It appears that someone in Santa Fe flashed the bat signal towards the west. Chicano Batman is headed our way to bring the kind of soulful, sunshiny tunes this city desperately needs, on Tuesday May 3rd at Meow Wolf.
Getting their start in 2008, Bardo Martinez, Carlos Arévalo, Eduardo Arenas, and Gabriel Villa joined forces over shared appreciation for an eclectic range of musical styles which includes tropicalia, cumbia, psychedelia and soul. Decked out in matching tuxedos, the Los Angeles quartet has released a pair of albums, and has toured with the likes of powerhouse performers Jack White and Alabama Shakes.
With bilingual vocals, and drawing from a variety of latin musical influences, they’re drawing attention as one of the most exciting Latin American bands of the 21st century, but this is music without social barriers. From chilled out soulful ballads to electrifying cumbia grooves, Chicano Batman’s songs contain a magnetic warmth that should appeal to anyone in need to good vibes. Their 2014 full length, Cycles of Existential Rhyme, is a perfect fit to soundtrack summertime pool parties for many years to come.
I recently reached out to Bardo Martinez (lead vocals, organ, guitar) to get the scoop about Chicano Batman’s next record, among other things…
Mecca Lecca: It’s been a couple of years. When can we expect a follow up to Cycles of Existential Rhyme?
Bardo Martinez: We will be releasing a single off of a full length LP this summer. Expect the LP in the fall.
ML: How will the next album differ stylistically?
BM: It is its own body of work. For me, songs are their own universe, and inherently merit various musical approaches. I guess, we’ve become more and more aware of this. Watching the Alabama Shakes every night while on tour with them last year, was particularly illuminating. Musical dynamics are clutch in creating profound music. Where’s the magic in seeing four fools bang out complex mathematical equations on their instruments for an entire set? The magic is in the soul and simplicity is key in allowing it to breathe and to shine.
ML: Will “Black Lipstick” appear on the next record, or was that a one-off single?
BM: You know, I was pushing for it on the next album, but the reality is (as Carlos and Eduardo foresaw) the production quality is extremely different.
ML: Is there a noticeable difference in the way your music is received in cities with strong Latin populations?
BM: Latinos are left out of mainstream American pop culture. That’s a fact. So Latinos in LA and Phoenix (or any city for that matter) will create their own culture whether or not they see people that talk or look like them on TV. Since Chicano Batman is a pretty explicit declaration of identity, it is no surprise why Latinos identify with us and our music. It’s not to say that these Latinos don’t identify with the mainstream, or that other “races” can’t identify with us. For us, the point is that we should all identify with each other, because there is no such thing as race; only a very long and complex history that all of us are struggling to live with.
ML: Considering your wide ranging scope of influences, is there anything you’ve heard recently that you could see further informing the sound of Chicano Batman?
BM: 70s soul music is always a source if inspiration for me. Composition, dynamics, arrangement, singing style, etc..That, among other things, will continue to inform our sound.
ML: As a bilingual band, is there a conscious decision as to which songs will be English or Spanish, or does it happen more organically?
BM: It’s always been organic for me. Lately I’ve thought it with a more strategic lens. Songs in English are gonna have a wider audience in the states, so most of the new songs have English lyrics.
ML: And because this is the most important question in Santa Fe, Red or Green Chili?
BM: Invite us over for dinns, and we’ll let you know on the spot, I promise you! This is from a skinny guy with plenty of appetite!
Editor’s note: Believe me, with all of the amazing food in this town, the last thing you need is my failed excuse for cooking.
Chicano Batman on the web:
Upcoming Tour Dates:
Thursday April 28, 2016
Paper Tiger, San Antonio, TX TICKETS
Sunday May 1, 2016
Levitation, Austin, TX TICKETS
Monday May 2, 2016
Bowie Feathers, El Paso, TX TICKETS
Tuesday May 3, 2016
Meow Wolf, Santa Fe, NM TICKETS
Wednesday May 4, 2016
Crescent Ballroom, Phoenix, AZ TICKETS
Saturday May 28, 2016
Bottlerock, Napa, CA TICKETS
Saturday June 4, 2016
Free Press Summer Fest, Houston, TX TICKETS
June 9-12, 2016
Bonnaroo, Manchester, TN TICKETS
July 23-24, 2016
XPoNential Festival, Camden, NJ TICKETS