Quetzal: The Eternal Getdown

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Queztzal’s 7th studio album; the Eternal Getdown (Courtesy of Jeanette Hernandez/The Music Joint)

Natasha Molina

This article has been updated after publishing to add another source.

Rich in culture is the best way to describe what Grammy-winning, Quetzal’s music brings to the table, with a unique sound and powerful lyrics this group is sure to catch more than one ear’s attention.

According to the Los Angeles Times Grammy winning Quetzal, won for its release “Imaginaries.” The band came out of the early 90s, along with other Chicano fusionists as Ozomatli, Lysa Flores and Aztlan Underground.

Influenced by all types of genres, these Chicano based musicians, Quetzal Flores, Martha González, Tylana Enomoto, Juan Pérez, Peter Jacobson, and Alberto Lopez are driven by social activism and feminism.

Guitarist Quetzal Flores weighs in on the making of their new album.

Q: This being the seventh album and the 25th anniversary for the group, how different has this experience been?

A: This is the 7th studio album and we’re closing in on 25 years. It’s gratifying to know we have done it on our own terms. Because of this we’ve had tremendous flexibility as to what and how we express ourselves. Our criteria is not based on how marketable the music may be but how accountable it is to multiple communities.

Q: What was the song process for this new album?

A: The process for this album was getting together, jamming for hours on end and trusting [the] process enough to always arrive at a point of musical consensus. Each band member brings such a unique and diverse lived experience in music and community. This experience is intentionally looked at as a resource and more importantly a responsibility that is essential to the creation of collective knowledge (songs). Once the ideas manifest we spend a whole lot of time refining them and arranging. The last piece is to rehearse for the studio. We don’t like to spend a whole lot of time in the recording studio. For this album we were so fortunate to work with Robert Carranza, a world class engineer and producer from East LA. Because of our long standing relationship with Robert, the time in the studio was fluid and productive. Often times it’s about the intangible and unspoken things that have so much meaning in producing records.

Q: Being a Chicano based group/activists, do you feel that your music can resonate with the current struggles of injustice America is facing right now?

A: I know our music resonates beyond the confines of the US. We have worked hard to build real relationships with artists and community around the world. For me, Chicano means that you carry a great sense of accountability to humanity as a whole. And you’re doing this as informed by your experience growing up and living in the barrio understanding that the same systems of oppression affect working people all over the world. As a band, we are committed to developing and implementing ways in which we can have deep and meaningful spaces where we can be in community with music and in music with community.

This whole album is dedicated to ways in which we can maintain hope through regenerative processes that already exist in plenty in our communities.

Q: Having been influenced by many different genres and artists, which have inspired the band the most?

A: I’m obsessed with music from Manchester England in the 1980’s. Especially the Smtihs. There are so many parallels to how a musician like Johnny Marr goes about living music and how Chicano musicians do it. The band as a whole has been utterly inspired by El Nuevo Movimiento Jaranero in Veracruz. Groups like Mono Blanco, Son de Madera and Los Cojolites have given us so much to think about and ways to express these thoughts and feelings. Lastly, Los Lobos as our musical parents. One song in particular, Be Still, opened my mind to the possibilities of articulating our dreams.

Quetzal will be having an album release concert at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center on March 25th at 7p.m.

For more information about tickets visit JACCC’s website.