Late November of last year, I found Miami Dade College student, Ariel Serrano nonchalantly taking a midnight walk along Midtown, after a while of chit chatting, he mentioned he was the bass player for a band.
“What do you play?” I asked. He responded: Psychedelic Disco.
Immediately, I demanded to hear his music. The funky rhythms coming from his iPhone sent me straight to dance heaven, and right there and then I shook my body to the beat of the music.
SpaceKamel, who has been together since April of 2014, is a psychedelic disco band formed by MDC students Brennan Jasso (lead singer), Julian Aldanaz (guitar player), Ariel Serrano (former bass player and current band manager), UM student Tony Miller (drum player) and FIU student Gabe Coto (bass player).
Aldanaz, Jasso and I got together for their first interview ever. We sat down at Julian’s house surrounded by Jimi Hendrix posters and a computer with all sorts of cables attached to it.
What were you doing at the beginning?
Julian: Our bass player, Gabe, I met him at the Rock Ensemble. I was in two bands with him, then we broke up, actually three [bands], but we didn’t work out. It just didn’t work out.
Brennan: They were high school bands. I would watch the shows sometimes.
What’s the difference between all those bands and you?
Brennan: One day Julian finally asked me to do something with him and I was like okay, you know, because collaboration just happens sometimes. It really depends on both people being in the same place, at the same time wanting to record. I had this guitar part that I played for him and he said “let’s record!”
Julian: I invited him over and we improvised that song.
Brennan: It’s online, you might have heard it. It’s called Desert Groove. It’s cool because it’s an improvised song.
Where did this experimental groove come from?
Julian: I think it’s a mixture of a lot of things and if you categorize it, you’d probably end up with alternative, that’s just how it is, but more with like a funk. A more groove edge. You’d tell people its alternative experimental.
Brennan: I mean, for me, well for you it’s different because you write the parts…and you’re very funk and disco oriented…
Julian: I love Disco.
Brennan: I’m a very melodic person. I love melody. My contribution is purely melodic, I think. I follow rhythm but I’m contributing in the notes, in the melody at least in the main vocal melody, so I guess I see it as like a… it’s fun to sing so that translates into a fun show and a fun song.
Have you always liked music that way?
Brennan: I’ve always been very into music. When I first performed I was in front of people in the third grade. When my mom played guitar for me and I sang a Cat Stevens song and I sounded like a little girl because I was like six, more like eight. I was eight. I always knew music was my thing, though. I always knew that’s what I was going to do.
Did you know you wanted to do music?
Julian: Yeah I love music. It kind of drives me. There’s not a lot I can do. Actually, I first played violin and I was really into it. I was pretty good, man, but you know, you look up to professionals and I would look up to violinist and thought well there’s no way I can do that, that’s too hard.
Can you show me something? What are we about to listen to?
Julian: Yeah. It’s called “Miami Knights” but it has no vocals yet.
I sat back and the music boomed from the speakers. Brennan’s voice enveloped the room with a high-pitched sound. He used his voice as an instrument, innovating and scaling with the guitar, mingling the two together into a provocative sound, then the pure essence of their band reflected in a groovy and strongly performed guitar solo.
Brennan closed his eyes as he sang, moving his head and hands, reminding me of a great theatrical performances like Janis Joplin.
What do you see in SpaceKamel’s future?
Brennan: Getting everything together and finishing recording.
Julian: I made it a thing that I’m not going to shave my face until the album is done.
What do you see a little down the road?
Brennan: It could go anywhere from here.
Julian: The word is slowly getting around. We have our good friend, Martin, who connected us with the drummer and the second guitarist and he’s spreading the word and people are digging it. Maybe get signed to a label, build a fanbase. Success will be the goal.
Brennan: Right now I just see getting this done and figuring out the lineup. I don’t know what to think about the future. Who knows? We just hope that everything works out so we can do the thing that we love for as long as we can.
SpaceKamel is in the creative mist of finishing their first album SpaceKamelus. In the meantime, they play crazy shows around Miami and continue to experiment with their groove, always trying to improve their stage performance and priding themselves on not being a shoegazer band. For more, visit soundcloud: SpaceKamel.