There are two things Tijuana isn't short on: music genres and drug violence. The city is like a drug dealer asking you, "What's your pleasure?" Instead of drugs, it's music and really good music to escape a dreary day.
With a name like Electric Healing Sound, you can't help but to think you're going to get a "don't worry, be happy" feeling from the group's music, but it's quite the opposite. The four-piece Tijuana band is all pedal distortion on the vocals and guitars, sort of reminiscent of the Jesus & Mary Chain. EHS are part of the small Tijuana shoegazer music community, which also includes Shantelle and Celofan. But, the band's Bandcamp bio says they're a “minimalist garage rock band.”
And like a good storyteller of Tijuana's violent landscape, vocalist/guitarist Ricky Soltero admits, “You hear the lyrics, and you think it's nonsense sometimes. But if you know what’s happening, you get a connection to the energy.”
Music. Community. Culture.
Soltero knows first-hand of experiences like the soccer player neighbor in his building who was kidnapped for owing a debt to a drug dealer. He says, “For every day, they cut off a finger. I heard finally they decapitated him.”
When you listen to EHS you don't think Latino or Tijuana, because the musical influences are clearly the likes of Velvet Underground. But do not despair: EHS represent their proud Tijuana roots.
“We take advantage of the San Diego-Tijuana thing,” Soltero says. “Up here we are a TJ band. Down there we’re a San Diego band. People like it.”
The frontman resides in San Ysidro, while his bandmates in Tijuana.
This year the band released their debut, Tangled Up, which was actually recorded on reel-to-reel audio tape at Electric Orange Studios. Electric Healing Sound play in San Diego at the Tin Can Alehouse on Oct. 27.
Dita Quiñones is a multimedia journalist with a passion for Latin alternative and hip-hop music news. In addition to SoundDiego, she contributes to Latina, FOX News Latino, Poder and HipHopDx. She is also the founder of the infamous music and politrix blog GN$F! Follow Dita on Twitter.