18 Questions with Chicano Batman

18 Questions with introduces 1883 readers to the brightest young artists, actors, creatives and beyond. From childhood memories and guilty pleasures to their latest ventures and upcoming projects, our goal is to bring you closer to the people who inspire and entertain us.

Chicano Batman are one of LA’s best musical exports. For the last 16 years, vocalist Bardo, guitarist Carlos Arévalo, and bassist Eduardo Arenas have cultivated a loyal fanbase thanks to their thrilling psych-soul sound. Now, the group are gearing up to release their anticipated new album Notebook Fantasy next month. It’s a project that promises to be their most expansive LP to date and was produced by John Congelton (ST Vincent).

Carlos from Chicano Batman sat down with 1883 Magazine to answer 18 questions about the new album, his favourite memory growing up, and more.

What’s one exciting thing that happened to you this week?

I had a birthday this week!

What was the last thing you read?

The last thing I read was Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston.

Favourite memory growing up?

My favourite memory growing up was going to Guitar Center for my 16th birthday and my mom purchasing me my first real Fender Stratocaster guitar. The guitar was purple!

Where was the last place you travelled to?

The last place I travelled to was Los Angeles from Washington DC. I live in the DC area now and am always flying back and forth to LA for band business.

What was the last thing that made you laugh?

The last thing that made me laugh was the ending of episode five of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Donald Glover’s writing is excellent.

What’s your nighttime ritual?

My night ime ritual is flossing, brushing my teeth, and washing my face. Can’t skip on that nighttime routine no matter where I’m at in the world.

Who would be on your dream dinner party guest list?

I would invite Thom Yorke, Johnny Greenwood, Rick Rubin, John Frusciante, Stevie Wonder, and George Clinton.

Favorite quote from a film or TV show?

“Hey guys, whoa, big gulps huh? Alright, well, see ya later!” Jim Carrey is a legend.

What’s your go-to karaoke song?

Stairway to Heaven.

Favourite item in your closet?

My Lakers championship 2020 championship t-shirt. The shirt is comfortable and I get to rep my favourite sports team!

Can you tell us about the writing process behind the band’s latest single “Fly”?

I came up with the music for “Fly” on my Prophet 6 synthesizer. I had the chord progression and instrumental melodies laying around for a while before finally showing it to the band in late 2022 at a demo session. Bardo our singer, took the demo and moved a guitar hook I recorded during the session to the beginning of the song and it helped give the song a clearer direction.

When we hit the studio with that arrangement, the rhythm section became solidified by an amazing performance by our bassist, Eduardo. Lastly, since we were recording at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, in the studio next to the one Prince recorded his first two albums, we thought lyrically it be cool to draw inspiration from his style.

What should fans expect from your forthcoming new record, Notebook Fantasy?

They should expect a big sounding and very diverse album. Each song takes you somewhere different from the last. We didn’t hold back on this one.

Layfette is such a brilliant London venue. Will you get any downtime in the city, if so is there anything you want to do when you’re here in the UK later this year?

This will be my first time in the UK and I’m very excited. I have no idea where to go or what to see! So I may have to ask my London raised friend Piya from Say She She for recommendations.

Who is the funniest member of Chicano Batman?

Everyone is pretty funny but I think Eduardo our bassist is the funniest.

What are some of your favourite career highlights so far since forming the band in 2008?

Getting to work with producer John Congelton on this new album has been a highlight for sure. I’ve been a big fan of the production he did on the two records he made with St. Vincent. Seeing his process and getting his guidance and feedback in the studio was very valuable.

Favourite and least favourite songs to perform live?

My favorite songs to perform live are “Moment of Joy”, “Run”, and “Cycles of Existential Rhyme”. I don’t really have a least favorite song to perform live, I’ve got to stand behind all of our catalog!

Given that Chicano Batman has been running for 16 years so far, what’s the secret to maintaining a healthy and happy band dynamic?

Communicating and checking in with one another is so important for us. It really helps us navigate through any impasses that inevitably pop up when working in a collaobrative setting.

What’s the next big goal the band would like to achieve next?

Our next big goal is easy, it’s having a great time touring in 2024!

Chicano Batman’s new record Notebook Fantasy is out March 29th. Their new single Era Primavera is out now.

Photography Josue Rivas

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