Mexican alternative rock band Trends are no passing fad
The thing about trends is that they never really die; from high-waisted jeans to autotune, they’re still finding their way back into the lexicon of mainstream pop culture. Inspired by this idea, Marina Paiz named her Mexican alternative rock band Tendencies as a way of recognizing the cyclical nature of life. The Los Angeles-based collective, she says, has encountered a number of challenges in the nearly nine years since its founding, but somehow they are still standing strong, having created a sound that infuses their legacy into a genre they’ve never seen themselves in. represented.
The first iterations of Trends started as a lo-fi solo project by singer and founder Paiz. In 2013, she began pursuing an associate’s degree in music production. Having played classical music for most of her childhood, from Beethoven to Debussy, she knew she wanted to do something different and honed her skills so she could produce her own original tunes. After using loop tracks in a number of gigs, Paiz realized that forming a band would allow her to create the sound she desired.
Paiz met drummer Karen Moreno in 2015, and the foundation of Trends began to form. Together, Paiz and Moreno posted ads on Craigslist to find a guitarist, but couldn’t find the right person. Eventually, Paiz recruited a classmate as the band’s guitarist, but they only lasted a year before leaving. “We had taken so long to make Trends feel like a band, it felt like stepping back,” Paiz said.
For a time, Paiz and Moreno operated as a duo, continuing to write songs and rehearse in a Whisper Room (a small soundproof box) in Vernon, California, surrounded by refrigerated warehouses. “Black walls, no windows, always someone smoking,” says Paiz. “But the writing was in progress, and I felt like the record was getting closer.”
When current lead guitarist Abraham Urias joined in late 2016, the band Paiz had always hoped for began to materialize. Bonding with their shared Mexican heritage, the band spent their nights working on what would become their debut album. In 2018 bassist Jose Valiñas joined the band.
In February 2019, Trends released their debut single, “Ampersand,” a mid-tempo odyssey about not letting life pass you by, filled with wispy chimes and percussion. Paiz’s voice is a heartbreaking echo of his inner thoughts. At the end of that year, the band released their second single, “Branches”, a track that showcases Tendencies’ layered capabilities, mixing jagged guitar strings, jazzy drums and modded vocals that burst with heavy bass. These songs set the stage for the band’s debut album, Pallets, released in early 2020 just before the pandemic. The emotional nine-track alt-rock project, which Paiz and Andrew Murdock co-produced, is all she and the band envisioned, proving that a slow process can lead to a well-planned debut.
Extra recently sat down with Paiz to discuss Trends’ upcoming work, the importance of female recording engineers and producers, and more.
Tell me about the group dynamic. How did your common Mexican heritage influence your creative process?
I don’t have specific examples related to our common heritage, but when you are around people from the same cultural background, some things go unnoticed in communication and understanding. This iteration of the band felt like a family – with its ups and downs – but we could really trust each other onstage and share parts of our lives offstage as well.
It was a blessing and a curse because communication [about our emotions] maybe wasn’t the best, and we were all sailing there. But in terms of our values, the strength of family, and knowing that we were going to get through this in one piece, that was really important. We’re also all bilingual, so we switch languages and stuff when we write songs for Pallets. It was refreshing to be among the people [with shared heritage] because in this [rock] scene, it is generally dominated by white men.
Many musicians have been negatively impacted by the pandemic and have been unable to tour and perform live. How has the pandemic affected trends?
Well, that sucks because in 2020, Pallets came out, and I was like, “Oh, we’re going [perform it live] and all.” That didn’t happen because of the pandemic. Since the pandemic, there’s been two fewer members because — actually, everyone’s from Mexico — but they’ve gone home. most of the writing for new stuff was done with three members, and it was all over Zoom and Skype.
You said that this scene is generally dominated by white men. How, then, did she navigate this space as a Latinx woman?
It’s an industry dominated by white men. I do freelance production and engineering, which can be such a toxic space. I grew up listening to alternative rock that would validate my feelings, especially sadness. But now I realize, “Oh, it was just white guys singing about these things.” Growing up Latinx, I barely accepted the fact that I’m entitled to sadness too, and I don’t have to feel weird about going to therapy or showing what I grew up knowing that weaknesses.
I think it’s essential for me to continue making music because I haven’t seen anyone like me grow up. It’s much better, and the younger generations can see people they can identify with.
There has been a slow increase in the number of female producers and engineers in the industry. Tell me about your hopes for more women to get these opportunities.
With the engineering side of things, I think having women in the room is incredibly invaluable. My partner went to school to write songs, and she was in a program where they were [learning the foundational work] engineering and produce their own stuff. There’s nothing like relying on yourself, especially when you’re a woman – especially a woman of color – because if you can reduce the number of times you have to be in a toxic environment, you absolutely should.
I’ve been to rooms where the sound engineers think I don’t know what I’m doing. I’ve worked with producers who were like, “No, it’s supposed to be like that.” Someone else’s ego should never get in the way of your artistry, so I love seeing more female engineers and producers.
We have Pallets in 2020. What’s next?
The new material is more honest. With Pallets, a lot of it was pretty vague, lyrically and metaphorically, because sometimes it’s hard to tell how you’re feeling. So I hope people will identify with the novelties. It’s definitely about heartbreak, losing relationships, and losing loved ones during this time. I think it’s pretty universal. Right now I’m still recording guitars and making sure it’s all good and then I’m just going to release it as an EP or singles I think in April. April looks good to me.