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La Frontera presents Aquiles Moon

Dominique Macias
Mario Otero: half man, half music.

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a three-part series. 

Across the Frontera, the chords, rhythms and voices echo throughout the wind over the beautiful mountains of El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. The music scene in the borderland is expanding as more artists are coming out of the dark to share their music.    

Former bands known as Juice and Suds, Melancholy 10, and others, are some of the bands that have released music out of El Paso. Now musicians are expanding as solo artists share their own personal style of music.  

Mario Otero, better known as Aquiles Moon, is a solo artist in El Paso. While creating music, Otero is also a student at UTEP majoring in commercial music.  

“My dad is a musician and when I was a kid, I picked up the upright bass, you know the tololoche, and I was in orchestra my whole life just playing the upright bass up until the end of high school, I was doing all region,” Otero said. “The moment I graduated, I started playing guitar and I started recording my own music and that when I was like, I guess I gotta start a band and I started playing here in town and then I started doing little tours around Texas.”    

While a full-time student, Otero says he must manage a job, being in the band Sultanes Del Yonke, performing with other musicians and his own solo career with the performer name Aquiles Moon. 

“It’s crazy, I’m a full-time student right now and I have a job and I have Aquiles Moon and Sultanes,” Otero said. “I don’t get a lot of me time especially since I play guitar for other people. Right now, my mornings are wake up, come here (UTEP) then go give lessons, and then practice at night, and weekends our gig.”   

Otero was a former member of the band Fat Camp and Juice and The Suds which created albums with their biggest hit being “Trapped In Your Universe.”  

“Fat Camp was my first band ever, I had just turned 19 when I started the band, and we started the band because I had all the songs recorded,” Otero said. “We went and re-recorded them as a band and we released them, and we just had a stroke of luck on Spotify and our song ‘Trapped In Your Universe’ has almost at least three million plays.”   

Aquiles Moon’s indie bolero song “Marisol” has hit 30,798 listens and 1.2k views on YouTube. Aquiles Moon is releasing his newest album this year.   

“I just wanted to make a love song, those are feelings that I’ve felt before, but it’s a fake person Marisol doesn’t exist,” Otero said. “I was experimenting with sounds and that’s why when you listen to the song, Dali’s part, the bolero when that comes in, it took me a long time to come up with that.”  

The Frontera (El Paso and Ciudad Juárez) inspires Otero’s music as Aquiles Moon.   

“That’s kind of the basis of Aquiles Moon project, especially the album that I’m coming out with this year, it’s very Frontera influenced,” Otero said. “I’m releasing a song next week called ‘Mal de Querer’ and when you see the picture, it’s a picture of the Juárez mountains and the El Paso mountains, it’s like a painting.”   

Otero says he crosses the border frequently to create music and perform with different bands.   

“I cross every week and I go over there, and I record, and then I come back to work and study, and I go back it’s just like back and forth, you know, playing music over there and playing over here,” Otero said. “It’s just beautiful, it feels like a big family, a big bilingual family getting to speak English and Spanish all day and just the amount of love I have for this place is, it’s crazy, I love it here.”   

As more musicians rise upon the Frontera, music that speaks to the soul of El Pasoans is created. The culture in El Paso and Juárez helps artists share the culture from both sides in music. With the future release of Aquiles Moon’s album, he also is preparing to create the visuals that pair with them. To keep up with Aquiles Moon and future projects, follow @aquiles.moon on Instagram.   

Avery Escamilla-Wendell is the web and copy editor and may be reached at [email protected] or Instagram @by_avery_escamilla 

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About the Contributors
Avery Escamilla-Wendell
Avery Escamilla-Wendell, Arts & Culture Editor
Dominique Macias
Dominique Macias, Contributor/Photographer
Dominique Macias is a junior majoring in media advertising minor in creative writing. She is a contributor at The Prospector. After graduation Dominique hopes to pursue a career in the media publishing world; as a photographer or writer.
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