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Thursday, May 12, 2011

For Miami's Jacuzzi Boys, Atlanta is just special

Posted By on Thu, May 12, 2011 at 10:19 AM

  • Ivan Santiago

They’ve been here before with the same material, but the Jacuzzi Boys keep coming back to Atlanta -- and we keep greeting them with packed-out shows. The Miami trio -- bassist Danny Gonzales, guitarist Gabriel Alcala and drummer Diego Monasteri -- tinges garage with psych, a combination our hole-in-the-wall venues have become happy hosts to over the past few years. But with these dudes, it’s more than just that tried-and-true formula we’re welcoming. The Jacuzzi Boys consistently bring rich and nearly flawless renditions of their 2009 debut, No Seasons. It’s an album that’s rife with sticky hooks and spaced-out effects, but sure-footed in a totally accessible brand of garage-rock that even opponents of the genre can love -- if they let themselves. While en route to Gainesville, Fla., on the first day of a short tour, Gonzales took time out to discuss Miami music, the band’s fondness for Atlanta and their forthcoming sophomore LP.

You’ve played Atlanta a ton.
Yeah, I think now, playing at 529, we’ve now played every club.

All the smaller, fun ones at least.
Yeah. Not Variety Playhouse.

Do you guys like playing here?
[Tells someone to shut up so he can hear.] Yeah, I like it there. I think the shows have progressively gotten better. It’s fun. I think it’s one of the cities we’ve played the most, and we recorded our first record there. It’s kind of like a special thing with us. It always feels very familiar when we’re there.

How is the Miami scene? I read an interview where someone, an Atlanta band actually, said Miami isn’t a music town.
There’s a certain truth to it not being a music town; we’re definitely not known for that sort of thing. It’s gotten better in the past few years, but there was a lull for quite some time. We’ve never been a city that’s known for live music or having venues. We don’t get a lot of bands coming through -- smaller bands, you know, it’s so far south that it doesn’t make sense for [them] to travel all the way down there and then have to drive out. It is a little isolated. Things are getting better, but it’s not, for instance, like Atlanta, how we’ve played every club. There are four or five similar clubs there, and that really doesn’t exist in Miami. There’s two places you would want to play and maybe some other options, but not really the best vibe or crowd that you’d want at a show. It’s way more of a dance culture there.

What about local bands?
I’m speaking from a local band’s perspective. It’s weird there; we have a pretty prominent art scene. I feel like there’s a ton of galleries and it seems like there’s a new gallery opening every week. A lot of cool stuff happens in the art scene, if you want to call it that. But music-wise, I feel like Miami is always just trying to catch up to other cities.

When we’re out playing somewhere, we’re like, ‘Oh, we’re from Miami.’ And they’re like, ‘Oh, really?’ It’s just not known for that. I can’t tell you of a single [Miami] band in recent times that’s gotten national attention. That band Torche is essentially a Miami band, and they’re doing cool shit. But a lot of bands don’t tour—they tend to stick around and never make it out.

Are there any under-the-radar bands we should know about?
There’s a band Beings, as in human beings, that we play with a lot. They’re real cool. There’s bands in West Palm, maybe like an hour north of Miami… and this band Love Handles, they’ve never toured. This band Cop City -- they just went on their first tour a few months ago.

What’s the deal with your practice space? I read that it’s part of your parents’ cafe, like in a secret hideout.
I live inside a city park and the cafe is inside the park. It’s a trailer and I live there with my family, and we practice there. It’s kind of a weird, tucked away place. A lot of people in town don’t even know that people live in that part. It’s surrounded by trees and you can walk to the beach. There’s wildlife -- not anything big and dangerous -- but there’s raccoons and possums and rabbits and snakes and iguanas and shit running around.

That sounds awesome.
Yeah, it’s pretty Florida.

I know you guys released a live album on Third Man this year, but how is the new studio full-length coming along? I thought it was coming out last year.
The LP is done—it should be out in August. On Hardly Art.

Where did you record it?
In Michigan at Keyclub Recording Company. It’s a really cool studio. We were there for just a little over a week this past March. Sort of halfway through a tour we recorded and just continued. That was a whole lot of fun.

Did you consider coming back to Atlanta to record?
We had a great time when we recorded last time—we recorded at the living Room with Ed Rawls and Justn McNeight ...

I lose my signal and call him back. He doesn’t sound aggravated.

Sorry, I got disconnected. So you were saying ...
Not just like with the Living Room, in general, it feels just kinda cool to go somewhere new and see what happens in a new environment with new people. Kinda cool. One day we might go back, but again, it’s always cool to try new stuff.

Is there anything new and different about the new album?
I think it’s definitely different. I think sonically, it’s different -- a lot more like sound and shit going on. Songwriting-wise, maybe it’s poppier, but has some stuff you could call heavy on it. I think it’s different through and through. I think it still sounds like us, but it’s definitely not No Seasons part two.

I’m Cuban, so I don’t feel bad asking a Miami band this. You all speak Spanish, right?
We definitely do. We’re all Hispanic.

Have you ever thought about singing in Spanish?
We’re good friends with Davila 666, they’re from Puerto Rico. A while back we were joking, we should do a split. They all speak English almost perfectly, all of them, but they never sing in English, and we would always joke with them like, ‘Yo, why don’t you guys do a song in English? You guys should do a song in English, and we’ll do a song in Spanish.’ I don’t know if we’ve ever given it serious thought, but maybe one day.

Jacuzzi Boys play 529 tonight (Thurs., May 12) with Turf War and Skin Jobs. $8. 9 p.m. 529 Flat Shoals Ave.

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