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Los Headaches interview with Fossy Balboa, Nico Ventura, Charly Romero and Pepe

I write about a lot of pretty complicated music these days, I enjoy challenging myself and as I get older my tastes are definitely evolving; though I’m unconvinced whether that’s for better or worse.  It’s nice to write about good old fashioned rock’n’roll from time to time.  Bands like Los Headaches remind me of why I started listening to music so fervently in the first place, attacking rhythmic thunder with snarling sonic brutality from some distorted and reverb drenched guitar.  To call them “old fashioned” rock’n’roll wouldn’t be a stretch, with songs like “I Fooled Myself”, but they bring something old, something new, something borrowed and something wholly their own to the table.  The more I find out about the Mexican music scene the more interested I get.  With hidden gems like Los Headaches, who should be huge at this point, nestled like stars in the sky, I’ve talked to several bands and always enjoy learning a little more about the diverse and immensely underrated music scene going on down there.  So join me for a discussion about Los Headaches, where they’ve come from and where they’re planning on heading from here with all four founding members of this bad ass band!  And here’s hoping that we hear a lot more from this band in the near future…
Listen while you read:

What is the band’s current lineup?  Have you gone through any personnel changes over the years?

Nico Ventura - Guitar, Vox

Fossy - Guitar Vox

Charly Romero - Bass Vox

Pepe - Drums Vox 

Are any of you in any other bands at this point?  Have you released any material with any other bands?  If so can you tell us about it?

Charly:  Fossy and I are in two other bands, Grandmaboys who have the soon to be released Telepatia 
Elemental ( and Las Lolas who are currently recording their first EP.

Where are you all originally from?

Los Headaches:  México DF (Mexico City).

Where your households very musical growing up?  Were your parents or any of your relatives musicians or very involved/interested in music?

Nico:  My dad has always been into Celtic music and my mom listened to 80’s pop and shitty country music, they weren´t passionate.  My uncle played the piano.

Charly:  Not really.  I mean my parents would listen to music but not the kind that I’m into at this moment.

Pepe:  My mother used to play piano when I was a kid, she doesn't play anymore though.

Fossy:  My older brothers showed me Nirvana, Metallica and Guns n Roses ha-ha.  Also my father had all these old records from The Beatles, The Stones, Clapton...

What was your first real exposure to music?  When did you decide that you wanted to start writing and performing your own music?

Nico:  My first guitar at eleven.  Then I listened to a full Beatles album, it changed my life.

Charly:  I don’t remember how old I was, I guess it was when I was eleven or so, and I would listen to Molotov with my cousin, “Give Me the Power” is a very good song!

Pepe:  I started playing drums because of Dave Grohl, so I would say Nirvana got me into it.  I was twelve.

Fossy:  When my aunt gave me a guitar when I was twelve.

Where’s the band currently located at?

Los Headaches:  Mexico D.F. (Mexico City).

How would you describe the local music scene where you all are at?

Nico:  Mexico City is a huge city, so you can find a lot of everything.  You can even find cool bands sometimes...

Charly:  I would say it has a lot of potential.  The thing is we need to work together with everybody we can so we can do something bigger and better.

Pepe:  There are a lot of really good bands everywhere.  It's just a matter of going out and taking a look.

Are you very involved in the local scene there?

Charly:  Yes we are.

Nico:  We are involved, it´s hard to say, there are a lot of bands.  Mexico City is one of the biggest cities in the world...

Has it played large role in the sound, history or evolution of Los Headaches?  If so can you talk a little bit about the role that it’s played?

Charly:  It’s played the role of making us wanna get more than what it’s got to offer.  It’s one of the main reasons we went to the U.S. to play, ‘cause we could get way more shows there than we would´ve here.

Fossy:  Our first shows were booked by a garage rock band called Los Explosivos.

While we’re talking a little bit about the history of Los Headaches how did you all meet?  When was that?

Charly:  I´ve been around Fossy and Nico since 1994 when we were like four or five years old.  We started to become friends when we were in sixth grade.  When I was fifteen in 2006 Fossy got expelled from high school and went to this other school where he met Pepe, so he brought him to practice one day and introduced him to us.

