The band formed a little more than a year ago when guitarist Jose Vinicio Adames met singer-songwriter Oscar Sardinia and then added drummer Richard Boullon and bassist Mario Lemus. "We all shared influences," Adames recalls. "We loved psychedelic music. Radiohead and Unknown Mortal Orchestra were big influences because we wanted to have their amazing formula of being trippy and still having commercial success."
It took awhile for them to find their name. "We used to have a shitty name in Clovis Point. It had a cool story in that the clovis point was the first human-invented weapon, but it didn't go with our music. We were thinking of other names when we were drinking Jai Alai beers. We thought that was a cool name, especially when we learned the place jai alai is played more than anywhere outside Spain is right here in Miami. We thought it was destiny."
Though jai alai the game is advertised as the fastest sport in the world, Jaialai the band is willing to be a little mellower, sometimes entering the realm of stoner rock. The new EP was produced by Carlos Imperatori, who recently won a Latin Grammy for his work with Los Fabulosos Cadillacs. Adames says Imperatori helped slow them down: "Our first recordings that we produced ourselves were very raw. I liked it, but Carlos pointed us in the direction of making the music more tight."
If you want to check out their live show, which Adames says will feature an ample amount of psychedelic lighting, you will have your chance at the EP-release party Saturday, June 17, at 1306. Supporting acts include locals Heavy Drag and Private School, and David Rondon will provide DJ sets. As a bonus and a tip of the hat to the origins of the band's name, guests who buy a Jai Alai beer will receive a free shot.
Most crucial, the show will be an opportunity to hear five new songs the band has never played in front of an audience. "Hopefully, it starts a new era," Adames says.
Creating new music is no problem for the band, he says: "Oscar is an amazing songwriter. You give him an acoustic guitar, and two minutes later he has a new song fully written." With a backlog of music, Jaialai plans to release a second three-song EP later in the summer and will have a video for "Curaçao" ready to drop around the time of the EP-release party. With the exception of their singer, the other three members of Jaialai are relatively new to the city, coming from Venezuela and El Salvador. But Adames says they're fitting right in.
"Miami is a weird city for everything," he says, "including us."
When I'm on the Run EP-Release Party
9 p.m. Saturday, June 17, at 1306, 1306 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-377-2277; 1306miami.com. Admission is free.