You can't talk to Tijuana musicians without hearing the name Eric Curiel. And it's likely you'll see the Tijuana-born-and-raised beatmaker's name in credits for several bands -- five to be exact, including: Shantelle, Electric Healing Sound, Dancing Strangers, Piel Divina and Perros Cobardes. These are all legit buzz bands, which makes him the hardest working man in Tijuana's indie music scene.
His band Shantelle recently opened up for legendary pioneering '90s shoegaze en Espanol band, Los Planetas -- a pretty historic concert being that it was their first time performing in Tijuana ever. That night, I praised J., of Los Planetas for their influence on the bordertown musicians, including Shantelle. J. replied, "Shantelle is amazing. I'm happy they're opening up for us."
To Curiel's credit, there is something very special to the music he's creating post-Los Planetas within Tijuana. The inevitable will happen, Curiel will fly as a solo artist in June with psychedelic pop album, La Llamada de lo Ideal. For now we can vibe out to the album's lead single, "...de tu Corazon," which just just dropped on SoundCloud -- but the question remains: What happens now?
Dita Quinones: Does this mean you're done with Dancing Strangers, EHS and Shantelle?
Eric Curiel: I'm still playing in all the bands, including Piel Divina and my other electronic solo project, Perros Cobardes.
DQ: Why the ellipses in the lead single "...de tu Corazon" title?
EC: I just thought "En el Fondo de Tu Corazon" was too long, which was the original title.
DQ: Will "...de tu Corazon" have a music video?
EC: Yes, the video should come out next week. It has a lot of references of psychedelic culture, which is what kinda inspired me to write the song.
DQ: Who's collaborating with you on your solo debut?
EC: I pretty much played all the instruments.
DQ: Dios mio! You're putting in work.
EC: It's a guitar record, really. It's my main instrument. I also played bass, synths, sampler, drum machine and percussion. The drum kit is played by Ensenada recording engineer, Jorge Santel. Some synths are played by Saulo Cisneros on the album's first track.
DQ: Where are you recording?
EC: The record is already finished. It's a 10-track album. I recorded three songs at Saulo Cisneros' home studio in Tijuana. The other seven, I did in Ensenada at Armonia Producciones with Jorge Santel.
DQ: I actually see some parallels between you and Kanye West, if that makes any sense. Has all your numerous band collaborations finally compelled you to break out on your own since you can do it all anyways?
EC: Well, yeah. Playing in all those bands and collaborating always inspires me, and I really think I learned a lot from those experiences. I suppose the same way Kanye did with Jay-Z and all those great rappers.
DQ: Who's your favorite rapper?
EC: Tupac is the best! And I like Kanye West a lot – since The College Dropout.
DQ: What's next for you?
EC: I'm planning for a June solo tour in Mexico. Expect to see me playing the songs with an electric/acoustic guitar and a looper pedal to create musical atmospheres. On May 31, I'm playing at a festival in Guadalajara, Jalisco.
Dita Quinones is a multimedia journalist born in Tijuana with a passion for Latin alternative and hip-hop music news. Her main goal is to uplift and inform so that the Latino, Filipino and Hip-Hop community get knitted into the fabric of American history. In addition to SoundDiego, she contributes to Latina, FOX News Latino, Poder, VidaVibrante, San Diego CityBeat and HipHopDx. She is also the founder of the infamous music and politrix blog GN$F! Follow Dita on Twitter or on Facebook.