Wait. Think. Fast.

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Although their lyrics span a wide range of emotions, don’t call them emo. Genre-bending breakout band Wait. Think. Fast. is a foursome that sprouted in Echo Park and blend alternative rock, dream pop, and post-punk with a bilingual twist. Vuelve al Mar, the follow-up to their 2007 self-titled debut album, drops November 18 and features the ambient and wistful “Cien Fuegos” and punk-inspired anthem “Clear Our Name.” LARemezcla.com caught up with W.T.F.  to find out the meaning behind their name, Polo’s surprising day job, and what it takes to make it in the L.A. music scene.

Names: Jacqueline Santillán: vocals/keyboard; Matthew Beighley: bass/guitar; Apolinar “Polo” Quintero: guitar/noise/vocals; Thomas King: drums.

Ages: Young enough to believe and old enough to know.

Roots: Jacqueline: Born in Mendoza, Argentina but moved to Southern California at four. Grew up in a very Latino/Argentine home where I only spoke Spanish and drank mate with my parents, but also with white, Korean-American and TONS of Mexican-American friends. Matthew: Evanston, Illinois. Go Barack. Polo: Grew up in Downey, CA with Mexican roots. Tom: From Boston but lived for many years in Athens, Georgia.

Where do you live now? Echo Park.

Where are you answering these questions from? Echo Park.

Day jobs: Jacqueline: Marketing rock clubs. Matthew: documentary editor. Polo: chemist. Tom: Works at an art school.

Where and what were you doing 5 years ago? Jacqueline: I was in Los Angeles and playing with my first band Central City Transmission. I have a thing for three-word band names ;). Matthew: Working at Behind the Music, doing camera [work] for Aerosmith, Huey Lewis and the News, Garbage, Green Day, and Sinead O’Connor.

Current obsessions/addictions: Jacqueline: American politics, avoiding a Sarah Palin world, overturning Prop 8 and Wait. Think. Fast. Matthew: Argentine cuisine, specifically Lomo a la pimienta and its effects on my gut.

Guilty pleasures: Jacqueline: Champagne, alfajores de dulce de leche and America’s Next Top Model (“I hold in my hand the picture of the girl…”). Matthew: Posing as a demented right-wing fundamentalist on political blogs to mess with everyone’s head.

Recent musical discovery: Matthew: The new Walkmen record. And I’m learning to play the charango. Jaqueline: The latest Bajofondo record, Mar Dulce. I saw them live at El Rey and I’d really love to discover one of those violins with a gramophone attached. Amazing sound! I also want to discover a bandoneon player to sit in with Wait. Think. Fast. I love the last Bostich + Fussible Tijuana Sound Machine record and the last Kills record.

Best recent meal: Jacqueline: Crab curry at Akbar in Pasadena. I LOVE Indian food. LOVE it.

Movie that best represents your life: Jacqueline: Currently in production…

Last book you read: Jacqueline: The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. Matthew: The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

Do you have any tattoos? Nope.

Where would we find you on a Saturday afternoon? Rehearsing at our space downtown.

Heroes (besides your parents)? Jacqueline: Anyone who puts up a good fight, perseveres, treats others the way they’d like to be treated and isn’t full of shit. Musically, Fugazi, David Bowie, Mercedez Sosa, and anyone making art anywhere just for the love of it. Matthew: Stanley Kubrick, Jeff Tweedy, Sarah Palin.

When did you start Wait. Think. Fast.? Why? The band was started about two and a half years ago, but we didn’t finalize this lineup until a year ago. Why? Because making music with friends is the most amazing thing.

I read on your MySpace page that Wait. Think. Fast. comes from the novel Siddhartha by Herman Hesse (“I can think. I can wait. I can fast.”). Is that true? Jacqueline: Those lines mean so much to me. I’m an optimist and believe there’s a lot of goodness despite the state of the world today. It summed up so perfectly which traits are important for me to live up to, how I want to live my life. We’re all in a rush and can lose focus, or become self-absorbed. Those lines are a reminder of what’s important. In the book, Siddhartha is asked by a wealthy businessman what he has to give to society. I love that Siddhartha explains his most prized assets as his ability to think and be patient, not rushing to desperate decisions. The “fasting” part symbolized greed to me. It’s pretty evident these days what the downfalls of greed are. I like to imagine a pure life and mind, not poisoned by what we’re “supposed” to want or have. Hesse summed it up so perfectly for me, so I named the band after it.

Describe your sound in five words
: Multicultural, heartfelt, passionate, cinematic, and mighty.

Your lyrics draw on a wide range of emotions some might call emo. Where do you get your inspiration? Jacqueline: NO! Please don’t call us emo. Those kids have weird haircuts I couldn’t possibly afford. My lyrics are mostly about family and the world. “Clear our Name” is about immigration. Being an immigrant myself, I’m grateful for the opportunities the U.S. has provided my family and me, but I have to consider the problems surrounding it—the treatment of undocumented workers, discrimination, families that are separated, the perils of crossing the Mexican border, the strain on American infrastructure and schools. These are all real issues and it’s a bigger question than “Should we let them in or not?” Latinos here are all immigrants or children of immigrants and we need to address those risking everything to get here and the bigger challenges they face today. If the laws are tightening, what can we do in solidarity? What can be improved back home to fix this complicated problem? Open borders? I don’t have the answers, but I want to clear the name of the immigrant. They’re not all bad, not all wanting to steal your jobs. “Cura” is about the superstitions my mom used to talk about when I was growing up and how crazy I thought they were. Part folklore, part religion, it doesn’t always make sense but it’s fun.

As a female-fronted band, what do you think about songwriters like Pilar Diaz, Ceci Bastidas, and Uli and the Gringos? Jacqueline: I love the world of music, from the chanteuse to the DJ. Every artist and those who support them have my respect.

What makes the L.A. music scene unique? L.A. is the toughest scene to win over because it’s also the most sophisticated. People here live and breathe culture. Music fans are passionate and pride themselves on knowing about the most obscure and amazing new artist months before the rest of the world. On any given night you’ve got five great live shows going on all over from east to west. I’ve seen so many shows where the band isn’t feeling immediate love from an L.A. audience and makes the fatal error of calling us out like we’re jaded Angelenos. Whatever man. Out here you gotta work for it and earn it.

You’re releasing Vuelve al Mar next Tuesday. What else are you working on? We’re recording a Christmas single, a video, pre-production for our next record, which I’d love to get out next year, and more shows.

Biggest challenges: Getting our record out to as many people as possible in this A.D.D. culture. Also, getting to work on time after a late night show or practice. Ha ha.

Plans for the future? We want to tour, tour, tour, make another record and hit the road as far as we can go—South America, Europe, etc.

What makes someone a “Cosmopolatino”? Someone who is sharp and engaged, works hard and is dialed in. Like David Bowie said, “I know when to go out and when to stay in. Get things done.”

For more  Wait. Think. Fast. go to myspace.com/waitthinkfast