lluvii Displays Their Emerging Sound on Local Live, March 3, 2024

lluvii Displays Their Emerging Sound on Local Live, March 3, 2024

March 3, 2024 in Local Live

by dj lemonhead

Latin-Indie quartet lluvii mesmerized audience and crew members during their short-but-sweet set in the KVRX studio on March 3.

The band has only officially been around since mid-2023, but the cohesive creativity of their debut EP, Pacifico, makes it clear that they know what they’re doing.

What guitarist and vocalist Carol Gonzalez originally intended to be a solo project turned into a group effort when her roommates, drummer Kaylin Martinez and bassist/vocalist Ryan Gordon, workshopped her early material for Pacifico - aptly named after Carol’s research trip to the Pacific Ocean where she first began working on the EP. They met keyboardist Felix Kimbrell at a party and soon after set off on a tour of Texas, officially inaugurating the quartet. Each musician comes from a multi-genre background which has paved the way for the “fusion-esque” nature of the band. Kaylin and Ryan’s rhythms are often jazzy in nature while Carol’s voice emphasizes their indie-pop sound along with Felix’s art-rock inspired keys. The band often taps into elements of nature during their performance, using recordings of birds and instruments that mimic the sound of rain to build a world around their music.

The beginning of their set sounded like a sunrise; chirping birds gently kicked off the first song while energy slowly built until the performance fully came to life.

Lluvii also performed a number of unreleased songs that will be on their upcoming project, which they have already recorded at Lechehouse with Beto Martinez. After the show, we caught up with the band to talk about this new music, their songwriting process, Austin venues and more.

Read our interview with lluvii below.

Q: Could you introduce yourself, what you play in the band and what your favorite appetizer is?

Felix: I'm Felix. I play keys in the band. Also do some vocals. Favorite appetizer...I'm probably going to steal a lot of people's answer right now, but mozzarella sticks.

Ryan: I'm Ryan. I play bass with a little vocals here and there. I'm gonna go jalapeño poppers.

Kaylin: I'm Kaylin. I play drums in the band. I don't do any vocals. You don't want me on vocals. Maybe one day. My favorite…I would say mozzarella sticks as well, but I want it with ranch. I don't do the marinara. Or fried pickles.

Carol: My name is Carol. I sing, and I play guitar. I would say baba ganoush and pita is an all-time classic.

Q: We've been listening to a few songs you guys put together for us. Did y'all want to talk a little bit about the music that we just heard?

Carol: Yeah. We all come from pretty different musical backgrounds, I would say, so it's kind of a variety playlist. But the one that just played is "Prende La Vela" by this Colombian artist, Totó La Momposina. I'm Colombian, and she was one of the first Colombian artists - aside from Shakira and Carlos Díaz - who I really, really got into. She plays more traditional indigenous - I don't think folk is the right word, but it's the only word I've got - music with traditional gaita, this Colombian instrument, and it just made me fall in love with Colombian music. It's had a really big influence on me. We just recorded an EP, and we got Jaime from Superfónicos to come and add some gaita. It's so fulfilling to be able to listen to that music and be a part of it now. She's such a pioneer, and it's really cool to be able to do something even a little similar to that.

Q: If you had to explain the vibe or sound of the music that you make to someone who has never heard it before, what would you say?

Felix: Latin-inspired, for sure. We all kind of have that background, so that's a natural thing. There's a lot of different influences, though, for sure. There's a little bit of funk; there's a little groove to it. But there's also some rock influences as well.

Ryan: We're definitely indie with Latin influence, first and foremost. We like a little punk. We like a little jazz here and there. A lot of our songs come from us going to a room and just jamming, feeling each other out, hearing what's going on. I hear Carol playing on the guitar, and then Kaylin comes in and lays on the beat. [I'm] connecting the bridge between those two and feeling it out. We all stem from that similar vibe, and then Felix comes in and lays in the texture, the keys and the atmosphere. It's a whirlwind of indie-Latin, almost jazz. It's kind of fusion-esque. A big ol’ blender we've got.

Felix: A lot of things going on.

Q: So, with your album that came out last year, is that process of experimentation the main way that you guys wrote your songs?

