Chipsterlife is currently stationed in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Land of 10,000 lakes and 10,000 wintry chills. Every so often we head back to the homeland of Southern California for food, family and in this case a Podcast with our favorite musicians Chicano Batman. I had the good fortune of catching a Chicano Batman show in a seemingly unlikely music venue in downtown Fullerton where they are doing a Sunday residency. The next day they graciously made themselves available for a Chipsterlife podcast session in Chinatown, Los Angeles.
Before we get to the Podcast, allow me to describe their live performance
Adorned in their signature baby blue vintage tuxedo shirts their presence is immediately felt with the sounds of clean drums, classic guitar playing and a effervescent pipe organ pumping. Almost as if coming out of a 70s Mexican porn, aside from the lead guitarist, each band member had a coif of long hair accessorized by righteous face fur. The distortion of the lead singer, Bardo Martinez brought me back to the warm up singing of the church choir of my Catholic youth. Chicano Batman uses familiar sounds evoking a strong sense of respect and adoration for the music of their fathers and their own youth. In their own words, “They use the “old school” as a launching pad to express their living spirits while endlessly seeking to capture the essence of many different musical sub-genres and aesthetics, and the references are always clear.” Of course their Spanish dominant lyrics and the peppering of Nahuatl and Portuguese give their music of warmth. One thing I have learned to really respect over the years is how much Spanish for me is the language of home and affection whereas English has emerged as my academic technical language, therefore I was grateful to hear so much spanish, it brought me at ease. I thoroughly enjoyed the backbeat rhythm and a clear drive that invites you to move and groove juxtaposed against a pace that invites you to remember beautiful things. The lyrics have the unique ability of my favorite mariachi tracks to tap into the melancholy but still feel clearly beautiful and hopeful, that bliss is right around the corner. The crowd clearly enjoyed the sounds, responding to the sensual undertones of the music . Music you could love to or just relax too. There set felt well crafted, changing pace when necessary and keeping the audience on different levels
As for the podcast!
We recorded the interview in the backyard of Eduardo Arenas' apartment complex on a hillside in Chinatown overlooking Broadway and staring into Twin Towers. Our chairs slowly sank into the soft ground as we let the conversation disarm us. The conversation was rather wide ranging and included Brado slowly rotating his chair, Eduardo conveniently grabbing a sweater from the clothesline behind him and Carlos subtly taking over the interview and interpreting my questions for a better understanding. There is something really beautiful about digging past the surface. As an interviewer there is a magical moment when you can feel your interview subject loosening up and really be present. I hope that after having listened to the interview you can feel the greater intimacy with the lyrics and sound that I have, having gotten to know the band a little better.
During the conversation the fellas mentioned a couple of bands. Here they are for reference, Los Angeles Negros, La Santa Cecilia and The Soft White Sixties
For those just getting to know the band they mentioned as a possible starting point, Itotiani, maybe Frio II and Magma. For more background information about the band take a look here and here. Of course the band has their own site chicanobatman.com.
Finally, their music videos and streamed music are below.
Note: Drummer Gabriel Villa was unavailable for the interview due to a prior engagement