LOS KARMA:  LOUD, FAST AND KICK ASS
by Ginger Coyote

A ferocious loud and fast quartet hailing from the beaches of Tijuana, Mexico which is made up of four guys simply looking for an outlet and a voice to express their feelings towards their world....

Their music ranging from ska/punk to hardcore reflects a communal feeling amongst the four that strives to interpret the daily struggles of life. This band also tries to demonstrate a sincere, energetic and positive message through their music and words without sacrificing the need for expression, while relieving their feeling that this world and it's injustice has brought them. Erik Hilgado took time out of his busy schedule to do the following interview.

Punk Globe:    It is so nice to get the chance to interview you can you give us some back ground on Los Karma. How long have you been together and where in Mexico are you from? 
 
ERIK HILDAGO: We have been a band for about 8 years or more, the thing is that we met each other since kinder garden (no kidding) and we been friends since then, we started to hear music together as well as learning to play an instrument, so the band actually formed itself, we started playing cover songs and then we realized by starting going to local gigs and concerts in TJ & SD and watching bands play live, that we could create our own music and express whatever we felt, and that is exactly what we did, and still do. We also got very involved on promoting the local Tijuana Music Scene, we started producing local shows and working whit bands from all over Mexico and California, improvising venues, putting on shows, we also worked on radio, news papers, whit the intention to take over some spaces of the local media and used that to promote the music and ideas that the young rockers in Tijuana had.

We are from Playas de Tijuana, a small town that collides whit the pacific ocean and the metal US border to the north (SD), its actually consider as the last corner of Latin-America, hometown of Tijuana No, Julieta Venegas, Nortec and many more.

Punk Globe:   Is there a story about how you came up with Los Karma for a band name?

E.H. :    We were actually at school in a stupid class looking for a name for the band, we had an old dictionary and we decided to look up for a name there, we saw karma and what it meant, and we felt it had energy, power, speed and justice. 
For us LOS KARMA is a way of understanding and having conscience that everything you do good or bad is eventually going to return to you whit the same intention as you do anything to others. LOS KARMA to us is respect, tolerance but at the same time if you mess whit us or anybody for no valid reason you're going to get a reaction.

Punk Globe:  Can you give us a run down of who is in the band and what they play?

E.H. :   Rodrigo Flores plays bass and backing vocals, Memo Guerrero plays lead guitar and backing vocals, Omar Becerra plays the drums and he also does backing vocals and I (Erik Hidalgo) play guitar and lead vocals

Punk Globe:  Have any of you been in bands prior to Los Karma? Do any of you have side projects?

E.H. :      We always have been in LOS KARMA, it was our first band and its still our priority, but we have done some work or collaboration whit some other bands, for example: Rodrigo rehearsed and played bass for a while whit Tijuana Punk Legend Solucion Mortal, Omar Played the drums whit the last line up of Unknown Paranoia whit Hassan of Kung Fu Monkeys and Jesse (original UP vocal), Memo played guitar and vocals whit a local punk band called Los Pobres and I (Erik) recorded guitars whit Mosquito a collective of many musicians from Tijuana and also played live a couple of times as a guest whit other local and national bands. But right now all of us are focusing just in LOS KARMA.

Punk Globe:   Is this the original line up? 
 
E.H. :   Since the beginning we had always been 3, Erik, Rodrigo and Omar, Memo joined the band later, he has been our friend since way back, he actually helped us out as a stage manager, selling merch and always went on tour whit us, etc. when his band Los Pobres stopped playing, we invited Memo to play whit us, since he always had been a part of Los Karma, it was something natural for him to be in the band, he had something missing whit us all this time and that was his fucking loud guitar.

Punk Globe:  Can you tell us about the punk scene in Tijuana? Are there a lot of clubs to play?

E.H. :   Tijuana was the first door to open for Punk music to come to Mexico, so on our early days we went to see a lot of punk bands that came from USA to Tijuana, as well as many local bands, bands like: Solucion Mortal, The Neighbors, Especimen, etc. We would go to places like the venues of avenida revolucion or plaza fiesta. Today the punk scene in Tijuana is still alive, not as strong as before, but there are a lot of bands and kids that still follow the punk ideals and play real punk music, not the shit that we see and hear on Mtvla or Telehit, here in Mexico. 

In this days we don't have a lot of clubs to play in, but there are few that every weekend host shows like The Box Underground at Jai Alai or Multikulti that is our favorite place right now to play in and go see shows, recently Misfits, The Adicts, US Bomb, Citizen Fish, Leftover Crack, played on that venue and each show simply rocked. Hopefully more bands can cross the border and play in Tijuana, feel free to contact us to see if we can put on a show here.

Punk Globe:  Have you played Mexico City? I know there is a strong punk following there?  How about other cities in Mexico? 
 
E.H. :  We have played there and it's amazing the amount of people that go to shows, Mexico City and Guadalajara could be the cities whit the biggest punk scene in Mexico, we have played on most of the cities here in Mexico and the punk following is really big in this country, I remember great shows when touring whit bands like Bye Samy, Los Kung Fu Monkeys, Agente Calavera and many more.

And we are actually going to tour Mexico in January 2007, we can wait to return to a lot of cities and especially Mexico City.

Punk Globe:  I know when my White Trash Debutantes played with The Ramones we played at Iguana's. When WTD played later played in TJ,  we did a show with Bulldog Productions. That is when we met Los Kung Fu Monkey's.  I remember Jesse and Unknown Paranoia from Rosarito were there in the audience. Union 69 were headlining the show.

E.H.:  Hey, we actually went to that last show and it rocked.

Punk Globe:   Does Los Karma have any releases out and if so what label? 
 
