“Every scene has their own community in which people work together to make things happen, to do what they can for touring bands coming through. Whether it's having their band playing/opening the show, offering a house for them to sleep/shower, to make food or buying them pizza. For people to take time and effort out of their day is what keeps the attitude of punk and DIY alive.” Amygdala bassist Jose “Yole” Centeno explained to Sobre Sound. You can’t help but respect DIY culture, the drive to build everything from the ground up, the blood sweat and tears that go in a true passion. It’s that drive that’s gotten hardcore punk/ emo violence band Amygdala to the point of where they are today.
With two national tours under their belt, several festivals including Latinx Punk Fest up in NYC, featured on compilations and are known for their music all over the world, Amygdala is about a week away from their newest venture, a month long tour across seven countries in Europe.
“It’s exciting, nerve wrecking and all around getting goosebumps thinking about it. We don't know what to expect to be honest,” Centeno disclosed. “This is all new to us. I am 100% sure we are going to have fun being in countries/cities we'd never thought we'd ever play. We’re looking forward to seeing how different the DIY punk scenes are from the States. “Screamo” Is a pretty popular subgenre in Europe. It’s insane. I thought it would be hard to book a month long tour in Europe but it's proven that people who book and network shows across the pond are very tight knit with what they do.”
The band takes off on June 1 and will be playing a slew of shows including two music festivals in Germany. Joining them on most of their adventure are United Kingdom’s CADY who will be driving with them and kindly offered to back line equipment as well as Germany’s Saligia whom Amygdala put out a 7” split record with back in May of 2015 on German label React with Protest (home to bands such as: Raein, Beau Navire, Comrade, Loma Prieta, La Quite, Republic of Dreams, according to Centeno) the opportunity to travel overseas emerged after those who run the label really enjoyed Amygdala’s first EP “The Horror of Never Being Able to Forget.”
“Its RWP (ReactwithProtest) backing us up and distributing our 7" records. It's creating relationships with people who love DIY punk/hardcore. People from Europe started emailing us that they love the music and many asked if we'd had plans to tour overseas and I didn't know what to say at the time because we had just started as a band. A year later we started planning, getting back to old emails from organizers who were interested in us, getting our passports/plane tickets and getting everything booked eventually. It's been a lot of hard work,” explained Centeno.
As if planning a month long European tour isn’t enough for one plate, Amygdala just recently put our their first full length 10 song album titled “Population Control” on six different record labels:
· Citizens of the World Records
· ReactwithProtest (Germany)
· Mosh Potatoes (Belgium)
The album is as heavy as the lyrical content ranging from child sexual abuse, patriarchy, misogyny and colorism that vocalist Bianca Quiñones performs with screams that leave her entire soul out on the stage. They began working on the album on May of last year when they found their now permanent drummer Leo. The album was recorded last month over two day sessions by their friend Phillip Odom of Bad Wolf Recordings.
“I just love the dynamics in this record musically. Vocally and lyrically as well. Bianca's lyrical content on the album compose most of what her experience with CSA (child sex abuse) and how it intersects with poverty/ drugs and being raised into low income neighborhoods/schools,” said Centeno. “Expressing herself through punk has become therapeutic and as it should. Its aggressive music. A song on the album called “Punkerxs Del Barrio” is about how not all punks face the same struggles of oppression. It's about making space for those who want their voice to be heard and not represented by some white dude on stage singing their fight, their issues, who doesn't face the same oppression or share the same scars. Some might see that as counterproductive in a community where we have to work together but 1st step to doing so would be to step aside.”
Another reason this album is so close to Centeno is because he works with “at risk youth” from low income families for a local non-profit. He sees firsthand the saddening effects of child negligence, “It has been very rewarding to be on the front line and a part of their lives. Knowing how many of them are going through their own battles and how it will always be difficult and confusing for them to come out about abuse because in reality, they will potentially be blamed for it and scolded. If your child/brother/sister ever comes out to you about these issues, believe her/him.”
Amygdala returns stateside on June 28 just in time to get ready for another month long tour in October where they will be playing shows such as Fest out in Florida and travel as far as Canada then time to spend on new projects (starting more bands), writing for album number two and they're even thinking of a tour in Japan in Summer 2017.
"We are just forever grateful that organizers do as much as they can for Amygdala when we're out on the road. We also return the love when our friends come thru the Taco City," Centeno concluded. "Without working together, shit would just fall apart easy. We have a great scene here regardless. When people care about the bands that come through, they support and pay the cover and buy lots of merch. That makes me happy. Makes me proud to come from a city of diehard fans for punk/hardcore and anything underground."
They will be having their San Antonio kick off show and cassette release tomorrow, May 21 at all ages venue Nite Lite along side San Antonio bands Grupo Frackaso, Cursus, Se Tu Propio Dios (last show) and Program from McAllen. $7 gets you through the door. More info here