“It all started in my backyard in the summer of 2014,” Andrés Corella recalls. “We did it to share music with friends. We had no intention of making it a big public thing. They were home shows. We played in bands that no one knew. We weren’t part of any scene.”
At the time, Andrés and his friends were not of legal drinking age in Tijuana, so he resorted to throwing a mini music festival in his parents’ backyard in Playas de Tijuana. This is how Música en el Patio (better known as MEEP) was born.
The first time I attended a MEEP show in early 2015, it was at a popular Tijuana venue for alternative shows, Moustache Bar, along with neighboring venue 1250. This was not your average weekend show, where the promoter gets a couple bands from San Diego, throws in a few bands from Tijuana, and makes a lazy attempt at charging a cover; this was a well-thought-out mini festival in which the whole venue was transformed to fit their theme.
Dozens of cartoon ghost cut-outs were pasted over the walls among other decorations, though it wasn’t anywhere near Halloween. A guy dressed like a ghost stood by the entrance collecting the $1 cover. The last two bands that night were Mint Field, a noise-pop trio, and Lo Que Nunca Fue, an instrumental rock quintet of well-studied musicians with a jazz feel. All performers were under 20 years old at the time.
“No, Música en el Patio was before we formed Mint Field,” Andrés corrects one of his bandmates as I chat with the band behind MEEP. Andrés on bass, Estrella Sánchez on guitar, and Amor Amezcua on drums (yes, her real first name is Spanish for “love”) form this budding trio.
“The first Fiesta Spooky was again in my house on Halloween of 2014,” says Andrés, who also organizes an annual Halloween show with his bandmates. “It was the first time Mint Field played in a more formal manner. A friend played music. We bought caguamas, and then we just watched movies.”
“Estrella’s mom drew a ghost so people could find the house. Then the ghost just became a thing for every show,” Andrés continues. “We had our friend put a white sheet over his head for a show in January. He committed to the character and never took the sheet off and from there on he became our mascot.”
Though not a trained drummer, Amor is no stranger to the music scene. Her younger brother is Grenda, a teenager who has risen to fame playing synth-pop. Her two older brothers are symphonic musicians. Her father is Bostich of Nortec Collective, a group that was nominated for the Latin Grammy award in 2008. Nortec put Tijuana in the international spotlight, redefining the way the world viewed the city. Meanwhile, MEEP is reinventing the way young promoters work with venues to throw mini-fests.
“My dad supports me as my dad,” Amor says. “But he has no influence in our music or with MEEP. Of course, he has helped me when I asked him where I should rent audio and little things like that.”
“He has never helped us with money or anything,” Andrés interjects. “We started with a little fund and from there we went on. We do shows whenever we have the money. We don’t wait for the yearly thing.”
MEEP grew quickly. Their fourth show was cosponsored by Burger Records and the following was a preview for All My Friends, Tijuana’s summer music festival. Their shows feature upcoming talent from both San Diego and Tijuana. MEEP VI, their next free show, is on Saturday, March 5th, and is sponsored by, among others, Baja California’s Culture Institute.
Musicians and show promoters tend to create a tight circle around their genre. Metalheads only go to shows with bands with undecipherable letters, punks stay cheap and dirty, jazz followers are the snobs of the city, drugs dominate the electronic scene and norteño remains unfazed by all others. MEEP is a fresh breath of creativity that welcomes everyone (all ages) to partake in an experience that goes beyond music.