Checking In: Lolita Lynne & Tito Larriva Wrote an Album Together

Father/daughter ATX musicos maintain during the chaos

New Austin Music Awards honoree for Best Bass, Lolita Lynne, and best Quentin Tarantino vampire bandleader, Tito Larriva, made a millennial move to ATX from L.A., where the latter helped write DIY history in the Plugz and Cruzados. Here, they maintain separate acts – her “ear-bleeding cult pop” quartet and his iconic rock exorcists – but familial unity.

Austin Chronicle: Where are you sheltering and under what circumstances? Who else is there and how’s that going?

Lolita Lynne: I’m sheltering with my fiancé in South Austin, which has been nice. We are very fortunate. He’s still employed and able to work from home, so we’ve been able to buy healthy food and support local business while staying home. I feel lucky to be safe.

A little stir crazy trying to write some tunes, but I can’t complain.

Tito Larriva: I’m in Austin at home with my wife. Personally, I feel like a monkey clinging to the top of the only tree in a vast desert surrounded by patient, panting lions. Other than that, I’m doing pretty good.

“It’s so quiet, but in my head there are songs that pass through like the wind. They’re not my songs. They’re just songs that exist everywhere, written by no one. Maybe the author of these songs I hear is the Earth relaxing from all the chaos we’ve put it through.” – Tito Larriva

AC: At what point did C-19 shut down operations for you, and what went down with the ship, so to speak, both personally & professionally?

LL: Our last show was at Stay Gold, 3/12. I played with Gilded Lows and my solo project. It was a wonderful night. I hugged all my close friends and bandmates not knowing it was our last night together.

Things that went down with the ship: We were playing a lot of SXSW shows, which obviously didn’t pan out. We had a fun Tito show planned and our bandmates were flying from Europe to join us. I was looking forward to that.

On the bright side, SXSW is a very stressful time, so I’m looking at this as a forced break for my band and I. We had been hitting it really hard before all this, so we have some space from music hopefully bringing us a new appreciation.

TL: That’s a long story.

[Tito &] Tarantula had just released album No. 6 in October 2019 and we did a 34-date European tour, mid-September through late November. We hadn’t put out a record in 10 years, so this was an exciting time for many different reasons, one being I wrote this whole record with my daughter, Lolita.

Also, we recorded it in my hometown of El Paso at Sonic Ranch, a first for me. I don’t know if it was one of those cosmic meant-to-be things, but my father, who still lived in El Paso, passed away the day we got there and this record took on a whole new meaning.

Because this new record had all these special vibes around it, I was eager to finally play in the USA and SXSW was the perfect place to start. We were ready, freshly coming off a sold-out tour with a new batch of songs. And then, well, as you know, SXSW never happened.

AC: As a global culture, people employ music for every purpose imaginable, obviously spanning religion to entertainment and everything in between. What happens to communities like ours when people can no longer access it in person – at a show, at Central Market, at SXSW?

LL: It sounds a little corny, but this community is strong. I have received so much support from other musicians and artists. A lot of people are working on new material and sending me stuff to play on. The most difficult obstacle to overcome will be how do we financially support each other?

Our side hustles got shut down and a lot of us (myself included) depend on gigs. Loving all the livestream, but how can we monetize that beyond tips? We will recover, but it will take time and we have to take care of each other!

“Our side hustles got shut down and a lot of us (myself included) depend on gigs. Loving all the livestream, but how can we monetize that beyond tips? We will recover, but it will take time and we have to take care of each other!” – Lolita Lynne

TL: I don’t know what effect this will have on communities. I can say that, for me, my senses have been enhanced since this new world way we’ve been living. I’ve started to see things with a childlike curiosity.

It’s so quiet, but in my head there are songs that pass through like the wind. They’re not my songs. They’re just songs that exist everywhere, written by no one. Maybe the author of these songs I hear is the Earth relaxing from all the chaos we’ve put it through.

I’ve also noticed I miss eyes. Our eyes have so much energy and information that we transmit constantly to each other, good and bad. I hope this is over soon.

AC: Everyone is having to shift or drastically alter their work situation. What does that look like for you?

LL: I feel very fortunate. I have some gigs playing on records and some other opportunities in the works for my solo record. So I’m feeling good right now, but of course it’s very uncertain. Playing music is never very financially stable, so I feel relatively prepared.

TL: My work, ha! At the moment, that would be performing. The job of helping people forget their problems, if just for a couple of hours.

It doesn’t look good for me and my colleagues. I don’t really know what to say about what’s happening. It’s bigger than all of us and that’s just a fact.

AC: What’s your soundtrack for the apocalypse and what role does music play for you as a fan and scholar of it in times of hardship?

LL: I listen to a ton of music. It’s difficult to say what it means to me. It’s a part of life and it can’t be taken away. It’s the only thing that stays the same while the meaning changes with time.

The way an individual hears music is what gives it meaning and purpose. I don’t know if it brings more comfort than usual, but hearing new Austin music reminds me of all the artists in town I love as people and creators. I’m so grateful to know and see the growth of these new young musicians.

It’s a powerful time to be creating and there’s so much brilliant craftsmanship here. I’m so happy to contribute to it.

TL: Fellini’s 8 ½. Ciao.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Lolita Lynne, Tito Larriva, Lolita Carroll, Tito & Tarantula, Quentin Tarantino, From Dusk Till Dawn, Checking In 2020

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