by Brittney Corridean
With some time in between their current tour, Carlos Arévalo, guitarist for Chicano Batman, took a beat and chatted with me about their latest album Freedom is Free (released on March 3rd), and other current happenings.
The quartet of gentlemen (Arévalo, Eduardo Arenas, Bardo Martinez, Gabriel Villa) joined forces out on the west coast back in 2008, with all four members living in different parts of the Los Angeles area. What started out as playing sporadically when they had time, Martinez (lead vocals, instrumentalist) and Arévalo gained a mutual respect and admiration for one another’s talent and took it to the next level when they decided to form Chicano Batman.
“I grew up listening to rock and roll and a lot of late ’60s, early ’70s music; they had it right” says Arévalo of their unique and nostalgic music style. They started writing and creating Freedom Isn’t Free in 2015 when there was a lot going of police brutality and other enlightening social matters flooding the news. The events became a heavy influence on the lyrics of Chicano Batman’s latest songs.
Soon enough, Leon Michaels (Big Town Records) invited the guys to the east coast to make the record. “We would listen to [other] records and tell him what we liked. We just spoke the same language,” states Arévalo of the experience.
As far as recording on the opposite end of the country, far from home, you can tell there was a bit of influence with the locations. “The collaboration just oozes east coast style. It’s aesthetic, different and yes, it was cold!”
Overall, they loved recording in the New York studio and are more than happy with what was produced. The single “Friendship (is a Small Boat in a Storm)” is also one of Arévalo’s favorites considering “it encompasses all of our sound for people who aren’t familiar with us.” It has the fat bass and gnarly organ sound that differentiates them from so many other recent bands.
Another thing that keeps them diverse is their style. The four members are of Latino decent and dress in velvet suits with swagger for days. With crowds just as diverse as them, they have people from all different backgrounds and communities come out to their shows. Some say the messages behind their music are political and meant to cause some deep thinking but really, that’s not it.
“We really want to empower people of all backgrounds and send a message of love,” says Arévalo, “the crowd’s response is unreal…passionate…loud…it’s humbling.”
You can catch Chicano Batman performing at The Foundry @ The Fillmore April 1st accompanied by 79.5. They will be back in May for the 17th annual NON-COMMvention at World Cafe Live and in July for XPoNential Festival.