Volcán Indie Orquesta Latina
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Volcán Indie Orquesta Latina

San Antonio, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

San Antonio, Texas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Latin Indie


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Volcán’s ‘eruption of sound’ to be on display at The Mix"

It would be sacrilege in this town to ever hail a young band as the new Latin Breed.

But there is a new breed of Latino musicians emerging with hopes of making such a mark.

And they are every bit as determined and talented as the revered and influential Latin Breed, who became Chicano rock gods in the ’70s with a jazzy, horn-driven Latin rock and Tejano sound.

Volcán is the new face.

Forbes.com recently included the band in a story about the growing presence of millennials in San Antonio. It was apropos that the band was photographed playing at The Mix on the St. Mary’s Strip, an area being transformed by young people and foodie/cocktail culture.

Volcán returns to The Mix on Saturday with Macho Peach.

Jaime Mejia Jr. is one of the millennials in Volcán, a 12-piece act.

“People would tell us we’re the face of San Antonio, and there was something behind it. They weren’t just saying it in a mocking way,” said Mejia, 26. “The city’s on the rise and we’re working our way up as well.”

Like Las Cafeteras and La Santa Cecilia on the West Coast, Volcán brings a distinctive indie pop mindset and hip cultural context to its cumbias.

“We’re definitely aware of the movement coming from the West Coast,” Mejia said. But what is stunning (and sets Volcán apart) is the number of musicians onstage in an age when a DJ or programmer might do.

They are singer-guitarist Jose Juan Huizar, pianist-accordionist Aaron Salinas, lead guitarist Jacob Rodriguez, percussionist Sam Velazquez, drummer Alex Luna, trumpeter James Rannalli, Brian Graschel on mellophone, saxophonist Adam Tutor and trombonist Julian Escobedo Jr.

Mejia, who plays timbales and is the band’s indie-rock-loving chief songwriter and musical director, was raised on his dad’s arena-rock record collection. “I grew up on Whitesnake, Scorpions, big glam hairspray rock,” he said. “At the same time, there was Vicente Fernandez and Juan Gabriel. I grew up on the Eagles, on Lynyrd Skynyrd.”

He grew up on Can’t Stop Street on the East Side. That sums up his attitude about Volcán, which formed in 2014 and was expanded last year. Mejia’s vision was to replicate Colombia’s grand Latin orchestras that first played “cumbia slave dance.”

“The idea is to take cumbia back to its orchestral roots,” he said. “Everyone (in the band) understands the vision.”

Volcán‘s musicians don’t consider it a dance band, nor does the group play covers. There are show-band elements that harken back to the days of the Latin Breed, the Tobias Brothers and Road Apple.

“It skipped a generation,” Mejia said. “There used to be these big bands in town. These rhythms, it’s undeniable, it runs through our veins. It’s just an eruption of sound.”

The group is working on an EP at Mejia’s home studio. It should be ready by mid-August.

Trombonist Julian Escobedo Jr., who graduated from Jefferson High School in 2010 and attended the University of North Texas to study music performance, has a connection to one of Tejano’s greatest legends. His father played bass for 15 years for Emilio Navaira, touring and recording with him until 2008.

“It’s a mixed bag of influences because of our parents,” Escobedo said about his band. “But we like our own stuff, indie-rock stuff. It’s just turned into something that’s really amazing and not heard a lot by people our age. It’s really organic.”

Audiences are reacting. “At first it’s kinda, ‘Whoa, what’s this?’” Escobedo said. “But they warm up to us. There definitely is a lot of dancing that happens and everyone’s having a good time.”

Before he became a Grammy-winning record producer, Gilbert Velasquez played lead guitar with the Latin Breed. He still does.

Velasquez was heartened to learn that there are still young musicians following in the path of the Latin Breed. He called it refreshing and explained the power of a large Latin rock ensemble.

“It’s a great feeling when everybody is locked in and going in the same direction and you have tight band. You can’t describe the feeling,” he said.

“It’s not the same as getting up there with a guy with a keyboard and samplers and all that. This is the real deal here. There’s less and less of that nowadays, and I’m glad somebody’s following that dream.”

Volcán is bucking industry trends that Velasquez monitors for his studio and record-label interests.

“We’re at a point in time where the trend is more the sample thing. But that’s plastic. This is real,” Velasquez added. “You’ve got real guys playing. When you see a stage full of musicians, that’s awesome. It’s overwhelming, golly.