Nico:  Fossy, Charly and I started a band in high school.  We started playing Beatles and other bands covers.  One day Pepe came to a practice and started playing drums as our current drummer was taking a shower.  We played some Ramones songs and loved it.  The four of us started hanging more often and listening to the same music together; The Clash, New York Dolls, Velvet Underground, The Stooges, etcetera...  Finally we decided to start a band, soon to become Los Headaches.

When and what led you to form Los Headaches?

Charly:  When we were fifteen Fossy and Nico decided to start a band and they asked me if I wanted to be the bass player, I didn´t knew how to play but I said yes.

Nico:  Basically that we all listened to the same music.  But I guess being such good friends before and having kinda the same humor didn’t hurt either.

Obviously translated your name means, The Headaches but what does Los Headaches mean or refer to?  How did you go about choosing the name?

Nico:  I remember trying a lot of names, but we weren´t one-hundred-percent sure if we all liked them.  Smoking weed, driving somewhere Fossy suddenly came up with the name "Los Headaches".

Charly:  I just liked it when Fossy came up with it.

Pepe:  I don't remember at all.

Fossy:  I guess it became a huge headache to come up with a catchy name.

Can you tell us about your major musical influences?  There’s some really interesting stuff I hear kicking around in your tunes.  What about the band as a whole rather than individually?

Nico:  The Beatles, The Supremes, Johnny Thunders, The Ramones and Daniel Johnston and The Clash.

Charly:  Brian Eno, King Khan, The Clash, Velvet Underground, T-REX, GG Allin, The Libertines, Nick 
Lowe, Ray Charles.  There’s a lot of ‘em.

Fossy:  The Stones, Sam Cooke and The Cramps.

What about your songwriting process?  Is it more of a collaborative effort with a lot of jamming and exploring or is there someone who approaches the rest of the band with a riff or more finished product to work out and compose with the rest of you?

Nico:  Most of the time someone comes to the practice spot with a full song, or an idea, and we all join in.  Sometimes we just start jamming and something comes up but lyrics are more of an individual thing most of the time.

Charly:  Sometimes we just jam and record it.  We listen to that stuff and decide what we like or don’t like and make a song out of it.

Do you all enjoy getting into the studio and recording?  As a musician I think we all love the end result.  Nothing beats holding an album in your hands knowing it’s your music and you made it.  Getting into the studio can be a little nerve wracking to say the least though, how is it in the studio for you all?

Nico:  I love being in the studio.  Sometimes, it´s a little nerve wracking, but it´s fun, but I think Los Headaches are more of a live band.

Charly:  I love the result, being in the studio is fun, I like recording voices.

Pepe:  I like it when it gets hot.

Fossy:  I love it at first, I start losing interest when they repeat a small part over and over for some little noise I can’t even hear.

Do you do a lot of preparatory work before heading into the studio or do you play things more by ear and let the chips fall where they may?

Nico:  There’s not much preparatory work before going to record, we try to be as genuine and straight forward as we can be.  That´s what rock’n’roll is all about.

Charly:  There’s not much preparatory work but everyone knows what to do.

Fossy:  We rehearse for a week before.

Your first release was in 2008, an EP entitled Octavius Sessions.  I know there were only a few copies of that made and it was never really offered for sale; the material isn’t on your Bandcamp page either.  Can you tell us about your memories of recording that first album?  When was that material recorded?  Where was it recorded?  Who recorded it?  What kind of equipment was used?

Fossy:  We had just discovered Marihuana and we were having fun in this new weird dreamy environment.

Nico:  I remember Fossy got a MacBook with that Garage Band thing.  We spent almost everyday smoking and recording whatever we came up with.  We recorded it with an acoustic guitar through the laptop´s mic.  I love those sessions; it´s a little creepy and deep.  Octavious Sessions was more of a rarity.

