As of transcribing our today’s special, a Mexican tour diary and “Tararear”, aDaniel Patlan produced music video premiere from Miami, Florida based melancholic dream pop / gritty punk act LAS NUBES, the world is such a different place. The band were supposed to be on tour in Europe right now, but that adventure lies far off in the distance.
“Our friends in Mexico all seem to be fairing as well as possible despite the pandemic, and the wealth of collaboration we created there is still forthcoming via sessions and recordings to be released in the coming months.” – comments the band’s Emile Milgrim.
“Lycanthro Pub, where we played in Tijuana, is now permanently closed. Being in a band is tough in general. Touring definitely takes a toll. But looking back on this experience and all the other wacky treks we’ve embarked on, we feel so fortunate that music and the camaraderie it fosters is part of our lives. We can’t wait to get back out there and keep making noise! ¡Hasta pronto!”
Check out more details about LAS NUBES, their recent work and touring experience, and scroll down for the full tour diary documenting their memorable trek in Mexico!
In January 2020, Las Nubes toured throughout Mexico, playing for Doc Martens CDMX, live on Aire Libre 105.3, and to sold-out crowds in multiple cities, recording a half-dozen live sessions along the way. During this tour a collaborative video for “Tararear” was created.
Filmed and edited by Daniel Patlan (Rarara Films), the video follows youth as they skate and bike throughout CDMX on their way to see Las Nubes perform live. Featuring new artwork by Cach and energetic footage from 316centro, the unparalleled spirit and excitement of attending shows is remarkably captured and retold in under four minutes.
Las Nubes’ undeniably catchy songs transition from melancholy dream pop to blistering punk rock as easily as their lyrics do from English to Spanish. Named “Best Band 2019” by the Miami New Times, they have become one of “South Florida’s most beloved bands – a distinction they’ve earned through hard work and infectious hooks.” Their debut album, SMVT, released via the SRR Label in summer 2019, has retained constant momentum through rigorous promotion, engaging social media, one-off events, and multiple tours. A follow-up split EP featuring “Tararear” was released spring 2020 on BUFU Records.
To date, Las Nubes has shared stages with Shannon And The Clams, Jens Lekman, The Coathangers, Sheer Mag, Mark Sultan, Torche, and more. During Miami Art Week (Dec 2019), they performed as Iggy Pop’s backing band for a GUCCI x Snap event celebrating the debut of Harmony Korine’s 3D short film Duck Duck.
“Las Nubes llegaron a México desde Miami en un debut increíble que hizo un eco gigantesco por toda la ciudad.” -Vibras (MX)
“Early Dum Dum Girls smoking a joint with Dinosaur Jr. If Rodney Bingenheimer heard this in 1995 you can bet his wig would be flipped.” -Razorcake
“Musically, Las Nubes is sophisticated. They might be lo-fi and DIY, but their structures are elaborate. Each instrument has a significant presence, creating a sound that’s textured and full of static.” -Brooklyn Rail
Las Nubes Tours Mexico: January 2020
We caught a Lyft to MIA at 4:40-something am. That Outfield song “Your Love” was playing in the car and we joked about covering it for a Valentines Day set. Gabriel mentioned his friend got us ANOTHER session opportunity in CDMX later today. Funny how quickly this went from a travel/chill day to a “secret show,” a live session, and other assorted stuff. It’s not a complaint though – downtime is great and all, but it doesn’t necessarily contribute to making the most of our time on tour in another country.
Flight to CDMX is 3 hours. Ale swore she couldn’t sleep on planes but every time I look back she’s passed out. Cheers to the lady next to me who decided it’d make sense to put her contacts in amidst the descent-related turbulence – I expected slapstick, but she was successful! Bonus points for the in-flight magazine having a cover story about Miami and the shop we all work at (Sweat Records) being mentioned in it.
Landed in CDMX – traffic there is NO JOKE. Took a “minute” to get to the friend’s apartment we’re crashing in, but we were warmly welcomed by all the flatmates, and our host, Gabo, served us an incredible breakfast.
There was ZERO downtime from the moment we left Gabo’s place yesterday. We took off on one of the scariest Uber rides I’ve ever encountered, landing at the Tony Delfino clothing shop where Jonathan from Stereochip Records arranged a visit and some gifted clothes. This was excellent timing since my chosen outerwear began disintegrating on the plane ride (vegan “leather” eventually flakes off – lesson learned). Afterwards we went to the Doc Martens store in Roma to set up for an evening showcase, also set up by Jonathan.
