Well Hell on Identity. + QNA.

We are a band called Well Hell based outta the IE. Some of us are brown, some of us are queer, some of us are non-binary & some of us are trans – but just like you, we all deserve to take up space in a scene and world that constantly tries to overlook us.

Left photo @littlebravefox, Right @nate_phot0s.

Well Hell is: Hector Rivera (He/him) on drums/vox, Kennedy Howe (She/her) on bass, Cameron Puleo (They/them) on lead guitar, & Eliza Herring (She/they) on guitar/vox.

CP: DIY has been incredibly valuable to me in facilitating a sense of community with other marginalized people that I otherwise wouldn’t have had in my life outside of the internet. I feel incredibly lucky to be by and large immersed in scenes where this is the norm — it’s not lost on me how privileged we are to experience this sense of community and belonging and to be able to practice our craft therein. It’s a fundamental goal of this band to carve out an overtly anti-racist, anti-homophobic, anti-transphobic, anti-sexist, and anti-ableist space where people can feel safe, represented, and valued. I am proud to be queer, trans, and Chicanx, and anything I create cannot and should not be separated from that.

HR: That ending part!! Was justttt thinking at work today how it kind of sucks that some of us can’t just exist in art without having some sort of statement or politics to present. It’s ALL politics by default, ’cause of how you have to navigate things as a colored/queer person in art, music. Identity alone defines a lot of things.

CP: Yes!! Like if you don’t have the ability and/or privilege to stealth an identity, then not only is that the lens through which you have to interact with the world, but that’s also the lens through which people will view your art, and so you often don’t have the choice to NOT be politicized, which means a lot of marginalized people are forced to step up to the plate and go to bat for their communities or for other oppressed peoples; folks who are less visibly marginalized (or not at all so) have the choice to opt out of even discussing these things.

EH: Absolutely. I feel like there are so many artists out there that don’t give a shit about any of this because they don’t ‘have’ to. Hector, you & I were talking about this the other night – I’m sure everyone can recall a situation where you meet folks in a band whose sole focus is to make it big, i.e. isn’t around community & uplifting others. Applies to any creative outlet. Being someone that doesn’t immediately identify as a cis-male in the music scene can be a difficult thing to navigate (why wouldn’t it be – being a woman in this world already has its own deck of cards we’ve been dealt for just existing in a patriarchal society), in the sense of folks thinking they’re ‘complimenting’ you for playing music & being a ‘girl’. Like, I don’t need your approval for what I’m doing – didn’t ask for it, & quite frankly, it’s pretty offensive.

It’s always so disheartening to talk to other artists & hear about the same experience because they are female or trans or non-binary…


When people feel the need to say ‘Hey, you do that pretty well for being  _____.’ Whatever happened to just being good at something because you are?

On the contrary – being a queer Chicana brings this sort of unspoken bond between those who share similar experiences being different from what people imagine musicians should look like. But even though it’s a collective negative experience, it’s brought us together.

KH: Got that whole “you do that pretty well for being a girl” comment since starting to play music! And it definitely feels just as offensive as the “You throw like a girl!” comments you’d hear on the elementary schoolyard. I’m not surprised by the way I’ve been treated & perceived in some situations while navigating the music scene. But it’s not something I’ll ever be ready to accept. I’m just grateful to be navigating this with others to make it known that we won’t accept being overlooked.

I’m used to not being taken seriously as a woman or a queer woman (specifically omnisexual) with a long-term cis boyfriend. I’m also very proud of my Latinx ancestry. It’s just complicated because I don’t know that side of my family due to generational trauma and am very white-passing/have lived a white experience. It just happens a lot where people look at you or hear you for a second and think they have you all summed up.


Point is, there are aspects of my identity where I don’t feel like I fit in a lot of the time. But DIY spaces have given me a place to be more comfortable & confident. I’m happy to be in the diverse local music scene and spaces that uplift the voices of marginalized communities. It’s been healing to hear about everybody’s different identity experiences & navigating creative spaces when others might avoid conversations like these. We have marginalized communities to thank for the ways they’ve fought for us to have outlets that support our expression and all the ways they’ve transmuted their struggles. I’m thankful for everyone in this band that cares about these things even if it’s an uphill battle to make room for ourselves. Whether people are listing to our music or reading our thoughts, I’m extremely grateful to be participating in a group where we can focus on these topics and have opportunities with platforms like this to discuss them.