Charly:  We recorded that one ourselves, I don´t remember during which months we did that.  Most of it, I think was recorded at Fossy´s place at the time at El Ajusco.  We would record anytime mid-day, in the afternoon, late at night, early morning, whatever.  We would just be there and make some music.  We used acoustic guitars and any percussion we could get our hands on.

How was the Octavius Sessions EP originally distributed?  Was that a CD release?  Are there any plans to make that material available in either digital or physical formats?

Nico:  We only printed a few CD´s and we sent the songs to our friends.  There are a couple songs on Soundcloud, but it´ll be fun to release physical format copy someday.

Charly:  Yeah, maybe someday.

Later that year you also released the extremely limited Los Headaches In Boredom City EP. Can you tell me about the recording of that album?  When and where was that material recorded?  Who recorded it?  What kind of equipment was used for Los Headaches In Boredom City?

Nico:  Most of the songs in that album are on the actual Boredom City album but they were recorded very lo-fi, we used Garage Band for it as well.  That winter Fossy and Charly went to London and gave away the albums for free just for people to have something to listen to from us.

Charly:  We recorded that one at Pepe´s with our practice equipment, a Ludwig Drum set, Yamaha bass guitar, Backline 100 Watt bass amp, Epiphone Les Paul, Epiphone Special, two Marshall 100 Watt combo and the lap top inside mic.  There were only fifty copies of it fossy and I gave away in London in 2008.

Was Los Headaches In Boredom City distributed like Octavius Sessions?  What format was it originally released on?  This material isn’t on the Bandcamp page either, are there any plans to make any of that older material to fans in the future?

Nico:  Actually Los Headaches in Boredom City is just a small version of the full Boredom City LP.  You could say it’s kinda like a demo.  We recorded it with the laptop´s mic as well.

Charly:  It was hand distributed CD-R.  I don´t really know if we even still have all those recordings.

Almost three years later, in 2011, you dropped the Boredom City full-length album on Primitiv Records.  Did that contain a lot of the same material as the Los Headaches In Boredom City EP?  If there was any overlap in tracks were those tracks re-recorded or did you use the original version from the EP? 

Nico:  We re-recorded it.  We wanted the sound of the LP to be more powerful and loud.

Charly:  Yes it has all the songs from the Los Headaches In Boredom City EP but it´s a whole different recording.

Where was the Boredom City full-length recorded at?  When was that material recorded?  Who recorded it?  What kind of equipment was used?

Nico:  We recorded it with Esteban "Crunchy" Acapulco, lead guitarist of the Mexican surf band Lost Acapulco in the last months of 2010 and it was released until April 2011.  We used the basics, guitars, bass and drums.  We also invited Casco from the band Los Explosivos to play the harmonica on “Baby Blues”, “Inside My Bitter Brain” and the bongos for the hidden track.  We also invited Paxpi Montesinos from the Twin Tones to play the trumpet on that hidden track.  It was our first time in a studio.

Charly:  There are more instruments in this one, a Ludwig Drum Set, Jaguar Fender Bass Guitar and my old Yamaha, Fender Telecaster, Epiphone Special, Fender Jaguar, Trumpet, Harmonica and Bongos.  For mics we used Shure – Beta 91, Beta 52, SM57, SM58, a Neumann TLM 103 and an AKG C214 with a ProTools 8 LE Interface 002

Boredom City was the first album you really offered for sale did you approach the writing or recording of that album differently knowing that it was going to be offered for sale?  Did you even know that it was going to be your first album that was offered up on the market when you were recording that material?

Nico:  Yeah, we thought it was about time to make a real LP to sell.  So we tried to make it sound like we were playing live, you know, the real Los Headaches real sound.

Charly:  Yeah that was the plan, to make an album and release it.

How did you get hooked up with Primitiv Records?

Charly:  Sabu from Los Explosivos introduced us to Crunchy Acapulco, owner of Primitiv Records and the guitar player of Lost Acapulco.

Nico:  He recorded it, mixed it and produced it.

Last year (2012) La Bodega Estudio released Never Ending Hunger. After one full-length and two EPs did you feel like you’d kind of hit a stride and new a lot more going in or was it another learning experience?  

