Spotlight on the Scene: Duende

text by digital-media

24 March, 2023

words by: Clarissa Rios

Spotlight on the Scene is an interview blog series aimed at showcasing the lively local band scene of Isla Vista. Each blog in the series will provide an immersive experience, guiding you through visual and auditory elements that truly make each band come to life through the screen.

Last month, Clarissa Rios, host of “Backyard Bash” on KCSB FM, sat down for an interview with local rock and blues based band, Duende. They talked about their musical origins, inspirations, the formation of the band, and their songwriting process. Read or listen to their interview for an inside look on all this and much more!


Interview took place on February 11, 2023

Find them on Instagram and  Spotify 

KCSB-FM 91.9 · Spotlight on the Scene: Duende

Clarissa Rios: To start us off, can you guys individually introduce yourselves and the role in the band? 

Arman Sanchez Mohit: I am Arman Sanchez Mohit, and I play guitar and vocals. 

Mathew Swanson: My name is Mathew Swanson and I play drums. 

Joel Jaffe: My name is Joel Jaffe. I play bass.

Clarissa Rios: So let’s first get to know you three as individuals before diving into Duende as a band. Can you guys individually describe your background in music, such as when you first got started and how you kind of got into music?

Arman Sanchez Mohit: Yeah, I’ll go first. Um, so, so my, my grandfather, my paternal [00:01:00]grandfather was a Flamenco guitar player. I never met him, but, um, when I was a kid, my dad, in an effort to like reconnect with his father, he started playing flamenco guitar.

He has all these nice flamenco guitars lying around the house, and he would, I would always hear him practicing the same stuff over and over again, as you do when you’re a musician. And, uh, I kind of hated it. It was really annoying. And, um, but over the years, I found an appreciation of it and then I started just digging music in general. And then I wanted to play songs that I liked. So I would play those guitars. Well, let me backtrack a little. My, for, uh, in eighth grade, my mom got me a ukulele for Valentine’s Day. And uh, I learned a few songs on it and I quickly got over it cause I wanted to play guitar…cause it’s more stimulating. And then, um, I was, uh, I was playing guitar, not really seriously, [00:02:00] and I was playing baseball for a long time and then eventually life happened and that was no longer the thing I wanted to do, and, uh, music kind of took over. So long story short, that’s how I got into music.

Clarissa Rios: Nice. Matt? 

Mathew Swanson: Well, uh, back in the day before I was around, my dad was a bass player for his own band, so he, you know, uh, a lot of my, um, music influence and musicality comes from him… just jamming out with him. But, um, yeah, I used to have a band and, uh, he had drums lying around. Uh, so later on in life I ended up, you know, using his, just cuz they were there.

But, um, got my first drum kit when I was two before I could even remember… you know, just memories, period. And um, yeah, I just, I’ve been around drums my whole life. I haven’t really… not haven’t really, sorry. But, uh, I didn’t really start taking it [00:03:00] seriously until uh, middle school. Middle schools, I, uh,, joined up in the jazz band, cuz my dad sort of pushed me to do that.

And, um, you know, sucked for a little while, as you do. And yeah, I just stuck with it. Started taking it even more seriously around, um, sophomore year of high school. Did the, uh, jazz band at Claremont High as well. And um, yeah, really started just riding out and uh, and that’s sort of where I’m at now. But yeah, mostly, mostly just my dad.

Clarissa Rios: Joel?

Joel Jaffe: So, uh, I discovered Pink Floyd and weed in the same week of my life when I was 12. So that’s probably where it started. Um, and I just haven’t looked back. 

Clarissa Rios: So let’s start at the beginning of Duende. When did it first form, what year are we talking? 

Joel Jaffe: Let’s go way back. Arman and I met in Ms. Sadler’s math [00:04:00] class, right? 

Arman Sanchez Mohit: La Jolla High School 

Joel Jaffe: …in La Jolla High. Shout out Ms. Sadler. 

Arman Sanchez Mohit: And we also met Katie Thomas. 

Joel Jaffe: Yeah, from Kocean. Shout out Kocean. Um, and we were just, you know, punk kids. I’m like, bro, you got a guitar, play bass. She’s like, I play keys. Like, all right, let’s do something. We went to my garage.

We played Come Together like 10 times, and uh, that’s, that’s really where it all started. And, um, we played for the school talent show with a different drummer. 

Arman Sanchez Mohit: We played The Seeker 

Joel Jaffe: Yeah, we play The Seeker…which we still play. 

Clarissa Rios: That’s a great one. 

We met Matt, actually through Katie. Because Katie and I were in a band for this guy named Lucas Stonehouse. And Matt was in that band. I’m like, oh, this guy can play. So when we finally got the three of us together, we realized there was something special going on. 

Clarissa Rios: Sweet.

Joel Jaffe: Yeah. Uh, June 4th, 2020 was our first like jam session at arman’s Place.

Arman Sanchez Mohit:  No, we played at your place.

Joel Jaffe: We played at my place?

Arman Sanchez Mohit: Yeah. 

Joel Jaffe: We play yours first.

Arman Sanchez Mohit:  Okay. So now’s the… [00:05:00]

Joel Jaffe: You Sure? I’m pretty sure we were hired the whole time dude… I’m not sure about anything, but yeah. 

