For all the ¡Aparato! audionauts out there, the wait is finally over! The group that masterfully meshes traditional Mexican music with ethereal post-punk sounds returns from a studio somewhere in the galaxy with its self-titled debut album in hand. Anchored by the duo of accomplished musicians Cat Mendez and Alexandro Hernandez, ¡Aparato! sears through six tracks that transport listeners to outer realms. Hernandez summons effects-laden electric guitar melodies that intermingle with the strumming of jaranas while Mendez's voice is enchanting in its richness.
The band, which we named Best Latin Alternative last year, continues to find new ways to innovate. As the lore of ¡Aparato! has it, the name, which means “Machine,” was inspired by a Cafe Tacvba song. Notable beat-maker/producer Eugene Toale reached out to them, learned the electronic programming Cafe Tacvba used in its early records and applied it to ¡Aparato!'s offerings!
Before ¡Aparato! beams down to the Orange County Center for Contemporary Arts (OCCCA) this Saturday, the Weekly caught up with them about their new music!
On using a drum machine on the album's songs:
Mendez: “Working with a drum machine has opened the doors to another world for us. Eugene Toale, producer of the album, and Alexandro have been creating the beats for ours songs. The drum machine gives us an opportunity to explore with different sounds and rhythms for every song and for their different sections. I think the drum machine adds an ethereal mysticism sound to our music and, of course, a rock power kick. I love the way “Desarmar” sounds with the drum machine. I feel like we're traveling into the future! Imagine this: what would the galaxy and stars sound like with electric sounds and beats?
The other benefit to using a drum machine is that we don't have to worry about our jaranas being drowned out by the smashing of cymbals and a drum kit. The jarana is a small instrument and its beautiful tones can easily get drowned out in a rock band, so we have to be careful when working with drummers.
On Alexandro Hernandez handling the vocals on “El Ajusco”:
Hernandez: “My aim was to sing some son jarocho-space rock sweetness on “El Ajusco.” Where I started off as a singer is completely different to how I sing now. I was in a grindcore band in high school and I often sang grind style during rehearsals. Fast forward to “El Ajusco,” which personally marks at least 10 years of experience playing son jarocho at fandangos and professionally on stage. “El Ajusco” is very special to me because it's the very first song I wrote when I moved to Los Angeles from Tejas.
The first verse is based on my first visit to “El Ajusco” just before starting graduate school. On the second verse, I recall a story of my tía Fani from México D.F. who once spotted a UFO (OVNI en Español) while studying for exams to become a medical doctor. I'm truly fascinated by UFO sightings and the question of what else is out there in the universe. Hell, even Machete is going up to space to kick some nalgas!”
¡Aparato! performs at their album release party with special guests Purple Mums and Bellhaunts at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Arts, 117 N. Sycamore St., Santa Ana. Sat., 7 p.m. $5-15. All Ages.
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Gabriel San Román is from Anacrime. He’s a journalist, subversive historian and the tallest Mexican in OC. He also once stood falsely accused of writing articles on Turkish politics in exchange for free food from DönerG’s!