Charly:  Never Ending Hunger was self-released March 25th 2013, on  It was pressed in Seattle Washington up for sale June 11th 2013. I think we´ve always been confident in what we do, and we love to do it.  Plus everything is another learning experience.

Fossy:  Recording this album with close friends was more fun.

Where was Never Ending Hunger recorded at?  When was that material recorded?  Who recorded it?  What kind of equipment was used during those session(s)?

Nico:  We recorded it with our friends Andres and Juan Azpiri at La Bodega Studio in 2012.  We were just coming back from our first West Coast Tour in the U.S.  We had new songs and fresh ideas.  A lot of rum during the sessions.

Charly:  We used a Sonor Drum set, Ol Yamaha bass, Fender Telecaster , Epiphone Sheraton II, Fender De Ville, Visual Sound Workhorse, Shure SM57.  For drums, SM57's on the snare, PG52 for the kick and an Oktava Modified 319 for the overhead.  Voices Oktava modified 319 and an EHR1.  Interface digi 003 black lion audio modification (Chicago).  Mix Black lion audio PM8 summing box (Chicago) and ProTools 8.5.

Does Los Headaches have any music that we haven’t talked about?

Charly:  Yes there’s another album we recorded at la Bogeda in 2011 while Fossy was in Seattle for x-mas, it’s called Los Headaches VS Christmas.  It hasn’t been released yet, there’s a song on YouTube I think.

Nico:  (following Charly) Most of the songs are covers.  We did it just for kicks.

Pepe:  There’s a lovely song Christmas song Fossy recorded with Vanessa Gonzales from Schlitzie on Soundcloud.

Are there any plans for a follow-up to Never Ending Hunger, any singles or other releases in the works at this point?

Nico:  We´re releasing a split through Sick City Records in Los Angeles in a couple months.

Charly:  We were also planning on recording a new album in December.  It’ll be ready by, let’s say, spring next year.

Where’s the best place for our U.S. readers to pick up copies of your music?

Nico:  You can find it in Franky´s a record and barber shop in Silverlake, Los Angeles.  The owners also own Sick City Records.

Charly:  Also you can get in touch with us, we´ll send you the stuff!

With the recent international postage rate hikes what about our overseas and international readers?

Charly:  Get in touch with us, we wanna go to your country!! 

Fossy:  You can always download it from bandcamp

And where’s the best place for them to keep up on the latest news from Los Headaches like upcoming shows and album releases?

Does Los Headaches have any goals you are looking to accomplish in 2013?

Charly:  Recording a new album in December.

Nico:  We´re playing a festival in November here in Mexico City.  I wanna go on tour next year.

Fossy:  Go out on tour anywhere.

What do you have planned as far as touring goes for the rest of the year?

Charly:  We only have shows in the city for now.

Nico:  We wanna go to South America, maybe Europe next year.

Do you spend a lot of time touring? Do you enjoy touring? Can you tell us a little bit about life on the road for you all?

Charly:  I love touring, it’s great to be on the road with your friends driving long distances, playing lots of shows, having a lot of fun, meeting a lot of interesting people, making life time friends and meeting pretty women.  I love when you’re about to get to a show and you stop for some gas, drink something and kick the ball.

Fossy:  When you’re comfortable at home you never really feel alive, but when you go out on tour and you are dirty, exhausted, hungover, in a different place every day and basically raw.  That’s when you live.

Nico:  It´s a trip meeting people from different countries too.

You have played some awesome bands over the years, I absolutely love Los Explosivos!  Who are some of your personal favorites that you’ve had a chance to play with?

Charly:  As for México I personally like 3 Dudes And a Mullet, Los Vincent Black Shadows and Versus.  As for the rest of the world, King Lollipop, King Tuff, Las Ardillas, BBQ, The No Tomorrow Boys, Anomalys and The Cry.

Fossy: There’s a Mexican band called Ugly Miss Piggy, The Younger Lovers from Oakland and the Tough Shits.

Do you have funny or interesting stories from live shows that you’d like to share with our readers?

