Nina credits producers Gabriel Gonzalez (a former guitarist for Sparta) and Greg Collins (whose production credits include U2 and No Doubt) with helping her dial in her guitar tone.
“Gabe did the foundation of it, but Greg Collins really helped me kind of sort of figure out what my sound is,” says Nina. Tracks such as “Baby Boy,” “Static Mind,” “Pleasure and Pain,” and “Empty Promise” find Diaz dabbling in psychedelic harmonics, phase shifting, and rich distortion effects, embellishing a big, wall-of-guitars sound with a Lollapalooza vibe.
“`Collins is` an awesome producer,” says Phanie. “He kind of opened up our minds into experimenting with different stuff and upped us as musicians.”
“It’s kind of like that part in Clueless where they fix the teacher real quick and make the teacher look cute. Collins also contributed slide-guitar overdubs to some songs.
“And for me, I’m really like, ‘Oh these are my bass lines, don’t touch them, don’t think about it,’” says Alva. “I think he got that vibe from me … He took what I wrote, but then we kind of just thought about pauses, and accents, and stroking, so that was really cool.”
The album ends with a cover of “Ven Cerca” by Los Spitfires, the first song Girl in a Coma has recorded in Spanish
Trio B.C. stretches the band’s already wide-ranging sound much further. Nina’s elastic vocal range enables her to mesmerize on mid-tempo songs and deliver arena-rock intensity on heavier tunes. She also swings a mean ax – still an all-too-rare feat in the male-dominated rock world – alternately complimenting her smooth vocals with melodic, chiming accents and giving them a jagged edge with rapid, angular riffage. The tight rhythm section Alva and Phanie form behind Nina aggressively propels the songs through their many tempo and stylistic shifts.
While rock bands often feel a need to stick to one clearly defined genre, Girl in a Coma blends a variety of styles, sometimes within the same song. “In the Day” features a danceable rhythm and blues vibe, while “Slaughter Lane” delves into a retro Tex-Mex blues sound before exploding into an aggressive punk-rock outro. Altogether, Trio B.C. is one of the most refreshingly diverse rock albums of recent years.
Girl in a Coma has come a long way from their first gig at the now defunct Sin 13 on , when 13-year-old stage-frightened Nina Diaz couldn’t look at the crowd.
Nina was just 12 in early 2000 when she stunned the other girls, who were 20 at the time, by picking up her sister’s guitar and tossing off an original song. She had secretly been teaching herself to play the instrument for several months.
“We were looking for a singer … and she showed us this song, and Jenn right away was all, ‘Whose song woosa is that?’ And `Nina` said, ‘I wrote it,’ and we were like ‘Wow, OK,’” says Phanie Diaz. Phanie switched back to drums, and the band was born.
Girl in a Coma first hit the road for a national tour in 2004, and by 2005 they’d been invited to England to record demos with Morrissey guitarist Boz Boorer. In 2006, TV producers flew GIAC to New York to tape Jammin’, a cable show about unknown bands. Runaway-turned-Blackheart-turned-record-executive Jett made a surprise appearance on the show to offer the band advice on succeeding in the music industry. Phanie says just meeting Jett was exciting because her mom had often played Jett tapes for the girls when they were children, and they were fans of Light of Day, the 1987 film in which Jett plays a musician in a fictional Cleveland band with Michael J. Fox.