CP: Absolutely! And personally, I’m in the weird position where every person who comes up to us with this spiel lumps me in with the whole, “Wow it’s so inspiring you have so many *girls* in your band” thing, which is such an impossible comment to respond to anyway without factoring in having to inform someone that they’re misgendering you. Like, I literally have a trans flag on my amp, but these dudes are so eager to score points with these banal statements that they don’t realize they’re just being incredibly patronizing and ignorant.

EH: I wish people’s language could be a little more inclusive. Like, how hard is it to dig a little deeper & say ‘It’s so inspiring to see people like ya’ll do what you’re doing’, or even just say ‘ya’ll are inspiring’? IDK, maybe that’s asking too much, but honestly, it’s not that hard! If you can ask someone their name you can ask their pronouns before you assume someone’s identity. That simple.

KH: Very simple and part of respecting each other as humans! Especially when these concepts aren’t new. Although some people are very sheltered and inexperienced with some of these concepts because of where they came from and how they were raised. Not an excuse! However something I wanted to mention because It’s these music scenes that have introduced me (and others) to a lot of freeing concepts like gender fluidity when I first saw performances of Bowie, Freddie Mercury and a bunch of other legendary musicians as a kid. Seeing that from a musician, even though I didn’t know anybody else in my personal life like that yet, made me feel more comfortable being who I wanted to be wearing things I wanted to wear and not feeling as pressured to live up to current societal standards. It showed the world that people can express themselves in ways that are outside of peoples expectations. It confirmed that people can’t be put in boxes and that in order to understand them, it’s important for them to be seen and heard. Now even more diverse groups of people are able to share their experiences and creativity with the resources and platforms we have access to.

Hopefully us talking about these things while expressing ourselves with authenticity will confirm the same for others; that we come from all different backgrounds, some similar backgrounds in different capacities, and when we come together really fulfilling creative things can happen.

Q&A with Well Hell.

What are some recent life events or experiences (positive or negative) that have helped motivate you creatively?

HR: Being more involved with creatives this year inspires me to create more. Joining this band has inspired me a lot & being around the growing Inland Empire hardcore scene also has me excited about music again.


What are some other DIY bands/artists you’ve been into lately?

CP: Inspiring friends (and friends of friends) in no particular order: Neutral Shirt, Kan Kan, Surcarilita, Low Sweep, INCARI, Nights Templar, Crush 23, Love is Real, Toy Desert, Pocket Full of Crumbs, Wife, Public Universal Friend, Aren’t We Amphibians, Pet, Star 99… so many more I’m forgetting. There’s some really special stuff going on in music right now and I’m beyond grateful to know so many people at the forefront of that.

EH: Dang! Cameron dropped a lot of bands I was gunna mention! <Haha> So definitely the bands they mentioned – recently played with this band called Dreary (with the other band I’m in called Low Sweep) that I’m really stoked on! They’re all such sweethearts making badass music. Massive shoutout to Tylo, Faetooth, Biomass, Blonde Contour, Hands Inn. Also name dropping INCARI & Pocket full of Crumbs again.

HR: Absolutely in love with the band Mildred from LA. They’re everything I wanna be. IEHC has also been popping off and that’s been sick to watch expand.

What does your creative process look like?

HR: I’ll usually listen to parts or ideas shown to me a bunch of times & really try to see the bigger picture, thinking of where & how to make things even more interesting.

CP: I don’t know much technically about music so my process is typically a “throw shit at the wall and see what sticks” sorta deal. Sometimes when I’m listening to stuff my ears will hear like, melodies that aren’t actually there, and that definitely informs some of the Well Hell leads, but mostly it’s just me making lil noises and searching the others’ faces for approval.

What are things that might be difficult in regard to this band?

HR: Aside from scheduling, I initially had to get over intimidation working with new people. Luckily everybody in this band is super kind & easy to work with so I got comfortable with this group fairly quickly.

CP: My motivation to work on art is pretty cyclical, and so I’ll go through periods of being intensely creative and then periods of not wanting to even think about making art, which isn’t super conducive to working with others and usually leads me to procrastinate practicing or writing parts on my own time and stuff. Additionally, scheduling can be tricky with some of us in other music projects and most of us working, and to a lesser extent, I guess gas prices are pretty brutal because the IE is a sprawl and we all live about an hour apart <haha>.

