Artist Spotlight: Asi Fui

Aaron Archambault, Alex's Bar, Alien Sex Music, AltLatino, Asi Fui, Boss, Casey Lewis, Chapis, Chido Chevere Cool, Chola Orange, Dennis Robicheau, Dirty Haggard Audio, DJ Rad Wolf, Eastman SB57, Ernie Ball, FartBarf, Fender Jazzmaster, Fender Rumble Amp, Flatwounds, Free Moral Agents, Furcast, Gold, Gretsch, Grimy Goods, Hillary Zaporteca, Hybrid Studios, I/O, Ian Souter, Ikey Owens, Illegal Mescal Anejo, Jacob Connelly, Jazz Cats, Johnny Bell, Jose Galvan, JP Bendzinski, KCRW, Lauren Audio, Leti Gomez, Line 6, London Guzman, Melodica, Miguel Vasquez, Mike Becerra, Orbital Audio, Orbital FX, Parallelogram, Pvnk Picasso, Roland SPDS-X, Ryan Reiff, Shady Grove, Slice, Stacks FX, Tatiana Velasquez, Vine, yungatita, Z-Vex -

Artist Spotlight: Asi Fui

Asi Fui has almost built in nostalgic vibe about the name, almost like deja vu.  What’s the story behind the name and the formation of the band?

Tati: My grandmother used to sign "Asi Fui" on photos of her youth and include what she was doing in that moment the photo was taken. It basically translates to "this is how I was/went" in spanish. The band name has become kind of a statement of how we just ride the wave of any given moment and every song becomes a timestamp. Asi Fui captures who we are in any freeze frame of our lives.

We formed back in 2015 after the passing of our friend Ikey Owens. The original band name, I/O, was an homage to him. He will always be a huge inspiration. We really had no intention of making this a band, initially it was just friends jamming and having fun. It still is, but we are much more serious about our writing process after 7 years together. This project is our baby and we just love getting in the room together to create and flow.

The band is able to create an incredibly lush sound for only being a 3 piece at the time of these recordings. And it's not just on the record, you’re able to bring that to the stage as well. Do the songs start off like that off the bat? What’s the process like from idea to album? 


Ryan: Our songs develop in different ways. We definitely try to shape our music around a good feeling, whether that is coming from an initial riff from Miguel or Vince (our latest addition on guitar), or Tatiana's vocal melody, maybe a rhythm section groove or something improvised. Some songs take years, some take an afternoon.  Usually, once we have songs written that feel like they mix together as a body of work, we demo them. We like to record them ourselves in our space, get a feel if the arrangements are complete, dream up background melodies, percussion or synth parts etc. This part of the process can be really exciting because the potential for anything is still there. Nothing is permanent yet. Then we will record them in a studio and utilize whatever space and studio we are in to influence the blueprint we have created ourselves.

You guys put out “Parallelogram” in June of 2019, recording with Johnny Bell at Jazz Cats and JP Bendzinski at the helm mixing. What was that process like?

Ryan: It was really fun. Johnny, JP and Jazz Cats are all awesome. The studio has a little peaceful yard with a chicken and cats roaming and plants everywhere. It's a nice experience. Not to mention really cool vintage gear.  Recording with those guys is really relaxed and easy. We have all played shows together for years and Johnny and JP know how to get a great unique sound that matches the feel of the songs.

You guys are releasing the Gold EP April 15.  Did the pandemic add any challenges that you didn’t have on “Parallelogram”? Did you change anything up with the recording process on this record?


Tati: We recorded the Gold EP in December of 2019 at Hybrid Studios with Brian Frederick producing. It was a beautiful professional studio and experience. Friends working and creating together, we cheersed at the end of each session with some delicious Ilegal Mezcal Anejo. Then in February of 2020, we got to film one music video for "Dark", and in March were in the middle of a month-long residency about to film the music video for "Gold" before everything abruptly shut down due to Covid, so we had no choice but to stop and regroup. Miguel and I lost our jobs and  moved two hours away for a year and a half, but we made sure to make the weekly trek to our studio in LB once it felt safer to play together. Then Vince joined the band in 2021 before we were finally able to play shows and film the Gold video- stronger than before.

 


Ryan: At first of course there were challenges, like everyone, we didn't know what we were in for. We were as careful as you can be playing music in a room with friends, we wore masks at rehearsals. We are definitely very grateful for each other and the music we play together. I can at least say for me, having a band, writing songs with your friends is already therapeutic. In a pandemic it felt very necessary. We took the opportunity to do what we never get to do, which is just experiment-- for months and months. With no shows to rehearse and curate, we had all of this time to write and write and write. It was really nice and felt freeing.  At the same time, after this long break, we are really excited to finally release "Gold" and record our new music.


The Sound:

Most dreaded question every band has to answer, how would you describe your sound? As a palate cleanser, what two bands /artists would you love to go on a tour with?

Ryan: I suppose we are essentially a rock band with a soulful singer. We like to create hypnotic rhythms over a soundscape that captivates. Describing your own sound is a difficult thing, to each band member it is probably different. We haven't done much touring together as a band, so we are open to many possibilities.

Tati: Someone once told us we sound like alien sex music. If we can get aliens in the mood, I'll take it.


Tatiana Velasquez standing in a recording studio live room, playing a bass, standing in front of a wall of bass amplifiers


What advice would you give to young artists trying to make their way through the local scene?

