Alejandro Gomez (Flaco El Jandro) took interest in the music scene at a young age. Gomez’s style of music is influenced by reggae, cumbia, some metal and indie rock. Now, Gomez is a transfer student, studying music at California State University, Monterey Bay.
“Growing up, I was mostly in metal bands,” said Gomez. “I was around a lot of metal heads or skaters and I also kicked it with neighbors who played more paisa music. As I got older, the reggae scene popped off around [Salinas] and so that influenced me a lot, as the first serious band I started was a reggae band. The music I make now is an influence of all those styles combined with the music I grew up with from my parents and I try to incorporate a little bit of that into everything I do.”
As a Salinas native, Gomez finds it important to continue to represent his hometown as he feels other successors from the area don’t.
“The scenes that I’ve seen happen throughout the time have been so interesting to me and I’ve been a part of a lot of really cool communities in Salinas,” said Gomez. “For me, to continue to grow as an artist and branch outside of where I’m from, to not acknowledge that, I feel, would be selfish on my part. It’s influenced so much of my artistry and personality. It’s always gonna be a part of me even if I don’t talk about it, but I’m gonna keep talking about it.”
Prior to going by his solo act Flaco El Jandro, he was a part of a few bands – from a ska punk band called Da Dog, to a more roots reggae with cumbia and salsa band, Dreaded Nights.
As much as he loved working in a group, Gomez had so many ideas that he only trusted himself create.
“Once I started learning how to produce my own music and how to compose and play different instruments, the more I started to realize I could do a lot of it myself and treat a band as secondary to my music,” he said. “Especially over the course of the pandemic when I really couldn’t get together with anybody, I was like, now more than ever, I [have] to rely on myself more than I could rely on other people.”
Since the start of his music career, Gomez has dabbled in writing in a lot of different styles, pulling inspiration from old school boleros and artists like Trio Los Panchos, Agustín Lara or Joan Sebastian. Gomez credits these songwriters as the greatest because of the very simple yet relatable nature of their lyrics.
“You could put them in any context, any genre, and it sounds good,” Gomez said. “That’s why people cover Joan Sebastian songs in banda, cumbias, [and] rock songs. It transcends genre because the songs are so good. That’s what I try to do when I write songs [so] the heart of the song is still there and that’s really what’s gonna shine through everything else.”
The main theme of the music meant to connect to listeners is the idea of the human experience – everybody experiences some form of a relationship, depression, happiness – all the emotions that make us human.
Gomez’s music is an attempt to connect to people with pieces of his story, feelings, and roots as a Mexican American. “I talk about identity crisis a lot,” he said. “I was born here but my parents are from Michoacan, Mexico so [I had] two pieces of [different] cultures that came together … there’s tons of people that experience that same thing. It doesn’t get talked about a lot.”