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Soul Parade is ready for NDMF

Photo courtesy of Viridiana Villa
El Paso natives Soul Parade will perform at the upcoming Neon Desert Music Festival on May 26-27 in downtown El Paso.

Friends since their teenage years, going through multiple band break ups, with members coming and going, Soul Parade is the final outcome of those 10 years of experience in El Paso’s local music scene.

They are now one of the local bands featured to play at the upcoming Neon Desert Music Festival, May 26-27.

The indie rock/synth-pop band Soul Parade started in 2013 by singer Josh Gonzalez, drummer Eduardo Martinez and bassist Enrique Martinez, who is Eduardo’s twin brother. 

“We had another guitarist, then I guess he could no longer be with us, so we got someone on keys instead of guitar,” said Gonzalez as to why he currently has to play the guitar for the band.

Jonathan Garcia, 21, is the newest and youngest member of the band, who joined in October 2017 to play the drums. Garcia was recommended through a mutual friend of Gonzalez, who contacted him via Instagram.

“He slid into my DMs, I was like, yeah, I’m down,” Garcia said. “I just showed up to this guy’s (Gonzalez) house one time and we just jammed.”

The theme of the music of Soul Parade matches the experiences of the group on moving on and dealing with changes on a positive tone. According to Gonzalez, the name Soul Parade describes how their music should always be upbeat and makes the listeners feel a celebration inside of them. In contrast, the lyrics describe heartbreak and somber events.

“That’s like an ironic thing, the lyrics are kind of sad sometimes bumming you out, and the music just to offsets it by being very happy,” Gonzalez said. “It’s weird, just a like yin and yang kind of deal.”

The band’s music influences include The Beatles, The Strokes, Two Door Cinema Club and The Killers.

The band currently has eight singles available on Spotify, and their most-listened to track is “Fortress,” with more than 1,000 plays. They are currently working on a new EP, with singles like “Pick It Up” and “Yours Truly,” which is expected to be released in early May.

“We just want to define our sound,” Gonzalez said. “The new EP is going to have like a more ‘80s kind of synth sound that I’m really enjoying right now a lot.”

Gonzalez and the Martinez twins have known each other since middle school.

They formed their first band, Lucky Tragedy, during their sophomore year of high school in 2008. The band lasted five years and created 25 songs in total.

“I always see that first band for me as the thing that started everything,” Gonzalez said. “Even other bands nowadays here in El Paso scene—in our social circle—influenced them and started branching out and getting bigger.”

After Lucky Tragedy, the Martinez twins started their own band called the Twin Keys, and Gonzalez moved on to create his band, Electric Social, which performed at Neon Desert on 2013 and broke up shortly after the event.

“You got to understand the difference between going at it at a nice pace and being too ambitious,” said Gonzalez about his past experience in preparing with a band for Neon Desert.

In January, Soul Parade got the news about playing at Neon Desert through their friend Christian Yañez, a former member of Electric Social and current drummer of the band The Other Half.   Yañez works for Splendid Sun Productions on booking and promotion for Neon Desert and The Lowbrow Palace.

“You’re like kind of fan-girling on the inside about it—how could we say no to such opportunity?” said Eduardo, who also manages the band’s social media.

On Feb. 23, Neon Desert released their 2018 lineup on social media. Each year the festival has increased their inclusion of local bands to take up half of the event’s performances.

“I think it’s great that they’re giving opportunity to a lot of these bands, who maybe wouldn’t otherwise play larger festival,” said Eduardo. “The people at Neon, I think that’s really dope from them, because they don’t have to include locals.”

The band seeks the opportunity to play at Neon Desert as a bigger platform for more exposure to opportunities and new fans who would not normally attend their shows.

“I just want the audience to really try to understand it and for somehow take the music away with them when they go on to live their lives,” Gonzalez said. “There’s been times where people have told us they listened to our songs and it really connected with them regarding certain heartbreaks.”

The band is also currently preparing for their upcoming show at Sun City Craft Beer Festival on April 22.

“We will maybe do a cover or two (at Craft Beer Fest) because people like The Killers, right?” Eduardo said.

Eduardo and Enrique graduated from UTEP with a bachelor’s degree in computer science in 2016. Eduardo is pursuing a masters degree in intelligence and security studies and Enrique in business administration, at UTEP. Gonzalez has a bachelor’s degree in political science from UTEP and is a graduate student at NMSU studying communication.

“There’s been so many times also, where we’ve all contemplated maybe we shouldn’t do this anymore. It’s a tough business and it does have its pitfalls,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez taught himself how to play guitar by ear in middle school with a guitar his parents got him from a pawn shop. Eduardo and Enrique learned to play guitar at Americas High School, but Eduardo continued with a piano class at El Paso Community College. Garcia started playing violin in elementary school and moved on to learn bass, guitar and drums.

“There was a time when I thought I was not going to be able to do anything here in El Paso with music or anything,” Garcia said. “A reason like Khalid, you see there’s actually people keeping their eye on El Paso, so that makes you want to keep going.”

Besides Neon Desert and the Craft Beer Fest, Soul Parade plans to release a video of their past performance on March 2 at the battle of the bands at The Lowbrow Palace.

They also have simple concepts in mind for two music videos for their upcoming EP songs. The band also hopes to keep recording new singles and tour during the summer as a new experience.

“I don’t like releasing one album because there’s a lot of hype around it for three weeks, life goes by and people forget,” Enrique said. “If we release three songs every few months, people will become familiar.”

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Soul Parade is ready for NDMF