A self-proclaimed renaissance man, El Paso’s JJ Caballero has seen the angsty punk music of his youth evolve into slinkier and sexier tracks.
His do-it-yourself ethos fuel him as an artist, singer-songwriter, producer, podcaster – and vintage clothing seller.
Through the dark days of “short tours, friends couches and an appetite for alcohol” to his latest track, “Nothing Wrong,” Caballero has stayed true to himself. The new song, set to be released this month, is a sexy slow jam about making love and … well, let’s just say, arriving early to the party.
Caballero cut his teeth as a producer and engineer, working with El Paso indie-rock legends like At The Drive-In, Sparta, Sleepercar, Mattox and The Lusitania.
El Paso Inc. recently caught up with the artist to talk about his inspiration, his newest track and other projects he has in the works.
What inspires you to explore so many wide-ranging genres?
Growing up, we lived with my grandparents and aunts and uncles. Everyone in the house listened to everything and always got me excited for whatever they were listening to, whether it was Red Hot Chili Peppers, Faith No More, Living Colour, Vicente Fernandez, En Vogue, Prince, Juan Gabriel or Whitney Houston.
I became a total ‘90s-’00s indie kid, which led me to pop punk and more experimental noisy stuff. Genres really shouldn’t limit anyone in creating whatever they want to create. It’s just a way to catalog things.
Tell us about “Nothing Wrong”.
“Nothing Wrong” has been in my back pocket for a while. It’s a song that takes an embarrassing sexual situation between two consenting adults and makes it a groovy tune you wouldn’t mind making out to.
I wrote it to show my people that we all go through these types of things, no one is above embarrassment.
Tell us about some of your other projects – podcast, vintage clothes, etc. How do all your various projects tie into one another?
Apart from making music I also have an online radio show every Sunday from 5 to 7 p.m. called Fun Haus on www.tpgradio.com which is based out of Spokane, Washington. The station/studio was co-founded by my friend Luis, who’s an El Paso native. I also work out of Studio 411 in Downtown El Paso, engineering when the sessions are happening. I also have a podcast called Open Haus that’s streaming on Spotify right now.
Music and fashion go hand-in-hand, so naturally I started my own business in vintage clothing/resale business called Gang Signs. I’ve expanded to vinyl records, booksand other almost forgotten treasures.
I’ve been working on a line of Gang Signs merch that aims at tying together the brand’s message of inclusion and sustainability.
What else can people look forward to from you?
I plan to release a ton of music this year. I’ve been working on a collection of songs I’m tentatively calling “Little King.” I also continuously collaborate with other artists.
I’ve been interviewing people for the latest season of my podcast, while also working on the first collection of Gang Signs merch, and subsequently JJ Caballero merch. I’ve also been working on a Twitch channel.
A while ago I had a hard drive give out on me that had literally thousands of songs and ideas I’ve been working on for years now. I thought, ‘Hey, rather than cry about this I’ll bring my friends and fans along with me while I refill my sonic palette.’