Mathew Swanson: Um, in my phone that’s the, that’s the date that I have heard, so. And then, yeah. Um, I’m at, it’s, it’s a weird, like…

Clarissa Rios: Please get into it!

Mathew Swanson: Chain of people that I went through to get to these guys. So I was, I played water polo in high school and uh, there’s this kid on my team whose sister was roommates with Lucas who had Joel and Katie in, uh, in the band. So I didn’t even know Arman yet at this point. Uh, he picked me up, started playing, and then did a house show at Katie’s place, and that’s where I met Arman.

Arman Sanchez Mohit: Who he knew through Joel and Katie. So…

Clarissa Rios: Interesting. Many people often wonder about the inspiration behind band names, including myself. So how’d you guys decide on Duende and what’s the meaning that that takes on for you guys? 

Arman Sanchez Mohit: So, we were going through a… [00:06:00] like before, like right before we wanted to come up here for like the first summer that Joel invited us to stay at his place very kindly and play shows. We were in this group chat. We, the group chat didn’t have a name. It was just Joel, Matt and Arman. And then we still used that group chat to this day. But anyway, um,

Clarissa Rios: No names, still? 

Arman Sanchez Mohit: No name at this point. There’s no names. The group chat, just the three, just the names. You know how it says the names? 

Clarissa Rios: Yeah.

Arman Sanchez Mohit: And we were trying to figure out a name and there was all these not great names… that we can, we could never decide on one. It took, like, it took a while. It like two, three weeks of just trying to figure out a name. And I was watching this documentary about Miles Davis. I don’t, I don’t… I think it was called The Birth of Cool. And they used to be on Netflix. And um, uh, there’s this interview with Carlos Santana and he described miles Davis as having Duende. Which, uh, and then my uncle, who was living at my, my dad’s place at the [00:07:00] time, uh, like was passing by in the living room and was like, Hey, like Duende, like my dad used to say that my grandfather, who’s a flame guitar player, he, to describe guitar players as having duende.

We had this discussion about what duende is, and it’s, if you look it up, it’s a quality of passion and it’s inspiration. That’s what the first definition is, but it dates back to like a, like this little creature in Spanish folklore was like a evil, like, like eats your children. But it evolved over the, over, over time as just like a, like a spirit, like something, you can’t really put your finger on it, but it’s, it’s something that, it’s like a quality you can see in musicians, artists, writers just that have the ability to, and, and like my interpretation of that, like they, they have the ability to make people feel something. And just Duende. We were always like on the agreement that we wanted us like a single word. Yeah. Like rush.

Joel Jaffe: Like rush.

Arman Sanchez Mohit: And uh, like it just, It’s just easy. And we didn’t want to be the something just come on like, bro. 

Joel Jaffe: And then shout out the framers. 

Clarissa Rios: That’s immediately what I thought of. 

Joel Jaffe: All serious.

Clarissa Rios: No hate, all love. 

Arman Sanchez Mohit: Then, uh, um, their new vocalist has some pipes might take, and then Duende. I sent Duende in the chat. I was like, what do you guys think about Duende? Immediately the response was, yes. We’re like, okay, cool. Duende it is. 

Clarissa Rios: That’s really interesting. I know when I like Googled it, that like little creature thing that you were talking about came up and I was like, there’s no way. This is what they’re trying to convey. 

Arman Sanchez Mohit: Yeah. If you talk to a lot of like Latin people 

Clarissa Rios: mm-hmm.

Arman Sanchez Mohit: And like, I’ve met some people and like said, oh yeah, the, the name’s Duende. And they would like laugh at me and be like, oh, you mean the little creature? Yeah. And I’m like, no, not that. 

Clarissa Rios: All right. Let’s dive into more of [00:09:00] like the musical side of it, I guess. Um, you guys describe yourselves as a hard rock and blues band, so what other bands or artists would you say you draw inspiration from?

Joel Jaffe: Let’s go this way. Rush. Rush. As songwriters and performers. As music professionals who would tour 250 nights a year and always treat their employees well, you know, treat other bands while they’re touring with, and they just, they knew the game. They worked hard. They had their moment like the Beatles, where they were kind of on that eight days a week thing, playing, you know, three sets a night, six days a week in bars in their hometown, and you know, Alex Lyson was, um, you know, he had a kid by the time he was 18, they still said, I’m not gonna finish high school. I’m gonna be a musician. And he made it. So, um, yeah, them, for me, that’s my biggest inspiration. 

Mathew Swanson: Me personally, uh, I dropped from the band. (?) I again, like [00:10:00] Rush, Neil, Neil Peart. Absolutely. Just, you know, God rest his soul, lost him way too soon. But, uh, yeah, I’ve been listening to Rush for, oh gosh, since, ever since I can remember, honestly. Same thing with, uh, Bonham for sure. Uh, try to steal a lot of his legs with the, the bottom triplets and everything like that. Super iconic, uh, along with, uh, Mitch Mitchell, Jimmy Hendrix experience. Um, him, you know, incorporating jazz in a, in a rock sort of context was absolutely influential. And, um, might, might be a little bit of a stretch to say, but um, the Hendrix experience was definitely sort of, um, uh, one of the really early pioneers of sort of like a fusion, uh, fusion as a genre. 

