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The Covid-19 Pandemic and months of stay-at-home orders has resulted in the cancelling of live shows and concerts indefinitely, leaving many bands and musicians to come up with creative ways to produce music and connect with their fans.
Los Fauna is a Boyle Heights/East LA 60’s psychedelic garage rock band, which has been active since early 2018. At their shows and in projects, the band has covered songs by other groups such as the Los Hitters, Los Saicos, and Los Holy’s, and you can hear those influences in their own music. Los Fauna consists of members Erick Quintero, lead guitar and vocals; Andrew Gastélum on lead vocals and guitar; Erick Bárcena on bass guitar and vocals; Alan Hernández on drums; and Edwin Romero on bongos.
Boyle Heights Beat interviewed the band members back in April. on a phone call from their practice space about what they are working on and how they are dealing during the pandemic.
During the interview they played several of their songs, including a revised version of their first songs. “Máscara” (Mask) is about two-faced people, Gastelum said, but it could be reinterpreted for today’s need to always wear a face covering when being outside.
This interview, which aired on the Radio Pulso podcast in its entirety (including the musical performances), has been edited for space and clarity.
Listen to the Radio Pulso podcast here:
Boyle Heights Beat: Hi and hope you all are well. I was wondering how you, and any of your friends or family, has been affected by Covid-19?
Andrew Gastélum: Yeah, it’s really affecting all of us. I know people in the medical field. My girlfriend’s parents are in the medical field and come across people who are sick. It’s a risky job at this point and time.
BHB: How does social distancing and quarantine affect your ability to practice as a band?
AG: It is stressful. But we like to take it one day at a time and if not all of us can make practice at times, it’s cool. We try to work around it. We’re doing some recordings right now, recording them in pieces for whoever can make it. Record their parts, and just wait.
BHB: Have you written songs or lyrics about everything that’s going on right now?
AG: Personally it’s on my mind, but I would like to make it something poetic.
Erick Bárcena: We’re making a “Cuarentena Cumbia,” if anything. [Laughing] No, we’re not, just kidding.
AG: The way you dance it, it’s going to be six feet apart from each other. [Laughs]
EB: I really miss just hugging people and meeting new people.
AG: That human connection.
Erick Quintero: Now I have to tell people’s emotions by just their eyebrows. I can’t tell if they are smiling at me or through their mask. But it’s okay. We just have to get used to it now.
BHB: From your past songs, do you have any music that you can connect to this moment? Earlier you made the joke about ‘Máscara.” Any other songs that relate to what’s happening now?
EB: I think the song “Xicanismo.” It doesn’t have lyrics and is an instrumental. But it connects to these times because as Xicanos or first-generation Latinos… we have this whole issue of the essential worker label. The people that harvest are our people, que siembran frutas y verduras [who pick fruit and vegetables.] They are considered essential workers but are not given benefits or citizenship or even residency. It is in a sense a punk song but it embodies our love for our people and the whole concept of “xicanismo”.
BHB: I attended a benefit show back in early February and felt the energy of the performance was amazing. Can you talk about that?
AG: We like to bring energy and a lot of different types of energy. One thing is to make people dance, have a good time and bring people together. It’s always fun to dance.
EQ: That’s the biggest one – to understand, to dance and appreciate.
EB: Live music is an art form. It’s just like watching a performance or drama.
EQ: Everyone loves a live show. Live music is great for you. Find me a crazy doctor who says it isn’t!
BHB: I saw that you did a live set for Reckless Magazine on Instagram Live. How was that experience?
EQ: It was actually quite interesting, because most of the time we couldn’t hear ourselves. I don’t think we were really properly recorded, but we had a great time. It was one of the calmest gigs.
EB: I think we had so much fun we didn’t realize we weren’t recording at some point. But next time we know how to make it sound better because I don’t think the Instagram live quality is all that great. But honestly, we put a lot of passion into that show.
BHB: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
AG: Thank you for taking the time, and for anyone to take the time to listen. Hope we can get back to playing live shows soon.
Meanwhile, we are just going to continue to write, record and do our best to keep the dream alive. Our freshest song from the new album is called “Cuerdas Cuánticas”. Once we’re finished with that album, we’re going to go straight into recording the new album.
Los Fauna’s newest album “Mermelada Cósmica 1” is available on Spotify, Youtube and Bandcamp.