What appeared to be two major setbacks for Nick Diaz as he worked on the second Buenos Diaz EP both turned out for the best.
The first occurred in May 2014, about a month before recording began. With a deposit already made at Troubadour Studios in Lockhart, Texas, unexpected news came from Diaz’s backing musicians that they were backing out.
“I can’t say it was ugly,” the Austin, Texas-based Diaz recalls, “and I can’t say it was pretty. I think maybe there was some kind of miscommunication, maybe even on my part.”
The singer-guitarist admits, “Things definitely felt a little sour for me for a little while, as I was left standing alone to piece it all together.” But eventually, it all worked out: He was able to reschedule at Troubadour, and he found other helping hands by reaching out to familiar faces: drummer Matt Johnson and multi-instrumentalist Mike St. Clair, who were among the musicians on the 2014 Buenos Diaz EP, The Love Balloon.
“They were available and happy to work on something creative again, and we plowed through recording all the songs I originally had planned,” Diaz says. “It was easy to get into a flow with those guys; I think maybe we rehearsed once.” He also recruited others: Steven Collins, who runs Troubadour, played keyboards, and Barry Seelen added organ.
Diaz launched a Kickstarter campaign in summer 2014 to help fund mixing, mastering, packaging and other costs related to the project. Over 30 days, according to Diaz, he “relentlessly e-mailed, Facebooked, talked, called and texted” about his Kickstarter campaign, as he continued to mix the EP and play gigs.
By Aug. 9, 2014, his project had 70 backers and had raised $3,800 — but his funding goal was $10,000. And so, Diaz faced a second setback: Because his Kickstarter campaign came up short, he did not receive any of the money that was pledged, per the company’s all-or-nothing policy.
“The way I look at it,” Diaz says, “if Buenos Diaz were more of a ‘traditional’ band setup and not a solo project, where I hire musicians, we would’ve reached that goal, no problem.” (Diaz believes that his unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign raised more awareness about Buenos Diaz than he could have ever imagined, and afterward, some of those original pledgers contributed funds anyway.)
This month, the second Buenos Diaz EP, Urbanized New Wave Texican, will finally be released. Like The Love Balloon, the seven-song Texican has skilled guitar work and interesting sounds. “Concrete Hell” and “Love Insanity” both feature the type of effects-driven bursts that are associated with Tom Morello (per a friend’s recommendation, Diaz recently picked up several new pedals, including a DigiTech Whammy like the one Morello uses).
Then there’s the Lenny Kravitz-sounding “The Chaka,” in which Diaz calls out specific cities, 1960s-dance-craze style: Austin, New Orleans and Houston (three places where Diaz has lived). The song’s inspiration, however, actually came from another country.
“This really cool guy from Nepal and I were having a conversation about sex,” Diaz begins. “I swear he told me ‘chaka’ is the Nepalese word for sex. Then one day, I tell him I wrote a song called ‘The Chaka,’ and he was like, ‘What’s that?’ I said, ‘You told me it was sex in Nepalese.’ He said, ‘No, I didn’t.’ It was obviously a simple misunderstanding, so ‘The Chaka’ is whatever you want it to be.”
— By Chris M. Junior
Buenos Diaz on tour (schedule subject to change):
• Oct. 8: Continental Club — Houston
• Oct. 10: Stay Gold — Austin (CD release party)
• Oct. 13, 20, 27: Snack Bar — Austin
Photo by Kate Marie Hellenbeck