And for me, my music tastes slash inspiration source sources have changed a lot. And, well not, I wouldn’t say changed, but they’ve definitely built mm-hmm. . Uh, initially I really loved blues. I still like, I consider myself a blues guitar player and I’m, I love the blues. Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimmy Hendrix, uh, t-Bone Walker. , all the kings. That, that’s the stuff that got me into music. Like, that made me feel something. I mean, I know I’m a white kid from, uh, uh, not impoverished area, but blues music. Come on. 

Clarissa Rios: Mm-hmm. 

Arman Sanchez Mohit: And anyway, uh, and then, uh, I met this guy, Joel, and he introduced me to Rush. I mean, I knew about Pink Floyd. I was, I, I loved Pink Floyd. Um, my, one of my first experiences, um, uh, with an undisclosed substance was listening to, um, uh, the entirety of Dark Side of the Moon while simultaneously having a panic attack and just my mind being blown by the music.[00:12:00] And, um, and then once I, once we started playing like more seriously, I, I started to appreciate, uh, more complex music like that, you know, music that changes time signatures, changes keys. Doesn’t really follow the norms of conventional music like that, that I wasn’t able to really appreciate that until I started playing it and like listening intently and being like, whoa, that’s kind of cool. 

Um, right now, uh, I really like Alex Lifeson’s guitar playing. I mean, you can get that from us now. We, we do love Rush, but they are not my number one inspiration. I love Hendrix more than anything. His guitar playing, his songwriting style– amazing. Um, his, his lyrical creativity is insane. Um, uh, Kurt Cobain, his [00:13:00] stage presence, his just his, like, he has duende. You know, he, he plays a guitar. Like, it’s simple. It’s simple and it just, but it has that quality of… like, you feel it, you feel it in your soul. Anything that makes me feel it in my soul, it’s an inspiration. Um, so yeah, those are, those are my influences right now. I’m trying to think of another one, but… I, oh, Stevie Ray Vaughn, obviously. Um, yeah. Those are my influences right now. 

Clarissa Rios: Nice. So Duende currently has three singles out: Confess, Bruce, and Lost and Found. What’s the inspiration behind these songs individually, and can you maybe describe what the songwriting process looks like for you guys?

Arman Sanchez Mohit: I’ll start with Confess. Okay. Because, uh, I was, I had had this studio I built in my room. Back in San Diego from my first job at the Melt. Shout out the Melt. All that, all the money they gave me went to this studio, which is now gone. But [00:14:00] the studio gave me a lot of my skills cuz it allowed me to have a great practice space at home. So didn’t go to waste. Uh, and I was, um, just sitting there and I had this, I was playing my 12th string guitar, which is still at home. Uh, broke a string, never figured out how to restring it. Um, so I was playing the 12 street guitar and I was just on voice memos, just recording anything that came to me. And then the confess riff. Was just there and I developed it and I, I was just messing around a garage band and I put a drum loop on it and uh, I came up with like three parts that’s on it.

The next day I asked Joel to come over, record a bass part, and the day after that we had the structure done, uh, I was just thinking of vocal melodies and I found one that I liked. And then lyrically, uh, it was around the time [00:15:00] Trump was president and that’s what really inspired the lyrics of that song, cuz I, I, you know, don’t like that man.

And, uh, it was just kind of a, like a, a way of describing my feelings towards him and people who admire him, and people who share the same type of dismissive and pompous, uh, capitalistic mind. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not a socialist. I don’t support that. I don’t, I don’t want to pick any size or poli… make any crazy political statements, but I don’t like that guy, and I don’t like elitism and that’s what that song, that’s what the lyrics from that came from… that type of feeling. So, and then Bruce, I had a riff and I brought it to the guys and we put it together in like an instant because…

Mathew Swanson: We needed something. 

Joel Jaffe: We were, we were angry. We were angry at Bruce. 

Arman Sanchez Mohit: Yeah. For…

Clarissa Rios: your neighbors…

Joel Jaffe: calling [00:16:00] the cops. Shout out Bruce, bro. Yeah. 

Clarissa Rios: Does he still live in that same…. 

Joel Jaffe: yeah, he actually designed his house. In the seventies and had it built. And we’re friends with him now.

Clarissa Rios: Are you really? 

Joel Jaffe: Yeah. So basically the way we settled the Bruce dispute is I had some friends in the wine industry acquire the nicest bottle possible Without me spending any money. And uh, I gave it to Bruce and we haven’t heard a peep from him since 

Clarissa Rios: And that changed everything. You owe him a new song now. Different perspective.

Mathew Swanson: We love, love Bruce. Love.

Clarissa Rios: That’s too funny. I’m glad to hear that though. 

Mathew Swanson: Hey, honestly, we wouldn’t have a song without the guy.

Arman Sanchez Mohit: Give us that inspiration. And as for Lost and Found, Joel, that’s all you. 

Joel Jaffe: Yeah. I wrote that, you know, on guitar. 

Joel Jaffe: Um, I was just playing with like chords and like ways that I could be, he was just a very, like, limited number of chords to write, like a whole song with a, you know, definitive structure, parts that hopefully sounds somewhat different from each other.[00:17:00]

And I think there’s only like five chords in the whole song… and, um, the lyrics are just about for me that, you know, this time in our lives where we’re breaking free from our parents and discovering all the, you know, wonderful things that freedom has to offer, but also all the tribulations that it brings as well, all the responsibilities.

