Last month, Fin del Mundo (“end of the world” in English) exploded onto the Latin American emo/indie/post-rock scene with their debut release: a self-titled EP complete with four carefully-crafted and stunningly beautiful tracks that represent the achievement of a specific and sought-after sound a long time in the making. The band is comprised of Julieta Heredia (Juli) on guitar, Julieta Limia (Tita) on drums, Lucía Masnatta (Lu) on guitar and vocals, and Yanina Silva (Yan) on bass and backup vocals.
I wanted to know more about the background of each of the members, so I asked them to tell me about their first experiences with music and how they came to start playing in bands. I also asked them what advice they would give to a young woman who wants to play in a band. In the following paragraphs I’ve paraphrased their individual responses. Then we got together for a group video chat, where they told me all about the making of Fin del Mundo (as well as some specific listening instructions for maximum enjoyment).
Tita grew up in a house full of musicians and instruments. In the nineties, it was common for the kids in the neighborhood (well, the boys at least) to rehearse at home. So the guys from her brother’s band would come over and practice in his bedroom, and they’d leave their instruments there. Her first encounter was with the bass, an instrument she loves for its beauty, its simplicity, its accessibility. You just pick it up, hang it around your neck, and start playing notes. She’s been playing the bass for over 20 years now, but it’s been only 4 since she started “pretending to be a drummer,” first in the band Boedo and now in Fin del Mundo. It’s a totally new world for her; she’s still getting a hang of the instrument and learning a lot. (But nobody’s caught on, yet, that she’s just pretending.) She started playing live from the first time she picked up an instrument. She wasn’t really concerned with recording or releasing material. It was a different time, then. Not everybody was online. If you wanted anyone to know who you were you had to get out there and play shows. Her first experience recording an album was in 2015 with her band Temporada de Tormentas. Not so long ago. In addition to Fin del Mundo, another project she’s working on currently is Nadar de Noche.
Her advice for a young woman who wants to play in a band: just get up the nerve and do it. If you don’t have money to take lessons, teach yourself; take advantage of all the great resources online that weren’t available when Tita and her band mates were growing up. YouTube tutorial videos, free online workshops. Understand that not everybody learns at the same speed. Some people learn a lot faster, and it’s easier for them. If you’re not that person, you’re going to have to learn how to work at your own pace and not get frustrated. Also, listen to lots and lots of music. The more musical data your brain take in, the more creative you will be able to be.
Juli started out playing her mom’s classical guitar, when she was 11 or 12 years old. Her mom taught her her first chords, and later on she would learn by looking up the tabs to songs she liked. For her 15th birthday, she received her first electric guitar, a Texas strat with a 20-watt amp that she used for a long time. Little by little, she started growing her collection of pedals as well. At 17, she formed a band with three girl friends; they played punk, a few covers and a few originals. This was in Río Grande, Tierra del Fuego, a small city in the south of Argentina. They had to have been the first ever all-girl band on the island. She took guitar classes for a year before coming to study in Buenos Aires, and once here she played in a lot of different projects that came together and fell apart quickly, until she started playing with Boedo in 2016. That was her first experience being in a band that recorded an EP, and played a lot of shows throughout the course of two years. And that’s where she met Tita, with whom she formed Fin del Mundo last year. They finally found the sound they’d been looking for for a long time. Juli also plays guitar in the group Penny Peligro, and another newer project that doesn’t have a name yet.
Her advice for a young woman who wants to play in a band: It’s important to find bandmates who share your level of enthusiasm and enjoy what they’re doing as much as you do. In our case, we’re always on the same page because we compose the songs all together; everyone contributes their style and ideas to create something better as a group, and we have a blast at every single band practice or live show. Also, don’t stop playing, ever. With every tiny step you are learning, so you must be patient.
Lu started out playing drums, with the help of a big brother who influenced her a lot musically. Her first band was Moquientas, an all-girl band in Rawson, Chubut, in which she played the drums. Then later on she played bass and sang in a ska-punk band called Hernia. Then she started playing guitar in another all-girl band called Poxy Power. (She always liked the idea of having a band with all women.) So she went from drums, to bass, to guitar, to voice, in the different bands. She wouldn’t go as far as to say that she plays any of those instruments well, however. She loves playing in a band because it’s a way to share something that can’t be defined in words. It’s like an energy and understanding that’s implicit in the act of playing together. A way to capture and express everything we live through in our day-to-day lives, and turn it into something collective that we experience as one. Lu loves playing shows, it’s super satisfying and makes her feel alive. Recording on the other hand, is a much more tedious process, you have to take everything you’ve created and bring it to the next level of precision. It’s a lot of work.
Her advice for a young woman who wants to play in a band: Get out there and do it. No matter what they tell you. Make the music that you like to listen to; be what you would like to see in a band. There’s no limits. If you insist, and you look hard enough, you will find people who want to be on the same frequency as you, who want the same things. There can be lot of obstacles involves in finding the right people to play music with, but don’t quit because of that. We are all on our own journey and there are so many factors, and so many things that have to coincide for the right group of people to come together at the right moment. But if you try, with love, and conviction, and security in your self, it will happen.
