OCTOBER 24, 2017

http://www.rockwired.com/CapitalIRed.jpgn recent years, Albuquerque, New Mexico has become the land of BREAKING BAD and BETTER CALL SAUL. As one who lives in the "Duke City",I feel  it's better to be known for two bad-ass televsions shows than it is the place where BUGS BUNNY forgot to make a left turn.  This dry, arid, mountainous setting is on the map in a big way when it comes to televsion production, but I always felt that the music scene here deserved just as much attention. Maybe the lack of exposure speaks to the fact that there are no music scenes in the age of the internet and social media, but that hasn't stopped FELIX PERALTA  from making a decent penny making and performing music here and throughout the country. He and accordion player D.B. GOMEZ form the creative core of FELIX Y LOS GATOS - a musical act with a sound as wide and expansive as the American Southwest. Covering a wide range of sound from blues, bluegrass and zydeco, FELIX Y LOS GATOS have been an in-demand live act in the Land of Entrapment and beyond. In the coming year,  the band is set to release their forthcoming album which they've recorded at the legendary BLUE CAT STUDIOS in San Antonio (days before Hurricane Harvey struck the region). The new album will mark the band's evolution from troubadours-for-hire to full fleged recording artists with an enviable sense of musicality and  a mission to bring their distinctive Southwest sound to a much broader listening public.

ROCKWIRED had a chance to speak with FELIX PERALTA regarding the formation of FELIX Y LOS GATOS and their forthcoming album. Here is how the interview went. 

FELIX Y LOS GATOS is a name I see everywhere, living in Albuquerque. Bring me back to the beginning of this enterprise. How did this whole thing get off the ground?
I started playing guitar and my accordion play D.B. GOMEZ started out by playing piano. He and I started out by playing at this party in the University of New Mexico student ghetto in Albuquerque. It was a very informal thing and it was the shit. This was about 17 or 18 years ago . It was around 1999. It was about 22 or 23. After that, D.B. wanted to jam with me but I was doing my own thing at the time but he was so insistent and I was like "Alright! you can play with me!" Before we knew it,  we were tearing it up and it all started at that party. He played piano. After that party, we started to play all of these parties at places like up in the mountains and around campfires. Before D.B. started playing the piano, he didn't have an instrument that he could bring to these gigs. He was playing the melodica for a while, but he got a hold of an accordion and the rest is history. Musically, we went back to the basics with me on guitar and him on the accordion.
We are like the old style troubadours. This is where we're coming from. This is what pays our bills. As I'm talking to you today, we have two gigs today. One in Albuquerque and a later gig in Santa Fe. We're playing all of the time. 


It's not common for one to make their living in music, especially here in New Mexico. What do you attribute the ability get all of these gigs to?
It's not common. You're right. I grew up hustling - good things and bad things and everything in between. Our hustling mentality stems from the fact that this is what we want to do. We're sticking to our guns. It's better than working a part time job doing this or that. In the past, we had to do that. Every now and then you have to do another gig to help us along but mostly, this is what we get to do. It's all about niching. You have to niche your market and we have a really good niche. We play blues but you can play a song from any part of the world on the accordion from South American, Europe, New Orleans and the Bayou.

And talk about what got you into music making in the first place.
I just turned forty. I grew up in a time when LOS LOBOS was huge. Outside of that, I grew up with my grandfather playing accordion. My grandpa and my mom were the last of the Spanish land grants here in New Mexico. I grew up with the sounds of the accordion and guitar. It would always happen after work and only around family. It's not like the way D.B. and I do it. Growing up I would hear this music in Church. It was always around . I had an older cousin who was in the music scene playing bass and I would help him load in his gear into a venue and then I was working at Brewsters, cooking and seeing musicians go in and out. Even from a distance, it looked like something that I wanted to do.

Describe the music scene that you are surrounded by in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
It's really good. There are some really good musicians making some really good music. So you have great musicians but there is not a lot of great business or a great business sense. People ask me how I get work all the time. It's because I hustle. I research. I don't stay in one market or style of music. If St. Clair Winery wants us to do a nice relaxing Spanish flared sound, then we're going to rock that out. If you want us to play a rockin' blues bar , we're gonna bring out the whole band. In one weekend we played for a huge biker party and the next night we played for the Sheriff's Posse in Taos. That should give you an idea of how eclectic we are. We also tour around the country. I have an agent - ROAD DOG TOURING - out of Denver and they keep us busy around the country, playing festivals anywhere from Chicago to South Carolina to California to New Orleans. We're busy pretty much everywhere.


And I understand that a new album is in the works. What can you tell us about it and when we can expect it?
In the last six months, we recorded an album. We've become more professional from a bar band into artists. For a while me and D.B. were really heavy drinkers  and now, we're close to two years sober now. That has changed everything for us. It has changed our outlook on everything. When we got sober we recoded a new album and I like it. It's good. We were in the studio just last month. This album is co-produced by the accordion player for THE MAVERICKS who are a fairly big band. He lives in San Antonio and you've got some really amazing players there. You have JOSH BACA there, who grew up here in Albuquerque and played with LOS LOBOS. We recorded this new album at BLUE CAT STUDIOS. That studio is like the MUSCLE SHOALS or the MOTOWN of San Antonio. The producer that we workd with is  the owner of BLUE CAT STUDIOS. His name is JOE TREVINO  and he's a GRAMMY-winning producer who has worked with LOS LOBOS , THE MAVERICKS and TEXAS TORNADOES. We got a chance to record at this awesome studio and we've gotten to know THE MAVERICKS a little bit. They're actaully starting a record company of their own. We recorded the album right before the hurricane hit. It's getting mixed right now. It's a whole different sound for us and it's beautiful. We're looking to release this album early next year.

And what has inspired the music on this upcoming album?
It's all about happiness and where I'm at in my life right now. I'm just very humbly happy. Sobriety brought me happiness. Same with D.B. GOMEZ. He's got a wife and a daughter now. We're not stressed about anything now. the work is there. We already have our names out there and my books are filled until next year. I'm booked. We're not stressed about things. That has a lot to do with it. The inspiration is there. 



http://www.rockwired.com/OrangeRoundPic.jpg BRiAN LUSH (FOUNDER, EDiTOR-iN-CHiEF)
Brian Lush is a music industry professional and entrepreneur. In 2005 he launched the online music site Rockwired.com to help promote new music artists in conjunction with the weekly radio show Rockwired Live which aired on KTSTFM.COM from 2005 - 2009. In 2010 He launched the daily podcast series Rockwired Radio Profiles which features exclusive interviews and music. He has also developed and produced the online radio shows Jazzed and Blue - Profiles in Blues and Jazz, Aboriginal Sounds - A Celebration of American Indian and First Nations Music, The Rockwired Rock N Roll Mixtape Show and The Rockwired Artist of the Month Showcase. In 2012, Brian Lush and his company Rockwired Media LLC launched the monthly digital online publication Rockwired Magazine. The magazine attracts over 75,000 readers a month and shows no signs of stopping. Rockwired Magazine also bares the distinction of being the first American Indian-owned rock magazine. Brian Lush is an enrolled member of the Yankton Sioux Tribe. Brian Lush's background in music journalism, radio and podcast hosting, podcast production, web design, publicity, advertising sales, social media and online marketing, strategic editorial planning and branding have all made Rockwired a name that is trusted and respected throughout the independent music industry.

CONTACT BRiAN LUSH AT: djlush@rockwired.com