We are nearly eight months removed from what was an unprecedented year for Latin music that saw revenues soaring past $1 billion for the first time and Bad Bunny setting the record for highest-grossing tour. Such feats certainly can’t be topped, right?
A new generation of artists begs to differ. The subgenre that is regional Mexican is planting its flag in the industry and has become mainstream thanks to artists such as Eslabon Armado, a group of Californians no older than 21. They collaborated with Mexican star Peso Pluma to record “Ella Baila Sola” (She Dances Alone), a smash hit that made them mainstays in Latin music playlists with over 700 million streams on Spotify. Pollstar caught up with Eslabon Armado to chat about their hit single and performing live this year, including a sold-out show in Los Angeles on July 15.
Pollstar: What’s it like to have a show at a major arena in Los Angeles?
Ulises González: It’s crazy. Everything is happening so fast. Just last year, we played at the Toyota Arena in Ontario, and now playing at Crypto.com Arena is really a step up for us. Coming from playing little “tocadas” (jam sessions) in garages, at quinceñeras and at parties to something as big as this is really life-changing.
It’s great to see a young band take the torch and run with it in Latin music. Who influenced you guys?
Pedro Tovar: My parents would always put the radio on going to school, and there would always be regional Mexican music. I never liked it much until 2014, when Ariel Camacho’s music came on the radio. It was something different from banda, norteño and the usual regional. He brought that new wave with his guitar and made it super impactful. I liked it, and then I started to play guitar and practiced singing his songs.
It’s fascinating to see reggaeton melding with Mexican music to form a new sound and artists from both worlds working together.
P.T.: It’s for sure a good thing that reggaeton artists are looking here and want to collaborate with Mexicans. You wouldn’t see that often four or five years ago. Now I think there are more opportunities to work with artists such as Rauw Alejandro, Bad Bunny and Feid, so you get reggaeton and regional Mexican music babies.
We have to talk about your hit “Ella Baila Sola.” Tell me how the song came to be.
P.T.: It’s crazy how every year, we have a collaboration that just hits. In 2023, we came up with that one, and I never thought it was going to surpass all of our songs. I did it in a matter of two or three months, and it was one of the easiest songs I ever wrote. I already knew what I wanted to write about, it was just a matter of putting elements together. I called Peso Pluma, he liked the song and hopped on.
You have a knack for good collaborations. How do you approach them?
P.T.: It has to be organic. If the artist doesn’t like the song, I can’t force them to be on it. I feel like there are artists who don’t want to collaborate with us because we don’t really smoke or drink. They usually want to party first and see how our vibe is, but we’re not like that. If we like an artist and they like our music, then we collaborate. With Jhayco, it’s crazy because I wanted that collaboration so bad. I went on Instagram and tagged him, and it happened. Manifestation, baby!
What can people look forward to from Eslabon Armado live on tour?
P.T.: We try to make our concerts the most “vibeful.” We’ve toured the U.S. the past three years, and it’s crazy how much cities love us. We’re super grateful and excited, and our goal right now is for sure to go to Mexico at the beginning of next year.
Was there ever a moment when you suddenly realized you made the big time?
P.T.: For me, it was seeing how people get at concerts. When we go to our van after we finish a show and see our fans waiting outside, they’re like little zombies. It’s crazy. I never imagined people getting like that, but it’s all love and support from them.
What are some of the best shows you’ve attended?
P.T.: I think Carin León. We went to go see him because my mom really likes him. I never really paid attention to his music, but my mom is obsessed with him. … Honestly, it was one of the best shows we’ve ever been to. One thing we’re all looking forward to, and we’re all going to go, is Luis Miguel. Luis Miguel is like our freaking daddy.
Is there an artist fans would be shocked to know that you listen to?
P.T.: Taylor Swift is sick. I have a friend who listens to her, and she put me on it. It’s country and acoustic, and I like the sound. I like pop, but I like country. What’s crazy is that when we make songs, sometimes we imagine Morgan Wallen or Zach Bryan or Luke Combs on the song.
That’d be sick.