Charly:  That night in Portland was awesome, everybody was so into it, they held me up in the air while playing and everybody was singing along when we played Del Shannon’s “Runaway”, it was a great night!

Pepe:  When we played at The Funhouse in Seattle for the first time Fossy puked all over the stage during the last song, which was great.  I don't know why but people love that kinda stuff.

Nico:  I can´t remember; four Lokos and cheap liquor...

Fossy:  Once I slipped in my own vomit, if it hadn’t happened to me I would laugh.

Who are you on tour with in your dreams?

Charly:  The Clash.

Pepe:  Divine rubbing her tits on my face.

Nico:  The Pope.

Fossy:  Leo Dicaprio.

There’s something almost magical, and certainly irreplaceable, about holding an album in my hands.  Being able to hold it and feel it, read the liner notes and look at the artwork.  It all makes for a more complete listening experience and offers a glimpse into the mind of the artists who created it, at least for me.  Do you have any such connection to physical releases?

Charly:  It’s hard to have a record collection here, there’s not a vinyl culture like in Europe or the U.S.  I like having an album or a cassette in my hands, I have a few of ‘em but as long as I can hear something, a Mp3, a CD, a record or radio or something I’m fine.

Nico:  Yeah, I´m not that in love with them either, I just can´t take good care of them.  I lost ‘em all.

Fossy:  All my Beatles records got torn up by Pepe and placed in his room as posters.

Do you have a preferred medium of release for your own material?  What about when you are buying music?  With all the mediums are available to artists today I’m always curious to hear why they choose the mediums that they do.

Charly:  Right now into digital music I like that way of releasing and getting music.

Nico:  I borrow albums from friends and listen to them.

Fossy:  Digital music rules because it’s so easy and I´m so lazy.

Do you have a music collection at all?  If so can you tell us about it?

Charly:  I have a few records like T-Rex Megarex, Ray Charles, a rare one, and some that friends have given me on our trips; Tough Shits, Las Ardillas and some cassettes I bought around the West Coast like King Lollipop, Black Lips, Wax Idols and Primitive Hearts.

Pepe:  I have a bunch of records and I like them all.  Right now I’m so into this Toots & The Maytals Funky Kingston shit, I love it.

I’ve been an avid music collector for almost two decades at this point.  I’m passionate about music and supporting artists but I have to admit I do love digital music.  It’s lets me take my collection on the go without worrying about it and allows me to take a lot more than I ever have been in the past.  It’s a double edged sword for a lot of people inside of the industry but what’s your opinion on digital music and distribution as an artist during the reign of the digital era?

Charly:  I like it, I think that if people can listen to your music in New Zealand when you’re in México that’s just great!

I try to keep up with as much good music is as humanly possible, who should I be listening to from your local scene or area that I might not have heard of before?

Charly:  Tino El Pingüino, 3 Dudes And A Mullet.

Nico:  Suca Suca, Los Sustos and Los Vincent Black Shadows.

Fossy:  Ugly Miss Piggy

What about nationally and internationally?

Charly:  No Tomorrow Boys (PDX), Bad Tats (SEA) and Shlitzie (LA).

Nico:  Blue Ribbon Boys (SEA) and The Cry (PDX).

Fossy:  Tough Shits (PA).

Thanks so much for doing the interview, is there anything that I missed or you’d just like to talk about?

Charly:  Thank you so much to everybody that supports and care about us.  Love you guys and gals!

Nico:  Cheers mofos!

(2008) Los Headaches – Octavius Sessions EP – CD-R – Self-Released 
(few copies were released. not for sale)
(2008) Los Headaches – Los Headaches in Boredom City EP – CD-R – Self-Released 
(few copies were released. not for sale)
(2010) Los Headaches – Boredom City LP – CD-R – Primitiv Records- Self Released-
(for sale on April 2011)
(2011) Los Headaches - Los Headaches VS Christmas – Digital – La Bodega Estudio 
(Not For Sale)
(2012) Los Headaches – Never Ending Hunger LP – CD-R – La Bodega Estudio – Self-Released 
(For sale June 2013)

Interview made by Roman Rathert/2013
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