“Today, the market is flooded with these wannabe groups that kind of fake it. But when you have a real group of musicians, all on point, it could be interesting.” - San Antonio Express News

"SA's Volcán Releases Its Sizzling Debut EP This Weekend"

Volcan is a young, contemporary, indie orquesta Latina, comprised of thirteen members all rallying around lead singer Jose Huizar and principal songwriter Jaime Mejia. The group's organic yet impressively sophisticated music is something of a cultural mestizaje, combining elements of classic psych-rock with jazz, soul, cumbia, and Latin pop to reach a unique sound that, while it may seem tempting to make the comparison, sounds nothing like any of Carlos Santana's work.

On Saturday, the group (yep, all thirteen) will cram into Hi-Tones to celebrate the release of its first recorded music, the fantastic, all-original, and consistently surprising Ritmo, Cultura x Amor EP.

Volcán is, it may be said, exactly the type of outfit that San Anto was destined to birth: in touch with the disparate threads of cultural legacy that make this place so damn special, entirely possessed by the holy ghost of impossible Latin rhythms, and unabashedly experimental in forging a brand new sound, frolicking between the pillars of cumbia, Latin pop, and rock. (Just dig the live video for EP track "Tu Mirar" below.) That the band insists on only recording and playing originals adds even more to its credit. If any complaint about this masterful debut could be made, it would merely lament its brevity. At only four songs, the EP ends just when the trance reaches an apex. But, maybe that's a good thing. - San Antonio Current

"Volcan EP Release + Marlene Mejia + El Tallercito de Son"

Volcán is a big act. Watching them set up before a show imparts a sense of just how monstrous a task it is. But from their cumbersome hulk derives the greatest strength of their music: a sound like old vine Tinto del Toro, vast and deep, and rich with complexity. Last week, they released their first EP, and the release event packed Hi-Tones to a point that laughed at the word, “capacity.”

Though the four tracks are relatively brief compared to their stage performances that last a seeming yet pleasant eternity, they represent the diversity of sound that Volcán is capable. “If everyone played Jaime’s way, our music would sound much more unified,” says Jacob Rodriguez. Jamie Mejia writes all the music, a seemingly impossible fact. “But everyone takes what he writes and plays it their own way. They blend their own roots into his idea of a song. And that’s Volcán.”

Jacob’s roots are in the metal scene. It’s hard to tell now, but I’ve seen his guitarmanship transform exponentially over the few short months since we met. He wasn’t less skilled to begin with – just different. I hypothesize that’s the effect Vulcan has upon its own. A few of the members have shared a similar sentiment with me.

Rich met members of Volcán at Palo Alto College about six months ago, right around the time recording began on the EP. They told Rich about the music their group was making and asked if he’d take part. “I was like, ‘you want me to play the güiro for you?’ I play guitar and piano, but the güiro?” But he did, and he does. And he looks good doing it too. The purity of the maypole-spirit that possesses Rich is half the reason I smile at a Volcán performance; the other half is all the music’s fault.

When I picked up my copy of Ritmo, Cultura x Amor, the album art struck me as soundly as the music ever did. The cover depicts a luminous pineapple erupting from a skull, imagery that infers an immediate reference to the name Volcán. The art is Marlene Mejia’s, sister to Jaime. Two years ago, Jaime was telling her of his plans to create a sound both “Latin rock and tropical,” and those ideas were transmitted into the band’s icon. The pineapple, she explained, was the tropical, with the skull being a universal symbol of rock.

Marlene’s work goes beyond album art. Her portfolio varies in mediums and is tinted by nostalgia.

The act preceding Volcán was a six-piece ensemble called El Tallerito de Son. Their music, Son Jarocho, originates in Tamaulipas and Veracruz, and is synonymous with fandango of southern Mexico. They use instruments acoustic in nature, including the jarana, requinto, leona, pandero, güiro, and quijada. They also employ the tarima, a stomping-box upon which a dances taps out a zapateado, creating an infectious beat.

Keli Cabunoc, one of the founding members, says that most of the members are students from the community and started as fans before joining. Their relationship with Volcán started about a year ago, and they’ve often played together to boost each other’s visibility. The group teaches free Son classes to the public every Tuesday at San Anto Cultural Arts, 2120 El Paso, 78207. - CoLab Magazine


Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Volcán is a South Texas based Indie Latin project formed in late 2014. The group boasts a full rhythm section (comprised of drums, congas, timbales, and bass), a full brass section (comprised of trumpet, trombone, alto saxophone, and mellophone), a state champion accordionist, a prolific lead guitarist, and best-in-class vocals. Volcán is all original, opting never to use covers despite their dedication to bringing traditional cultural sounds to a new generation of Latinos.

From the group: we hold ourselves to a very high standard. Creating pieces of music that stretch the definition of what traditional latin music can be and modernizing our favorite classic sounds for a younger audience is an enormous cultural responsibility and we gladly accept the challenge.

Band Members