Despite the pandemic, Miami’s music scene has continued pumping out new music. Three musicians — Rick Guerre, Monterrey, and Palomino Blond — are contributing with new music and renewed energy. They each recently spoke to the South Florida Media Network about their careers, from early starts to their latest musical releases.
One could say music came to Rick Guerre as a gift. After his brother gave him a bass guitar at age 14, Guerre played in a variety of bands including Animals of the Arctic, which he joined at age 20 in 2004 (and with whom he has continued playing over the years). From there, he moved on to his first psychedelic pop goth solo project, This Heart Electric, and issued a few albums and demos such as Age of Aquarius, Escape from L.A. and Polar b/w Nowhere to run. Guerre has since departed from This Heart Electric and is now making music under his own name.
Apart from his music, Guerre has found inspiration from other artists throughout his life and career. “Early on it was Nirvana, and all the rock stuff of that time. I was a ’90s MTV child, so that was where I was exposed to most of the stuff that really inspired me. A little later I got into darker stuff, like Nine Inch Nails. Discovering the Nails were a one-man band was also a game-changer for me. In my mind, I knew then I wanted to do something similar at some point.”
Guerre, now 36 years old, has been involved with Miami’s music scene for a little over 20 years. His creative process is influenced by his environment. Melodies and arrangements pop up in his head as he drives. He gets inspiration from already-existing music. And sometimes, just the simple rhythm of windshield wipers matching the squeaking of rubber tires gets the gears turning. “Music is just combining different frequencies, which are everywhere!” he says. “If you know how to listen, you can hear music in everything.”
This creative process is clear in his latest release from June of this year, “Mariana Cancán.” The idea came to Guerre as a dream. “I dreamt I was wandering around a canyon or desert, when I stumbled upon a little mummified girl who came back to life and told me her name, which became the title of the song.”
This track features African-inspired drumbeats and rhythms, coupled with fun and danceable guitar riffs and bass lines, which Guerre compares to the multiple gears in a watch; each piece moves with its own rhythm, while also playing an important role in making the entire thing work perfectly.
Listen to Rick Guerre’s latest track, “Mariana Cancán” on YouTube.
Artist/producer Roger del Pino, age 38, began the band Monterrey as a solo project in 2015 while also playing with Firstworld, another Miami-based group. He released an EP, Elapse, in 2018, then expanded Monterrey to include bassist Renzo Zanata, age 33; guitarist Aldo Canals, age 27, and 26-year-old drummer David Hidalgo. Together, they released their first single in 2019, titled “Come Home.”
Having worked together for over a year, Monterrey has developed a steady collaborative process for creating new music. “I will typically sketch out rough song ideas in the studio before sending it to the guys to write their own respective parts,” says de Pino. “Pre-pandemic, a lot of new ideas would get hashed out in rehearsals where we could jam in a live format, which is how our single, ‘Come Home’, came about.”
However, with the current coronavirus pandemic surging through the country, Monterrey has had to resort to contactless jam sessions, which del Pino sees as a good thing because they help to fully develop song ideas before going straight to instruments. To do this, the group pre-records different audio recordings, shares them with each other to write their own parts over, and then sends them back to del Pino to put them into songs.
The group has also pulled from a range of musical inspirations, including Gorillaz, Toro y Moi, Daft Punk and Radiohead, which, del Pino said, is where “all their crossroads meet.”
On the latest release from May of this year, “Terrarium,” the band worked together for the first time with Firstworld artist and producer Kris Alvarez. Del Pino refers to this as “a new chapter in Monterrey’s timeline.”
“The song itself was written back in Monterrey’s early years, when it was still a solo project around a single bassline, beat, and a vocal melody that I’d written. It was strange because the song was essentially about living in quarantine before quarantine became a reality. The inspiration behind the song was mainly about building your own environment in your home.”
Monterrey also has a new single coming out October 23rd titled “New Light”.
More information about Monterrey and their music can be found on their Instagram (@monterreyband).
Click below to listen to Monterrey’s latest track, “Come Home” on YouTube.
Prior to playing together, singer/guitarists Carli Acosta and Kyle Fink played in separate Miami bands, starting around ages 14 and 15. Acosta was part of the local indie-rock group Long Shore Drift, while singer/guitarist Kyle Fink played in the hardcore punk trio In Oculus, touring Florida. In 2017, they came together to form the band Palomino Blond.
As they’ve continued playing together, Palomino Blond has developed a steady flow of music, “The process is to usually start with music,” Acosta said. “Most songs I start with something on the guitar and build around that. It’s rare that a melody comes before an instrumental, not that it’s never happened.”
Other groups that have inspired Palomino Blond include Smashing Pumpkins, My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive.
Palomino Blond recorded its two latest songs, “Seventh Heaven” and “Damage,” with another Miami band, Las Nubes. The groups initially met after playing together at Churchill’s Pub on Sept. 8, 2018 during the venue’s 39-year anniversary and, after listening to each other’s sets, an immediate and mutual interest grew to make the Las Nubes / Palomino Blond Split together. “Seventh Heaven” and “Damage” are originally from their first batch of songs written in summer 2018. Together with Jon Nuñez, guitarist for the Miami-based heavy metal band Torche, they finished the two tracks.
“For those two tracks we worked with Jon Nuñez, who does amazing work with his band Torche and builds incredible amps and pedals as the brand Nuñez Amplifiers,” Acosta said. “Those amps, pedals and his knowledge of heavy music were invaluable recording our side of the split.”
The band also plans to continue working with Nuñez for new releases, in which they plan to show new variety in their music and overall sound.
Preparing for their split, Palomino Blond was careful about choosing songs to include, “When it comes to the song choices, ‘Damage’ is kind of the short punk song a crowd can dance to, and ‘Seventh Heaven’ is what we can do in a longer song that really crushes your ears at some points but plays with dynamics in softer sections.”
Click below to listen to Palomino Blond’s latest tracks, “Damage” and “Seventh Heaven” on YouTube.