Mint Field on Tijuana’s Culturally Mixed Music Community

Mint Field on Tijuana’s Culturally Mixed Music Community Photography by Maria Fernanda Molins

Amor Amezcua and Estrella Sanchez grew up across the border from San Diego, in a small beach community in Tijuana. When they met in high school, they immediately bonded over a shared fondness for British and American indie rock music, although they didn’t have easy access to it.
When Amezcua began work on a solo project, she asked Sanchez to contribute keyboards to a track. Shortly after, the two decided to form Mint Field, creating an echoing shoegaze-inspired sound with reverb-heavy guitar and airy vocals. In the roughly three years since, they’ve released Mint Field’s 2015 debut EP, Primeras Salidas, and released their first album, Pasar De Las Luces, via Innovative Leisure on February 23. Before the start of their US and UK tour, we talked with the band about their influences, growing sonically, and the departure from their self-taught, DIY background into their first professional recordings and a lengthy US tour.
AdHoc: How did you all meet?
Amor Amezcua: We met about three years ago, when we were in high school. We lived in a really small town by the beach, where pretty much everybody knows each other. We realized that we had very similar music tastes, and we started talking a lot after that. I was working on a project, and I asked Estrella, “Maybe you should do keyboards in this song.” It didn’t really work out, but she wanted to make a band, with more instruments and stuff. I had a drum set in my house and she was playing guitar. Ever since then, we’ve [played music together]. Now, almost every day, we rehearse and write songs. 
What kind of music did you initially bond over?
Amor: At that time, we listened to garage rock, indie, and alternative music. And where we live, there’s not [a lot of] people that listen to that type of music. It was special to us. It’s hard to think of specific bands, but we bonded over music. 
What’s the music scene in Tijuana like?
Amor: It’s a small city, but it’s basically on the border of San Diego, so there’s a lot of bands from San Diego that come to Tijuana. Tijuana’s music scene is very culturally mixed. There’s a variety of music and a lot of creative people. We’ve gotten a lot of support from local venues, it’s not at all exclusive. Tijuana has jazz, and ambient, and alternative rock—it’s a very creative place to be. 
You started playing instruments shortly before the band started. What was your learning process like? 
Estrella Sanchez: It wasn’t difficult to learn our instruments. Actually, when we first started, we had experience playing music. I played piano when I was little, and I took piano lessons. I started playing the guitar by myself, and then I met Amor, and we started playing together. We didn’t have formal training [with our instruments]; we just learned by playing together.
Amor: Growing up, I didn’t spend a lot of time playing music. When we started playing together, I focused very hard on learning my instruments [percussion and synths]. I started playing every day. The band was what really mattered to us. We rehearsed all the time, every day. It seemed like all we did was play [our instruments]. 
Right now, we’re interested in expanding our sound, we’ve incorporated more piano. I started playing the Theremin and the violin. We just want to grow, and I think that reflects a lot about us. We don’t only stick to one thing; we want to keep on growing.
Estrella: I also think that’s going to be reflected on the record, with its new layer of instruments and stuff. 
You described the new record as “a compilation of your lives from two years ago until now.” How have your lives changed, or stayed the same? 
Amor: There’s songs [on the record] that we made two years ago, and there’s songs that we made a couple of months ago. I think the music we make reflects our feelings and what we know. I don’t know, maybe the next record will reflect our life in six months from now…or a year. Our music reflects our life, pretty much. 
How is your upcoming album different than your EP? 
Estrella: Our lives are completely different. It’s almost like our debut EP reflects another band. When we recorded the EP, the band had only been around for a couple of months, and we only had three people in the band at that time. It was Amor and me and another guy. I don’t know, we did those songs and we just recorded it. We didn’t plan it to be anything. It was a different recording style, and a different approach to recording. Also, I feel like, at that time, we didn’t know what kind of style [we wanted to emulate] or how to make a song sound cohesive. We were super young. I was 18. 
The new record reflects how we are right now. It reflects how we like to sound, how we like to write songs. It sounds more of what we’d want it to be. 
What are you most excited about?
Estrella: We’re most excited about having our music out. Finally. I mean, this is our first album. This is our first big tour, and the first time we’ve printed vinyl, too. This is the first time we’ve had a manager. This is the first time we’ve recorded in a professional studio as well. We’re so excited about what’s to come. We’ve put so much effort into this, and we’re so excited for people to hear it...And to just keep playing music. [Laughs].
Tagged: Mint Field, Breaking
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