E.H.:   We have a split CD that we did whit Destruction Made Simple (AF Records) it was released by One Shot Records (LA), we also have participate on some Mexican Compilations like: Rolitas de la Frontera, Tijuana Live, Tijuana Libre Tour and many others. Our first debut album "Desde Que Puedo Recordar" is coming out at last after many years in January 2007. We don't have a label.

Punk Globe:  I have heard your music on My Space and Pure Volume and it kicks ass. Do you also have a website?  
 
E.H.:  Yeah, we are really glad you like it. And yes, you can check us out also on our main website: http://www.loskarma.com

Punk Globe: I have been reading about this upcoming tour you have planned. Can you give the readers some updates about it?

E.H. : It's actually a contest, we don't like contests very much, but we got picked from over 500 independent bands from myspace by Avalon a San Diego based art production company, and they have the idea on sending the 4 most voted import bands to SD and start a tour in USA from there, all expenses paid. We are actually the only American and Latin-American Band competing upon bands from Australia, England, France and Canada. So help us out and vote for Los Karma. 

 Punk Globe:    How can the readers and fans help you?

 E.H.:  If we win we would go on tour and cover some cities of the US starting from SD. There actually going to fly bands form Europe, LOS KARMA are representing Mexico, and since we are so close to SD were not going to fly, but we are certainly going to drive ourselves across the border and rock as hard as we can, to show everybody that Mexican music is not just fucking Mariachi. 
You can help us out by voting for LOS KARMA directly at: http://www.ptisd.com/Avalon.html or check out our myspace for more information: http://www.myspace.com/loskarma Your vote can help us a lot, voting ends Dec 1st 2006.

Punk Globe:  Los Karma has a Ska/Punk sound, who are some of your influences?

 E.H.:     We listen to all kind of music, but we grew up listening to punk, grunge, hard core, metal, ska, alternative, funk, etc. We grew up listening to bands like: Operation Ivy, Maldita Vecindad, Metallica, Bad Religion, Ramones, Nirvana, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Primus, Tijuana No, Rancid, Sekta Core, No Use For a Name, Ska-P.

Punk Globe:  Do you know the band Tijuana NO?

E.H. :  Tijuana No is actually one of our strong influences, musically and idealistic, we learn from them to express what we think no mater what happened and also to be socially involved on movements in witch whit our music we could help others in need.

We are currently good friends whit Alex Zuniga  (Drumer of Tijuana NO) whit who we actually have produce some shows whit, at Multikulti, and we also knew Luis Guerna, I remember he played congas to our ska a alta velocidad (very fast ska) as he stated, on one gig years ago here in Tijuana. And we actually played whit Tijuana No this past Month in support of the EZLN and I (Erik) was invited to sing the song "La Migra"  whit los NO, awesome experience.

Punk Globe:  I remember that Bernardo Leos (KFM) was so excited to find out I knew Nick Traina and Link 80. Are you familiar with them?

 E.H.:  Yes, we love that band, since we are so close to USA we listen and admire a lot of bands and musicians that we get the chance to see on shows or get the cd's or music trough the Internet.

Punk Globe: Who writes your material?

E.H.:  We write all of the material, the main reason for us to make music is to express ourselves, so we are really in to creating music that really means something to us and lets us just scream what we have in our heads.

Punk Globe:  Can you tell us about your BEST show you have played so far and also your WORST?

E.H.:  I remember a great show in Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico, it was a national rock festival, we were representing our hometown, it was awesome, people flying over the speakers, the red cross crew taking people out of the pit and in to the ambulance, those kids were hearing us for the first time and they supported us really great. We went back to Culiacan 4 more times that year. Great Show. 
 
One of the worst shows was in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, I can only remember a big abandoned backyard, a dried pool, us playing in front of 3 junkies dancing like Indians, sniffing glue on plastic bags and destroying old TVs and throwing a couch in to the pool, hey, actually that was fun, ha ha. But it was not what we expected it was a dangerous show.

Punk Globe:   Any fun tour tales you would like to share?

E.H.:  In the USA we only have played mostly in LA, we would love to play more often over there and hopefully someday do a tour in the USA. 
We have toured Mexico many times, a fun tour tale would be when we were in Rosarito Beach, we got a room on an expensive spring break hotel, we had friends from other bands singing in our room whit an old paracho acoustic guitar, after a lot of beers we realized that the room was on fire and that Omar jumped in the bed to get away and made a hole in the wall, 5 minutes later we were in the street whit no room but still a lot of party.

Punk Globe:    I mentioned your Los Karma profile on My Space. Recently you and myself were victims of HACKERS on My Space. My Ginger Coyote profile had 14,000 + friends and Los Karma had 16,000 + friends. I can so relate to how you must have felt when you could no longer log in to your profile. My Space does nothing to help you... Please give us your new My Space address.

E.H.:  Our new myspace is: http://www.myspace.com/loskarma check it out and tell us what you think, help us get our friends back.

Punk Globe:  What is in the future for Los Karma?

E.H.:   We are about to put out our first debut album "Desde Que Puedo Recordar" (January 2007), it's a independent production that we hope we can distribute as much as we can in Mexico and the US, were also touring Mexico in January and planning to play live as much as we can next year to support this record.

Punk Globe:   We here at Punk Globe would like to thank you for this interview. Do you have any last words for the readers?

E.H.:  Thanks a lot for taking the time to read this interview, we hope you give us the opportunity to be heard by you, and hope to see you someday at a LOS KARMA show. And special thanks to Ginger Coyote and Punk Globe for helping us out and for this great interview. Don't forget to stop by our myspace http://www.myspace.com/loskarma

 Please check out Los Karma, you will not be sorry you. Thank you Erik for the interview....

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