A closer Look

Look Mexico’s Matt Agrella says the band loves San Antonio. They just love Austin a little bit more. The five-piece left-field pop-rock act relocated last month from Tallahassee, Florida, to that Podunk 90 minutes north of here, but Agrella swears they considered San Antonio, too. Though we still can’t claim Look Mexico for our own, the band’s new proximity does offer one perk: the chance to buy To Bed to Battle, their upcoming full-length, a little more than a month early when the band hits town Saturday, February 20. The official release date isn’t till March 23, but Look Mexico will be peddling a hand-numbered “tour-only release” version at the show.

The album, recorded in an abandoned water-bed store the band converted into a sound studio and boasting song titles taken from Vin Diesel movie quotes (first single “You Stay. I Go. No Following.” for example, gets its name from an Iron Giant line) is the kind of album you’ll brag about getting to first.

What prompted the move?

Tallahassee has been fine. It’s a beautiful town and we’ve got a lot of friends there, but as far as furthering your career in music I don’t know if it caters to that. …

It’s not like we were selling out the stadium in Tallahassee … all of us worked in restaurants, aside from our drummer Josh `Mikel` … here I’ve already had some opportunities to play jazz and big-band stuff. … One of our guitarists does recording, and there’s just more opportunities for that here. I think a couple of the guys are going to start a cover band just for the heck of it, to make that money. But in Tallahassee we knew everyone, and … I think it would be kind of embarrassing in a town of all your friends. Here it’s just kind of known that you’re a musician and you do whatever you have to to pay the bills.

Did you consider San Antonio? We’re just a little further south.

Actually we kind of did, because we’ve had really good shows in San Antonio as well, and we have some really good friends there. We did talk about how maybe we could find cheaper housing and stuff … but basically all of us moving here are in serious relationships, and all of our lady friends wanted to have the opportunity … my girlfriend just finished her master’s in the arts and she’s already had interviews set up at museums and nonprofits here. Maybe we made the decision as a band but we brought in all parties involved and we tried to make as smart of a decision as we could.

The press release says To Bed to Battle was recorded in an old store, but the album sounds like it was recorded in a studio.

It’s pretty funny — we did a bunch of work in there. I ended up building an entire new doorframe against the doors that were there and then made soundproof doors. Me and Dave `Pinkham, the drummer` did all the carpentry work.

At first we were thinking about saving costs and whatever, but then it just turned into more about keeping it our own. We could record at any hour in the day or night.

It was pretty amazing to sit there in this spot that was like completely yours, surrounded by all your stuff. We had some other bands in there to help out with rent, but towards the end everyone, as they do, just kind of flaked off and we were covering the entire rent, and it was not too good. … With the last part that we recorded, we had already emptied out the room … we moved out of there and we left for tour. It was pretty crazy, ’cause we were like, OK, we’re done with this spot forever. •