Yan was introduced to playing music as a teenager when she dated a guy in a hardcore punk band, in the Caseros neighborhood of Buenos Aires. She would go to shows, but she had never been in a studio or rehearsal space until she started sitting in on her boyfriend’s band’s practices; that was where she first witness the creative process of making music in a group. One day, she said to her girl friends who would always accompany her to local shows: “hey, what if we had a band?” Having had the experience of witnessing band practices helped them see it as something more attainable, not something so far-off or difficult. The guys loaned them their instruments, taught them a few basic things, and they started playing covers and simple punk rock songs. It was so much fun. Yan played the bass, which is what she plays today in Fin del Mundo.
Her advice for a young woman who wants to play music: Just go for it. Be curious, experiment, try different things, teach yourself things. Music isn’t exactly cheap or easy. An instrument is expensive, but it’s an object that opens a lot of doors; a tool for getting to know yourself, other people, and the culture around you. Don’t worry about how you go about it; don’t worry about being too young, or not good enough. It’s about that moment between you and the music, following the inspiration to wherever it leads you. And sometimes you surprise yourself. Dedicate time, love, and feeling to developing a musical relationship with your self. As a woman, yeah, it’s going to be harder. But try to see it as something positive — you will stand out, and in many ways you can use that to your advantage. If you put out a good energy, sooner or later, that is what you will receive in return.
Okay, first question: are we in the end of times?
Lu: We’re at the end of a time. Time, as we’ve known it. Definitely.
Tita: It’s kind of like now we’ve left behind the “old world” and now we have the new one. We talked about this the other day. That’s how it seems. And sometimes, I mean, it’s kind of scary. And a lot of people are wondering if things are going to go back to the way they were before. And a lot of people say that no. So I think that yeah, as Lu said, we’re at the end of a time.
So, did you have that in mind when you came up with the band name, or…?
Lu: Heredia should answer this one!
Heredia: No, it was just by chance. Because people say “the end of the world” to refer to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego. I lived near there, on the island, for a long time, and when we started the band we spent quite a few months not being able to find a name, we had a list of like 200 options, and that was the one that was left that we liked after so much time of not being able to decide. But yes, we named it that for the South of Argentina. Lu is also from Chubut, from Rawson, I was born in Trelew, near Rawson but then went to go live in Rio Grande, Tierra de Fuego.
Lu: And we would always say that, because…the name Fin del Mundo was always there on the list, among the thousand other names we had, and like, me particularly I would say, “I don’t like it,” but it was because I was imagining it like…something catastrophic, and I don’t want it to be catastrophic. And you guys would tell me “no, dude, but imagine it like the end of the world as we know it” and then I was like “oh…word.”
Tita: Like a premonition.
Lu: Yeah. Quite the prediction.
And other names that you almost chose?
“Cringe,” for real? Like, the band was almost named Cringe?
Lu: If only! [Laughs]
Yan: The one we had before…ugh, I don’t remember. The one we chose at the bar…
Lu: Something with…Polar?
Tita: Parque Lunar! (Lunar Park) …that was one… and Círculo Polar (Polar Circle). The names were all kind of cold. Like, we wanted to reference a place, that was clear. We would always talk about valleys, things related to nature, and at the same time mixed with some other type of adjective. There were easily sixty names on the list. And we spent like three months choosing. It was really torturous.
Lu: We made a selection once, we were like okay, enough of this torture, let’s just do it. After a band practice in Morón. So we took the names that were the “chosen ones” and we wrote them each on a little paper and we said “okay, this is it, whatever comes out, that’s what it is” And we picked one, but then…ugh, I don’t remember what it was.
Tita: The one that came out that time was Parque Lunar, and then Bosque Rojo (Red Forest). But then afterwards it just seemed weird to us, like, I don’t know why.
Lu: Wait hold up! What was the one from Igna’s birthday where we were like “YES, DUDE, this is it!”?
Heredia: But I didn’t like it.
Lu: Fuego Adentro (Fire Within).
All: Ahhhh, yes.
Tita: But we thought, it like…kind of gives you like acid reflux, right? So we were like nah, not that one. [Laughs]
Lu: Right!? Like…intestinal problems. [Laughs]
How did you all meet?
Lu: I was the last one to join.
Tita: Heredia and I played in Boedo.
Ah, I was also going to ask what exactly was the connection with Boedo.
Tita: Right, the two of us played in that band, the same instruments we play here. Boedo broke up about…like, the end of 2018, no? Around then. End of 2018 we stopped playing, but Juli and I kept practicing. So we would practice me and Juli and Juli’s sister on bass, and that’s where it started and the first songs came out. Then Yan joined, because Juli’s sister went to live in the South. And like right after that we added Lu on guitar. It all came together quite quickly…and then at that time, when the four of us started playing together, that’s when we wrote — well, except for one song, the rest we wrote when it was already the four of us officially on board.
Yan: We started in April of last year, no? And then Lu joined around June.
