Today we’d like to introduce you to Andrew Gastélum and Erick Quintero.
Andrew and Erick, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
It all started when I graduated from Cal State LA University. Simultaneously, I also lost my part-time job that was keeping my garage turned apartment studio in the back of a house in East LA monthly rent afloat. I tried to negotiate with the “manager”. However, he didn’t cut me any slack. Luckily, I had just reunited with an early community college and local music days colleague. The homie Erick Quintero, weird that he had been living down the street from me this whole time. He loaned me his old car which I eventually paid him off for. I ended living in that car for a good, well not good, miserable 11 months until I finally found a stable job at a Behavioral Therapy Org. teaching kiddos with autism how to read and write to get me back on my feet. During the time I was living in the car and working to get me out of this black hole, I always kept believing that I would do innovative great things in life. Erick Quintero, among other close friends. Including my lovely girlfriend, lend helping hands.
Before calling it a night in the car, I would park by Erick’s place to chill, and we would constantly talk about playing music together and how music can help inspire and influence the masses in many good ways. We wondered if representing our community can be of any good for the community. Where, as hard working people of color, we can show the world that good things comes out of the Boyle Heights/ East LA area, contrary to what the media portrays about us. So we tried our best to get in contact and convince our networks to agree to start a band where we can spread positivity and dancing vibes that join people together while representing our communities. We eventually rounded up other educators and friends of the past. We been together for over two years now, performing all over California, representing our Xicanismo. We even got to perform in Mexico twice, and have a promising future in store for us if we put in the dedication and passion, which we are!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It hasn’t been a smooth road, just like anything in life where we are achieving a goal, there are many obstacles. We had that understood. In this case, our first one was rounding up the band members who were able to squeeze time out of their busy working days to survive and being available to practice while attending school simultaneously. Another obstacle was having the place to practice because practicing acoustically at the park whom eventually closed and people filing noise complaints. Also, the hourly practice studios were getting expensive because some of the band members had other priorities. Nevertheless, Erick and I never gave up.
At the moment, we are fortunate to have dedicated members and even more fortunate, we were able to acquire a monthly practice studio where we have the opportunity to spend more time practicing and saving our hard working money. A specific obstacle was getting the band van rammed at full speed from behind by a drunk driver on the street while heading to a show with all our equipment in the car. We risk our health and safety every time we drive to and back from a show where we can also potentially be robbed of our band equipment and/or band. We’ve seen it happen to a numerous amount of local bands that we know. On top of finding time from our busy work schedules to make it to practice and to shows where we know were not getting any currency out of it.
Please tell us about Los Fauna.
We are a band that originated from the East LA/Boyle Heights area striving to overcome our oppression, and the antagonism the media portrays of us. We are looking to spread positivity, and our Mexican-American culture to the masses, showing the world that good things come out of our community. That we are a loving community with dreams and aspiration to do great innovative things in life. We will eventually start writing music in English, but as of now, we only sing in Spanish with psychedelic, vintage rock and roll, cumbia, garage punk, surf, and bluesy vibes. We write songs dedicated to our immigrant family and friends. Songs dedicated to our Mexican-American culture also known as Chicanismo, as we like to call it. We also believe in bringing people together through the power of musical expression. We have performed countless of benefit shows such as raising money for people’s hospital bills, funeral expenses, immigrant caravan relief, natural disasters like the deadly volcano that erupted in Guatemala, workshops, and many others. We are avid in representing our community and spread awareness everywhere we perform. We are most proud of our work ethic, being able to set time aside for our busy work schedules to do what we love best while showing the world that good things come out of our community.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If we had to start all over, we wouldn’t change anything. Things happen for a reason and we embrace the struggle. As people of color, that’s all we been doing since our immigrant parents came here in search for a better life. It’s in our nature to constantly overcome obstacles and it’s this struggle that makes us appreciate everything we work so hard for.
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: Instagram@losfauna
- Other: Spotify, YouTube, Garage Band, Sound Cloud @losfauna
Picture credits: Sophia Hernandez.
Check out the VoyageLA Podcast:
Episode 1 with Content Partner Lisa Taitelman, Founder of Hiking & Wellness company Find Your Trail.