"The most important thing in music is to follow your heart, as cheesy as it may seem." - Fernando "Psycho" Vallin.
In case the name does not sound familiar, then you will definitely recognize his mariachi "grito" during Maná's Mariposa Traicionera. He also happen's to be Maná's lead guitarist's brother. Fernando Vallin, better known as "Psycho", is an integral part of Maná. He plays several instruments for the band and he also lends his vocals for several songs. He has been playing for about thirty-two years and it shows in his abilities to play different instruments.
I recently caught up with Psycho and we talked about music, bands, Tel-Aviv, and we also took a stroll down memory lane. As mentioned, he has been playing for about thirty-two years and since the age of 16 he has known that he wanted to be a musician. He said that his musical teachings were "callejeras" and out of necessity. He also mentioned that he started off playing the acoustic guitar, but then he switched to electric guitar when he joined his old band. He said that when the drummer left his old band, he became the drummer for the band and then later when they got a drummer their bassist left and he took over the bass. He ended up sticking to the bass for a long time, but he said that it was all due to necessity. He said that it is vital to adapt to these types of situations, especially when you are starting out. His love for these instruments has only grown throughout the years.
Being that Maná has toured so much throughout the years, I had to ask him what his favorite part and experience from touring has been. He said that, "touring is such a great experience and it is something you will remember for life. When I am home, I just want to go touring and when I am touring, all I want to do is come back home to my family." He said that there has to be a balance. "Like tour and have fun, but also remember to chill when you have to." Regardless, he has enjoyed the ride.
He also mentioned that one of his favorite concerts to ever play was Tel Aviv. Never in a million years did he think that a band from Mexico would sell out venues in Tel Aviv. The language and culture is so different and he did not think it was possible. He said they had to change the venue like 2-3 times because tickets continued to sell out. He later learned that the reason they have a large following in Tel Aviv is due to military and lots of tourists from South America.
After a lengthy conversation on bands, I asked Psycho what his favorite artists of the moment were and he mentioned the classics like Queen, Toto, The Rolling Stones, The Who, and The Beatles. He then said that he is very much into jazz and mentioned that some of his favorite bands of the moment are Snarky Puppy and Chick Corea. He definitely recommends them.
I then took the moment to ask him what are his top 5 songs people should hear before they die and he said:
PSYCHO'S TOP 5
Last but not least, I asked Psycho what advice he would give people that are just starting off in a band and are eager to chase the music dream. "Patience. Lots of it. Also, be responsible. In the music world, it's so easy to act like a "rockstar" and arrive late to practice and get drunk all the time. Don't do that. Be responsible. I have been working with Maná for many many years and never have they been irresponsible or late. Only once have we ever post-poned a concert and that was something that was out of our control. Another piece of advice is to take it seriously. People are not dumb. They will call out your bullshit. Also, most importantly: follow your heart!"
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Interviews and playlists of local bands and international artists.