We weren’t even there 20 minutes when Richard Villegas from SongMess showed up to interview us. He took us to this rad coffee shop, Boicot Café, with drinks & food that incorporated a lot of soul/funk references in their names. I tried the Rufus Thomas (cold brew w/horchata). The interview was incredible, and Richard is such a well-researched, well-spoken, supportive and encouraging journalist – SUBSCRIBE TO THE SONGMESS PODCAST!!!
Walked back over to the Docs store and did another interview followed by a photo shoot. At this point we’re all delirious but still have to play a set for what’s shaping up to look like 75+ people. After we finally play, we find out the session we were supposed to record afterwards was canceled. This is a relief, as it’s nearly 9pm and we haven’t eaten since breakfast. We go to a spot called San Taco. Uh, hibiscus flautas are a thing! We eat while Ale does another phone interview amidst exhaustion and we also get to meet Lucas, who manages one of our favorite bands, Las Ligas Menores. Finally back to the apartment and to sleep. Gearing up to head out to Puebla NOW!
Yesterday was another non-stop one. After Victor and Eric from Viaje Del Heroe picked us up (a tad late), we took off to Puebla, which is about 2 hours from CDMX. The roads are super bumpy and the rental van was an older model with questionable shocks. Ale and Gabriel did a phone interview with a radio station in Guadalajara in advance of our show there Saturday. It was funny to listen to/watch this happen in the earthquake van. Of course, THE MOST noise happened when they were asked to record a radio spot.
Upon arriving in Puebla, Javi, who is helping us out with a live session, wasn’t home yet since we showed up pretty late. Once we finally met up, we loaded the incredible array of gear he was lending us and were off to record. I was expecting a sort of studio situation, but even better, we land at a combo barber/tattoo shop. Before starting we stopped to eat at a restaurant next door. I was told THE BEST enchiladas in Mexico are in Puebla. From what I can tell, this is true. Fueled by spices, we recorded the session and Gabriel got his mustache trimmed – it was a barbershop after all!
The venue for the night is a couple blocks away, so we carry the gear on foot, not knowing a narrow spiral staircase awaited us too. Cerdo Picante is a “cool” rock n roll-themed restaurant with dishes named after musicians (e.g. Bjork, Debbie Harry, etc.). Since this show came together kinda last-minute, the turnout isn’t great, but we’re having a fun time hanging with the other bands (yasss, Flodhäst!), as well as Nestor & Chaba who’d come along to document the day. After loading out around midnight we trek back to CDMX. On the way back Victor played some great music I’ve never heard before, alongside some old Microphones & Elliott Smith stuff. Despite being totally exhausted and sore, the drive was pretty pleasant, especially with the soundtrack. Bed at 3:30am, up at 7:30am, on our way to record another session. We’re all in jumpsuits and look like we’re ready to paint your house.
We arrived at (what we thought was) the Indie Rocks! studio, but quickly learned that addresses work a little differently here. While trying to figure out where the studio actually was, we had coffee and some phoned-in croissants at a café nearby. The server was super excited to meet a touring band with a Venezuelan in it! Eventually we got to the studio, which was in a beautiful 3-story building with an outdoor patio. It’s comforting to know that a music publication employing over a dozen people is still thriving here these days. The session is super-pro and everyone is a pleasure to work with. We spend about an hour afterwards chatting with the staff about our respective cities’ music scenes and whether or not reggaeton is the new punk (no, it’s not). After having tacos and tortas from the beyond-busy Por Siempre Vegana street vendor, we head out to get tattooed by NN before sound check for tonight’s show at 316 Centro.
The CDMX show was INCREDIBLE! It was nearly sold-out before doors. The opening band, Soga, was brilliant, and we got to meet Andonella, who created our artwork for this tour. A kid made us fan art and another asked me to sign their drumsticks – it was really cute and kind of surreal. People knew the words to the songs – also surreal. An all-vinyl DJ, Palmera Invisible, played a killer set of chicha, salsa, funk, and soul. We drank mezcal, which I’m convinced gives you superpowers, and got back to Gabo’s around 2am. Up at 7 to meet up with Victor & Eric and make the 8-hour drive to Guadalajara. Before heading out, Victor takes us to a street food vendor in his neighborhood. Everyone loads up on quesadillas, sopes, and agua Jamaica, and then we’re off!
