It took years for electronic music to catch on in America at a mainstream level compared to our international counterparts. The Grammy’s didn’t have an award for the gargantuan genre until 2005 and even then, it had been lumped together in a vague category for dance and non-dance electronic music. In San Antonio, it has been a challenge to find a good space for electronic music that isn’t dance oriented. House, techno and other danceable forms have found homes in various clubs around the city over the years since the early 90s.
Sobre Sound caught up with the wife-husband duo Calico Club to talk about their work, Electronic Exhibition and electronic music in San Antonio.
“Back then, almost no one had hardware, had actual gear. It was all software.” Daecos Omoxli said 15 years ago he used various music production software like Reason and Fruity Loops, until one day, "it was Alex Scheel [lead singer of Pop Pistol] actually. He was selling a synth he wasn’t going to use," and their love affair with synthesizers took off.
The two knew each other prior to creating music, but once Kimberly started singing over some of Daecos' music, the collaboration proved strong and eventually developed into marriage. “Working together is great. We don’t always agree on everything, but who does? haha, the collaboration came natural.”
Calico Club achieve their minimal aesthetic organically. “Each song, each project – the sounds are tweaked. Each snare and synth sound - we don’t use a specific sound bank to build our songs, we create each sound from scratch." Daecos said, which is impressive. That level of attention to detail is not incredibly common. Many electronic artists have go-to signature sounds or a particular piece of hardware or plug-in as an identifying trademark, yet Kimberly and Daecos are able to compose each sound in every song from a different origin and still maintain that 'Calico Club sound'.
“This isn’t just 'Press Play', you don’t just open your laptop or turn on a synthesizer and it makes these sounds,” said Daecos, a point that can be a challenge getting the general public to understand. And is an important part of why Kimberly and Daecos chose the word “exhibition.” Electronic Exhibition is a monthly residency event curated and produced by Calico Club. While each installment doesn’t necessarily have a theme, the focus is to bring attention to non-DJ style electronic performers.
“’Exhibition’ because it’s an exhibition of people’s art. Because it is art, it’s a composition- electronic music can be complex. And that’s what it's about, it's intended to be an art exhibit. There’s no theme really, but it isn’t a DJ event, it isn’t specifically one type of electronic music either, sometimes it’s danceable sometimes it can be ambient.” Kimberly told Sobre Sound about their monthly event.
Not long ago, Calico Club released a music video for their song "King of the Streets." It was the first video story-boarded by them and directed by Daecos (full list of credits here). The song is quintessential Calico Club: minimal saw bass, a synth melody and a 4/4 beat. "It was a lot of work but it was fun," said Kimberly, "we look forward to doing it again."
Calico Club hustle. Aside from hosting Electronic Exhibition and performing regularly, the two DJ occasionally and even provide projections for other live electronic shows. They have a scheduled performance during SXSW at The Elysium, which is located right in the middle of everything, all while still writing and creating music. Calico Club have two new tracks online "Sombras" and "Nighttime Roller Disco" and show no signs of taking a break. Not only have Calico Club made a name for themselves in the San Antonio music scene, they have worked hard to provide a welcoming environment in the Alamo City for other electronic performers.