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Q & A with Tassos Bareiss: Experience “Las Cruces, New Mexico”

Q: How did you find out about the Las Cruces Love song contest and what pushed you to enter?

TB: I found out from a singer-songwriter friend, who found out about it from a local songwriting newsletter he was subscribed to. 

I love writing songs, so I didn’t need much of a push to enter. I knew I could write a song about Las Cruces and put myself in the running for the prize, so I thought why not try? 

Q: Your song “Las Cruces, New Mexico” is written from your point of view, what personal experiences in Las Cruces shaped and inspired your song? Can you share the specific characteristics of the city's culture that inspired the lyrics and melody?

TB: I hadn’t spent much time in Las Cruces before writing the song. Most of my time in New Mexico has been spent in Albuquerque. I was definitely inspired by the city’s connection with the surrounding nature, like the mountains, the birds, the agriculture. 

Q: How did your perception of Las Cruces change after writing your song?

TB: I got to spend more time in Las Cruces after winning the contest. I met some very friendly people that clearly love their city, enjoyed the views of the Organ Mountains and the Pecan trees, and ate some great food! Las Cruces is a beautiful, friendly place with a nice pace of life. 

Q: Throughout the songwriting process, how did “Las Cruces, New Mexico” evolve? Did you experiment with different music styles and lyrics?

TB: I wrote the song relatively quickly and didn’t change much after the first draft. I began by composing the melody and writing the lyrics for the first verse. I sent it to some friends, who suggested it needed a chorus. Then I wrote the chorus and the rest of the verses from there. Some songs are hard to write and take a while, but this one came out fast. 

Q: What is your background in music? As someone with a career that does not involve music, how does it influence your life? 

TB: I’ve been writing songs and performing mostly for friends for about ten years now. Music is an important part of my life. A lot of my community in Albuquerque revolves around making and listening to music. I play music every day. It helps me process emotions and connect with people. 

Q: You reference several activities and places in your song. What would the perfect day in Las Cruces be for you? Where would you go? What would you do/eat/see?

TB: The perfect day would be getting a coffee from Picacho and then breakfast next door at Mi Ranchito, then going on a hike in the Organ mountains and ending the day with a big meal of red chile enchiladas and playing music with friends. 

Q: What are your musical inspirations?

TB: So many inspirations! For this song, I was definitely inspired by Bob Dylan, but there are countless others. 

Q: How did you feel when you found out your song won? Who did you tell first?

TB: I felt great! It was a surprise. I was having a beer with a friend when I found out, so he was the first person I told. 

Q: What has the process been like for you since winning the song?

TB: It involved some emailing, spending five hours in a recording studio here in Albuquerque with a couple friends, and then driving down to Las Cruces for the night to record the live video. It was super cool to play the song with some of my friends in the studio. They added a lot of energy and feeling to the song. 

Q: How did it feel to see your song animated in a lyric video?

TB: It felt wonderful. I loved seeing the imagery in my lyrics animated in a video. It’s been great to share with family and friends. The response to the video has been very positive. I like the lambs.  

Q: Tell us about the Crossroad Concert presented by Visit Las Cruces that you recorded in the Visit Las Cruces building. How did that experience feel for you?

TB: That experience was very unique and affirming. I was treated like a professional musician, which is new to me and felt really cool. I appreciated the chance to hear from folks who connected with the song. They provided tasty food too! 

Q: What are some lasting or notable moments for you throughout this entire process?

TB:

Going down to Las Cruces and connecting with the folks at Visit Las Cruces and NMCO was notable. I’m happy I was able to bond with people through writing a song about their city. This will inspire me to keep on writing and sharing my music. 

Thank you for this opportunity! 

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