From Jazz Right Now:
Ava Mendoza: I played music ever since I was a little kid. I played classical guitar and classical piano my whole life growing up. I started piano when I was 5 and guitar when I was 7. I got more serious about it just as I was becoming a troubled teenager. I went to Interlochen which is like Oberlin for high school. A boarding school in northern Michigan that is very art focused. I went there for classical guitar. They had a major like in college. I went to there for classical guitar for 3 years and got more serious and more immersed in it there. I was super into it, but at the same time I was listening to tons of punk rock and getting into experimental rock, and free jazz. So at some point I got an electric guitar and started playing with the two other people that I could find who were into improvising together. We just started experimenting. By the end of high school I realized that’s what I wanted, to be doing and I was listening almost exclusively free jazz records at that point. I got out of there and went to Cal Arts (California Institute of the Arts) for one year? Then I took a year off and went to the Mills College. I was more doing electronic music by the time I got to Mills.