Mexico City band Los Blenders recently dropped their new album, Mazunte 2016, via tastemaker label Devil In Woods. Since the release of their 2015 debut Chavos Bien, the band has been steadily building up a loyal following of their fans in Mexico and abroad. Though they sing in Spanish, their music and messages connect on a universal level. While the band’s previous albums have been more rooted in punk, their new album finds them venturing into a psychedelic realm with their own heady blend of surf rock, shoegaze, tripped out soul and prog. Ultimately, the album marks an exciting new direction for the band that also speaks to our troubled times.
Recently, Los Blenders bandleader Alejandro Archumundia took the time to chat about the new album Mazunte 2016, the inspiration behind the band’s fresh sound, the messages in their songs and more.
Is there a theme that links these songs together?
Not all of them but some. The first 3 songs are in the morning and the last 4 are in the night.
You seem to draw from a range of musical styles. Can you talk about some of the bands or albums that inspired your approach on this album?
For this one I was listening a lot to the Beach Boy’s album Surf’s Up. I guess that was a big inspiration for some songs, like these classic pop surf songs but with a weird twist. For the last part of the album we were trying to get a kind of “rock en tu idioma” vibe and a lot of “movida madrileña” bands, both are very inspired in the first The Cure’s albums so we went a bit post punk in the last songs.
Surf rock is an especially big part of the sound here. Was the band always into surf rock?
Mmm, I think The Beach Boys are my favorite band ever. I wouldn’t call them surf rock but I’ve always enjoyed catchy melodies and fast music very much like The Ramones…I couldn’t mention a lot of surf rock bands. In Mexico, surf rock music is a lot more instrumental and I don’t really listen to them a lot.
Your previous albums have been rooted more in punk. How did you come upon your current sound, and has it been well-received by longtime fans?
I just got tired of all the distortion and tried to make a more mellow album fast and strident but with a bit of silk. Yeah, I think people have liked the album a lot. I think young music fans really like when bands make unexpected twists and we tried to do that.
What is the significance of the album title?
It’s the idea of remembering an old trip but how it changes every time you remember it. I went to Mazunte a lot during 2015 and 2016 and right now they all feel like the same memory.
I read an article that described the material on this album as containing more “poignant narration” and touching on subjects like police brutality. Did you consciously aim to cover heavier topics when writing?
Not really, Perdidos en Pantitlán is the song about getting in trouble with the police and it was conceived as a rock urbano song, a mexican genre that usually talks about those topics. Living in Mexico City being abused by the police is very normal so it was more about a crazy night where police are involved rather than a protest song about police brutality, but with the wild current times it kind of evolved to this really crazy song about kids trying to have fun just to be beat up by a corrupt cop
How did your process work in the studio for this album?
It was really fun. We produced all by ourselves like the first album we did but we had a lot more experience and knowledge we have gathered over the years. I usually make a lot of demos in my house and then my bandmates learn them and we kind of workshop them and then we record them.
If we ever go back to normal, do you intend to tour the U.S.?
Yeah hopefully, we have a lot of friends in California that we would love to see again.
Los Blenders will be performing the new album in entirety via their ‘live performance movie’ called Mazunte 3016 on October 10 at 6pm CT celebrating the release. It will be a cinematic experience as the album is portrayed through live performance, acting, and a visually engaging show – a different take on the livestreams that have become ubiquitous during the pandemic. Tickets can be purchased at www.losblenders.mx.
Photo credit: Paloma Sánchez