Love bites; love is bliss. Especially in Miami, a notoriously rough scene for dating, it can be tough finding that magic formula for making a romantic relationship work, let alone finding someone willing to slide from your DMs into real life.
That's why it's a little surprising Miami has so many working musicians who've taken the plunge and booed up with a bandmate. Or maybe in this shallow wading pool of romance we call home, it makes total sense for two artists with deep feelings to unite in love.
These seven couples in bands dish on the ups and downs — the passion and symbiosis, the creative differences, the daunting task of separating work from pleasure — of creating sweet, musical magic together.
Jenna continues: "Our first songs [were] birthed in the tiny garage of a dilapidated Pinecrest mansion that has since been torn down. I think we played our first show in 2015, and shortly thereafter, we moved to NYC to pursue a master's degree and the opportunities that come with living there. In the group, our roles are as such: Dennis starts writing a beat on a drum machine and then a simple bass line. If he can't think of anything, he gives me the bass and lies on the floor until he hears something that sticks. Then he takes that idea and gives it quirky bits, a little complexity, but not so much that the rhythm becomes heady. As he works these parts out, I write poetry and freestyle melodies until we both look at each other, knowing we have something."
Jay Thomas. "I don’t think I would have a lover who wasn’t linked to my musical life. Music is the foundation of our years together," alt/electronic singer-songwriter Jay Thomas says of his romantic partner and bandmate, cellist Oscar Quesada. "We avoid the question a lot of couples ask themselves — 'Where is our relationship going?' — because we are more focused on where our music is going. We do have to turn off our working relationship sometimes. We’ll declare 'boyfriend time' and get into something nonmusical for as long as we can hold out."
Says Hidalgo: "Writing together has helped us push each other to accomplish things that I don’t think we would’ve been able to otherwise.
Afrobeta. "You get to communicate to each other in songs,"
"The biggest rewards are creating together, having fun together, dancing, traveling together, and sharing what you made together." Garcia and Laurencio have been together as Afrobeta for 13 years and as a couple for ten.
Says Chamorro: "Honestly, it can have its ups and downs as we are not perfect, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I happened to like Kris' music and decided to play drums for him, but not because we were in a relationship. His music, in my opinion, is genuinely kick-ass. As far as practicing and performing goes, I can be critical of myself sometimes, but I have him there in my corner, as I'm in his." Chamorro and Alvarez have been a couple for almost three years and have been in the band for about the same amount of time.
County Gold. "Making music with the missus makes me happy most of the time," Nick County (real name Nick Mencia) says of his musical and romantic partner, Oly Vargas. "It's a way to connect, it’s a way to repair, it’s a way to understand each other better, and it’s a way to express emotions to each other — high, low, and in between.” Vargas and Mencia have independent musical ventures but frequently come together as County Gold.
"I’ve always dreamed of having a partner to work with symbiotically," Vargas says. "During songwriting, we have to be very careful not to hurt each other's feelings when it comes to feedback, appropriating the other's ideas as our own, or just fighting about how we see a song — like what stays in, what goes out, what gets played, if we are singing in the right key. Then, you know, there's all the other relationship stuff people deal with that gets thrown into the mix. Gotta leave that stuff out when you work together so it can stay positive (which can be really hard), but when we write a good song, it feels worth it. It feels really satisfying."
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.