So you compose the songs all together, right? What is the process like?
Lu: Well just yesterday I sent a kind of cheesy message to the girls about that, about how I really love Fin del Mundo’s creative process, because it’s very democratic and collective. It’s like “Dude, check this out, I did this thing on the bass.” “Oooh, let’s see, we could put this and this on top of it.” “Hey dude listen to this guitar riff that I looped the shit out of.” “Ah, we could make it like —” “Yo, I’m dying to do a song with this drum beat.” “Ah, word, cool.” And we go from there and begin to build the song.
Tita: In the band practices what we always do is experiment with some sort of foundational base that someone brings to the table, like maybe Juli brings a simple little riff, and we start fleshing it out, or Yan brings a bass line and Lu also brings an idea on the guitar, and we start adding in the other instruments and putting together the different parts. And then after that what we always do is get together at someone’s house and play it a ton of hours there to give it structure.
Lu: We do that whole process of taking the new song to someone’s house, and working the shit out of it. Playing it over and over and over, with the amps down low and Tita playing a beat on whatever she can improvise into a drum kit, and then after that we take it to Melotron Sala and finish it off.
And that’s what I hear. When you guys come here.
Tita: Yeah. There in that rehearsal space is where almost all of Fin del Mundo was made. It was all cooked up in there.
And the lyrics? I was looking up a bit about Alejandra Pizarnik. She’s really famous here, isn’t she?
Lu: Yeah, she’s really famous, and she was like really really ahead of her time. And she had kind of a chaotic life, you know? She was depressed, and an alcoholic. She wrote a lot, a ton, and it’s all quite sad, but there are some things that are like — “La Noche,” at least, well I mean, not “La Noche” but rather the poem of hers that we used for the lyrics — it’s one of her lighter works, because you read it and it’s like…like, she had a super super super dark phase, where everything she wrote was just so sad and morbid, but this poem is like a lot more…open.
Let’s imagine for a moment that the world continues with business as usual. Plans for this year?
Yan: Play lots of shows. We really miss that. I guess, play a lot and keep writing new music. Fortunately we’re working on one right now, and we have one or two more in the works still, that we haven’t really put together yet.
What is your relationship with Anomalía?
Tita: When they heard the EP they offered to add us to their catalogue, and they explained what the benefits of being in the catalogue would be, because really Anomalía is like a cooperative. Like, they organize shows, they help you get booked in, say, if you want to play in Chile they can hook you up with an opening act. They have good contacts, in that sense. We still haven’t really played, well, technically we have played at an Anomalía show but we haven’t like, headlined or played any really big show. They helped us with everything related to getting the EP up on all the streaming platforms, they were working really closely with us during that phase, we were in contact practically daily. And they distribute everything we upload to social media, they share it, so they’re also pushing for us on that side of things, and it’s great because a ton of people from the emo/math rock circuit learned about us thanks to the fact that they also promote us on their platforms and their social media. People from Peru who also are involved with Anomalía. Bands that invited us to Mexico, to Chile. I think that was the benefit for us. And for them too it was good because honestly, the EP is doing really well, and we also mention Anomalía in all the interviews we do, we’re really grateful for the teamwork we’ve been doing with them because, it’s crucial. We compose, we play, but they help us with everything else, we can always count on them for that.
Tell me about the cover art.
Heredia: Lucas Andreu did it. “Tunder,” who played with Tita in Temporada de Tormentas. He’s a really sick illustrator and we asked him to make the cover art and we told him our idea.
Lu: And the idea came out in that same really collective-type way, one of those times when we got together in a house to work one of the songs a million times, we were like okay, let’s think about the art, what do we want? Ok, so, we want it to have a girl, okay, where could she be? Hm, I don’t know, let’s think about the songs…the ocean is repeated in the songs. Okay, so there’s got to be an ocean, and it has to be nighttime, and maybe we want it to be this style, and so gradually we put together the idea, and that’s what we sent to Tunder.
Tita: There’s a comment on YouTube that’s really good, that someone, a guy from the US I think, realized that the names of the four songs on the EP are in the cover art, and we were like “woah!” We hadn’t realized.
I’ve been listening to the EP a lot. I’ve got it really stuck in my head. The other night I smoked a joint and went to go shower and brought my speaker into the bathroom and…I tripped out while washing my hair. It was great.
Lu: It’s really funny that you say that. A friend of mine from Chile told me the same thing, she said “dude, I smoked one and I went to go shower.” It’s a great EP for taking a shower super stoned.
Tita: It’s really…nostalgic, like, the concept that we were going for with the EP, we really achieved it, from the sound, thanks to Ignacio Castillo who did the recording…the lyrics, too. Like, transmit that feeling of…traveling really far away…winter…and on top of that, we released it at the perfect time, for the name and the current climate. And this angst that lots of people are feeling. I don’t know, maybe it helps us, to listen to music that makes us feel represented. So, in that sense, we are super happy. We did it.
Lu: Make sure you put in the article…that you have to get stoned and listen to it in the shower. [Laughs]
Okay, I will.