Jen de la Osa and Henry Beguiristain, the core duo behind L.A.-based rockers Aloud, have moved around this country like nomadic butterflies since forming nearly two decades ago. From their Miami hometown, the pair ventured northeast to Boston, where they spent a full 15 years. Less than a year ago, they journeyed all the way west to our town, and the weather has convinced them to settle down.
But it’s not all about the sun and sand. Aloud found in L.A. a vibrant, exciting, thriving music scene that they wanted to be a part of. Venues that are packed on winter weekdays. Crowds that will give new bands a chance. A collective open mind that can see past accepted genre tags.
“It’s the center of the entertainment industry, so there’s always something going on,” Beguiristain says. “Even if something is not your speed, you can find something that is.”
“It reminds me a lot of what it was like in Boston during our early years there,” de la Osa adds. “What’s cool is, we have our publisher here, and all the guys in the office go out to shows and play in bands. All these industry folks are going to the same shows I’m going to. That’s really exciting. It feels like it’s all really real.”
Beguiristain and de la Osa grew up together as teenagers in Miami, where they were born and raised. While in high school, they started writing and playing music together and then, after graduation, formed the band. Before too long, they realized that they would need to move in order to get regular gigs and be a part of a scene, and they chose Boston.
“That’s where we met Charles Murphy, our bass player of eight years now,” de la Osa says. “I guess our main thing when we started out was, we’re song-obsessed. Our main goal is to never repeat ourselves, to keep getting better and to do something different with each album. I think I can say that we’ve managed to do that thus far. Even the two songs on the single are very different to the last thing, although it makes sense — you can see the trajectory. The next album will be different from these tunes.”
With four albums under their belt already, Aloud are putting out a brand-new single, “Falling Out of Love,” on Valentine’s Day. This will be their first release as an L.A. band, another step in what has been an exciting journey for them.
“The reason L.A. happened is that we had a bunch of friends already out here who were doing well,” de la Osa says. “We had a support system out here. We liked it very much when we toured here. Going around the country, there were a lot of places I liked but didn’t know if I could live in. We got to Los Angeles and I could see myself living here, and that was maybe four years before we were even considering it. We just decided that it felt exciting and like the right call — it’s who we are now.”
Though Beguiristain half-jokes that he just wants the band to “sound like Oasis,” the Aloud sound is basically rock & roll rooted in R&B, so there are elements of Tina Turner in there, a dab of the Stones and, looking at the recent past, a bit of forgotten Texan band Young Heart Attack. They like to call it rock & soul, and the new single showcases their style beautifully.
“This is our first release since we’ve been out here,” Beguiristain says. “This is the first release of the sound we’re exploring right now, with the horns and the Motown feel. There is a new album on the way. It’s finished, it’s mastered, in the can, and we’re plotting it out.”
Times are good, then, for Aloud. They’ve settled into their new home, have a single dropping now and are readying an album for release. They left Boston on a high, when they performed an intimate show to a packed and pumped crowd. Of course, they’ve also met their fair share of obstructions along the way, not least an unpleasant gig in Memphis.
“The one time we played Memphis was definitely the shortest gig we’ve played,” Beguiristain says. “We roll in, and their PA is hot garbage. They say that one of the bands dropped out, so there were just two, and the other band was going on first because they’re local. So we’re worried about the PA in the back of our mind, but decided to see how it worked out for the other band and plan accordingly. It turns out that they’re this psychedelic jam band with no vocals. They played for an hour and a half; the bartender told them to stop, and the guy was pissed. We get onstage, go into the first song and the vocals do not work, at all. Our drummer at the time just stands up and says, ‘I’m fucking done,’ and that was it. Nobody seemed too upset either. It was 12:30 at that point.”
But those flat nights have been few and far between Aloud know that, when somebody has paid $10 to see them, it’s their responsibility to give 100 percent and leave everything on the stage, allowing those in the crowd to forget about their everyday troubles. They see that as their job, as entertainers. We get to see them in action at the Hotel Cafe on Thursday.
“You’ll get a handful of material off the new record that’s not out yet,” de la Osa says. “We’ll play the single, of course. I think we’ve constructed the set in such a way that it builds and deconstructs. We’ll have the horns out there as well, so you’ll get a lot of different sides of the coin.”
When that’s done, Aloud will play as many shows as possible, both locally and on tour, while trying to figure out how to get this next album out. They’ll be kicking their own asses, pushing each other to achieve as much as possible. That’s how they work. But you can guarantee that they’ll be having a great time while they do it. Aloud are lifers, dedicated rockers, and we’re lucky to have them here.
Aloud play with Dawson Rutledge, House of Mary and Rhys Tivey at 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 15, at the Hotel Cafe.