These kids from Monterrey are too cool for the USA. Though they live just over the border in Mexico, they seem to be striking out with each visa application and attempt to enter the States. This March, while other bands trek to Austin for SXSW, Quiero Club will headline the MtyMX Festival in their hometown. But that is not to say the band is not trying to deliver its pop music savvy stateside and their too-good-to-be-legal sound is completely current.
Monterrey is a simmering music hotspot, boasting acts like Kinky and Plastilina Mosh, and Quiero Club comes out of that scene splashing spitfire synths, bilingual lyrics, and a staggering fusion of Mexican nortenas and cumbias with cheery pop tunes. Growing up in a highly Americanized city, according to Gustavo Mauricio (vocals, guitar, percussion), Monterrey once held the world record for most satellite dishes; each day American television, notably MTV, came into their living rooms and socialized the bandmates in a way to love and emulate American youth culture.
Mauricio says they were “over-excited, over-partied, anything-goes rookies” on their 2006 debut WOF, but that adventurous non-chalance defines their sound. Between DJing at the local radio station and the infectious parties hosted by their label, Happy-Fi, Quiero Club (“I want club”) was born in that spirit of improvisation. The organic friendships translated to free-flowing jam sessions and a democratized song-making process; whoever writes the song sings lead, and only their linguistic limitations hinder the creativity.
However, good fortune shines on the happy-go-lucky crew. After already causing quite a stir on their own, Quiero Club was summoned by the Depeche Mode so memorable from high school dances and parties to play at Foro Sol in Mexico City. “We totally dig it!” Mauricio exclaims, and though it was a great deal of exposure playing in front of 60,000 folks, he affirms that they were ready for the show. “Thousands of focused people create such a powerful vibe that is overwhelming!” This was before the release of their sophomore record and is a testament to just how much love the quintet garnered.
And there is a lot to love about Nueva America, the quintet’s US debut. Mauricio admits they are a “trippy gang,” but the current release is a plateau for these self-proclaimed explorers and features a more focused sound and heightened sense of imagination from WOF. Typically, great explorers are associated with tales of shipwrecks and brazen attitudes, but for Quiero Club it means imagining a new landscape unadulterated by “greed” and “stupidity.” During their lifetime, they experienced the easing of Mexico’s stringent anti-rock music legislation; re-writing the rules seems in order.
“We try to make the audience go into this kind of tunnel,” he explains, and the creativity flowing from the local scene only fuels their experimentation. The group thrives on that interconnectedness, working in the same space, and the tunnel leads to a dance utopia. Featuring tracks dedicated to the regions of the Americas and the album art as a map—with the tracks plotted out of numerical order—there are no rules in Nueva America.
The musical journey of Nueva America is a tale of mind expansion. Pris Gonzalez sings wistfully over a fluid soundscape on “Breathing,” “La Muerte De Ziggy” is an instrumental banger fit for a zany funhouse, and Mauricio holds down “Fifty One” with its sparse guitar-picking and robotic effects. It all fits within the alternative space the album represents. “We love the Americas,” he professes, and while Quiero Club will keep trying their luck against Uncle Sam, they already won the hearts and minds of listeners.
Quiero Club is:
Luis “Fara” Dominguez – bass, guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
Pris Gonzalez – vocals, guitar, keyboards
Rodrigo Martinez – drums, bass guitar, keyboards
Gustavo Mauricio – vocals, guitar, percussion
Marcela Viejo “Nimbu” – vocals, keyboards
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