Felisha Rolin

What's your favorite kind of soup?

Felisha: I am stuck between two soups. Campbells mushroom soup I think is pretty good, I love that super saltiness and you mix it with a little bit of milk. Or my dad used to make this soup for Thanksgiving, and it had Turkey liver. Liver soup, baby!

         Felisha Rolin of Felisha and the Jazz Rejects is climbing up the food chain in the local punk rock scene. What began as a solo project beginning with her first single “Pure Toxin”, has become a phenomenal band featuring insanely talented musicians such as: Eissen Panganiban (lead guitar), Olivier Leclerc (bass), and Seth Kitamura (drums). Together they have released their debut EP Queen of Misfit Toys alongside single “Now You’re Gone”, both of which came out earlier this year. Any time that I have had the opportunity to see them live I have taken it, as they have such a fun energy and incredible ability to capture a crowd’s attention and bring them into the music. They’ve played a wide variety of DIY and established venues, ranging from events such as house shows and outdoor performances at Victory Square, to playing Buddha’s on New Years Eve and winning Redgate’s 2022 Battle of the Bands. Myself, and a handful of friends of mine, make an effort to get to nearly every show they play, because I really never get tired of how fun and energetic their mosh pits are. Aside from the original songs, one of the biggest highlights of their shows is a song they often close with, which is a cover of “Goofy Goober Rock” from the Sponge Bob movie. It sounds ridiculous, but take my word for it that it is such a crowd pleaser and really brings the whole room together. I got to chat with lead singer Felisha Rolin to discuss the making of the EP, and what else is in store for the band.


How long have you been making music?

Felisha: I've been into music for as long as I can remember, but I guess more serious about it when I was twelve. I heard that one song by Avril Lavigne, it was “Let Me Go” the one that she sang with Chad Kroeger. Times before that there'd be family gatherings and I've been playing piano for a while, but not singing and piano. I came home from school one day, and you know how you would come home and just go straight to the computer? My recommended on YouTube was that song, and she was playing piano and singing, and I was like “I want to do that”.


Is this your first band, or prior to your solo music had you ever written with multiple artists before?

Felisha: I have written some music with other people. Mainly solo stuff, but another collaborative project was with this rapper, Brett, he goes by TBK The Blind Kid. We wrote a few songs together, it was his song, and I was a featured artist.


Could you talk a bit about how it went from a solo project to a full band?

Felisha: I've been playing with the piano for any gig before The Jazz Rejects, and don't get me wrong, it's fun, but I also wanted to have my Beyoncé moment, my Selena type moment. So, I hit up these guys from the program, and I'm like, “hey, do you guys wanna play a whole band type thing? It'd be more like rock music, though” And they were down. I kind of wanted to stray away from just sitting and playing piano because I had written some stuff that was more rock, but I just didn't have the band to do that.


How has your writing process changed since the introduction of the other members?

Felisha: For the past little bit, it's been me bringing songs to the table, with music and lyrics already. The most collaborative one I'd say is “Punctured Lung”, and honestly, that's probably one of my favorite ones. Mainly our process is, I'll send them a voice memo of me playing the piano and singing or humming it, and I’ll either send it with the chords or we just figure it out day of.


The EP was insane, and it was so great to finally get studio versions of all the songs we’ve been hearing at live shows over the last year. Can you talk a bit about the creation of that EP and how it all came together?

Felisha: We recorded in three different studios for the EP. One of them was at SAE, another one was Monarch, and then Vertical. It was very fun, and kind of a surreal moment being able to hear the songs that I wrote brought to life. Especially songs like “Now You're Gone”, that one I wrote when I was fourteen. That was one of the songs that I had written and then kept it in the vault for so many years. It resurfaced when I was seventeen because of a breakup that I had, and I was like “why have I never played this?”. That became one of my closer songs to my repertoire type thing, and then the band happened and here we are. Matt Purkiss (of Black Pontiac) produced it, so he worked on that with us. We just changed a few of the words, and he made it sound nice and pretty. For the rest of the EP, we had Alec from Cat Larceny who engineered and mixed all the rest of the songs. It was just crazy to see all of them be put into real life, like “Queen of Misfit Toys”, is the title track and that song means a lot. It's our anthem of The Jazz Rejects type thing. I wrote it when I was in the jazz program and felt like I was being criticized for every little thing that I did. I had a sit down with other people from the program who felt kind of left out as well, and then I don’t remember who said it but one of us said “sometimes I just feel like a misfit toy in this program”. Nothing against anyone, but it was a little rough being at school.


How long has the EP been in the works?

Felisha: The most recent song out of the EP was “Punctured Lung”. “Pure Toxin” was out under my name, and that was all done on garage band too. “Punctured Lung” was most recent though, which was written the night before Battle of the Bands. So, all of them have kind of been in the works for a while.


Do you have a song that is your favorite to play live?

Felisha: I think either “Punctured Lung” or there's this other one we have a few different names for. It's either called “Untitled 1.0” or “Plastic Man”. It's not on our EP, but I like it. It’s half in Spanish and half in English.


Is there a specific moment from a show that really sticks out to you?

Felisha: There's so many favorite moments, honestly just being able to interact with the crowd and not just playing because you have to play, because that was a huge thing in school. When we step out on stage, I just feel so at home and really happy to see everyone, and I hope that people are happy to see us too. I like seeing people smiling and watching, or humming along if they know the song. There was this Victory Square show, and my friend Camille is always in the front row. We have a newer song that’s fully in Spanish, and she's there to dance and do her thing, and I pulled her on stage. We were just kind of there diddling around, it was so fun. Another core memory was another Victory Square show, we played with Lilian and Seizure Salad.

Me: I was there! The unforgettable spaghetti mosh pit. I think that was the first time I ever saw you play.

Felisha: That show was really cool, and being able to play under the stars is an actual dream. Outdoor shows are really cool for that.


Are there any other releases planned for the year?

Felisha: We have songs we have been cooking. Just recording is expensive. I really hope so, if not soon then maybe it'll be my Christmas gift to myself, just casually drop a couple.

Me: You're cooking though, so live show wise there will be new songs?

Felisha: Yeah, we are cooking!


You’ve kind of developed the official logo for the band, do you have and plans for merch coming up?

Felisha: We have stickers! I actually was just on a call with Oli a few days ago, and we were talking about merch and stuff. It’d be cool to have a shirt or something like that. I think it was Eissen who said we should have bouncy balls with our logo. We're trying to think of something that's random. T-shirts and stickers are great, and it would be fun. Tote bags maybe? But something random or just something that's super useless.

Me: I saw Tim the Mute do a release show for one of his albums, and he had put his logo on things like beans, and Gatorade, and stuff like that. Just random objects he printed his logo on and sold the objects.


What are your goals for the band, either long or short term?

Felisha: I think short term at the moment our goals are to figure out the merch situation, hopefully recording more. Long term, it would be cool to go on tour. I’d have to figure out how to do that, I assume its mostly just emailing places and being like “yo can we play here please please please?”

Me: They’re like “do you have bouncy balls? Okay, you're in.”

Felisha: That's actually a requirement to go on tour. Actually, it would also be cool to get signed by a label.

Felisha and the Jazz Rejects social links: 


Headshot photo by Kianna Sumitani:


Banner photo by Kyosuke Maehara: