That’s My Machete!

My Machete (from left to right): Jorge Chavira, Jessica Escobedo, Derek Escobedo, Kyle Medina
photo by Roxanne Merida

That’s My Machete!

By

Samuel Munoz

Gooooooollllll! The exhilarating scream of Andres Cantor’s signature call rang through my head as Jorge scored the game clinching point against Derek in a serious rivalry match of foosball.

I was in Disneyland territory (Anaheim) in Jorge’s garage about to interview My Machete. At one point, a half Santa Ana, half Anaheim, based band, My Machete has been touring the Orange County area since 2003. With a long and at times arduous history, the band has kept together these past nine years through lineup changes and Yoko Ono moments. Their current lineup consists of Jessica Escobedo (vocals, and bass) Derek Escobedo (guitar) Kyle Medina (guitar) and Jorge Chavira (drums).

photo by Roxanne Merida

I first saw My Machete back in 2006 when Inkblots played a show with them at El Centro Cultural de Mexico in its old space on fifth street. I remember being impressed by Jessica’s sweet child like vocals and how it combined with the rough energy of the music. Jorge was but a wee lad back then and I remember thinking how amazing that 12 year old boy was at drums (unbeknownst to me he was actually more like 17 or 18 years of age, but he looked so much younger). I saw them once again this past month playing a show at the Avalon in Costa Mesa with other Santa Ana bands Electro City and The Moan. I once again enjoyed the juxtaposition of Jessica’s vocals with the roughness of the music and how it created what I think is a very unique sound. I became very curious to find out more about the band and their history.

Once the foosball match finished and Jorge began to celebrate his victory with a 40oz bottle of Natural Ice beer. I sat down with the band to hear their story:

Samuel Munoz:

Let’s start with some introductions.

Derek:

My name is Derek Escobedo. I’ve pretty much lived in Anaheim all my life. I know that this is a blog about Santa Ana so I guess I should mention that I did live in Santa Ana for the first four years of my life [laughs]. I went to Katella high school which is where the band met and got together.

photo by Roxanne Merida

Jessica:

My name is Jessica; last name is also Escobedo. Derek and I are cousins. I grew up in Santa Ana. I started high school at Santa Ana High School, but when I moved to Anaheim and I went to Katella.

Kyle:

My name is Kyle Medina. I was born in Anaheim and grew up here. I went to Peter Pan Elementary [laughs]. I went to Katella High School as well. I live in Long Beach now.

Jorge:

Jorge Chavira, I was born and raised in Anaheim.

Samuel Munoz:

So tell me, how did you guys get together?

Jessica:

Well, I started playing bass and Derek started playing guitar around the same time. I remember his dad bought him a guitar and bass, and I used to go over and we would play together. That was when we were thirteen. At about fifteen we started our first band together.

Derek:

Actually, Kyle was in our first band.

Jessica:

Yeah, we were called Gone Postal.

Kyle:

It was a poor attempt at a ska band [everyone laughs].

Jessica:

It was really only our first song, but the other songs that came out of that was sort of the foundations of what we have now. Anyway, that band fell through. Then what happened was that Derek went to Mexico and he came back all inspired and with an acoustic guitar. He wanted to pick things back up again. So I said, “Yeah, let’s start a band.” Our first drummer was Mayra Mendez, who plays for the Nekromantixs now [she is now known as Lux]. She went to high school with us. She drummed for us for about three months. We did a battle of the bands at our school that we won…

Jorge:

[Interrupting Jessica] You didn’t win. You guys got second after us.

Jessica:

What? Oh yeah, we didn’t! But we did win all the other ones after that.

Jorge:

I was in another band at that time.

photo by Roxanne Merida

Jessica:

Well anyway, My Machete officially started in 2003 with Mayra on drums. We knew it wouldn’t last that long with her. She was a few levels above us. I mean she plays for the Nekromantixs now! But it was fun and it is cool to be able to say that she was our drummer.[..] So after she left, Derek met Jorge from one of his classes. I remember Derek pointing him out to me while we were at lunch and I was like “Him? That little kid?” […]

Samuel Munoz:

So how did Kyle get back into the picture?

