We had the chance to vibe out with these great group of guys known as Mondo Vibrations. Hear what they have to say and remember to support your local bands!
Photography by Mike Pace | Questions by Madison Baggett | Answers by Mike Gerdes
There are six members of the band, who is who?
Kenny Cernius : Guitar/Vocals
Rick Gonzales : Keys/Vocals
Shea Longi : Bass
James Sanchez : Percussion/Vocals
Kevin Sanchez : Drums
Mike Gerdes : Guitar/Synth/Effects
How did you come together to form Mondo Vibrations?
A long time ago…Kenny and Kevin played in a band(When May Ends) in high school in Belen. After high school, they started feeling irie enough to start a reggae band and began Mondo Vibrations. James joined in ’09 and they played around town with the original lineup for over a year before I joined in 2010 following seeing them perform at a festival I was also playing with another band. I had played with Shea in a few other projects and brought him on board in 2013, and Rick was the final addition in 2014, rounding out the Mondo sound as we know it today.
A list of your shared influences include Stoic Frame, Crazy Fool, Sublime, Bob Marley, and many more; could you each identify any single artist who you believe truly inspired you to pursue playing music professionally?
I grew up listening to a whole lot of Pink Floyd. I would say that watching videos of concerts over and over again when I was very young made me find a passion for the theatrics of a live show. Kevin, being a Belen’er takes a lot of inspiration from local legends Stoic Frame, who he grew up watching. Kenny originally picked music up from his sister and his mom, and became addicted to it after his first live performance. Shea has been playing in bands for years, and takes inspiration from Aston “Family Man” Barrett from The Wailers. James was very influenced by his cousin, Ricardo Sanchez(another local legend on the drums). Rick gets his influence from his grandpas, Arturo Gonzales and Sisto Griego.
Seeing as Albuquerque is you guys’ hometown, how has Albuquerque influenced you as individuals and musicians?
Albuquerque is an amazing town with a rare blend of art, culture, landscape, and just the right amount (sometimes) of crazy. There is a tight knit community of musicians and artists that I am lucky enough to be a part of, with everyone realizing that a rising tide lifts all boats.
Since coming together in 2009, do you feel your sound has changed at all in the last 6 years?
Our sound has definitely matured. We started out as a party till you drop garage reggae band with raw energy that has since been honed in to a more developed, thought out sound that incorporates an added voice(Ricky G) and plenty of new musical gadgets in the mix.
You’ve classified your genre as “Burque Reggae/Rock/Soul”, how do you musically accomplish such a unique sound?
I think that the Mondo sound comes from the wide array of musical backgrounds of the band. We come from musical backgrounds that range from classical to punk, and from hip hop to rock. There is a passion and intensity in the people and landscape of New Mexico that is unlike any other, allowing for a unique sound to breathe through our music.
There is a creative process to both recording in studio as well as performing live, would you say you prefer one experience over the other?
I spend a lot of time in the studio at Central Root, and enjoy every second of it, but I love being on stage, where all you have is the moment you’re in. There are no overdubs onstage, so there is a rush that cannot be touched by many other experiences.
Speaking of performing live, where is your favorite venue to play here in Albuquerque?
There are a lot of fun venues to play in Albuquerque. The Launchpad, Low Spirits, and Sister Bar are always great shows, but my favorite venue would have to be Marble Brewery. The beer, the atmosphere, the beer, the fact that it is an outdoor stage, the beer, and the people makes it a great place to play. And, they have killer beer there.
What is the craziest thing that has ever happened at one of your gigs?
In October of 2012, we were playing a show at Launchpad with a local lineup. We all showed up ready to play as usual, and after the first few bands finished, we began to set up on stage. As soon as we finished setting up and were about to start the sound checking, we noticed our singer, Kenny, was not on stage. Two seconds later, Kenny came running in and let us know that he couldn’t play the show because his wife had just gone into labor in the parking lot behind the Launchpad. He left to the hospital and we played a show without our lead singer and guitarist. Definitely a show we will all remember.
Are the writing and arrangement of your original songs a collaborative effort?
Being in a band with 6 guys allows a lot of influences and ideas come to the table. Kenny, Rick, and Shea are the main writers in the group, but we all get to add our own flavor to it. The fact that we have multiple writers allows our sound to be diverse and keeps us on our toes musically.
Making the official music videos for “Slow Moving” and “Into The Sun” must have been exciting, have you decided which song there will be a music video for next?
The next music video is up in the air right now with a few possibilities on the horizon. We are excited about the video for the live in studio session that ABQ-LIVE did of us at Central Root for our song “Stay Here” which has not been previously released.