The Salinas, CA based Cumbia Urbana group, ¿Qiensave? is excited to announce the release of their highly anticipated EP, El After. The new EP is a compilation of songs that were started before the pandemic but as the band worked on the new music our world changed and the inspiration for the EP evolved.
The songs presented in El After are a testament to the band: their unity, persistence and positive energy that they created during this whole endeavor. The new record is out now and available everywhere you stream music. Stream and download here:
With the new record ¿Qiensave? has chronicled the last few years. The writing and recording process started on the heels of their critically acclaimed album Mujer (2019) where the band gained national success with reviews by tastemaker magazines like Sounds and Colours, La Mezcla and hometown press at the Monterey County Weekly. Riding the momentum and with the stand out single “High Class” getting a lot of love and attention, the band toured in support of national acts like Grupo Kual, La Misa Negra, Celso Piña, La Santa Cecilia, Las Cafeteras, Little Jesus, Fuerza de Tijuana, É. Arenas, Tropa Magica, La Ronda Bogotá, Bang Data, and La Septima Banda among others.
Leveraging their momentum the band wanted to work with new soundscapes and tap into their network of friends for the EP. Looking for new and fresh sounds they met up with their friend, hommie, and producer, Temper Slapz (Saul) at his LDNT Lab Studio. His modern take and digital production was the vibe they were looking for and the song become the title track. “El After” was meant to be the next party vibe. However life had other plans, Carlos Cortez, rhythm guitarist and singer for ¿Qiensave? recalls, “Having a festive attitude we began this journey, but the name took on a different meaning after the pandemic, some run-ins with the law, a couple of divorces, some wins, some losses and rehab, well not all in that order but it felt like it, it was like what’s gonna happen next? EL AFTER, meaning the sunshine after the storm, El pari que sigue!”
He continues, “We had to stop and contemplate it all for a minute just like life in the pandemic and after some time we pushed through. What started as one album went through many forms and ideas and ended here. With a brand new outlook on life after the pandemic, we found a new meaning to El After. It was a homage to the late-night party or desmadre of the wee hours of the morning, and became a deeper look into El After in our lives. El After is that moment after the moment, that moment after love and you no longer find yourself feeling the same, or the moment when we realize we aren’t the same person we used to be, be it good or bad. El After as in the transition from one fiesta to the other good or bad.”
The new EP is 7 tracks deep that highlight the journey that the band has experienced. While touring they meet up with Eduardo Arenas, bassists from Chicano Batman who came on board to produce of the single “El DUI.” Arenas is El Padrino of the new Quebradita revival and he invited ¿Qiensave? to his L.A. studio, Relleno Records Laboratory. There they created a homage to the late 80s/early 90s techno-banda, fused with the Juan Torres Robles organo melodico style, and a twist of the fun-loving sound that ¿Qiensave? is known for. They recall, “ It was a fun process, Eduardo Arenas had a variety of toys to get that banging qubradita sound. working with him was a warm learning experience. We took in some knowledge in the music game while also exploring new instruments like a rad keyboard with a massive sound bank from back in the day adding mad little punches and a digital drum machine.”
Another outstanding song is “Quemayama.” Teaming up with the renowned producer Greg Landau for the creation, they recall, “Quemayama was tough as far as arrangements we had arranged it to be simple and powerful but Greg came in and took us to another level pushing us to get a new sound out of the song. He would come in and say ‘I’m bringing in the bailometro (dance meter)’ when it was not on point he would say ‘the balometro is not looking good’ and we had to keep working.” For the band, it’s a song that talks of pain and healing. They comment, “We decided to cover this song and introduce elements of cumbia and Afro-Cuban percussion to give the song a different flavor.” They continued “The juxtaposition of heavy-hearted lyrics and upbeat rhythms is our way of presenting the idea that even in the darkness, light always shines through.”
For “Asi Es El Amor” Alejandro Gomez, who is the lead guitarist and also sings, took the controls at his studio, located in Marina, CA. The journey to making “Asi Es El Amor” is special for the band as they took a more organic approach to writing the single. Cortez comments, “Mario and Ricardo were jamming on chords with a more ranchero vibe. Thinking of Love, Sex, and the future of Love, the song came together. As they were working on the song, Jandro randomly walked through the door like Kramer and joined in adding his musical direction and that sierreño touch with his bajo sexto. The song came in an organic way bringing a new touch to the ¿Qiensave? sound!” It is a song that shares the broad possibilities of what love can do to two people. The band comments, “ Love, the most popular addiction! Will love ever end or will it last forever? Asi es el Amor, nunca se sabe pero se siente bonito! ¿Qiensave? Que vendra en el futuro pero Siempre vale la pena darle la oportunidad Al amor!”
Rounding out the El After, ¿Qiensave? also worked with renowned rock engineer and producer Sam Pura from Panda Studios. This was the second time working with Pura as the band commented, “ he really knows how to capture our rock essence like no one else.”
Reflecting on at the full EP El After, Carlos Cortez says, “For us the new record and every album, is a book of what we went through in the last couple of years personally and artistically. It is always there you just have to look closer with open eyes and an open heart, and you’ll find pieces of the story in the whole album from the art to the producers to the track listing it all tells a piece of the story.” He continues, “This is only the first half of the story, so stay tuned…Caile al Baile!”
Since 2009 ¿Qiensave? have been making music together. They are Carlos L Cortez (Rhythm Guitar/Vocals), Alejandro Gomez (Lead Guitar/Vocals), Mario Cortez (Guida/Keyboard/Vocalsx), Ricardo Cortez (Drums/Vocals), and William Cortez (Bass). They are currently planning a tour in the coming months and look forward to performing the new material from this EP and the next one!
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