Jessica:

When we first started out with Jorge, none of us were really that good. We were kind of mediocre. I think the ideas were there, but the execution and in terms of how skilled we were, it had not completely developed yet. But we just kept going with it and we realized that we were coming up with some cool songs, but we needed to fill it in more. We knew that we had played with Kyle from our previous band, Gone Postal, so we started talking about maybe getting him in. Kyle ended up coming to one of our shows in Fullerton, and after we played, we asked him if he wanted to play with us. [..]

Samuel Munoz:

So through out High School the core group was you four?

Jessica:

Yeah it was the four of us through out High School and we were a pretty solid group. […] Right about after we graduated, we recorded our first EP, Dark Love Poetry in 2006.

Derek:

It was with this guy named Brian from A1 studios. If you ever want to record, don’t ever go to that guy.

photo by Roxanne Merida

Jessica:

It was terrible! Every two weeks we would get our pay checks together and squeeze a few hours in. […] And we could only afford so much! Since both Kyle and Jorge were still in high school, and Derek and I had just graduated, we had shitty jobs.

Derek:

And the longer we were staying there the more money we were spending on a shitty demo.

Jessica:

He just wasn’t getting the sound that we wanted. […]

Jorge:

Also what happened was that we were in the process of mastering the demo and this guy just ups and leaves to Holland without any notice. So we had a half ass demo and this guy takes off with all of our data. We were all like 16-17 year old kids and we were just like “What the Fuck?” We didn’t know what to do.

Jessica:

But you know what? We just went with it and we gave what we had to people. If anything, we hoped people could judge us from our live performance and just know that when they took our CD home that it was just a bad recording.

Samuel Munoz;

So tell me about how the other Santa Ana born member, David Flores, came in? How long was he in the band?

Derek
photo by Roxanne Merida

Derek:

Ok, It was 2008! [makes dramatic pause, everyone laughs] To make it short and sweet. There was a girl involved. Let’s say a Yoko Ono.

Jessica:

Let’s just say there was a Yoko moment.

Kyle:

I don’t know if you want to compare her to Yoko.

Derek:

Yes, it was a Yoko moment and I basically left the band out of anger. It was just a lot of drama.

Samuel Munoz:

What happened? Did she want to be at all the practices and get involved with the band or something?

Derek:

No, I guess I don’t want to get into too much detail. The best way to describe it was that it was a Yoko Ono moment, and I chose my then current girlfriend over my friends.

Jessica:

It was a tough time. I remember crying about it.

Samuel Munoz:

So once Derek left the band that is when David Flores came in?

Jessica:

Yeah, I met him when I was going to Santa Ana high school. We decided after what happened with Derek that we were going to continue and so I suggested David. I knew he was a really good guitarist. So we asked him, and he was excited. He hopped on board. I’d say it was really good the first year. We brought out some great songs with David. His talent was in his technicality.

Kyle:

He was great with us the first year, but then personal differences started getting in the way.

Jessica:

The second year it kind of went to shit. We ended up letting him go in 2010.

Jessica
photo by Roxanne Merida

Samuel Munoz:

So, how did Derek get back in the band again?

Jessica:

Well, by that point it had already been 2 years and Derek and I sort of patched things up. When our thing with David came to an end, Derek came to mind. Derek and I were talking again, Jorge even partied with him on his birthday.

Jorge:

I think I was the one that first mentioned bringing Derek back. I guess we all had it in mind, but I think I initially brought it up. It was just not working out with David. [At this point, having finished his 1st 40ozer, Jorge reaches over to a mini-fridge nearby and pops open another 40oz Natural Ice].

Jessica:

Yeah, so we brought Derek here and we had a talk with him. It was like a relationship talk.

