Andres Sanchez has been involved in the Rio Grande Valley music community for 10 years through almost every role imaginable; musician, fan, promoter and reporter of the local music scene. Sanchez has dedicated himself to fill whatever role and gap to keep the show going. Because of his continued commitment to document, promote and be part of the musical legacy of the Valley, Sanchez was selected as part of the first cohort of Neta Cultural and Creative Fellows.
Sanchez began attending local shows during his sophomore year of high school. He recalls one of the first local bands to inspire him was Tentacle’s A Flower. He felt that their marriage of cacophony and emotion made for a deeply compelling style of music. Sanchez’ first group was the garage rock band Jungle Bodies, where he was the lead singer and rhythm guitar player. Jungle Bodies played catchy songs that combined the speed and energy of punk rock with the strong melodic sensibility of pop music. He went on to form the soft punk band Super while also joining the bands Dandy Heat and Slow Attack. In addition to playing gigs Sanchez eventually worked to book shows of his own. His design skills came in handy for the many posters and graphics used to promote them.
Through his heavy involvement in the RGV music scene, Sanchez made a transformative observation; no one was writing about the RGV music scene (including local newspapers), at least not in a manner that he thought as reflective of what was taking place. Because of this Sanchez started a music blog that covered the Valley DIY music scene from 2009-2014.
Titled, The Photon God, the blog offered diverse written and visual content that according to Sanchez, “regarded local musicians with the same creative value and esteem as the artists they might look up to.” Examples of the content Sanchez covered include playlists, local and touring band reviews, as well as coverage of the musical counter culture in the RGV.
A 2011 excerpt from the blog shows the enthusiasm Sanchez has for highlighting the growing music scene:
“ ‘The valley never gets kewl bands’,”there was once truth to those words. I must admit I’ve said them myself before. However, that grim veil of obscurity has not touched down in the Rio Grande Valley for quite some time. This is because people took initiative; people who believe in this place and its potential. These people made efforts to push away the dark cloud of doubt that made this place seem so very desolate and thanks to them, things began happening here; things we hadn’t experienced yet; special things. Before we knew it, bands we’ve grown to know and love as fans and friends began sharing stages with their influences. The ‘unthinkable’ was now very much thinkable. Our world is growing ever larger. To use a Legend of Zelda reference, bit by bit, our world map is slowly being lured out from under the clouds.”
Through his blog, Sanchez drew more people to the music community who were previously unaware of its existence, many of whom became involved in ways of their own and continue to be involved to this day.
BLASST Episode #87 by Andres Sanchez
Currently, the musician runs a weekly music podcast called Blistering Listens and Strange Sounds, Thank You (BLASST), dedicated to the same goals as his music blog; to provide a local means of discovering new music, both from and outside of the RGV, alongside interviews with local artists. Currently on its 87thepisode, the podcast features interviews with Valley favorites like Dezorah (Ep. 42, 55) and producer Charlie Vela (Ep. 72). You can find and subscribe to BLASST on iTunes and in your Apple Podcasts app.
Through his experiences growing both as a musician and as a writer, Sanchez has maintained an acute awareness of the music scene. His writing has been published in The Drop, Bias, and most recently in the longest-running DIY punk fanzine, Maximum Rocknroll where his RGV Scene Report was featured.
Neta is lucky to partner with Sanchez and support his writing and the critical work he is doing documenting and sharing the musical counterculture of the region. Through the Neta Creative and Cultural Fellows program, Sanchez will produce a diverse package of short and long-form pieces covering the Rio Grande Valley music scene.
Stay tuned for Andres’ work, and follow him on Instagram at @u_punk & @fuchitsucio as well as @universal_punk on Twitter. Be sure to support RGV musicians and go to local shows!