And, uh, that for me has, you know, been an ongoing, uh, struggle. Like it’s about learning to accept life as a struggle and, but find a love of the work. 

Arman Sanchez Mohit: That’s what that song’s about 

Joel Jaffe: Also, it was a lot of fun to record. 

Joel Jaffe: shout out Jake Morenc (?)

Arman Sanchez Mohit: Uh, we, um, he (inaudible) produced those songs for us very kindly. And, uh, that was so fun. We spent all day in the studio. We got the Habit. But anyway, so we didn’t really,

Joel Jaffe: That was 12 hour day, wasn’t [00:18:00] it?

Arman Sanchez Mohit: Yeah, 

Joel Jaffe: We did those in one session. Yeah. 

Clarissa Rios: That’s crazy. 

Joel Jaffe: Bruce, Bruce lost.

Arman Sanchez Mohit: We had Matt like playing drums for like four hours. Oh. Anyway, so, uh, lost and found was fun, uh, especially for me because, uh, uh, well we didn’t have the song complete. We, it was not complete. That’s true. We didn’t have the bridge section.

Mathew Swanson: I was literally writing the drums on the spot. Yeah. I was just, I had listened to the songs a couple of times, a few days beforehand, just over and over trying to internalize it and yeah, I was just coming up with stuff on the spot and I kind of wish I would’ve picked a little bit of an easier part to play because I played a little differently live. 

Mathew Swanson: Just so I can do it without having to think too hard. But 

Arman Sanchez Mohit: Yeah, it was a lot of fun because we didn’t have the structure. Jake helped us write some of the song and, uh, we were kind of like tweaking the lyrics as I was in the booth singing it. And it also was so fun to like sing and just sing. I recently had a show experience during that last night we, uh, I [00:19:00] sang for Zep Live, the Zeppelin cover band.

And it was a different feeling like just, just singing. I was able to like really put my all into it. 

Joel Jaffe: Yeah man, it was crazy watching you man, your life. 

Arman Sanchez Mohit: My, I don’t want to say that right now. Anyway, um, oh yeah. So it was a lot of fun because um, we were just coming up with the parts and then Jake did this awesome scream, like right into the solo, and I did some belt thing. I don’t, it is cool. And then the soloing was fun because it took like a couple, like eight takes probably. And we picked the best one. It was all improvised. And, uh, so yeah, that was, that was lot of fun.

Clarissa Rios: Nice. So I can’t really imagine having a band, and having it be like so easy and a seamless process.

Arman Sanchez Mohit: Yeah. 

Clarissa Rios: So like what are some of the challenges you guys have experienced along the way? 

Arman Sanchez Mohit: A lot of the [00:20:00] challenges recently have been personal, but uh, we, we are all brothers. And brothers fight, you know, siblings fight and siblings make up and siblings care for each other. And that’s what we do.

You know, at this point, that’s what we are. We’re not only friends anymore, we’re family. And family always gets some little fights, and that’s just part of it. So, um, yeah, also, uh, I’ll start this one and let Joel and Matt finish it, but it’s, the songwriting process is, is difficult. It’s not easy. And I think we put, put a lot of pressure on ourselves to write really, um…

Joel Jaffe: We gotta compete with our covers. Yeah, you gnarly covers. 

Arman Sanchez Mohit: Yeah, we do. So it’s, yeah. So go ahead, finish. 

Joel Jaffe: Yeah. I, you know, songwriting for me is such a different muscle than playing, and I’ve always been a player and I’ve always loved like playing as this [00:21:00] thing that’s like partly athletic, but also mental. And this, uh, it’s, it’s what I, I do music to play.

Like when I started playing everything I loved about music changed. But now as I’ve tried to become more of a songwriter, I’m starting to have more of an ear for songs. Verses just parts. Mm-hmm. and, um, writing’s hard. That’s all I can say. 

Clarissa Rios: Matt, would you like to add on to that?

Mathew Swanson: I mean, for me, just to, to add on to the, the songwriting thing. My role in songwriting is more towards the, the tail end of the process. Just to sort of act as the, the glue that holds everything together and the, the real issue is that we’re just not, you know, writing enough. So there’s not really much that, um, I’m able to contribute. I will say, although recently, my, my creative juices have been flowing a lot and I’m, I’m not gonna say that, you know, I’m writing a song every day, but I’m, I’m coming up with parts that I like and I’m prac… I’m, [00:22:00] I’m working out that muscle every day.

Like I, like, I’ll pick up my guitar and play something. I was like, oh, that’s cool. And, and it might not be used, it might be used. It’s just that, it just to keep like playing, like just playing the play and then find something that you like and bring it to your band and uh, they like it. Great. They don’t, they will, we’ll either amend it or scrap it and, but that’s part of the process. That’s what we all have to keep doing, is just coming up with parts and throwing it at each other. We’re not a band that we don’t write… We don’t individually really write stuff. We always have a part and we bring it to each other and we come up with a consensus. Like that’s, that’s the best way to do it. Cause we don’t wanna play music that we don’t like. We all have to like it. Yeah. So, um, long story short, I, I think that that problem is on its way to [00:23:00] being, uh, not completely solved. Cause it’ll never be just like, like that. It’ll never like, I don’t know…

Joel Jaffe: a sense of breakthrough is on the horizon. Yeah, we’re just, we’re just, we’re just putting the work. And that, a lot of that is, uh, personally is, I moved here recently to Isla Vista and I have a lot more time on my hands. I’m not in classes right now, taking a break. And, uh, I’m working and I have a lot of time to play and just to, to put a more, uh, a writer’s lens on as I view the world. So it’s, it’s a lot easier for me to think creatively when I don’t have as much on my plate.