HOLY FUCK – GUADALAJARA! It was so worth the drive to come play this show. Chaba set us up a great venue called Palíndromo, and upon our arrival his friends were already loading in the backline. We went to eat at TEA RECS, a tea shop/café/record store with the best name and most clever concept ever (IMO). A dinosaur-themed record shop and café? YES, PLEASE!. Ceci, a former Miamian who also used to be in Psychic Mirrors, met up with us, and we walked back to the venue. She also suggested helping us with merch, which was a magical logistical blessing. After four openers, we finally played around midnight to a massively packed room. People were into it and seemed to respond better to our Mexican pop ballad cover than the folks in CDMX – ha! We stayed at Chaba’s house and as I write this, his mom is cooking breakfast. Also, apparently “toilet doilies” are a thing in Mexico – who knew?
The drive back from Guadalajara was beautiful – there wasn’t a lack of mountain view for nearly 6 hours. We hit CDMX traffic at the tail end and got back to Gabo’s at around 7:15. We’d scheduled a session with Miguel (of Cardiel) at Vesubio Grabaciones at 8 but hadn’t eaten much since breakfast. Miguel insisted we eat first, so Gabo took us to a flea market area with hundreds of vendors. Amidst the sea of options, he insisted we get quesadillas from a spot he frequents, with Wile E. Coyote as the mascot on their sign. The food was simple, effective, and spicy as hell. Ale and I agreed we’ve never had anything this type of spicy before.
Afterwards we drove to Miguel’s place, said our goodbyes to Victor & Eric, and thought we were gonna set up and record, but Miguel could tell we were tired and insisted we wait ‘til morning. We hung out for a bit and then crashed fairly early compared to other nights on this run. Up around 8am, I stayed working while Miguel prepared breakfast and everyone began setting up for the session. We ate Miguel’s “power oatmeal” and it powered us through a 4-song session, sounding absolutely MASSIVE. Vesubio is easily one of the best studios we’ve ever been to, collectively or independently, and we’re considering tracking more recordings there in the future.
After the session Miguel took us to lunch at a clandestine health food store with a pre fixe menu for only $90P – the quality and quantity of food all over Mexico is still hard to believe, even after a week here. As I write this we’re on our way to record a live session on Aire Libre FM. We’ll then be up at 4am to head to the airport and fly to Tijuana.
The session at Aire Libre went a little longer than expected. We were under the impression it would be 2-3 songs, but they wanted a 40 minute set. The studio was very modern and smelled of wood, and all the staff and hosts were incredibly friendly. We wrapped up around 11, packed up, and got back to Miguel’s around midnight. He made arepas, and even though we had to be up in 4 hours, we ate them, BECAUSE AREPAS!
It’s about 5:45am now and we’re waiting to board a flight to Tijuana after the airline clerk at check-in tried to swindle us by claiming that the laws regarding carrying instruments on-board changed YESTERDAY. He repeatedly tried to convince us to check them and/or pay more to carry on, but we just went through security anyway. About to see how that fares when we board…
The flight to Tijuana was fairly smooth. Ale and Gabriel slept most of the way and I stared out the window at the landscape since the plane was low enough to watch it the whole time. We landed around 8:30am and didn’t know what we’d do until 11 when we could meet up with Rene who was hosting us. We called a friend in Miami who is from Tijuana and he got one of his friends, Miguel, to pick us up. We grabbed food and then hung out at Miguel’s watching music videos. We left and did a quick run for souvenirs before meeting up with the folks from Memory Leak and Paradox Effects to do a live demo/session. Ale and Gabriel got to try out all these cool pedals and select some to record with. Afterwards they got to keep them too! I definitely picked the wrong instrument – no one ever gives free gear to the drummer ;)
After decompressing for a couple hours we made our way to Lycanthro Pub for our show. It’s a tiny punk bar in a weird, dark strip mall of bars and restaurants. The show was late and we were tired. Everyone at the bar and in the other bands were friendly and accommodating, but it was just one of those nights where exhaustion coupled with equipment malfunction made for a terrible set. Touring is stressful enough – playing on a completely different backline every night of the tour can often be the sour cherry on top of that stress. We went back to Rene’s afterwards and crashed hard.
This morning we gathered our things, stopped to grab a couple more last-minute souvenirs and crossed the border back into the US. Originally we planned to cross on foot (people say it’s an “experience”), but it takes a while and you have to get there at 6am to try and mitigate the wait. Instead we drove across with Rene since Memory Leak is playing the Riverside show with us tonight anyway. The officer at the gate was a little snarky about a Mexican, Venezuelan, two Americans, and a bunch of super weird-looking gear all packed into a tiny car, but it was smooth getting through overall.
-Emile Milgrim, August 2020