On a beautiful evening in the Five Points neighborhood, I met with Ernest Gonzales, aka Mexicans With Guns, at The Cove just north of downtown. He was in the middle of an intense game of ping pong with his son while I arrived, so I grabbed a beer and a seat and took some photos of The Cove's awesome garden and of a mayoral candidate meeting with locals. This Friday night, April 24th, Mexicans With Guns lights up the Paper Tiger and tests the lower limits of one of San Antonio's newest sound systems. While Ernest Gonzales has performed regularly lately using his real name, the MWG performance has gone silent on the radar.
Miles T: How does a Mexicans With Guns set differentiate from an Ernest Gonzales set?
Ernest Gonzales: I think the main difference, is putting on the mask. It let's me be more loose with how I perform. What I want a MWG performance to be like, is like an actual ceremony. A ceremony where there's some kind of person leading, maybe a person playing the drums and people around a fire, like old school, dancing around and getting crazy to it. In a way, I want to be the shaman, the person in the mask leading the ceremony. With out the mask, when I'm doing EG stuff, the music is pretty chill. Mexicans With Guns though, it's suppose to be hard, it's suppose to be bass heavy and more in your face. And I haven't done MWG in a long time.
MT: I talked to you about a year/year and a half ago and you mentioned moving beyond the MWG moniker. Are you bringing it back? Did it ever go away?
EG: I think maybe, that one time we spoke, I had submitted a demo to the record label Friends With Friends, and when I submitted it, they weren't really feeling that album and it put me in a funk. It was that and partially thinking the name "Mexicans With Guns" is kinda messed up. At the time, the news was about people getting murdered in Mexico all the time and all the drug cartel violence. That also made me question why should I use the name.
MT: Besides you, who all is Sub.Culture? And what do you hope to achieve artistically?
EG: There's five of us total. Myself, Josh Lucio: 'Fourhands', Xavier Gilmore: 'X!', Nick Ruiz: 'Empireal Formula', and Aaron : OOH YEA. The main goal is to put out releases and to host monthly events, but artistically, we wanted to create future bass music mixed with what we're feeling at the moment. Not to say, we're going to make trap or dubstep, we're just going to make some kind of music with heavy bass, and something with an interesting, creative element as well.
MT: I noticed listening to some of the Sub.Culture tracks, there wasn't a lot of sampling or effects plug-in usage. Seems Sub.Culture doesn't have a lot of characteristics of what's trendy right now in electronic music.
EG: Sampling is something I'm conscious of when I make music, because the record labels I've been signed to have made it clear, they want to keep their options open when it comes to licensing. You can't just use samples easily, especially if you begin to make any money. And that's for me, but the guys, I think that's something we talked about when were were first starting up the crew, we said that we wanted to do something that was about the music and not about trends. Electronic music, to me, is something that is suppose to push boundaries, so the idea of making music and thinking I want it to sound exactly like this, is just wrong.
MT: On Friday 4/24 at Paper Tiger is it all of Sub.Culture?
EG: For this show, I asked Lori Martinez, DJ Terpsi, to play and then it's Aaron, myself and Nick. We've been talking about opening up the crew to more people, specifically DJs. X! already has his monthly and next month's focus will be on Josh Lucio because that's when his album comes out. Josh Lucio's EP is called "Home", it's 8 tracks and will be out on May 26 on iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon etc. and we're doing a release show with Ghostpizza at the Phantom Room Friday May 22, but the plans are still tentative. We also have plans to release 100 copies of cassettes. Josh is all about vinyl, so for him to put out a physical release is important. I personally have been collecting tapes over the past year or so.
MT: Have you had a chance to talk with Diego Bernal?
EG: He's coming out to the show on Friday. That's the last thing I heard from him. He texted me a thing about a bill, that in the state of TX if you're getting arrested they can confiscate your property, that this bill will make it more difficult for the state to make that happen. So, he was excited about that.
MT: Think he's making any music?
EG: I doubt it. We talked about Daredevil a little bit, and that's about one of the few non-political things we've had a chance to talk about.
MT: It's got to be frustrating working with those people (GOP state congress).
EG: They make me frustrated and I don't even work with them. A colleague of mine said, "If I walk in to a restaurant and see someone with a gun, it's going to make me want to leave the restaurant." I said, this whole open carry issue is making me want to leave the state! Conservatives like it now, but once it really is Mexicans with guns and black people with guns, then we'll see what they think of the law.
MT: Future of San Antonio music and Paper Tiger - hopeful?
EG: I'm definitely hopeful about SA, Paper Tiger and the strip in general. Paper Tiger's pretty interesting because all their bookings seem to be much different from anything else- ever before booked in San Antonio and Transmissions opening it up a little bit. Overall, aside from The Strip, the music scene in San Antonio is very exciting. This is the first year where I've seen it actually change. Between St. Mary's and Alamo City Music Hall, Maverick Fest, there a lot happening. There's going to be another festival by the Alamo City Music Hall folks and that's going to be really good. There's been very few details, but it is coming up pretty quick. The latest is they recently got a permit to use giant screens downtown, which apparently hasn't been done before, and they had to get special permission.
And San Antonio audiences are showing up. This Friday, there's several high quality events that will draw crowds. If it was five years ago, it wouldn't have worked. People wouldn't have shown up. But these days, this Friday Peligrosa is at Hi-Tones, Flux is at Bottom Bracket Social Club and Mexicans With Guns at Paper Tiger. But Hi-Tones and BBSC have built in audiences, it doesn't matter what's happening there, people show up and that might not have been the case 5 or even as little as 3 years ago.
Mexicans With Guns transcends to 2015 to deliver his unique aztechno cumbia bass music homegrown in San Antonio, Texas. Plus performances by Terpsi, OOH YEA, and Empireal Formula.
Friday April 24th, 2015
Paper Tiger - San Antonio TX - 2410 N St. Mary’s, 78212
9:00 PM - 2:00 AM
$ 7 with RSVP
! All Ages
! FULL BAR 21+
# Midnight SubCult Ritual
: Mexicans With Guns
: OOH YEA
: Empireal Formula
Midnight Ritual Ceremony
Celebrate with us the beauty and growth of San Antonio and its thriving music and visual art communitiy. Join our cult by partaking in our midnight ritual ceremony.
Bring your bikes and your friends!
RSVP for discounted admission or purchase tickets now and receive a free exclusive music download from Mexicans With Guns
A San Antonio electronic bass music collective.
We make weird sounds with synthesizers and throw bass music parties with trippy visuals and cult-like rituals.
// We are culture creators
// We are a cult of sound
// We believe in music
// We represent the lost and found
// Our music speaks In sacred slang
// Sound expanding like big bang
// A culture of rhythm moving through space
// A collective manifesting thought to bass
Join Our Cult | Subcult.net