Rocking The Playground and the Stadium

Antigone Rising: Rocking the Playground and the Stadium by Lindsay Maines

When kids say their mom rocks, most of them aren’t being literal. But the babies of Antigone Rising can assert that with every expectation of it having the ring of street creed truth. And there will be plenty of children to testify, and back each other up on the playground if doubted.

Singer Nini Camps recently had a son with her wife, Brooke; and bass player Kristen Henderson parents a set of semi-Irish twins – Kristen and Nina both became pregnant through in vitro at the same time, and were due three days apart. The babies, a boy and two girls, have turned life as they know it into a thing of the past – and Kristen wouldn’t have it any other way.

Antigone Rising consists of Nini Camps on lead vocals, Kristen Henderson on bass and vocals, sister Cathy Henderson on lead guitar and vocals, and Dena Tauriello on drums.

But lest you think AR will be relegated to Mommy and Me classes, let’s take a look at their musical pedigree. Known in part for their driving and vivacious live show, they’ve toured with The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Rob Thomas, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, Macy Gray, Norah Jones and The Bangles amongst others.

Since their inception the band has released four independent albums. In 2004, they were signed to Lava Records which led to a partnership with Starbucks. Antigone Rising became the first band in Starbucks “Hear Music™ Debut” series.

The band’s newest addition, Nini, is a vocal force that holds her own in the musical magic of Antigone Rising’s harmonies – all the while bringing her own unique sound. A first generation Cuban American, Nini originally hails from Miami, Florida.

With the addition of Nini as their lead singer, Antigone Rising has continued to turn heads and gain popularity with their poignant lyrics and soaring three-part harmonies. The band will return to the studio late February to record tracks for upcoming projects.

In the meantime, fans will be able to catch the melodious quartet at dates around the Northeast, kicking off with a show at Lehman College in Bronx, New York on February 20th and continuing on well into the spring. Antigone Rising will headline Mamapalooza’s May 22 show at Valhalla Falls, New York.

MAMAZINA recently caught up with members of Antigone Rising to see how the newest infant honorary members are changing musical reality for their mamas.

MM: How do you feel your musical lives have changed since becoming mothers? Do you feel more or less focused?

KH: It really depends on the day! I feel more focused in the sense that I’ve got strict parameters set on when I can sit down to write or practice. Whereas before the babies, I could pick up my guitar whenever I felt like it. But because they’re here, and I really do have to carve out time for the music, I find that I’m doing more than I ever had before.

NC: My little guy is 2 1/2 months old, so I’m only starting to get into a routine with him. At first there was nothing outside of his eating, sleeping and my sleep deprivation. Now we are slowing getting to a place where it’s easier, and I can carve out some time during the day to work on music. However, that time is so limited right now that it is almost hyper-focused since I know that it’s a matter of minutes until all hell breaks loose again.

MM: What would you love your children to learn from music? Can you already see their tastes forming

KH: If nothing else, I just want them to enjoy it. They have both responded to music very early on. When I’m home alone with them all day long, the day is usually a rock opera. Everything I say is sung to them in a melody. They’ve got their own theme song that I sing every morning upon wake up, so that’s how we start the day. It might be strange when they start school and realize their entire day will not be sung to them.

Thomas was colicky during the first few months, and the only thing that would calm him down was Barry Gibb’s voice. Gibb’s duet with Barbra Streisand, “What Kind of Fool,” was in heavy rotation for a while around the house. And Kate will fall asleep instantly to anything sung to the ABC song melody.

NC: When it comes to music, I want him to be able to get lost in a great song. To be able to close his eyes and feel the magic of a live show. I’d love for him to be a musician, but more than anything I want him to be a music lover. As for “taste,” my guy is still too little. He hears all sorts of stuff and he seems to like it when we dance around to old Cuban records during the day. I’m not the best dancer, but he’s sweet and lets me lead!

MM: What are your earliest memories of music as a child? Were you encouraged to love/play it while growing up, or did you grow up in a music-neutral house?

KH: I grew up in a very musical house. My mother encouraged us to play anything we wanted. And my father had an amazing record collection, so we grew up listening to Cat Stevens, Carole King, The Stones and The Beatles.

NC: I grew up surrounded by music. At any of my parents’ gatherings, someone would always break out a guitar, bongos (pots and pans if necessary) and everyone would sing old Cuban songs. We would also go to New York and visit my older cousins a few times a year. They were all musical, and had a band that would play in their basement. I remember being enchanted, and I loved being there. I was so little, but even then, I knew that being in a band was the coolest thing in the whole world.

MM: What’s the best thing about playing music together?

NC: When everyone is locked in, and we’re creating something bigger than any single one of us, that can feel pretty transcendent.

MM: What forges your determination to keep making music together?

KH: The births of my babies are really what affected my determination more than anything. It’s extremely important to me that they see me doing what I love. This band is my life’s work, so to think they’d never see me with Antigone Rising was hard for me to swallow. Since Nini’s joined the band, there’s been such great chemistry between all of us. I love the new songs we’re writing, so it’s easy to stay determined when you feel sure of what you’re doing.

MM: What do you feel the theme is the universe is working on right now with you? What keeps coming up?

NC:  Dirty diapers keep coming up. Pretty constantly.

Lindsay Maines is the Cover Editor for MAMAZINA.
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