This week's feature is XICLON, a three-piece band from Dallas, Texas. The band is made up of Juan C. Martínez (vocals/guitar/accordion), Vicente Tapia (bajoquinto), and Mathew West (guitar). For those wondering, "XICLON smashes American alternative rock and Latin-American sounds, primarily Mexican norteño, to deliver a voice of an under-represented Mexican-American alternative culture."
On December 5th, XICLON will release their first single "Que Difícil" which "serves as a statement for their vision, interlacing contemporary rock patterns and huapango cadences, and driven by a melodic accordion hook, heavy guitars, and bajosexto rhythms." It truly is catchy and a testament to the band's roots. Remarkably, this is only the beginning for the band and 2020 will bring even better things for them.
We were lucky to have Juan was able to answer some questions for us earlier this week.
D.OM.E (Desert of my Eye): What is XICLON, what does it mean to you and what is the correct pronunciation?
Juan: I, and the other members of the band, have a very diverse taste in music, and we tend to pick up influence and ideas as we hear music we love. That leads to our music being a sort of storm or cyclone of elements from different genres and styles.
We adjusted the spelling in order to give it some ambiguity. Over time, we want our band name to take a meaning of its own through our music, rather than be tied to a pre-defined word. Plus, it allowed us to remove the language-specific spellings of either “cyclone” or “ciclón” — We pronounce it both ways.
D.O.M.E: You mentioned that you are first generation Mexican-American songwriter/producer. How did you know that you wanted to do music and how did your parents react to that decision?
Juan: I’ve had an interest in music since playing trumpet in middle school, but I really began taking it seriously shortly after graduating film school (film was my original career choice). I think dedicating your professional effort to creativity isn’t the easiest thing to grasp but thankfully, I’ve always had the support of my parents. I think the biggest surprise to them has been deciding to do something so non-traditional with XICLON after spending half a decade playing norteño music almost exclusively.
D.O.M.E: What is "Que Dificil" and what can you tell me about the song?
Juan: Que Difícil is the first song we’re releasing after about a year of planning, writing, and producing, so we’re really excited to finally put something out for the world to hear. It was the first song I wrote for XICLON, and it has serves as a sort of musical statement for us, as it plays across our spectrum of contemporary rock/alternative grooves and traditional Mexican rhythms and elements.
Lyrically, the song externalizes the challenges and frustrations of accepting a failed relationship. I think sometimes we tend to treat failed relationships as something to suppress/ignore or to feel self-pity for, when in reality it should be something we accept, analyze, and learn from. To me, this song represents the moment right before getting back on your feet after a tough fall.
D.O.M.E: Are there any bands, songs, or artists that influence you at the moment?
Juan: Probably too many to name! Recently, artists like Charlie Puth, Mon Laferte, Jonaz, Highly Suspect, Badflower, Billie Eilish, Chicano Batman have inspired me to chase my own sounds and experimentation lyrically and musically.
Some lifelong standouts that have had a heavy influence on me range from American artists like Linkin Park, Deftones, Panic! At the Disco, and My Chemical Romance to Latin artists like Maná, Invasores de Nuevo León, Rigo Tovar, Los Bukis, and Juanes.
D.O.M.E: What are the band's plans in the near future?
Juan: We’re currently working on our live band/show and also have plenty of music ready for release over the course of 2020. Que Difícil is only the beginning!
D.O.M.E: Anything you would want people to know about XICLON?
Juan: The idea of merging elements of American and Latin/Mexican music isn’t just a musical statement, but also a cultural one. I’ve experienced firsthand the sort of identity crisis caused by growing up between a traditional Mexican household and an American society. The feeling of having to choose between cultures is pretty rampant, and I don’t think it’s indicative or representative of who we are as Mexican-Americans. I believe it’s worth embracing everything that influences us and doing it unapologetically.
A big thank you to XICLON and make sure to stay tuned for what they have in store!
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Interviews and playlists of local bands and international artists.