What began as senseless bedroom jam sessions quickly turned into a passion project for Miami guitarists Isidro Anzola and Mauricio Hernandez and drummer Harry Schwartz.
With roots in Miami Beach Senior High School’s well-known Rock Ensemble, the first of its kind within the nation, the group took a liking to diversified music styles that played on influences from the 1970s and 1990s.
The result, in their post-high school lives, is the Himalayan Salt Band, an eclectic twist on modern jazz fusing transcendental sounds of psychedelic funk. It’s an entanglement of genres, sprouting from the minds of young creatives.
Hernandez credits influences from artists such as Led Zeppelin, Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix.
“Everything that’s transcribed from these legends is embedded in the muscle memory,’’ he said.
Forming after a year of playing music together, with the goal of entering the Annual Youth Music Festival at the Miami Beach Bandshell, the group found inspiration for their name in mundane objects sitting around the room. It was a Himalayan salt lamp on Schwartz’s dresser that sparked the beginning of their collaboration as a band when their name was finally chosen.
Their energy is not limited to the rehearsal room, it spills out into their performances. As they play off of one another through shared ideas and impromptu jam sessions, a structure begins to take form, leaving room to explore and expand their musical styles.
The members like to refer to themselves as a collective, which allows the artists more flexibility to invite other musicians of varying styles to come and play with them. Collaborations include but are not limited to horn players, singers, keyboardists and violinists.
“Melancholia” is Hernandez’s favorite song to play because, “as the name suggests, this song is somber yet filled with groove.” Whether the song has somber undertones or is more upbeat, the effects can evoke emotions from all who listen to it.
Anzola enjoys playing “Elixir” and “Inner Pulse” the most, he said, due its blending of jazz fusion and progressive rock.
“We’ve noticed with time that people can feel our music in many ways,” he says. “Whether it’s closing their eyes and just letting themselves travel in their mind to jumping around and moshing amongst the crowds.”
While performing at The Anderson, a club in Wynwood, on Aug. 25, a patron, Michael Parrales, described the band this way:
“I could feel them play off of each other’s energy like well put oscillations. There were no bodies at rest,” he states.
As the group pursued its vision, they realized they needed assistance. After meeting with band members to talk about their direction Luca Mejia saw the potential – and became their manager.
“I saw the passion and hunger I hoped to see,’’ Mejia said. “I had some ideas and concepts that could have been implemented into the band’s current structure, along with some changes that could benefit their future,” he says.
Prior to Mejia’s involvement, they had been playing at the same local venue, The Sandbox on Miami Beach, for years. With Luca’s help, the band has moved into new venues, and plans to tour Central Florida in November, with bookings in Lagniappe, Lot 11, The Social Orlando, Enzian Theater and New World Brewery.
They also will be releasing a single on all major streaming platforms. With a single release coming in October and a Central Florida Tour in November, their hopes for the future are high.
Anzola reflects on the music scene in Miami where musical tastes swing between rap/trap and electronic music.
“As diverse as the city is, you can find all kinds of musicians and scenes that shed light to other genres,” he says. “In one way or the other we have been given many opportunities to share our sound to the people of Miami, showing us time and time again that there is a place for us in the scene.”
Here’s how to check out the sound of Himalayan Salt.