Tati: Just go for it, and put yourself out there now because you have to start somewhere. Go to shows, get inspired and make connections with the people in the community doing the same. Reach out to venues to put your own events together, get creative. The more seeds you plant, the more chances of growth.

 


The Gear
Gear/ band gear list:

Miguel: Our gear is a mix of off the shelf and custom stuff. Tati's main bass is a Gretsch 3/4 scale that she strings with flatwounds. She plays thru a 1X15" Fender Rumble amp that sounds great. She pretty much plugs straight into the amp with the exception of a korg tuner. I use an Eastman SB57 with some mods for mine main guitar. I play thru a custom tube amp I built for myself that's reminiscent of an old Fender deluxe amp. My pedalboard consists of pedals from small and bigger companies. Companies such as Lauren Audio, Dirty Haggard Audio, Orbital FX, Boss, Line 6 and of course plenty of Stacks FX custom pedals I built myself.

Vince uses a Fender Jazzmaster as his main guitar. He plays thru a Stacks FX custom tube amp as well. He has a huge pedal board with pretty much the same brands of pedals as me (Miguel) except for some ZVEX and Ernie Ball pedals. Ryan uses as Roland SPDS-X pad for loops and samples. His drum kit is a bare maple 4 piece DW he's had since before he played with Free Moral Agents.

Miguel Vasquez of Asi Fui sitting on a couch next to a guitar in a recording studio with his arms crossed


How often are you guys swapping things out and trying new sounds?

Ryan: During the beginning/middle of the pandemic Miguel was using a lot of keyboard in the writing process. That was pretty interesting to deconstruct what we knew to be our sound and try new paths. It spawned a few new songs and some different looks that we normally might not have attempted. We have added our friend Vince as a guitarist as well. He adds so much melody and detail to what we do. Miguel and Vince weave these really interesting narratives. It's exciting to watch them write their parts. Tati has been playing more melodica which has become a part of a new song and I am incorporating pad patterns from a Roland for another song. Adding these elements is keeping the moments fresh and adding a version of us that hasn't existed until now.


There's always a wish list...Is there anything  that you have your eye on, (new / used / vintage) that would be really fun to use on the next record?

Miguel: We don't really have a wish list but it's more about what might catch our interest. Letting the "thing" speak to you. We already have so much gear stuffed into our rehearsal space. We really do use all of it especially when we're in pre production mode. If there's one thing we'd like to find is a synth that fits our workflow and sound. We've had a few over the years but we didn't really like any of them to keep them. I feel like the right synth would inspire some new material. That's how I feel about my guitars, there's tons of songs in those things.

Asi Fui Gold Music Video screen shot of the band digging for treasure on a sandy beach

Big Picture:
What plans do you have to support the new EP?

Tati: We have two release shows: April 16 at Alex's Bar with Fartbarf, Chapis, Slice and DJ Rad Wolf, & April 30 at The Paramount for AltLatino & Jose Galvan's (KCRW) Chido Chevere Cool with Yungatita and Chola Orange. Grimy Goods just premiered the title track video and the Gold EP will be available on all platforms, plus we will have a limited edition vinyl postcard of the Gold single only available at our shows.


Any Long term goals for the band that you want to share?

Ryan: I think once Covid is under control we would love to eventually book our first tour. Even booking short legs here and there could be fun and a new experience for our band. We have been creating this music about 7 years and because of different circumstances haven't really ventured far from southern California. We would love to change that. Also, I think the main goal is longevity. I think I can say for the rest of the band that we all enjoy this creation and want to nurture and grow it as long as we are physically able to. Our goals aren't necessarily measured in views, watches or songs sold. If we are here, able and willing to create sounds and music out of thin air in another decade then we have achieved our goal. As long as it is still fulfilling and we still get that buzz you get from writing a new song or playing together on stage.

Tati: Definitely. I just love creating with these guys. They are my best friends and our process has always been very natural for us. I feel it's special how well we flow together. We each have an equal voice, an equal say in this project. It really feels like us. I'm so lucky and happy about each step of our evolution.


Do you want to Shout out to anyone special In the community?

Tati: Oh wow where do I begin? I'm gonna inhale deep like Ace Ventura to get this all out (even though I'm typing)... Brian Frederick for always having our back and being down to help push this project to new levels, Casey Lewis for being our Day 1 photog and for finally caving in on making videos with us, JP Bendzinski for being the town wizard coming in clutch for whatever role he could shine in, Leti Gomez for being down AF to make art in a any shape or form, Pvnk Picasso for being our brother and creating some of our logos, Mike Becerra for not tripping while helping make us look trippy at shows, Hillary Zaporteca for feeding Hungry Ghosts, Jacob Connelly for being a significant part of the band in it's early years, Johnny Bell for keeping studio cats jazzy, Steven Gute for being down to dive in cold swimming pools and roam downtown LA until 3am to get amazing shots for the Dark video, London Guzman and Ian Souter for the horns on Hungry Ghost, Aaron Archambault for adding his quirkiness to the Honey Falls video, Dennis Robicheau for being the first person to ask us to play a show at Vine back in 2015 before we even had any songs, Que Sera, Alexs Bar, Vine, so many who have supported our music and are incredible assets to the Long Beach music scene. Most of all, Ikey Owens for bringing us together and inspiring us every damn day.




Current favorites:

- local band: Furcast

- local restaurant: Shady Grove

- local bar: Vine

- spot to play: Alex's Bar

 

 


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Tags