INTERVIEW: MIA ANTIFA
Mia Antifa is a band that defies categorisation. Born out of a tight-knit group of cousins (Shua Zermeño and Mickey Valdez) and friends (Erik Duran and Jeremy Silva), their music is a powerful reflection of the deep connections and shared experiences that have shaped their lives in the vibrant El Paso, TX music scene. Their debut full-length record, "Coming Home," released on July 7 via Hogar Records, serves as a poignant musical journal that traces the intertwining lifetimes of its members, culminating in the transformative year of 2020.
"Coming Home" weaves together an array of sonic gestures, blending mutual inspirations and unique styles into a harmonious whole. The album's rich diversity of sound is a testament to the profound impact that familial bonds and years of collaboration have had on Mia Antifa's artistic evolution. As listeners immerse themselves in the album, they'll discover a remarkable synergy that stems from lifetimes spent orbiting in and out of one another's creative orbits. We sat down with Mia Antifa to learn more about the record, exclusively for FLEX!
Hey Mia Antifa! How are you doing?
Mickey: We're doing great! We are currently on tour through Texas and having a blast getting to meet so many new people.
Jeremy: Really really good! Touring and meeting new people and hearing new bands has been amazing.
When did you first begin creating music?
Shua: Mia Antifa kinda began with Mickey and myself back in like 2017 when I’d ask her to accompany me as a solo acoustic act on her cajon. Most of the early Mia Antifa songs I wrote started like that. As a band Me, Erik and Mickey really became Mia Antifa in 2020.
Who or what were your early musical influences?
Mickey: My earliest influences for drumming were Neil Peart (Rush) and Tré Cool (Green Day). My dad also played a HUGE role in getting me started in percussion.
Erik: My early influences include the white stripes, Led Zeppelin, Megadeth, and a lot of 80’s pop music. This got me into playing guitar as well as writing music.
Jeremy: My early influences that made me want to make music was stuff like Wu-Tang Clan, NWA (waaaay back in middle school the first time I hit a freestyle, it was to Boyz n The Hood), Green Day, Blink 182, stuff like that haha.
Shua: Green Day, Nirvana, Sublime, Operation Ivy, The Descendents, The Beatles, Blink 182, NOFX were my early influences when I started playing music.
You venture into a genre that needs some life breathing into it in punk, tell us all about your new album ‘Coming Home’?
Shua: The record was written when I was going through a rough time in my life and ended up having a loose narrative structure just based on the nature of the journey I was on at that time. The record took two years to complete and release and we faced so many obstacles and luckily Hogar Records came along to make it all happen. I think we achieved something to reflect all of our influence but the work still sounds unique to us as individuals. I think it’s a throwback to the records that I loved from the 90s; Dookie, Nevermind, Dear You, etc, but still sounds fresh.
What’s your current favourite track?
Jeremy: For me, my favourite song off Coming Home is either Goodbye or A Long Way Home. The album was written and recorded before I joined the band, so going into the studio and getting to add harmonies was great because I was (and still am) such a huge fan of this band and these songs. Goodbye hits a part of my brain that hasn't been hit in a really long time and A Long Way Home does the same thing.
Shua: I love listening to Friends. It’s one of the oldest tracks on the record and one I have a lot of emotional connection to. And hearing it go from a song I used to play alone on acoustic guitar to this cool full band punk rock song; I think Ross and Alex’s production really shine on that track and it’s amazing to hear how big and full our sound is.
Do you have a typical songwriting process?
Mickey: Usually, one of the members of the band will write a song completely or almost completely, show the rest of the band, and add in the rest of the instrumental or vocal parts to it. We've also been reworking some of our existing songs, adding in arrangements, to try to keep them fresh.
What inspired this album?
Shua: Most of this record was written over a span of a few years when I was either struggling with a bad drug addiction or actively recovering from that addiction and trying to get sober. So most of the songs were written from that point of view.
Do you have a career highlight?
Shua: I’d say it’s right now. Putting out our first record, the release party, our first tour; we’ve been working so hard to make these things happen and it’s been so damn rewarding and so much fun doing this. Definitely an unforgettable experience.
What are you looking forward to in the near or far future?
Mickey: Personally, I'm looking forward to touring again (even though we haven't even finished this tour yet)! I also would love to continue recording our new songs and working with Hogar Records. They're awesome!
Stream or buy 'Coming Home' here: