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Meet Marco and Eduardo Barajas of Paloma Negra in Long Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Marco and Eduardo Barajas.

Marco and Eduardo, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
We started out, in 2015, just a couple of guys from high school that would get together on Tuesdays to jam. After a month or two we had a couple of original songs that we thought were pretty good. All our guys had different music backgrounds. Our drummer was a Led Zeppelin fanatic. The singer was a reggae head. The keyboard player had a background in soul and exclusively played for a church. My brother and I grew up on Spanish ballads and Spanish Rock. So it was an immediate clash of sounds. Luckily, we found that reggae was a perfect bowl we could cook our gumbo in. A little bit of Zeppelin, some soul organs and Latin Jazz on top of a Reggae foundation was what we found fit our musical needs the best. In a sense, we were just creating music we wanted to listen to because we really couldn’t find another band that would fill that hole for us.

It’s been five years since we started this band and we’ve had members come and go but the music always stays the same. Our specific style of reggae has helped us keep the music continue, even after some line up changes. We started our as a five-piece and we are up to nine members currently. It’s always exciting when we grow our musical family because it makes playing our music that much more fun to play. There are always dozens of ideas flying around and improvisations our guys throw into the mix. It keeps our music organic and exciting, and that is why we have carried on for all these years.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Having the musical style we have has been a struggle since the get go. We aren’t reggae enough for the reggae community and we aren’t rock enough for the LA scene. In the beginning, we fell victim to everyone’s judgements. They would tell us to change our sound, play more covers and sing about weed since we were a reggae band. It did help us get more shows in the reggae scene, but it didn’t satisfy our musical whats and needs. The worst thing that could happen to a band is for them to get bored or comfortable – we had both. We were bored of the music people wanted to hear and comfortable because we were gigging weekly and making decent money.

Changing the music and going back to what we wanted to play was an important decision we had to make for the well being of our happiness. So we changed our band name, The Palechubs, to our current name ‘Paloma Negra’. We completely reinvented the band to start fresh and go back to what got us into music to begin with. Now, changing our name had its setbacks. We pretty much needed to start from zero and gain our fan base again. We don’t get the same gigs anymore because our sound but we knew what we were getting into and we like the challenge. We play our hearts out every night because we love playing our music. So in the end, we are grateful for those setbacks because it reminded us of who we are and why we play our music.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Paloma Negra story. Tell us more about your band.
We call our musical style as Latin Rock Reggae. It is very important to us that we are always experimenting with different sounds and styles because that is when music is really being created. It is very demining when people say “you sound like Led Zeppelin” or “you guys are the next Sublime.” Our goal is to always be organic and never conform to a sound.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
We have always received luck with open arms – good or bad. We have always had the great fortune of finding bandmates who fit our music style perfectly and understand our vision. They all bring so much to our music and we are just grateful they all landed on our path – passed and present.

We’ve also had our share of bad luck. Like times we’ve had great opportunities and we’ve missed them for certain unfortunate circumstances. However, we don’t dwell on those things too much because in the end, I think it just wasn’t our time at those moments and destiny will have it happen when it deems it time. We certainly are more mature and focused on our vision, so when an opportunity arises again, I’m sure we will be ready.

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Image Credit:

Photographer: Julissa Sanchez

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