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Tijuana Cartel: Breaking boundaries and blurring genres with ‘Alectura’

Nestled amidst the golden shores of the Australian Gold Coast, where the boundless sea converges with the sky, a vibrant underground music scene pulses with life. In this crucible of creativity, the Tijuana Cartel found their calling. Their eclectic, genre-defying sounds have not only thrived but also garnered them national acclaim.

Photo Credit:  Tijuana Cartel – Facebook

For this special feature, we spoke with the band to delve into the intricate artistry and musical alchemy that define their latest creation ‘Alectura.’

Join us on this expedition as we unravel the tales woven into their music, unveil the secrets behind their mesmerizing live performances, and peer into the future through the lens of these musical visionaries, all beneath the resplendent Australian sun.

EG: Hi, guys! Welcome to EG. It’s a pleasure to have you here with us. How have you been? Where are you right now?

Tijuana Cartel: We are currently between Byron Bay and the Gold Coast in  Australia, getting the live set ready for our coming tour.

EG: From humble beginnings in the underground clubs of the Gold Coast, you’ve now been recognized with a nomination at the Australian Gold Coast Music Awards. How does it feel to be acknowledged in the area where your musical journey began, amidst the backdrop of your nationwide festival appearances?

Tijuana Cartel: It feels amazing! We’re so grateful to be recognized by our local community, and it’s a testament to all the hard work we’ve put in over the years. It’s also really encouraging to see that our music is resonating with people all over the country. Our first band together was formed there and called ‘Elohmubstac’, which is ‘cats bum hole backwards’. At the age of 14, we thought that was hilarious.

EG: (Laughter) Now, despite performing at significant festivals nationwide, you continue to maintain a connection with your local fan base. How do you navigate between the more prominent festival stages and the intimate club environments that were crucial in shaping your sound?

Tijuana Cartel: It’s a balancing act, but we really enjoy it. We love the energy of playing big festivals, but we also love the intimacy of playing smaller clubs. It’s important to us to connect with our fans on a personal level, and we feel like we can do that well in smaller settings. We’ve played so many venues over the years that we feel we could handle any audience.

EG: You’re headlining several festivals, including CHI WOW WAH TOWN, Wanderer Festival, and Crafted Beer Festival. Could you share your excitement about these performances and any surprises you have in store for your fans?

Tijuana Cartel: We’re so excited to be headlining these festivals! We’ve got some amazing surprises in store for our fans, including some crazy visuals and new tunes… Oh and some festivals not yet announced – so stay tuned.

“We’ve been lucky to travel all over the world, and we’ve been exposed to so many different cultures and musical traditions. This has helped us to expand our horizons and develop a more eclectic sound”

EG: Your new album, ‘Alectura,’ is described as an exploration of global sounds. How have your world travels and studies of world music influenced your sound and creative process on this album?

Tijuana Cartel: Our world travels have definitely had a big impact on our sound. We’ve been lucky to travel all over the world, and we’ve been exposed to so many different cultures and musical traditions. This has helped us to expand our horizons and develop a more eclectic sound.

EG: ‘Alectura’ beautifully blends Eastern and Western musical influences in a contemporary electro-house manner. Could you delve into how this fusion evolved during the album’s creation and the emotions you aimed to evoke through it?

Tijuana Cartel: We wanted to create an album that was both sonically and emotionally diverse. We were inspired by the different cultures that we encountered on our travels, and we wanted to create something that would transport listeners to different worlds. We aimed to evoke a sense of wonder, excitement, and adventure through the music. The main counterpoint will always be dance though.

EG: With the rise of AI-generated music, some argue that it lacks the personal touch that comes from a human artist’s emotional experiences. How do you see the balance between AI and human creativity in the context of music’s emotional resonance?

Tijuana Cartel: Our tunes are so eclectic and quirky that we feel AI would have an impossible time replicating that feel. We aren’t at all against AI though, if it helps us be creative we are the first to use it. We have a dream of one day asking fans to generate AI versions of our music and the best ones, we play live.

EG: Kez, your creative talents extend to visuals, film clips, and album artwork. How do your artistic and technical skills intertwine to enhance Tijuana Cartel’s live shows and overall aesthetic?

Tijuana Cartel: I’m always looking for ways to create a cohesive and visually appealing experience for our fans. I love using visuals to tell stories and create atmosphere, and I think it’s important for the visuals to complement the music. I’m also always experimenting with new ways to incorporate technology into our live shows, I’m a nerd first and foremost.

EG: Paul, your guitar style is distinctive and renowned. Could you share your journey of studying the Spanish guitar and the artists or experiences that shaped your playing?

Tijuana Cartel: It’s been a long journey, some of it through Jimi Hendrix, some of it through listening to a Greek father play bouzouki-filled music, and part of it from growing interested in Flamenco and Middle Eastern guitar styles. I’ve spent some time in Granada studying Flamenco and it’s become a huge part of my practice.

EG: ‘Alectura’ embodies your growth as musicians, collaborators, and friends. Could you each share a pivotal moment during the album’s creation that highlighted this growth and evolution?

Paul: For me, it was hearing some of my Flamenco guitar chops finally recorded in a way that I was satisfied with, at one stage we listened back to the recordings and for the first time in my career I felt truly satisfied.

Carey: For me, it was on the title track ‘Alectura’. I’ve always had a thing for unconventional timings and rhythms, and I wanted this track to reflect that. Although we primarily stuck to a 4/4 beat throughout the album, I took the opportunity with ‘Alectura’ to experiment and create something more rhythmically interesting.”

EG: Tijuana Cartel is known for captivating live performances. How do you translate the intricacies of your album’s layers into a dynamic and engaging live-show experience?

Tijuana Cartel: We put a lot of thought into how we translate our music from the studio to the stage. We want our live shows to be just as sonically rich and layered as our albums, but we also want them to be energetic and engaging. So we use a lot of different instruments and sound effects, and we try to create a really immersive experience for our fans.

EG: What’s next for Tijuana Cartel? Where can your fans catch you next? What new milestones are you looking forward to in 2023?

Tijuana Cartel: We’re looking forward to continuing to experiment with new sounds and ideas. We want to keep pushing ourselves to create music that is both sonically and emotionally stimulating. We’re also really excited to get this album out to the world and tour it throughout Australia and eventually other parts of the world. So far I think we have over 40+ dates just in Australia for spring and summer, with more to be announced including more festivals – so looking to be huge!

EG: Thank you for your time, guys! We’re excited to see what’s in store for you. Take care!

Tijuana Cartel: Thanks so much for having us! Hope you all love the album.

Tijuana Cartel’s ‘Alectura’ is out. Stream and download here.

Follow Tijuana Cartel: WebsiteSoundcloud | Spotify | Instagram | Facebook

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