Neon Desert Music Festival 2019 Profile Series: The Anhedonians


Noah Serbia, Contributor

Local progressive and experimental rock band The Anhedonians are set to perform at the 2019 Neon Desert Music Festival May 25 in Downtown El Paso.

The band consists of guitarist Serg Carrasco, keyboardist Matthew Santillan and drummer Paul Dumond, who have all been playing music since they were children. The Anhedonians formed almost two years ago.

They said musically and lyrically, their songs are written like stories.

“We play progressive music, I would say. It’s not the most technical, but it’s got a lot of heart,” Carrasco said. “For fans of Rush, The Mars Volta or Pink Floyd, they would like our music.”

Although The Anhedonians’ songs have a story driven element to them, the group doesn’t consider the typical pop songwriting structure when composing their music.

“It’s inspired by classical music, but also classic rock bands that we love like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin,” Carrasco said.

They describe the songs as having a tendency to meander­—going from part A, to Part B, to Part C without ever going back to part A—with limited uses of motif.

The lyrics from the band’s first album were inspired by myths and literature.

“Everybody inspires me,” said Santillan. “It’s just good to see somebody pull a thought from their brain and throw it on a canvas or out in the air and sound for you to see and hear.”

The band said they are excited to perform at the festival, especially to such a large crowd. For them, it’s always a great feeling to play in front of a large group of people with a piece that has a ton of time and effort put into it.

The group is currently on tour in the Northwest, playing in states like Oregon and Washington, and plan to make their way back south and capping it off with Neon Desert. At the festival, they hope to take the stage with new music and release it to the fans there, as well as playing tracks off of their previously released album “All Went Up.”

During their start, the group said they had practice space in Santillian’s house where they held a few performances. The band performed their first show in the backyard, which they call “The Nature House.”

The bands that The Anhedonians have hosted at the Nature House over the years have helped them out in getting the tour together.

“It’s good to create a network  of musicians, you know?” Santillan said. “Just try and help out musicians who are in town…It’s just kind of like a big beautiful partnership or a comraderie that we can create amongst— not necessarily just the bands here in town but across the country, you know, and we’ve made a lot of great friends.”

Neon Desert Music Festival is an annual event featuring both local talent and big-name artists and will be held Saturday and Sunday, May 25 to 26 in Downtown El Paso. The Anhedonians will take the stage at 3 p.m. Saturday.