When it comes to rock ‘n’ roll fusion the well-known genres are blues rock, indie rock, folk rock, punk rock, and pop rock. But does that really need to be it? It’s the 21st century—it’s time we expand our musical horizons.
Cue Los Esplifs.
The Arizona-based group is helping spearhead a movement where music scenes are genre-boundless. Their Cumbia-based music highlights their Hispanic roots but doesn’t pigeonhole them into “Latino music.” They sing in Spanish and rock out on classic Cumbia instruments, but include other sounds like punk and techno.Los Esplis, “Otro Pais”
“In history, Latinx has been cornered into this pocket of ‘this is Latino music,’ just cause it’s in Spanish,” percussionist and vocalist Caleb Michel tells BTRtoday. “But we [Los Esplifs] feel like we have to break through that barrier and show that music is music.”
Michel’s bandmate, keys player Saul Millan, adds that they not only intentionally do this while producing their music, but also when planning shows. They aim to be the only Cumbia group on the bill, so they can expose as many new people as possible to the experience and “create an element of surprise and new appreciation” for the crowd.
“I love playing in front of people who don’t understand the music or this is the first time they’ve listened to anything like this,” Millan says. “We only sing in Spanish, but they somehow can connect with the music—I think that’s the amazing part of the live performance.”Los Esplifs “Perro Rabioso”
¡ESTRIAK BACK!, Los Esplifs’ debut album, instantly shows that these musicians are robustly themselves, but are also eager to explore any and all mediums of music. This is obvious in tracks like “TeknoCumbia,” which combines electronic dance beats with Cumbia; and “Galaxia,” which exposes a more surf rock/gritty garage side to Los Esplifs. The Cumbia sound they are most connected with is never lost, yet there are pieces of many different genres for everyone to love.
Though ¡ESTRAIK BACK! isn’t officially out until tomorrow, April 20 (pre-order here!), you can get an exclusive pre-listen below. Plus, make sure to check out this week’s episode of The Music Meetup to hear the entire interview with Los Esplifs along with the debut album.