Kyle and Jorge
photo by Roxanne Merida

Kyle:

Yeah, first it was like a month to month contract. He had to pay dues. Then, you know, we upgraded and he started getting benefits. I think we just recently gave him dental [laughs]

Samuel Munoz:

So tell me about your most recent recording?

Jessica:

Yes, it’s an EP called Minor Thoughts. We recorded it in 2011, last July.

Jorge:

We had gone a long time without anything recorded.

Samuel Munoz:

So this was the first recording since the first EP, Dark Love Poetry, in 2006?

Kyle:

Yeah we were just playing shows that whole time trying to get our shit together.

Jorge:

We recorded Minor Thoughts with a friend of mine, Michael Maughn. He got his recording degree from the school of Berklee in Boston. He had his own little studio at his house.

Jessica:

Like a 2 x 4! It was tiny!

Jorge:

He had decent equipment and he was able to work with us in a good way. […] It was a quick process and it was affordable. We needed to put something out. We had created some great new music since Derek rejoined the band and it was time.

Jessica:

We organized our own tour right after we recorded the EP. It was called the Wussup West Coast Tour.

Derek:

Can we stop and take a moment to toot our own horn for that?

Kyle:

Yeah! Shout out to us!

Samuel Munoz:

What cities did you guys hit?

Jessica:

We started in Fullerton. Then we went to Santa Cruz. Then we went to Portland. […] From there we went back down to San Francisco and did a couple shows there. After that we came back down to Southern California and we did a show in San Diego. We finished it up in Pasadena. […] The tour taught us how to share a lot more.

Kyle and Jorge
photo by Roxanne Merida

Jorge:

Yeah, Derek and I shared a shower together in the beach in Santa Cruz. Kyle and I shared the same bed in one of the hotels. It was lovely. I was the big spoon and he was the little spoon [everyone laughs].

Samuel Munoz:

So who is the primary songwriter? What is the songwriting process in this band?

Jorge:

We all write the music, but Jessica writes the lyrics. At first, Jessica and Derek would get together by themselves. They would then come to practice and show us what they came up with, and we would either like it or not and move from there. For the most part, now we just kind of jam it out together. […]

Jessica:

I feel, musically, that is where we understand each other the most.

Derek:

For me, when I left and I was playing with other musicians, I really began to appreciate these guys. We have a chemistry. Aside from all the bullshit and the drama, I’m never going to play with another Kyle or another Jorge or another Jessica. It’s one of a kind. It’s almost like a family.

Samuel Munoz:

So what is the plan for the future of My Machete?

Jessica:

Obviously, with music there is no certainty. I don’t know how we all define success? I think right now we are just trying to make sure we keep creating more opportunities.

Samuel Munoz:

Any thoughts on creating a full length album?

Jorge:

If anything, we are going to try to put out another EP. I don’t want to say that there is no want whatsoever for a full length album, it’s just that there is not enough demand for it.

Jessica:

I think when there is more demand from a big audience then we might do one…I think it would be smarter to keep releasing EPs every so often with our best four songs until we build a larger fan base and there is a need for something bigger.

****

After the interview, I was compelled to challenge Jorge to a rousing game of foosball–a good ole fashion Santa Ana vs. Anaheim derby. He was about to begin his third 40oz bottle of Natural Ice. I figured it would be an easy game. Unfortunately, dear readers, your author took a spanking never before felt in his lifetime. The final score was an embarrassing 10-2. I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror for three days. I have requested a rematch. Hopefully, I can make Santa Ana proud next time.

***

If you would like to find out more about My Machete, visit their facebook page here. Also, their next show will be taking place in Max Bloom Café in Downtown Fullerton, 220 N. Malden Ave.

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2 Responses to That’s My Machete!

  1. Happy the band is back together and love your music.

  2. best machete says:

    Glad the band is together once again. Liked your soundcloud btw.

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