Mathew Swanson: Um, and yeah, so that’s my thoughts on that. 

Clarissa Rios: I know Joel, you’re a student. Matt, are you also in classes right now?

Mathew Swanson: Uh, not at the moment. 

Clarissa Rios: Okay. So, Joel, how’s it been for you trying to balance all of these different, like, band endeavors and your academics?

Joel Jaffe: I feel like it’s [00:24:00] actually a good lesson in time management. It, it gives me a lot of strength. , uh, in school, being in the band, and a lot of strengths in the band being in school. Mm-hmm. . Um, the way I plan my weeks is like a lot of schoolwork, you know, Monday through Thursday and then Friday through Sunday I’m focusing mainly on band stuff, particularly live shows. Um, when it comes to like rehearsals, we like to have like a regular schedule. Lately we’ve finally gotten kind of that consolidated and it’s one of those things where like, if you plan life, what’s the quote? Discipline is freedom. It’s one of those things. Where like if you just say like, we’re gonna be in the studio together for an hour or for two hours at this time, then when you’re in there, all you think about is the work. And you don’t gotta think about the other things. 

Clarissa Rios: So IV is home to many bands. We have a really lively scene here, and I think more recently we’re starting to see this emergence of tons of new bands like joining, right? I know like [00:25:00] over Instagram, I’ve seen like four different bands pop up within this past week and I’m like, that’s crazy.

Like it’s, it’s crazy how many bands we have now out here. So what’s some advice that you might have for those who are starting their own band or just getting started in music in general? 

Mathew Swanson: Be punctual, show up on time. 

Joel Jaffe: Yeah. We actually had a band come talk to us last night after the show. And they were asking for advice and my thing is, really, like, think of it, don’t make it not fun, but like, think of it as like work and networking and like, it’s a, it’s a community above all. And so, like Matt said, be punctual, be on time. Be the guys that are down to take the 8:00 PM slot. You know, also you hear someone playing, walk into their house, introduce yourself.

Maybe you’ll get to jam in with them. That’s how I met a lot of the bands here. That’s how I met the guys in Happy Medium. But yeah. You know, just get yourself out there, you know, but also when you get opportunities lined up, accept them gracefully and deliver. 

Clarissa Rios: [00:26:00] So this one’s kind of, uh, for fun question that I like to ask bands when they get in here.

But out of all the shows you’ve played, is there one that has just kind of like stuck with you ever since? Or one that you would say has been your favorite?

Arman Sanchez Mohit: I’ll start. Okay, so it’s gonna sound cliche, but our first show, there’s three of ’em. I’m gonna say there’s three of  ’em that, that really stand out. There was two, but since last night there’s three. But uh, um, so the first show was amazing. We, what time? We played like nine?

Joel Jaffe: Nine. Yeah. 

Arman Sanchez Mohit: We played at nine. Opening up for Happy Medium and it was just exhilarating. Uh, I’d never really performed like that. I mean, I play at like a open mic, a blues bar, open mic in San Diego.

But this was different, like, this was even different than playing at this, the talent show. Cause we had like an hour of material. And we had to be on top of it and [00:27:00] know the parts and, but once we were like, we were pretty well rehearsed. But once we started playing it, like, it was like at my first, the first two songs, I was hella nervous.

But then once I saw how much fun everyone was having, listening and vibing to the music. It was unreal, and I was hooked ever since. And then second was… what was like February 6th of last year? Uh, well, was going into February 6th. It was February 5th. We, we closed that show out. Um, we, it was on Camino Del Sur. this huge driveway with a basketball hoop and we set up this big, big stage… you, I was almost gonna cuss. We set up this big stage. 

Joel Jaffe: We’re already like three swear words in.

Arman Sanchez Mohit: Yeah, I’m trying to control myself. But anyway, uh, we set up this beautiful stage and um, my sister was there, my cousin was there, so that was a great show. For many reasons. Um, it, we played [00:28:00] amazingly. We, uh, we had Bobby Costa close out and, uh, and drummer heads , happy to meet him, uh, sing with us. And, um, also I met my girlfriend there. Um, she came up to me after the show and I could, I liked her because she complimented the music. Like she, like, she appreciated the music.

That was awesome. So, so much came out of that show for me. And, and then for the last show last night, it was my first time just singing in a band. Like a wholesale, (?) I mean, we did that one thing. I sang War Pigs at that restaurant in San Diego. It wasn’t for Duende it was for something else. But, uh, this was different cuz it was a whole set. And Led Zeppelin, one of my, probably my favorite band, I’ll say Led Zeppelin is my favorite band. that was so fun. And then we killed the Duende Show. That was the best, one of the best shows we’ve ever played.

And it was just very memorable and, and it was great. What was great to me about Zep Live was that we had two people, Ryan Lake and Adam Mou, (?) their first shows ever, their first performances. And it was just great. I don’t, I can’t say, I don’t wanna speak for you, Joel, but being more experienced performers playing with people who have never played live and like giving them a, like a solid backbone to, and like being a support group. For these guys to really perform and have fun. As much fun as with it as we do. And that was a beautiful experience my last night as well. So, and

Joel Jaffe: They were great too. They killed it.

