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Crashing the boys' club

Heather McEntire and Aimee Argote write their own rules

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Today, Bellafea's Heather McEntire is gah-gah over the new Sleater-Kinney, still three months away from release. Asked about her influences, she's quick to mention them again, though not dismissing admiration for Shannon Wright and Team Dresch. Asked the same question, Des_Ark's Aimee Argote is reluctant: "I'm not sure that there's anyone specific. I know there must be." Minutes later, she admits that she despises thinking about musicians that way.

But the differences haven't kept McEntire and Argote from friendship. In fact, this afternoon at Durham's Blue Coffee, they exchange inside jokes about Michael Jackson, stage banter and caffeine like the old friends they're becoming.

The Independent Weekly caught up with the two before their joint CD release party Saturday night at Local 506.

Independent Weekly: So how did you two meet?

Heather McEntire: We played a show together. When I was in Wilmington, I would see them open up for bands and I was really into their music. There was this awesome bill I thought should happen.

Did you notice that you were kindred spirits from the beginning?

Aimee Argote: I guess it was nice, you know, with the whole having the same setup. It drew me into it, but beyond that I feel it's totally different--the type of music we play. But there are similarities.

What about the dynamics?

AA: The first time I saw Bellafea I didn't notice that. I really didn't notice it until I heard them on record, and I was just kind of along for the ride. I didn't know if I was up against a hurricane or on a peaceful little pond.

HM: For me, that was the first thing I noticed. It feels so natural to me. I mean, we have different emotions and so, of course, we're going to have different ways of expressing them. Dynamics is a very good way of doing that. When I heard them, I connected with that.

AA: Heather and I became really good friends, too. It was the first time in a really long time that I had a friend who played music. It was great to have a show buddy. We'd go to shows together, but mostly we'd go to each other's shows. And that's really fun--watching someone play and being able to know them in person and then seeing the different ways they communicate with people depending on the environment. I hadn't had a friend like that in a while.

HM: I had never had a friend like that. I don't want to throw the gender card in there, but it's kind of really obvious to me that--when I was playing music in Asheville and Wilmington--there weren't many female musicians. Maybe two or three.

I guess rock 'n' roll is a boys' club?

AA: It's kind of starting our own club. It's a boys' club, but it doesn't have to be. That's annoying sometimes.

How did you get into music in the first place?

HM: For me, a lot of it was singing hymns with the choir and eventually turning on the radio, which was just mainstream. I personally didn't get into indie rock or anything besides mainstream radio until I started working at the college radio station at UNCW. It was huge. It was like an avalanche. It's totally changed me.

AA: Mine started with college radio, too. I was involved in this thing called Youthways radio, and I was 12 or 13. We had a space in downtown Durham and a recording studio. We did a radio show. Our objective was to only play high school bands, and only pieces that we had written and recorded. So there was a lot of bringing in local high school bands and making the worst recordings ever.

Des_Ark and Bellafea play a free, joint CD release party with Work Clothes at Local 506 on Saturday, Feb. 26.

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