Ryan: I would say so, yeah. There's a big old canvas, and we throw a lot of things at it. I really loved that process personally, because you really get a glimpse at seeing how everyone's mind works. It's an ever-evolving process of that sort of notion. You think you know how it's gonna go down and then we left turn and it's like, "Oh, shoot, we just broke a new way. We just found something else that we could totally do with this different section.”

Carol: For that one specifically, I was out on a research trip in the Pacific Ocean; that's why it's called Pacifico. I wrote a lot of the guitar parts out there and came up with some of the lyrics. Then I came home - Ryan and Kaylin and I live together - and showed it to them, and they just took off from there. A solo project is what I intended it to be, but we all started jamming, and everyone had such different influences. It became this morph of everyone's sounds and went from there, I guess.

Q: What is each of your musical backgrounds? How did lluvii form?

Carol: I started playing music when I was in high school. I started playing guitar in high school with my friends. I was in this experimental noise thing called Manifest Destiny's Child. That's where I met Kaylin. We all were from Denton, so we started that. Kaylin started playing with us, and we clicked. It worked. We were doing some weird stuff back then, but I think we've grown up a little bit so it's changed. As you grow up, your tastes change as well. [We] started listening to different music and started making slightly different music as well. Like I said, me, Ryan and Kaylin live together, so it just really happened naturally. I met Felix at a party.

Felix: Yeah, it was a housewarming party. We vibed. It was cool. They were like, "We need some keys." And I was like, "I play keys." It's been a little movie since that. I feel very lucky.

Kaylin: Yeah, so I met Carol. We played a bunch of music - a bunch of weird stuff, very punk-influenced. I was playing a lot of pop stuff at the time, so it was really cool to start. I was also not playing with a lot of women, so it was really cool to experiment with that. I found that I felt a lot more comfortable playing with her. I was already playing in a band with Ryan. We met by weird serendipitous chance, already had that connection. So yeah, I've been playing with them a combined seven years almost. I think that you can really feel that solidness between us. I started playing about 17 years ago, so I've been playing for a while. I was in drumline, church music - the whole nine yards.

Ryan: The rhythm is laid down nice. I used to play a lot of punk and a lot of funk, metal, rock, jazz - everything. Kaylin and I, before joining lluvii, would do everything from punk to R&B to Latin. We got that rhythm section down to a T, so it all came together pretty organically like that.

Q: Are y’all working on new music right now?

Carol: We are. We just recorded some music with Beto Martinez down in Buda at Lechehouse. We're so close to being done, just adding the final finishing touches. A handful of songs we just played will be on that. This one's the first set of songs that have been written all together. So yeah, very excited for what will be to come.

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Photos by Galilea Gutierrez.

Q: Have y'all toured together?

Kaylin: We went on a little Texas run back in the beginning of December. We hit up San Antonio, Dallas, Austin and San Marcos. That was our first time traveling together as a unit.

Carol: Felix had just joined.

Felix: Yeah, I had just joined a week before. That was my first tour I've ever been on, also. They showed me the stops.

Ryan: You are initiated.

Felix: Yeah, it was cool. I was very nervous. I was like, "I don't know." My parents were like, "I don't know if you should go." But I had to listen to my heart on that one. They were at the first show too, shout out to them. That was a great show.

Q: Whenever you play shows, are there any specific pre-show rituals that you always do as a band?

Kaylin: We always have a practice before the show. Day of show we like to really get all the kinks out.

Carol: We used to take a shot, like, minutes before we'd go on stage.

Kaylin: Tequila.

Felix: We're trying to get away from that. Not that it's been bad.

Kaylin: No, we just gotta change some things up.

Felix: Make room for new traditions.

Q: What about after the show?

Kaylin: Talk about the show.

Carol: Go outside. I feel like I usually need some space after the show. I need to breathe for a second, so I run outside. Try to be by myself for at least five minutes. By myself, I mean us.

Felix: We're debriefing: “What do you think?” “How are you feeling?”

Ryan: It's funny, because every show is different in a way where we're like, "Oh, let's try this kind of setup." "Let's do this." "Switch up." "Let's try this." So it's cool to see that it's ever evolving.

Felix: It always feels like something different. We're always adding something, or trying to do something to make it the best it can be.

Ryan: We've got some stuff in the future for our live shows. I'm excited.

