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Bang Bangz

Submitted by RamonLP4 on April 2, 2012 – 1:52 pmNo Comment
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Bang Bangz (L to R) Mario Rodriguez, Elizabeth Salazar, and Vik Montemayor (Photo: Zulema Plascencia)

 

Bang Bangz seems to have burst on the scene from out of nowhere with its intoxicating mix of pop and electronic elements. You could never had seen that coming from Tax The Wolf’s Mario Rodriguez and it likely wouldn’t have happened had he not met Elizabeth Salazar last year. That meeting brought about marathon sessions to flesh out ideas that had previously only been small electronic tracks Rodriguez had been doing for fun in his spare time. Her sensibilities helped him put aside many of his prog/experimental tendencies and explore new melodic routes. Soon after, they added drummer Vik Montemayor (Live Lights) to seal the deal and the band has been on a grueling schedule driven by an almost insane passion ever since. Listen to their new self-titled EP and you hear the giddy energy of a band in love with what they are doing and the possibilities ahead of them.

FPH: You guys have been around less than a year. How did it all come together so quickly?

Mario: The original stuff was Elizabeth and me - it was perfect because they were just three tracks and they were fun so we thought, “Why don’t we release this digitally?”

Elizabeth: But a lot of people actually liked it – not just us. Our first show was in August. Vik joined a couple of weeks before to learn the songs so it was a whirlwind. It really wasn’t a set thing because that show was something Mario planned on doing as a solo show. We didn’t even have a name.

Mario: We came up with the name two weeks before the show. Mark Brubacker (Houston Press) did a preview for the show because Mikey and the Drags had put me on the bill and that got us a lot of attention.

FPH: So, how did you guys turn around eight songs in six months?

Mario: We worked fast from August to November. We had half recorded, decided to record the other half, and aimed for a date at Fitzgerald’s.

FP: …which ended up being the same night Buxton had their album show upstairs? Was that bad?

Elizabeth: Actually, it worked in our favor. It was packed to the back door with people walking up and down and we played at just the right moment because it was before Buxton began their set.

FPH: Ha, that’s great! Back to the album - it’s November and you’ve got half recorded. How did that work out?

Mario: The process behind it was simple and fast. When Fitz booked us we thought we had some time to relax but we didn’t – we still had to record and we had show after show. It got to December and we were, “Fuck, our EP release is coming up and we don’t have it!”

Elizabeth: We crunched it down to two or three weeks. We had roughs but we still had to re-record everything.

Mario: Three weeks before the release, I wanted to mix it and master it but then I decided I wanted to get someone who knew what the fuck they were doing so I went with Christopher Longwood over at Sugar Hill because I’d worked with him before and I was like “I don’t know if you’ve heard my new stuff.” He said he had on-line and I asked, “Do you want to mix us?” and he said, “Dude, WHEN?!!!”

We went to him telling him what we wanted to do with these tracks and he’s like, “We have to start NOW! Just give me a track tonight and I’ll start working on it.” But we didn’t have the tracks! We thought he’d ask for us to bring them to him the next week and so we’re like, “Holy fuck, let’s get back to the studio and get this done!”

Vik: These were all new songs so Mario was asking me to play on these tracks but I didn’t even have drum parts for them - we winged it.

Mario: But that’s what was so nice, he’d hear a track and just jam to it and he’d do maybe two takes. Perfect! Done! I loved it! So, when Chris heard it and said, “This sounds fucking awesome!” we just kept our mouths shut. (Laughing) So now, when people tell us it sounds good, we’re just, “Dude if you only knew …” Chris was so nice to work with even though he was under a lot of pressure.

Elizabeth: “Photograph” and “From Time to Time” were added the last two or three nights before.

Mario: We went back to Chris saying we thought these would be good for the EP but we only had three days right and Chris was all, “I love ‘em both! Let’s put them on there!”

Elizabeth: He was like, “You HAVE to have these songs on this EP!”

Mario: Doing it so fast and so quickly made it a lot of fun. Reaching a goal little by little and the whole time having a blast - we remember every little detail.

Elizabeth: We don’t even know how we did it because we all have our day jobs and we just spent so many hours in that room.

Vik: …and that room is so small. Everything is crammed in there – drums, mics, guitars…

Mario: … a fridge full of beer. So, we’d go to work then we’d e-mail our tracks via Drop Box and we’d reply to each other with suggestions.

Elizabeth: Right after work, it was back to the studio.

Mario: The experience really pushed us and we realized so many great things…that’s what I love about us is that we really wanted it to happen so badly. All of that energy just drove me to work faster and we’d help each other out if one of us was feeling bad, sick, or aggravated.

FPH: After all that, what does Bang Bangs mean to you?

Elizabeth: It’s everything. It’s what I dedicate all my time to. I found my niche, felt comfort, and it’s awesome that we’re discovering new things about each other.

Mario: We have three captains and we collide but, in the end, it’s a greater result. We listen and understand each other and instead of having one play, we have ten. So the energy of us is a lot more satisfying.

Vik: For me, it’s weird. The bands I listen to is what we do - I never thought I’d be in a band that would do that! So dude this is it; this is where I want to be.

Bang Bangz perform with Dirty Ghosts Friday, April 27 @ Walters

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