TJ/90s 33 rpm, the album that brings together 13 rock songs made in Tijuana during the 90's, for the first time on vinyl.
The front cover picture of TJ/90s 33 rpm is from a show at a venue called “Cafetera” featuring Biciazul, Destroyers, staura & Pee-Chees, on January 20th, 1996.
TJ/90s 33 rpm is a vinyl record that brings together a selection of 13 rock bands from Tijuana, Baja California, active during the 90’s.
The LP is a production of the Dignicraft artist collective made with support from the Programa de Apoyo a las Culturas Municipales y Comunitarias (PACMYC), bulbo, La Ciruela Eléctrica, swenga, and the invaluable collaboration of Octavio de la Torre.
The rock bands included are: Beam, Biciazul, Bodhisattva, Dakini, Glu Gan, Huey-tlatoani, La Borrasca, La Tercera Persona, Mexican Jumping Frijoles, Nona Delichas, Ohtli, Psiquislarva and Staura; covering a variety of music styles like alternative rock, punk, jazz, indie, pop, etc.
The starting point of the project was the rescue of a collection of analog video cassettes (in Beta, VHS and 8mm formats), most of it shot by Omar Foglio between 1991 and 1999, totaling about 200 hours of footage, mainly of bands from Tijuana playing live.
Octavio de la Torre, bassist for the Mexican Jumping Frijoles, began to digitize some of these materials, which allowed him to see them for the first time in 20 years or more. This led to conversations with Dignicraft about the potential of this collection as a rock heritage in Tijuana and to explore what stories we can tell around these audiovisual materials.
At the same time, we met Joss and Robbie from an upcoming band called “Murinae”, since they wanted to know more about 90’s bands from Tijuana. Other than sharing stories and anecdotes with them, we didn’t have any more information on hand that could help them understand a bit more of what we lived in that time, when we were young as they are now (or they were when we met, between 16 and 18 years old).
On the back cover of TJ/90s 33 rpm is Bruno Domínguez (left) & René Soberanis (right) from Biciazul playing at “Cafetera”, a venue located in downtown Tijuana, on January 20th, 1996.
TJ/90s 33 rpm comes to light from wanting to tell our own story as participants of a period of time in Tijuana bursting with creativity and cultural activity; and be able to present it in a format that was friendly to new generations. The record is the first project of a few more that we have planned, including the production of a documentary.
The original idea
The original idea was to make a selection of bands featured in the video collection and extract the audio of the songs that would be part of the vinyl, that is, it would be a live record. But the quality of the audio files was not enough for all the work and the cost involved in putting together the LP.
So we chose to collect the songs included in the vinyl from demos, cassettes, compact discs and unreleased recordings, some made professionally and others in home studios, between the years 1990 and 1999. Once we started reaching out to the bands, we were surprised to discover recordings that we didn't know existed, such as the version of “Adidas” by Bodhisattva that belongs to what would have been the band's debut album for a major label; or “El Flautista de Hamlet” by Huey-Tlatoani, from a recording that the band released in CD format, but for us it was a new.
The recordings were digitized by Dignicraft and mastered by Hecky Verdugo at HexRex Studio. TJ/90s 33 rpm would not have been possible without the collaboration of the participating bands who contributed their music to be released for the first time in vinyl.
Listen to TJ/90s 33 rpm online here.
(Left to right) Enrique Zambrano, Jorge Villanueva & César García of Huey-Tlatoani at the Casa de la Cultura theater in Tijuana.
(Left to right) Alejandro Padilla, Salvador Villanueva, Alejandro Perales & Miguel Ángel González of Ohtli during the music festival “Espacio Swenga” on june 17th, 1995.
The photographs of the album cover, back cover and labels were selected from an unpublished archive of Zuzzette Foglio, who documented rock shows that took place in Tijuana during the same period. Visually, what we wanted was to evoke the 90s era, as if the vinyl had been made in those years.
What caught our attention was that in the pictures the camera is among the people like it was one of the characters. First, just before stepping into the venue where the crowd welcomes you in a friendly, disregarded and/or antagonistic way. Second, on the back cover picture is Biciazul playing inside the venue as if you were listening to them in the front row.
The graphic design for the sleeve and labels was a collaboration between Zuzzette Foglio and Galia Foglio. The idea was to use texts and graphics, together with the pictures, for it to look “handmade”, in the same way we used to do flyers for shows or zines, that is, a combination of typewriter or computer printed texts, letter size sheets cut out and all assembled with glue and clear tape.
(Left to right) César García, Mauricio Ruiz, Claudia Morfín y Edgar Amor of Nona Delichas in one of their early shows.
Originally, the record was planned to be released by the end of 2020, but the Covid-19 pandemic affected the progress of the project in unpredictable ways, to the point that there were moments when it seemed like it would not be possible to have it done.
For instance, the record factories were closed for an extended period in 2020, and when they reopened there was a bottleneck of pending orders which impacted the delivery dates for new orders. Normally, the service time to manufacture a record was 4 months, but since the pandemic it could take 8 to 12 months. At that moment, in early 2021, the horizon seemed unclear, which made it difficult to have accurate information on what was going to happen and how it would affect the project.
At various times we came to think that these records were “jinxed”. But now we think of all the people who have collaborated to make TJ/90s 33 rpm a reality, and it's quite the opposite.
(Left to right) Mexican Jumping Frijoles members David Cortez, Víctor Carrasco, Octavio de la Torre & Alejandro Perales.
In December 2021, we did a TJ/90s 33 rpm release event as part of the Tijuana Record Show, including a panel with members of the bands that appear on the album. The intention was to jumpstart a conversation that would allow us to reflect on what Tijuana was like in the 90s and what we experienced as part of a generation devoted to rock music and the culture that goes with it, like doing events, tours, videos, radio, fanzines, photographs, flyers, graphic design, etc.
And soon we will do a TJ/90s 33 rpm presentation with a panel made up of people who participated in rock bands from Tijuana and Mexicali, with the idea of broadening the conversation and identifying the things in common that we faced by living in border cities during the nineties.
(Left to right) Mónica Muñoz, Aris Domínguez, Sebastián Díaz & Carlos Miramontes from Glu Gan.
*** All the photographs on this article are courtesy of Zuzzette Foglio.