"Music has been with me all my life." - Carla Riojas
Carla Riojas is a very talented solo artist here in the "frontera". Her soft voice is unique and pairs very well when she plays her acoustic guitar. That being said, it is no surprise that she will open for the world-wide known band (and one of my favorites) Jarabe de Palo next week at their show. Carla's and Jarabe's music go hand in hand and if you give it a listen and like it, then I urge you to go see them next week show at Tricky Falls. This will be a very special event, so I asked Carla a few questions regarding that and some other things about her upcoming material.
So, tell me about your new single Motivos and your new album.
"Motivos is the new single of my new CD. It will include 10 songs, but I can't really say much about it right now, It will come out later this year. I have not released anything since 2012 and I was fortunate to work with Manuel Calderon of The Chamanas. He knew exactly what I wanted for my new sound."
What is music for you?
" Music has been a partner for me. My parents had vinyls when I was growing up and I would listen to Alaska, Luis Miguel, Flans, Rafael and so on. Music is in everything. It is necessary for any human being. What I focus on in my new CD is a vintage yet modern sound. It is necessary to enjoy the good parts of what make music and the music industry."
What do you think about the border? (El Paso/Juarez)
" What makes the border different is the people and their personalities. The border is full of people from all over the world with two very prominent cultures being Mexican and American. It is very unique and people here on the border are more tolerable of certain things."
On another note, if you could make a playlist of 5 songs, which would they be?
Talking about playlists, do you have a routine you do before a concert?
" My pump up song is It's No Good by Depeche Mode and I do some breathing exercises to help me calm down before a show because I really absorb people's energies."
How do you feel about playing with Jarabe de Palo?
"It is a special moment for Jarabe especially with Pau's (singer) condition. This band has been a part of me since my teenage years. Bonito is one of my favorite songs by them. Their songs can be a sad song yet bring such a special message within it. This concert will be intimate and special."
Side note: Carla would like for everyone to embrace her new CD and give it a listen when it comes out. It is very different. As mentioned, Manuel alongside her management did a great job. She is very proud of this project.
Thank you Carla and if you want to follow her on Facebook and Instagram it is under Carla Riojas.
"I think that everybody in the world should have the right to travel anywhere they want at once in their life." - Hector Quintana
Hector Quintana is the percussionist and vocalist for the band Maná. Hector has been with Maná since 2007 and that's actually the amount of years I've known him myself. Hector brings a huge amount energy on stage especially now where he does Nicky Jam's part for the song De Los Pies A La Cabeza's new version. His vocals are always on point and he's always had a presence on stage no matter if he is singing or playing different instruments towards the back of the stage during a concert. The following interview happened via FaceTime because Maná is still on tour and he is currently doing his own tour as well.
So, tell me about your CD Present Perfecto and what inspired it?
"Presente Perfecto is my first project as a solo artist. I started with Maná in 2007 and I barely made Presente Perfecto in 2014. It was long process. I made this CD with the intent of people hearing my message through my music. What interests me is what I can do with my music and how far I can go."
How many instruments do you play and how long have you been playing them for?
"I am a percussionist and vocalist for Maná as mentioned and I also play the guitar and the bass. I am a multi instrumentalist. It takes a lot of work especially for such a big band."
What is the difference between touring with Maná and just touring by yourself?
"It is very different because Maná is what is considered a big league band and there is so much production and discipline that goes behind that. I have learned that publics are very different in different places and there is always a different ambience that pumps you up differently."
What has been the best places you have visited?
"The best places I have visited is La Patagonia in Argentina and it is just majestic. The food in South America is wonderful. Spain is incredible too. I feel like people should be able to experience this at least once in their life,"
What is the message are you trying to transmit through your music?
"I want for people to listen to the melody, the rhythm , and the lyrics. I just want people to feel a connection with it."
Well on another note, you've been here at the border. What do you think? Any political tensions?
"The border is nice. The only tensions we have felt since the election has been in Pheonix with people protesting because we support immigrant rights."
Ok, to finish off how do you prepare for one of your concerts,
"I try to be at the city i'm playing in several days before and practice with the band and prepare as much as possible."
You can add Hector Quintana on Facebook and Instagram under that same user name and contact him through there, especially if you are interested in him playing a show..
A big thanks to Hector for doing this.
"The whole process has been very organic. The important part is keeping our feet on the ground." -Paulina Reza.
I first heard of The Chamanas through a friend that was really into indie-pop like Natalia LaFourcade and Zoé. I gave them a listen and I immediately fell in love with them and I realized why they had such a great public appeal. The coolest thing about this independent band is that they are from Juarez and all I can say is that they are proud of where they come from. They are yet more proof that there is a lot of talent on the border. They just released a new song El Farol on their new album NEA. If you have not listened to them, I encourage you do so!!! I am lucky to have interviewed Paulina Reza (singer) to see what the band has in store.
So, what inspired the new song and what can you tell me about the new album?
Paulina: "NEA is the new album for which we worked on for four months at Sonic Ranch (great recording studio in Tornillo). The band has grown a lot there and I believe that the album has a "fresh" sound and the band is more stable than ever."
Now this is your second album, however for Once Once, The Chamanas were nominated for a Latin Grammy. How was that experience like?
Paulina " From the beginning this project was thought out with big goals in mind. When they gave us the news, we were very elated! What was crazy was that we were on tour at the time and the night before the Latin Grammies we drove to Las Vegas to arrive that same day. It was
all very surreal."
You guys have a very distinct sound, what is that due to?
Paulina: " Between us, we joke about that and say we play Huastechno (Huapango and Techno). It's funny because it is a very traditional Mexican folk music mixed with electronic. It is very "us"."
What message do you want to send the world with your music, especially being a band from the border?
Paulina: " We want to be referred as an indie-pop/rock Mexican band. We support "la frontera". There is a lot of talent here. El Paso and Juarez are two cities but one society. Behind any of our performances, there is love for the border and music itself."
The Chamanas has just played SXSW and I know there has been some tensions felt by the Hispanic and Mexican population. Did you guys notice anything?
Paulina: " Now that you mention it there was tension. This year's SXSW felt different than last year's and I feel like people think it's easier for people to act in a racist manner in which they might feel more entitled to it due to our new presidency. However, once we are on stage people forget where we come from or who we are and they enjoy the music. Our music."
What can you tell us if future plans and the upcoming Neon Desert Music Festival?
Paulina: "We are definitely preparing a lot for Neon. We are playing at home and we have a lot of new material, wardrobe changes, graphics, and a lot of surprises for this festival and our upcoming tour."
I want to thank The Chamanas for this opportunity. You can follow them and reach them at:
Instagram : thechamanas
Website with contact information at the bottom of the page:
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Interviews and playlists of local bands and international artists.