Mathew Swanson: I gotta say, being on the other end of Zeppelin is just such a nice change of pace for me. And, um, during sound check when you guys were playing, um, uh, Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You I almost cried, man. Your vocals were just absolutely spot on. They were so powerful and just [00:30:00] watching you up there was… Just otherworldly, man. 

Arman Sanchez Mohit: I, thanks man. 

Mathew Swanson: I felt like I kind of got transported back in time. 

Arman Sanchez Mohit: Thank you. 

Mathew Swanson: Because it’s probably the closest I’m gonna get to see Zeppelin play, so… 

Arman Sanchez Mohit: No, there’s some great Zeppelin cover bands that tour, but thank you man. I appreciate it.

Mathew Swanson: Absolutely. Joel?

Joel Jaffe: Favorite shows?

Joel Jaffe: Matt, did you say yours?

Mathew Swanson: I haven’t yet. 

Joel Jaffe: Oh yeah, right. Yeah, you go ahead. 

Mathew Swanson: But, um, I think my most memorable show was probably playing Jake Fest. 

Clarissa Rios: Ooh, I remember that. 

Mathew Swanson: Yeah. Jake Fest. 

Clarissa Rios: That was a time. 

Mathew Swanson: That day was so long. Gosh. How many bands did he have on the bill when we started like…

Joel Jaffe: I think it was eight.

Mathew Swanson: It was eight. Like 4:00 PM 

Clarissa Rios: It started like 4:00 PM Yeah. 

Mathew Swanson: Yeah. It was so early. I was there for all of it too. I’m not sure about you guys, but yeah, it was just such a long day and the like anticipation to our time slot. It was just [00:31:00] crazy. And then actually getting on the stage, I think that was the first time we had played Jake’s stage too.

It was the first time I saw Drummer Heads play live, yeah, that was absolutely memorable show. And I’m pretty sure I played most of that set with my eyes closed too. Cause I was just trying to do my best not to screw up. So, You know, one less sense to worry about’s intuitive. Well, it’s one less sense to worry about.

No information overload. 

Arman Sanchez Mohit: Wow. 

Mathew Swanson: But I just remember people are gonna be like…

Arman Sanchez Mohit: Matt, like, like I can’t even, I can’t even play with like my eyes open, trying to play better with his eyes closed. But no, you know what I, you know, I, you know what I’m gonna say? I understand that cuz when I’m playing solos, and I, okay.

At this point, I know the shapes, I know the scales, at that, at like, when I’m closing my eyes, I can really just express during a solo, I could just play. And I, I don’t, [00:32:00] I I see what you’re saying cuz you’re, when you’re playing, you’re doing improv. You kind just want to tune into yourself. 

Joel Jaffe: when you sing, you’re looking for the pitch. 

Arman Sanchez Mohit: Yeah. Well, even, but I don’t, yeah, exactly. When I’m. For a lot of it. I like, visuals don’t even stimulate me. It’s like all internal.

Arman Sanchez Mohit: even if my eyes are open, I don’t really see because everything is internal. Anyway. 

Joel Jaffe: Um, favorite shows last night’s, one of ’em last night was just, there was an energy there that has not been there in a while and that’s, I think that energy has been there the last few shows.

I felt it, especially at this show, like a hundred percent. The show prior was like, was like working up to it. We were like finding something. Um, yeah. If we had taken a little hiatus. Yeah. Also we did this show, um, in September of 2021. That was a fundraiser. Oh. And we have a very important [00:33:00] policy about IV fundraisers is that we, we will not do a cover charge. We don’t believe in that. 

Mathew Swanson: Oh, oh. That show was great. 

Joel Jaffe: Yeah. And so we did a show where we told the organizer, we’re like, listen, like you want to do this? Here’s what’s gonna happen. You can put QR codes everywhere for Venmo. We’ll shout it out on the mics. Like, whatever. And they’re like, fine, and they raised $2,000.

Clarissa Rios: Wow. 

Joel Jaffe: Just that. And that was a particularly amazing crowd. It was kind of like the first, the warmup to the first in-person quarter since Covid at U C S B and just people were excited to be alive again. And, um, that show was a great, um, I think it was kind of like the end of our summer season here.

It was like our first summer in IV. And it kind of led nicely into the fall quarter where we just came with a lot of energy that, that those first like, I’d say 10 Duende shows in IV had like a really special energy. 

Clarissa Rios: So, as far as future plans go, what does the future hold for Duende? Are there any projects you guys are currently working on? Any new releases coming soon? 

Arman Sanchez Mohit: Uh, not solid. Like, [00:34:00] not like there, but like I said before, our creative energies, at least my creative energy is on the come up. 

Joel Jaffe: I’ll put a we on that. 

Arman Sanchez Mohit: Okay, good. So it’s, it’s, so it’s looking up like, I’m not gonna say we’re gonna come out with a new single tomorrow, or the next day or the day or the day after that, but, uh, we are… the precursor to that is there, I think. 