Q: Do y'all have any favorite venues in Austin? Or any specific shows you've had a really good time at?

Kaylin: Hotel Vegas has been really good to us from the start. They've always been willing to book us. Our friend books there. She's been very generous.

Carol: I agree. There's been a couple Vegas shows that I remember having so much fun at. We played with Nossas Novas and Lost Palace. That was really fun. We all just became friends and hung out. Then we played with Thelma and the Sleaze for our EP release. Kaylin also plays in Thelma and the Sleaze, so it was really cool to join two worlds.

Kaylin: Different worlds. Very different worlds. That was a fun show for sure. I got to play on the floor on double drums.

Ryan: I've never seen Kaylin head bang so much.

Kaylin: My neck was sore for like four days. I didn't stretch. I don't do yoga.

Felix: That's our new ritual: do some stretches before.

Q: Are there any Austin bands you haven't played with before that you would like to?

Carol: Yes, absolutely. Superfónicos. Oh my goodness, I can't speak highly enough of them. They're probably my favorite local band; they're Colombian as well. Like I said, Jaime just recorded with us. I've been seeing them since I moved to Austin. They're just so so so good. One day, we'll set up a bill with them.

Kaylin: I would say Redbud. I think we've all listened to them recently. Maybe we have something in the works.

Carol: Mockjaw too.

Ryan: I'm just gonna say it: I would love to one day open up for White Denim because I've known of them for years. They're jam-packed, jam-centric music, and I think we'd be a good mix.

Felix: There's this one band, Eterno Scroll. I just saw them for the first time. I've been meaning to catch them for a hot minute. They're like an electronic-reggaeton mix. They were so cool. One of my really good friends' brother is in the band. He's always so kind to me; shout out to Michael. They just were great. I would love to play show with them, too. I just want to shout them out.

Q: Are there any venues in Austin that you don't enjoy playing or have had a bad experience at?

Felix: I'll say one, but I don't think we had a bad show. We played at Chess Club. It was a great show. I had a great time, but we were jigsaw-ing trying to get [set up]. It was a little interesting. I'd never played that tight before, but it was great. It was a cool show. Mixing was great, too. Great crowd. Can't complain.

Carol: For me, it depends on who's the engineer, I guess. There's definitely been a handful of shows that haven't gotten the best mix. We couldn't hear ourselves too well on the monitors. Who knows what it was like out in the crowd? I feel like those are always the worst experiences I have, when it's not mixed too well.

Kaylin: Sometimes, it's not even about the venue or the sound. Sometimes with the crowd, we don't have too much luck with a good turnout, so that can affect how I play at times. But yeah, I think sometimes the stages here are just a little bit wonky, and that can affect the sound. It's no fault of their own, sometimes.

Ryan: Yeah, we're pretty sound-centric. There's been a couple of shows where we've had to do everything, set up our own sound. We don't know what we sound like in front; we're just kind of like, "Oh, let's see how this goes."

Carol: Ryan's running back and forth between the PA and his bass trying to make sure everything's fine.

Ryan: Without tripping on wires, which I do quite a bit. You make do with what's dealt.


Photos by Galilea Gutierrez.

Q: We're super lucky here in Austin with the music scene that we have. Are there any other cities where you've experienced really cool music scenes?

Kaylin: I really like Chicago. Chicago is really cool. There's a lot of people making music out there. I've played at Lincoln Hall before with Ryan, and I think that's probably one of my favorite places that I've played. People are very warm and accepting in Chicago.

Ryan: Chicago is a huge city with a lot to give. We all met in Denton. The music scene at the time in Denton was flourishing. It had so much going on, like house show after house show after house show. At all these shows, you got to be exposed to all these different minds and sounds. It was really cool. And San Marcos is pretty much the same thing. On our Texas run, we got to experience that, too. They have a whole ecosystem of houses over there doing shows and whatnot. Props to them because I've lived in a house show venue, and it's a lot of work. It's a lot of mess, but it's fun.

Carol: I've personally never been to Melbourne, but I've been listening to a lot of bands from out there. It just seems like it's right up my alley. I would really love to make it out there one day.

