Official site: rebeccaschiffman.com
Music has always been a big part of life for Rebecca - from the time she joined her first band at guitar camp while in 9th grade - "we covered Sleater-Kinney and the Red Ants. I had never heard of those bands so I didn't know any of the songs" -- to her second band a year later (The Meaningful and Wise, a band influenced by the Buzzcocks and the Soft Boys) where Rebecca began playing guitar and keyboard. Adding to her repertoire she also grew up in New York City studying cello and piano. Music was also part of her family life - her brother graduated from Julliard and recently conducted the National Symphony Orchestra.
Rebecca was first inspired to write her own music by her bandmate in The Meaningful and Wise. She began self-recording songs at home and because of her limited equipment, the music had lo-tech beats and keyboard sounds. It was these initial demos that have become the framework for her debut album, Upside Down Lacrimosa. "Recording my music with a full-time band didn't interest me," Rebecca explains, "I'm particular and I know what I want, which is the main reason why I work alone, because I'm sort of bossy. I worked with a lot of people on the record but I was in charge."
Back in 2000, Rebecca was playing bass in the band Pearl Harbor. The band featured Walter Schreifels (Quicksand, Rival Schools) on drums. When Walter heard her songs, he not only encouraged her to go further with them but agreed to produce her album. Walter also played on many of the tracks, contributing bass and drums on some and a little guitar and banjo on others.
Rebecca's music is melodic, eclectic and unpredictable, which could be a result of her diverse record collection. "Lately," she says, "I've been listening to Fairport Convention, Heptones and Gram Parsons." When asked about other influences she sites The Zombies, Ted Leo and Magnetic Fields.
She chose the track to be the title of the album because its her favorite. "I took the score for the beginning of the movement Lacrimosa from Mozart's Requiem and turned it upside down and read it backwards, recording it on a Casio keyboard. That's how I ended up with Upside Down Lacrimosa. I tried the same thing with Bach the other day but it sounded terrible."
Born and raised in New York City, Rebecca continues to live in Manhattan now that she's in college - she is currently a fine arts student at Cooper Union. The album was recorded with the help of not only Schreifels, but also the two engineers, Andy Action "Speedball Baby" on drums and percussion, and Chuck Scott (ex-Shudder To Think) on keyboards. Colin Kindley and Mike Stroud (Dashboard Confessional, Ben Kweller) also played keyboards and Mike Skinner (Miracle of '86) played some drums.