KH: Certain logistical things are challenging for me at the moment. I don’t have a car that’s ideal for hauling gear & I don’t have very much space to put gear at home. Luckily, I have amazing bandmates that let a lot of my gear stay at their place, & friends that have been really generous to set me up with the goods. Shout out Ed!

EH: I think mostly just scheduling <haha>. The older I get the harder & harder it gets to make plans for some reason. Is that just me? Also stage anxiety! Being sober these past couple years has opened up a different experience of performing live; it’s been really neat & interesting to navigate that in a clear state of mind, learning how to navigate all that.

Fav bev?

CP: Coffeeeeeeee

HR: Moscow mule. Or non-alcoholic would be a dirty little chai.

KH:  Oooo coconut water!

EH: Water all the way but also coffee & protein shakes.

What are some things in your life that you most often find yourself coming back to for inspiration?

CP: Nature ! My friends ! My cats : )

EH: Nature all the way!

HR: Honestly always just trying to find new ways to inspire myself since inspiration goes away more often than it comes around. But I guess revisiting music I used to like or favorite artists I haven’t heard in a while.

What’s your ideal show?

CP: A house or a backyard with a working PA and at least one cat on the premises. Maybe some snacks. (All the love in the world to the people who bring food to DIY shows <3 )

HR: A good PA + ventilation. That’s all I need.

What was your worst/weirdest show experience?

HR: Played to like 7 people at this deli shop somewhere in LA with my other band. The mic stands were stuck thru those big orange traffic cones to keep them where they wouldn’t feedback, & someone got mad at us for moving the mic stand to the drum kit so that I could sing <hahaha>.

CP: One time on an east coast tour I played a show in a building that was being used as storage for the contents of an old grocery store. The show was in the basement and the bathroom was up two flights of rotting stairs behind a maze of old commercial refrigeration units. There was no electricity up there, so you had to navigate by the moonlight that came in through the broken windows, and the floor was collapsing, so there was a specific path you were told to follow if you were trying to get to the bathroom so as to not fall through. Bands played in the basement and everyone started smoking a bunch of meth as soon as it was over. They were all super nice tho.

How did you all meet?

CP: Eliza has been present in a number of my friend groups in music throughout the last decade but I was way too intimidated to actually get to know her until fairly recently. It took some shared experiences with less than savory people to properly break the ice between us and since then I’ve been kicking myself for not being more socially adept and getting to know them sooner because they immediately became one of my closest friends. They are effortlessly cool and talented and it’s not lost on me how lucky I am to be able to work with her creatively. Kennedy had been with the band for a while already and Hector was brought into the fold shortly before I joined– I had crossed paths with both of them at shows prior to being in a band together but they’re both really rad and scary good at what they do, so it took joining Well Hell to get around to talking to them. Being in this band is like immersion therapy for imposter syndrome.

KH: My ex-boyfriend from high school heard that Eliza was looking for a bassist & dropped my name about a year and a half ago. Eliza and I clicked immediately! I met Hector & Cameron through being in the band & they’re super talented with other musical projects themselves. Such a genuine group of people that I’m lucky to get to play alongside!

HR: I met Eliza at a show we played together with my other band back in 2019; been a fan since. Kennedy I met through going to watch Eliza play live & Cameron I believe I met at our first practice together hah.

EH: Just what Cameron said about us finally becoming close friends! It feels so silly to think of all the years we could’ve been friends but I guess timing is everything like folks say. & just what Ken said about us meeting – I am so grateful for our paths to have crossed and aligned when they did! Hector & I met at a show we both played about 4/5 years ago at The Void in San Bernardino. I think we were the only folks there for one anothers’ sets in addition to our bandmates haha. Naturally, we both stayed in touch cause you know, IE Doom. Fast forward to earlier this year & we’re in a band together! I feel so damn lucky to be able to share such a space with all these incredible, wonderful, sweet sweet people. Feels like it’s been years in the making to get to this point. I love my bandmates so much & can’t imagine doing any of this without any of them. They all make everything feel so easy & collaborative & wholesome. Couldn’t have dreamt up a better team :’)

See Well Hell this Friday at a South LA Graffiti Club.
RSVP for free here.



Categorized as Doom, Metal

By Hector Zaldivar

Professional magician. @hexzald

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