Joel Jaffe: Yeah. Pre-save in your hearts. . . We’re starting to get more traction downtown as well. We’re starting to play bars. I noticed that. Things like that. We’re actually starting to make some revenue so we can reinvest in the band or reinvest in ourselves as well. Which is really nice to, you know, have that security and be able to actually get something. Playing music aside from just, you know, being able to play to people. 

Clarissa Rios: Yeah. And as far as like those shows go, would you say you prefer like one type over the other, like playing an IV versus downtown, [00:35:00] or not, not really. 

Arman Sanchez Mohit: Well with downtown it’s a, a little bit of a, a different atmosphere for sure. Okay. Because, um, you’d say more, more, um, mature crowd and people are not just there to have a good time, but they’re also there to listen to the music. And you’re also trying to, uh, sell a product, essentially. You’re there to draw crowds in and sell alcohol for the bar.

 But also the, the volumes, um, you know, it’s, it’s definitely not as intense of an atmosphere. So there’s a little bit more pressure, I’d say more preparation as well, cuz you’re bringing everything. 

Joel Jaffe: I personally like playing IV a lot more. Yeah. There’s a different energy to downtown where I feel like we’re not, it’s not so much performance, um, it’s more just like we’re gonna play some songs as if, you know, we’re just playing them for us and people are there. Cause a lot of people just end up talking over it anyway. Um, so yeah, my vote’s for IV all the way. 

Mathew Swanson: Yeah, me too. 

Arman Sanchez Mohit: Yeah, [00:36:00] absolutely. For like, yeah, we get paid. 

Clarissa Rios: I just feel like the energy must be so different. 

Joel Jaffe: Yeah. Like completely unmatched to what you’re getting in iv. There are some places that go downtown though. Okay. Like if you come see us at Sandbar, which we’re playing March 1st by the way, um, that is some energy. Like that, that room, you know, there’s like a dance floor. It’s like younger people come out, they know how to make it work there. Okay. So it really varies venue to venue. That’s an important thing to keep in mind. 

Arman Sanchez Mohit: Yeah. I’m really hoping. You see a lot of heads out on the first, cuz I remember the last time we played at Sandbar it was a little bit more of a quiet night.

Mathew Swanson: We played way too loud, too . 

Arman Sanchez Mohit: Well that’s on you guys. 

Mathew Swanson: Yeah, I know. I can’t really change the volume on my instrument. I can only go sell now when you guys are up at like 10. I was at 11. 

Clarissa Rios: Um, in terms of its longevity, do y’all see like yourselves continuing Duende in the long run or is this more of like, you do it while you’re in college and then graduation [00:37:00] comes around and…

Arman Sanchez Mohit: I see it as something we keep putting work into. For a long time, you know, obviously life permitting, but,

Joel Jaffe: I agree.

Arman Sanchez Mohit: It’s not a, it’s not just, uh, like a, a short term thing. And it’s never, never has been in my mind. And I mean, I see bands that are like that. That’s, that’s fine. You know, they’re in college, you know, they wanna play, you know, they have other things that they want to do.

Like I, I’m, I have a lot of cognitive dissonance, at least I used to about, um, like in the recent past about school and music. Cuz I am in stem. That’s my major. I’m a psych major and I want to transfer, hopefully I tell myself I want to transfer somewhere for like a cognitive science or psych and brain sciences cuz I am interested in science.

 But I don’t get joy out of that. it’s just like something that I feel that I have to do because society wants me to, or, [00:38:00] or if I don’t, I’m not a functioning member of society, but right now, music is my thing that is like, that’s what I want to spend my free time doing So, uh, yeah. It’s like I said, it’s, it’s, it’s cool to see, you know, people with their free time, then they don’t have to do school. They, they want to go out and play music and it’s says, this feeling is the same. I just wanted to get out there and play music. But I do think that we view it as a long-term plan.

Joel Jaffe: Yeah, I agree. You said life permitting, life permits more than ever, you know, in this kind of environment where we can literally like record on our laptops at home. Yeah um, I love the juxtaposition you kind of bring up there with the idea. Psych and brain sciences and what society wants from that.

And then also music cuz it… on one end of the spectrum, it’s the field of like guys in lab coats and microscopes and then looking for that perfect pill that’ll lift your spirits and make you feel alive [00:39:00] and make you feel inspired. Um, but we do that now playing music and there’s no bad side effects other than maybe, you know, Bruce cheeses, sprues (?)

I mean that’s tonight. This ain’t that bad if you use earplugs. (?)

Yeah, I’ve been using them. I need to do that. I’m so glad that you’ve started using earplugs. I’m so proud of You are. For a long time I didn’t cuz I lost them or I lose one of ’em and then I was like, no, there’s no point in just weighing one of ’em.

Mathew Swanson: Yeah. I am so surprised that you haven’t developed. Yeah. Like awful tinnitus too. Yeah. That’s crazy. 

Clarissa Rios: Um, okay. Final question guys. Uh, at the band shows people really get to only see you guys as musicians. You know, they only really hear you announce like your names and the names of the songs. They don’t really get to know you as people or as individuals and what goes on behind that. So is there anything at all that you want your listeners to know about you? And you can make that as deep of an answer or as [00:40:00] humorous of an answer as you want.

Arman Sanchez Mohit: Just as a person. Like what we’re like as people. Like what we like to do for fun. Just, yeah, let’s answer that. 

Clarissa Rios: Any glimpse.

