Death to the Sun: 90s Teen on Gold Nirvana Necklaces and '90s Teens

In honor of the upcoming Death to the Sun III music festival at the Snooze Theater, County Grind will profile select acts from the lineup.

Though 90s Teen self-identifies as a revisionist grunge band conducting an exercise in nu-retro stylistics, the trio -- comprised of frequent collaborators, bassist Rick Diaz and guitarist Alex Puentes, along with drummer Chris Mejia -- may actually be launching superfuzzy rock from the Clinton era further than a Mother Love Bone 7-inch repurposed as a frisbee.

The proof is in the flannel pudding: Their bandcamp is loaded up with an album's worth of jams recorded at Rat Bastard's South Beach studio-museum-apartment, and the songs toe a refreshing line between smart, deliberate structure and smart, deliberate looseness.

County Grind posed some questions to Diaz on the heels of their upcoming performance at Death To The Sun.

County Grind: There is a lot of 90s nostalgia right now. Is 90s Teen cashing in?

90s Teen is definitely cashing in. We started 90s Teen with the intention of revising history through our sound, and escaping whatever stigma that's been placed on us through our work with our "main bands," hahahelp! and Animals of the Arctic. Of course, both intentions are mostly impossible but we hope to at least share the fun as we attempt to rewrite the 90s through a broad historical lens.

Would a '90s Teen listen to 90s Teen?

I hope that a teen in the '90s would listen to 90s Teen. What's on the radio calling itself post-grunge (3 Doors Down, Nickelsack, et al) is kind of a joke that's been running too long in the national consciousness.

I was born in the mid-80s so I was not a 90s teen myself (I was 14 in 2000 so that makes me a '90s tween) but I looked up to the teens since they seemed so much cooler and taller than me. I remember one time as a kid having to ask my mom who Nirvana was because the cool teen with the long hair in my apartment complex had a gold Nirvana necklace like the kind you get at the flea market. I hate to bring up Nirvana since they are such a hot topic at the moment, but they are a good example for what we want to do since Kurt was an amazing synthesizer [we think Rick means synthesis, but Kurt-as-synthesizer is compelling - Ed] of the range of great music he was interested in as well as a solid songwriter.

Why is the song "Cult Life" in French?

It's in French because of the subject matter. "Cult Life" is about the all the New Age bullshit we subject our brains to, and alludes to the fucked-up places it can take us. We sing it in French because we happen to be into New Age bullshit, and an easy exercise to "build magic power" is to transform yourself regularly and at random. We also happen to like the French language and figure that writing a song is a good way to learn.

What are the statuses of hahahelp! and Animals of the Arctic?

Our main projects are still going, but on a slight hiatus as [Death to the Sun organizer] Ricardo Guerrero (who is in both our bands) is going on tour with Dino Felipe at the end of the month and has been super busy with it all this summer. We've got stuff on the backburner, but its going to be a while before it gets released.

The music on your Bandcamp was recorded with Rat Bastard. Anything notable about the process?

Rat is a very no B.S. kind of guy which pushed us to get it done right as fast as possible. We finished the entire record in three short sessions, recording most of it live, and it sounds exactly how we wanted it to. Rat's been accumulating gear so we were able to get just the right tone on everything, plus he's got some neat tricks sound-wise to extract the very best out of the source material. We felt like kids in a candy store, except drunker.

Your bandcamp thanks Pizza Rustica. What kind of slice did you order?

We did thank Pizza Rustica since it's right next door to Rat's, but we first have to note that we go to Steve's Pizza like every day as it is located right next to HQ. To answer your question, I believe I ordered a Con 3 Funghi, Rat got the Veggie, Alex got a Pepperoni, somebody else ordered a BBQ Chicken, and I forgot what Chris got. The BBQ was better than I was expecting.

Death to the Sun III. With 90s Teen, the Band in Heaven, Bulletproof

Tiger, Curious Hair, the Dewars, Dino Felipe, Family Treasures, Fourier,

the Gun Hoes, Guy Harvey, Holly Hunt, Kenny Millions, Kid Khameleon,

Love Handles, Luma Junger, Manny and the Mangos, Matilda Lights, Meat,

Möthersky, Palmeto, the President, Rat Bastard, Relaxxx, Ritz Riot,

Skeleton Warrior, Slashpine, This Heart Electric, Toad Eyes, Universal

Expansion, Unstoppable Death Machines, the Viking Funeral. Saturday, September 24, at Snooze Theatre, 798 Tenth St., Lake Park. No cover. Click here.

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Matt Preira