Properly Introduced: Los Manglers

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Properly Introduced: Los Manglers

There’s no door that Los Manglers don’t kick in on their debut recording, Between Worlds. Leading with their girl group background as Dandy and the Walkers, they’ve eschewed enough musical innocence to also take on a cool older sibling persona. Its bedraggled riffs and bubblegum pop, and we love it front to back. To make sure you’re Properly Introduced, we asked the Puerto Rican quartet to answer the basics to make sure they’re on your radar as well.

WHO?
Laira Diaz, Enrique Olivares, Mario Negron Gonzalez, and Juan Antonio Arroyo.

WHAT?
Psychedelic pop/rock and roll from Puerto Rico. Sounds like cracking open a coconut with your bare hands.

WHERE?
Straight from the non-incorporated U.S. territory/pleasure paradise/colony Puerto Rico. Specifically Santurce, a neighborhood and burgeoning arts central in the metropolitan area. We record/rehearse in the heart of the area at Casa Fantasmes, a music production and performance venue run by our drummer/producer Mario and bassist Juan.

WHEN & WHY?
Our initial motivation for forming Los Manglers sprung from a survival instinct. In late 2013, our previous girl group band, Dandy and the Walkers, had just disbanded in the wake of recording some new material, and we didn’t want to go our own ways just yet. We regrouped under the auspices of stretching towards the heavier side of ‘70s hard rock on the psych spectrum, while still dabbling with our ‘60s pop sensibilities.

Sure, we can tell you we’re really into The Beatles, T.Rex, 13th Floor Elevators, Television, Karen Dalton, Brian Eno, Stevie Nicks and krautrockers like Can, Amon Duul II, Neu! and stuff like that, but we’d like to think that most of our primary influences to be non-musical. Literature, film and visual arts shape the conceptual groundwork for the band’s songwriting.

Inspired by an educational background in literature, Enrique has been heavily influenced by Pre-Raphaelite art and poetry. With that vision of a new ideality of art, beauty, and love, articulated through medieval aesthetic, Enrique considers it source material for songwriting, which also discloses a method for transforming art and music into an interdisciplinary experience.

Enrique Olivares (lead songwriter, guitar): Between Worlds is rooted in the Victorian 19th century, because it was essentially a process of discovery and invention, of moving between spectrums to explore the variations of the experience. I’m attracted to the idea of re-casting ideas in new imaginative forms that allow the band (and the listener) to reinvent themselves. As a songwriter, I want to move from the typical boy-meets-girl scenario. I’d like to move desire away from the latitudes of love. I’d like to explore beauty and the experience of beauty, of art and its objects, and of our own place in the world but in a very affective way. That’s what personally got me into rock and roll—the thrill of living a thousand lives and a thousand plateaus of pleasure.

Laira Díaz (lead vocals, guitar): I come from a musical family, so music has always been a part of my life. As a backing vocalist for a mother, I’ve always focused more on the singing aspect of songs. No matter the arrangement, I would always be attracted to music mainly because of the singer’s passion and delivery. Once I started playing guitar, my musical taste broadened to music that focused on much more than just voice. At this moment, I just love creating music with these guys. I like to create music to explore myself and the world, to expand my horizons, to create something that leaves a mark and bring people together.

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