Felix: I think all the Texas cities make good music. We went on that tour, and I feel like I've listened to a good amount of people, but I was just like, wow, there's so many cool artists that have been making music for a long time. They're just getting stuff out onto streaming platforms, and I'm like, wow, y'all are great. Houston: had such a good time. There's some great music out there. San Antonio: really good music out there too. The scene's pretty good. What can I say? We got something going on over here.

Q: Are there any artists that you listened to early on that made an impact on the music that you create today?

Felix: Definitely Stevie Wonder. I like talking about him a lot. The way he does melody, and his singing as well. And he plays keys, so I'm very influenced by the way he plays and how he goes about and does his thing. He's the type of artist where he's old, so he has so many albums. I feel like I've heard it all, and then I'll hear something that I didn't even know existed. From when I was young to now, I'm always listening to something [of his]. I'm changing with whatever song I'm finding out about him.

Ryan: For me, it's Red Hot Chili Peppers. They got me around the time I was learning bass. I was learning Aerosmith, Rush and Primus, but they just stuck with me. They were my first concert I ever went to, also. Seeing them live, it was super impactful. They showed me the possibilities of harmony and stuff like that.

Kaylin: I don't really listen to them too much anymore, but I guess my go-to answer would be Paramore. I listened to them so much growing up, and they were one of the bands that I drummed to a lot. I grew up playing in a church as well, but I don't really count that. But yeah, I was drumming a lot to Zach Farro's drumming. I think he has this heaviness to him, but he can also play some really interesting jazzy stuff, especially his newer stuff. I don't know how much he influences me today, but I think I can see it throughout my playing sometimes.

Carol: I'm gonna probably say Justin Timberlake. I've loved him since I was a child. His vocals are so cool. Whoever is writing those songs is so cool, funky and groovy. Very dancey, feel good. I have synesthesia, so they're orange. I want to be orange.

Q: What is a song that you've recently had on rotation?

Felix: I have a couple. There's a new album by Mk.gee that just came out, and there's a song called "DNM" that I really like. He produced that with Dijon, who I'm also a really big fan of. I like the drive. It kind of sounds like a Prince song, and I'm a big Prince fan too. The new ScHoolboy Q album came out. I really liked this one song called "THank god 4 me." It makes me feel like, "Yeah, thank God for me!" I've been playing that nonstop. It has a great beat. The switches are cool too. I just love ScHoolboy Q. He's cool, and I don't listen to him enough.

Kaylin: I'd probably say "Suspended" by Sampha. He came out with a new album pretty recently. When I first met Felix, I heard him sing something, and I was like, "Oh my God, your range sounds so much like Sampha."

Felix: Aw. I love that album so much too.

Kaylin: When I hear the drums, I can see myself playing to that because it just sounds so fun.

Carol: I just discovered this band called QUEEF JERKY, and they have this song called "PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN." It's so good. It's so weird. It's not quite what I usually listen to, but it surprised me that I like it. The vocals are super, super weird. You can tell they were just sitting around laughing and trying to make each other laugh. Not very serious, but it really inspired me to take a step back and not take myself so seriously. Just have fun with it, I guess.

Ryan: I always have songs that I like to revisit, even though I've listened to them 1000 times. You know, you revisit it and you're like, "Oh, I remember this feeling." I like this band called Yuck. There's a song called "Shook Down," and it's just a dreamy, lovey vibe - almost nostalgic in a way. I'm a sucker for jangling guitar, so that's kind of where I've been headspace-wise.

Find lluvii here:



Coming up for lluvii:

May 5 - Pecan Street Festival Austin


Photos by Galilea Gutierrez.

Musicians: Carol Gonzalez - vocals, guitar; Ryan Gordon - bass, vocals; Kaylin Martinez - drums; Felix Kimbrell - keys, vocals


Production Manager: Emma Kositsky; Set Design Director: Cooper Stephenson;

Audio Director: Aiden Sharabba; Audio Intern: Ethan Rangel;

Video Directors: Zahra Ahmed, Cassie Quintela;

Photo Directors: Trevor Keig, Abraham Vidal; Photo Intern: Galilea Gutierrez;

TSTV Producer: Michael Norris; Interviewer: Morgan Lenamond;

Volunteers: Hannah Nguyen, Rhian Jackson, Rob Paine, Emily Bowes, Andrea Ramirez, Tyler Dolley

All Photos thanks to KVRX's Galilea Gutierrez.

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