GO TIME: Shane Luevano and Mario Sanchez decided to start their Watsonville jazz-punk outfit Aurora Beam while playing Pokémon Go.
The pair of musicians behind Watsonville-based instrumental “jazz-noise” duo Aurora Beam first bonded over their favorite records back in senior year of high school. Drummer Shane Luevano and guitarist Mario Sanchez swapped playlists while working in a video production class they were both taking.
Both are fans of other heavy, mathy instrumental rock groups, like The Fall of Troy. But it wasn’t their common musical interests that ultimately launched Aurora Beam. They decided to form a band while out playing the biggest smartphone game of 2016.
“We kinda started jamming because we were going hunting on Pokémon Go over the summer,” Luevano says over the phone, pitching his voice in a manner suggesting a matter-of-fact shrug, as if to suggest: Hey. There’s not much to do in Watsonville anyway. So we formed this band. Whatev.
Indeed. When asked about living in Watsonville, Luevano offers: “It’s pretty sleepy.”
Aurora Beam’s music, however, is anything but a snooze. It leaps and stutters, zigs and zags with frenetic energy. On Aurora Beam’s recently released EP, 3D on Ice, one clearly hears The Fall of Troy influence—as well as hints of Hella, Tera Melos and At The Drive In. Fiery sonic explosions, give way to wiggling, barely executed electric spasms—like a Charizard going head-to-head with a Pikachu.
For his part, Luevano views his drumming in a similar vein as an epic Pokémon battle. “I love the whole use of my body—the physical nature of it,” he says. And as far as the influences they pour into their music, Luevano says that he and Sanchez try not to limit themselves. “We try to have a little bit of everything—the heavy parts, the jazzy parts.”
Though they’ve been together for less than a year, Aurora Beam show promise and a desire to play—if only to get out get out of Watsonville for a spell.
Jan 6, 9pm, $6
BackBar SoFa, San Jose