Under the loud roaring planes of Chicago’s Midway Airport, a Garfield Ridge trio came together to form blood club in late 2022. Today, the post-punk experimental band, just months shy of their one-year anniversary, is getting ready to celebrate by taking on a ten-day, ten-city debut headlining tour of the United States.
Jesse Flores, frontman and vocalist of blood club, found himself at a creative crossroads after a hiatus from his previous band, French Police. “I just played a show with them [French Police] and I was like—I miss this! But there wasn’t really any room for me to come back… [so] I was like, fuck it, I’m gonna start my own band.”
Soon after, bassist Daniel Vela and guitarist Jorge Calderon joined Jesse on this new musical venture. With similar musical upbringings, the three knew it was the right time to work together.
Daniel’s love for music came from his father, who was a seasoned musician. Jorge owes his love for the guitar to his cousin, who taught him his first guitar line. And for Jesse, having an older brother that was into music did the trick. The three all began experimenting and playing instruments around the age of thirteen.
“We don’t know music theory or anything like that,” said Jorge, “We’re kind of just self-taught musicians—whatever sounds good.”
When it comes to the creative process, Jesse takes the lead and creates all the music, starting from the beat up. Using his creativity, voice, and words, he draws on solitude to make music. “I like to be alone when I do it. It’s when I feel the most creative,” said Jesse. “I have to make time for it. Like, sometimes it doesn’t just come to you… I have a full-time job. So I really have to carve out time to make it.”
When you listen to blood club, you can’t help but hear their influences. From the ethereal sounds of Interpol and the haunting darkness of Joy Division to the enigmatic Belarusian band, Molchat Doma, blood club’s music is in step with the dark and atmospheric post-punk sound that is taking over the scene for the third time. With this new wave of post-punkers comes a sea of concertgoers dressed all in black. As Jesse described it: “I go to like shows, and it’s just a pool of black… like everything black.”
blood club hit the ground running at the beginning of the year, playing a few shows in local venues like The Empty Bottle, Chop Shop and Live Wire. Reminiscing on blood club’s first show under their current name at Live Wire, Jesse said “we played our first show, our first sold-out show ever. So like, you know, it’s like a sentimental thing.”
From its roots in the UK scene of the late 1970s, many early post-punk bands were fronted by white musicians, creating the perception that post-punk was a genre for white people.
“I felt weird being like the only Mexican [in a white dominated genre]. I never felt comfortable. [It was] like I would have to learn how to operate in white spaces,” recounts Daniel. “… As a Latino, it’s the best time in history to make art right now. I believe that there’s a door opening.”
Jesse, a proud Mexican American, harnesses the power of his bilingualism in his lyrics. When he runs out of words in English, he simply turns a switch and writes in Spanish. “[It] just sounds pretty,” Jesse said. “gastado”, “surreal,” and “gafas negras” are among their Spanish songs. Those songs and more can be found on the band’s Bandcamp, among a cool selection of merch and a limited edition cassette of their most recent EP, Current Lust. The band decided to produce cassettes to give their fans a unique way to listen to their music and add a touch of nostalgia to their listening experience.
As the band navigates the ups and downs of Chicago’s music scene, the trio has felt an increase in support from the city’s Latino community. blood club’s rapid rise comes in part from their management team, Cruel Management. The label saw potential beyond what Jesse had envisioned for his new band.
“He booked me a show before I even made a song,” Jesse shared about his partnership with Cruel Management, “he really put the fire under my ass.”
“The market is oversaturated with so many bands. So now things [are] to the point where you have to schedule these tours a year into them,” shared Vinny from Cruel Management.
blood club takes collaboration seriously, and believes it should be done with intention, not just to gain new followers. “A lot of other bands do that. Maybe for clicks, for their fans. Like, well, let’s take our fans and your fans, and let’s put them together so we can do it,” said Daniel. They would like to collaborate with Wisteria, an artist from Los Angeles, and would be thrilled to collaborate with Bad Bunny, one of the biggest names in Latin music. “There’s actually a bunch of Bad Bunny covers that bands made post-punk,” shared Jesse.
blood club has over 29,000 listeners per month on Spotify, comprising a fan base from around the world. From the UK to Germany, Brazil to Mexico, their sound is transcending borders. With their upcoming tour, the band is excited to meet some of their fans in-person. “I’m excited to see the crowd’s reactions the first time they see us,” said Jesse. After mostly interacting with fans on the internet, “getting out there and putting our faces over there—that’s exciting.” shared Daniel.
blood club is planning to release its first full album and take on a West Coast tour in the near future. “A lot of people want us to come to the West Coast. We get messages every day, like ‘come to LA, come to San Diego!’”
For a list of upcoming shows and tour dates, visit their Instagram page @bl00dclub.
Sofia McDowell De La Mancha is a freelance writer, blogger and marketing professional.