Arman Sanchez Mohit: So my days right now usually consists of me waking up, going to work, either going to work or not going to work.

Um, when I’m not playing music and I have free time, I hang, I hang out with my girlfriend a lot. You know, do things like, we like to go to eat. I love food. I love cooking. I’ve been perfecting fried rice recently. Um, I like to, there’s only two video games I like to play three, actually. So I’m not, I wouldn’t call myself like a gamer.

Gamer, but I love Assassins Creed. Every single game. I, I’m replaying the SEO collection right now. I love Minecraft shamelessly. Um, and Call of Duty Black Ops one. Those are the three games I’ll play and…

Clarissa Rios: still playing Black Ops one?

Arman Sanchez Mohit: I haven’t played it in a while, but 

Mathew Swanson: Oh, okay.

Arman Sanchez Mohit: I love that game. Cause I remember that was, [00:41:00] that was kind of like a big thing. I love, I love that game.

Joel Jaffe: Season one Duende was fueled by Black Ops. Oh my. Yes. Gosh. 

Arman Sanchez Mohit: Black Ops One Zombies . Anyway, uh, yeah, that’s, that’s pretty much it. I mean, I, I like to hang out with my friends, these guys. 

Clarissa Rios: Mm-hmm. um, Matt? 

Mathew Swanson: Well, my schedule usually consists of, yeah, just waking up. 

Arman Sanchez Mohit: Oh, one more thing. I work at Saigon Noodle House. Come, uh, eat some delicious pho and fried rice. And quick shout out to Saigon Noodle House.

Mathew Swanson: Yeah, uh, my day usually consists of, um, waking up, dropping uh, my girlfriend Isabella Pepper (?) off at, uh, at school. Also, uh, Would not be up here right now without, uh, Isabella, my lovely, lovely girlfriend, uh, met her the second time we were up here in August. Uh, she actually brought her whole house over while we were playing with the garage door up and we were jamming uh… The Chicken by Jaco [00:42:00] Pastorius. 

Arman Sanchez Mohit: Oh, that’s when…

Mathew Swanson: And Arman had his back turned the entire time and we had this crowd of like 12 people just bobbing their heads garage. Yeah. Know people were sneak.

Arman Sanchez Mohit: Yeah. Joel and I were just absolutely locked up looking at each other just in disbelief and yeah.

Mathew Swanson: Arman didn’t get any of it, it’s just to it. Yeah. But, uh, again, wouldn’t be living up here if it wasn’t for her. And I really appreciate, you know, everything she does, she’s gone to essentially every single. show since we’ve started. And sometimes I’ll even be like, oh, you don’t have to come if you’re exhausted, please, please just don’t expend that energy. And she’ll be like, Nope, I’m coming anyways, so 

Clarissa Rios: She brings so much energy to the shows like last night. 

Mathew Swanson: That was phenomenal. I am so glad she didn’t lose my, your airpods.

Arman Sanchez Mohit: I mean, hey, she did (inaudible). Yeah. 

Mathew Swanson: I mean, she was only using the mic for useful stuff. I will say first one got the, the crowd to come up to the front. Second one. Thank God she didn’t lose my Airpods. Yeah, she [00:43:00] was devastated. Yeah. Third round. Yeah. Yeah. She, it was like she parted, the red sea was on the ground looking for him.

It was great. But yeah. Uh, I do have a Roblox addiction. I like to play a B Swarm simulator made by on, it’s probably one of the most balanced games that, uh, I have played. It’s a little bit of a grind also. 

Arman Sanchez Mohit: Tell them about your love for Bionicles. 

Mathew Swanson: We’re here for an hour. Dude. Dude, I gotta get going soon.

Arman Sanchez Mohit: Yeah, man. Um, if you guys do wanna know more about, there’s like an eight hour lecture on YouTube and I’ll go look. Just give him a call. Uh, 8 5 6 9. I’m just kidding. 

Mathew Swanson: Um, crazy story for a kid’s theme, which is phenomenal. Yeah. Also do some Destiny 2 stuff. Some Halo Infinite stuff, even though it’s kind of in a bad state right now. But yeah, Minecraft is cool. I’d wanna start up a, like band Minecraft survival. Joel would never, but Joel would never. 

Joel Jaffe: Yeah. I don’t play video games, not anymore. I’m a recovered addict. Yeah. Uh, I’m, I’ve definitely waned [00:44:00] off since, um, started the band and actually get my life together, so. 

Clarissa Rios: Joel? 

Joel Jaffe: Um, I like to cook. Uh, I like to work in guitars. I work at Jenssen’s Music, so like doing that stuff. I like listening to music, learning about music. I’m a music student. Um, like to surf when I can here, which is rare. Thanks channel islands (?) and, um, yeah. 

Clarissa Rios: And then just to finish this off, uh, feel free to plug your socials, anything coming up. You said March 1st, you’ll be playing. 

Joel Jaffe: We’ll be playing March 1st at Sandbar, March 10th at Topa Topa Brewing. Um, IV gigs. Check our Instagram at DuendeLive. D U E N D E L I V E. Um, you can find our personals there, um, stay posted for new music on Spotify. Listen to our old [00:45:00] tracks, see if you find something new in them. And, uh, we’ll see you guys out there. 

Arman Sanchez Mohit: Thank you everybody.



Posted in Blog, Interviews, Music