Alibi V.25 No.46 • Nov 17-23, 2016 

Aural Fixation

The Cool Cats

Felix y Los Gatos bring it

Felix Peralta and David Barclay Gomez of Felix y Los Gatos
Felix Peralta and David Barclay Gomez of Felix y Los Gatos
Courtesy of the artist via Facebook
Felix y Los Gatos have seen it all and they’ve probably played it all too, from infectious party rock to intuitively formed, precisely executed zydeco. After spending a musical lifetime bringing a singular roots sound to this city, as well as to Santa Fe and the New Mexican musical community in general, the quartet is on the verge of releasing their sixth album, an effort titled Louisiana Nights.

With a year of sobriety under their belts, bandleaders Felix Peralta—who goes by the stage moniker Gato Malo—and accordionist David Barclay Gomez are ready to take their singular brand of danceable yet intricately innovative performances and recordings to the next level.

David and Felix stopped by Weekly Alibi’s offices to talk about their new work, the big CD release party they’re hosting at Tractor Brewing Wells Park (1800 Fourth Street NW) on Nov. 19 and their new outlook on life and musical productivity. Afterwards, the duo took to the newspaper’s reception area at Weekly Alibi and joyfully jammed, giving our staff a precise idea of how a blend of crazy chops, a great attitude and a passion for audience satisfaction has brought them to the fore of the music scene in this blue, windblown town.

Weekly Alibi: Tell our readers about your place in the local community. What have you done and why do you do it?

David: We started as a party band, a band that wanted to go out and be part of the party. So we’d get a gig, run up the tab and probably not get paid. It was weekend warrior stuff. We developed a name because of our shenanigans.

Felix: We did get a good name though for our playing, especially in Santa [Fe]. We were playing places like Burt’s and Pearl’s Dive [in Burque]. In Santa Fe, though, The Cowgirl [BBQ] took us under their wings. We played there a lot and really developed some serious fans.

How would you describe the music that brought you from there in the day to here in the now?

David: When we first started I was on keyboards and we played more of a rock thing, a Doors-like sound. Then I got an accordion. It was an instrument I could have and play after parties. You can’t take a piano to a bonfire.

“We began incorporating country, a little swing, hot jazz from Django. Roots music started becoming big at the beginning of the century and we went with it.”

Felix: I liked the accordion sound and had read a lot about zydeco on the internet. Also, my grandpa played accordion, it was a familiar familial sound. I’m glad David got the accordion, because we took off after that.

David: At a certain point, I put the keyboards in the closet and said, “I’m going to master the accordion” … I was woodshedding for a while. Finally Felix was like, “I hope you bring that accordion to the gig!”

And people wanted to hear that, right?

Felix: Well, it brings a dancing flavor, instantly, to the band. But we also used the opportunity to expand, genre-wise. We began incorporating country, a little swing, hot jazz from Django. Roots music started becoming big at the beginning of the century and we went with it.

David: I just never turned back.

It sounds like you’ve really come up as a group since you made those changes. How does your new album play into that?

David: We were mad partiers and drinkers. It just stuck with us. We’re both sober, we’ve been sober for a year now. Everything is coming out better now.

Felix: You can feel the difference. I feel the joy of life and that album represents the end of an era. We want that joy to be reflected in the recordings we make, in the performances we do. That’s our new mission; this is where we’re at.

What’s next for Felix y Los Gatos?

We’re creating a production company, a micro-label. You have to go down every road. We can do these cross-genre things, from reggae to Afro-Cuban. My vision is to bring communities together. People dig that.

View in Alibi calendar calendar

Felix y Los Gatos CD Release Party
Saturday Nov. 19 at 7pm • No Cover • 21+
Tractor Brewing Company—Wells Park
1800 Fourth Street NW