By ISAAC PÉREZ
The list of musical giants who began as a high school band is not short. Radiohead, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Panic! At the Disco, to name a few, and also Green Day, a favorite of 12th-graders Tyler Clunas and Luis López.
When they are not living the lives of Diploma seniors, Tyler and Luis are supporting musicians in local band Supernova, headed by singer and lead-guitarist Ernesto Lechuga.
The band, which played a Soda Stereo tribute show on November 21st, featured Clunas and López, who played the Supernova’s original songs for the opening of the event. They say they went over the songs and rehearsed for weeks.
The event, held at local bar Septima Luna, was attended by several El Camino students who were there to see Tyler and Luis play.
“This was our first live show ever with the band,” Clunas said. “It was nerve-wracking, but it was awesome to have the support of all our friends out there.”
It all started back in May of last year, when Clunas played the bass for El Camino’s official rock band. Lechuga was working as a sound technician at an event, and was able to hear Clunas play.
“He asked me if I’d be his drummer,” Tyler said.
Eventually Luis, who is also a dedicated musician, joined in the bass, and Tyler took up the drums instead. They both began rehearsing with Lechuga’s band. As they quickly picked up the band’s repertoire, they received an invitation to play the tribute show. Other local shows, like one in Puerto Paraíso they were rehearsing for, await them.
In addition to Supernova, Tyler and Luis have also played with El Camino’s official rock band, famously playing at last May’s Heros Fest.
Their Roots in Music
As musicians, Tyler and Luis are deeply inspired by Green Day (Tyler often talks about the lead singer in class) and Muse (you’ll often spot him with a band hoodie at school).
Tyler’s says his road in music began in 6th grade, when he picked up the trumpet. Luis began playing the bass in 9th grade, after which he moved to guitar.
Though neither of them comes from musically-inclined families, Tyler wants to study music production, and Luis wants to be a professional musician.
Although they have nothing against today’s popular music (they respect Taylor Swift, and feel Ariana Grande makes good stuff but in a limited way), they feel a deep admiration for the rock bands of the 90s and 2000s.
“Those kinds of musicians focus more on commercial sounds than actual talent. You’re more likely to hear three chords and a catchy chorus in every song.”
When asked about some music writers’ claim that “guitar music is dead”, Tyler scoffs at it.
“I honestly don’t care, but i feel like there is a future. That phase is kinda over.”
He might not be entirely wrong, as some point out, many top-charting artists we don’t associate with rock (think Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, and Shawn Mendes) actually rely heavily on guitar for their arrangements.
“There’s nothing more real to me than playing a guitar,” says Luis. “It’s great that musicians are evolving their way of communicating musically, but a guitar is a direct connection.”
“Rock and roll is real,” Tyler chimes in.
More to Come
Their love for rock and roll does not mean, however, they are not looking to expand their musical horizons. Luis says he wants to experiment with other electronic means of making music, and Tyler wants to get into the synthesizer.
In addition to their music together, Tyler and his fellow classmate, Michael Kucera, have also made music together (available on Spotify). The origin of this project, called Big T and DJ Mike, was a number of songs they made for school assignments as Camino students.
“We made these songs for biology and Spanish, we wanted to do the old kind of hip hop songs,” says Tyler.
The songs were so popular among their class that they decided to take a poll, and most classmates said they wanted to be able to find their songs on Spotify.
In future months, Luis and Tyler plan to continue their musical ambitions.
“A trip to La Paz and a tour of the Baja with Supernova may be in the cards,” says Luis.
The pair is also getting into songwriting. Over the winter break, they said they worked on a love song together, which they hope to debut soon.