic quality and embrace it, you might actually have fun with it. Be adventurous and try some vegan stuff. Show you are at least open-minded and you should have no problems, for a while anyway.

SBV: You also have a job at Lip Service. How long have you been working there and what do you do?
IB: Yeah, I love it. It’s with Lip Service and Kill City. I manage their Websales division. In the past I worked with Couch Guitar Straps (vegan guitar straps and belts). Both companies have super cool owners, super rock 'n' roll attitudes and have allowed me flexibility to travel to London and do my own thing, which rules.  

SBV: What clothing do you most like to wear? What’s your fave outfit?
IB: I gotta have my boots - non-leather of course! And one of my favorite jackets. Add tights and a vintage dress, and that would definitely be my favorite outfit, ever. Even in the summer!

SBV: How can people get hold of you to find out more?




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