In continuing my effort to shine a spotlight on talented folks in our Valley, today I’m chatting with Alejandro Aguilar.
For the past eight years, he’s been the guitarist for Captain Smooth Talk, a local Ska-Punk band that plays around Southern California.
He is also the bassist for SHIIVA and hosts his own podcast, the SKA Cast. Through this podcast, he has been able to have discussions with artists and creative people from all around the world. I reached out to Alejandro to learn more.
Jesse Davidson: Talk about your history with the AV music scene. What first inspired you to start playing?
Alejandro Aguilar: I’ve played guitar loosely since I was seven, my parents kind of forced me into this all-kid mariachi situation once a week in the OC, back in the day. It was great fun because we’d perform while simultaneously learning our instruments. It wasn’t until we moved into the AV, did I start to pick up guitar again. I was blessed to receive lessons from this dude named Sky, who was teaching out of the old Mario’s Music store in Lancaster for a couple months. Learning from him was great because he taught me a lot of Iron Maiden songs. Fast forward to being involved in the scene, when a couple of friends and I were forming Captain Smooth Talk, we all decided to go to an Order 66 show at Mel Booker’s old store on J8 and 15th West. From then on, until after we started playing other local gigs in town, we took it upon ourselves to host our own shows. We got in with the initial office folks at Cedar Center back in the day to throw our very first festival we called Toga Fest, eventually hosting our own curations at the Moose Lodge, Industry Theater and our friends’ backyards.
JD: That’s great. I did a dive into the SkaCast. I really enjoy the format and variety of guests you’ve had on. How did it originate? Has it been a smooth or challenging process running your own show?
AA: Ska Cast is a fun project I like to do in my spare time, my favorite part about it is connecting with folks from around the world. Before the pandemic jumped into full effect here in the states, I was putting a lot of time into a radio internship in Burbank for a company called Meruelo Media. I started writing articles and monitoring the social media for 93.5 KDEY-FM, an old school HipHop station in LA and eventually moving over to 93.9 CALI-FM, which is a Reggaeton station in LA. I got to experience more hands-on production-orientated situations. After familiarizing myself with the Adobe Audition program, I decided to download it myself and put it into use with a D.I.Y. podcast — the online Ska community is so big, yet so small, I knew it was something I could try to put together in terms of communication between a network of artists, not only do I talk to Ska Punk groups from the US, but I speak to artists from everywhere (Mexico, Chile, Columbia, Jamaica, France, Australia, etc.). I try to make it clear from the jump, that the show is a pretty open format. I want it to be the show that has a dance hall DJ on one week, a Punk band on the next and a community organizer the week after that.
JD: I love it. Also, I have to know, who does the artwork for each guest? It’s really cool and fits the vibe of the show perfectly.
AA: I have a variety of folks who help me with the art. My friend Nico Figueroa from the Arizona Ska Punk band TV Repairmen, drew the first thumbnails, then after that, I’ve mostly collaborated with folks like Rodrigo Samudio from Paraguay, Juan Sebastion Garzon from Columbia, Rita Booh from Spain, Adam Davis of the East Bay Ska Punk group Omnigone, Yari Jaimes from Lancaster and Ailey Albright, who goes by s0ck.lobster on Instagram — to name a few.
JD: What are your goals for 2021 and what would you like to see happen or improve within our music community?
AA: I would love to see the music community in the AV make a live comeback once the current health situation is better, but that would be the first step. As far as hoping for anything more for it, I feel, is just absolutely hypothetical for the time being and I try not to dwell on hypotheticals. I think MOAH: CEDAR does a great job with the livestreams. Otherwise, the musicians of the Antelope Valley have all been using their time at home beautifully, as everybody in this scene is currently releasing phenomenal music.