Photography Devyn Galindo

l.a.'s rad latinx metalhead community, straight up!

Young Latinx metal fans on diversity, raging, and the Stateside return of Transmetal.

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Nov 9 2017, 5:14pm

Photography Devyn Galindo

Devyn Galindo is somewhere in the middle of Texas right now. The LA Native, Texas-raised photographer is on a road trip from California to Florida — a journey to capture “other queer Southerners like me and illuminate their experience through a POC lens.” Devyn says that coming out in Dallas largely shaped her creative mission: “creating my own cathartic space to explore and play with identity and gender.” So it makes sense that she is returning to the region that left such a permanent mark on her identity.

But before she hit the road, Devyn captured LA’s “rad, badass” Latinx metalhead subculture last month. Scores of pierced, leather-clad fans came out to Red Bull Music Academy's Todo Es Metal, an annual festival featuring a killer lineup of Latinx metal bands. The crowd was buzzing about the first US performance in over three years by Transmetal, a thrash band from Mexico. The scene seems, sometimes, like an extended family. Most of the younger fans were introduced to the music by relatives — aunts, brothers, and parents who went to backyard metal shows and collected cassette tapes in their day. This electric, generation-spanning subculture is just one of a wide range of different POC identities that sometimes gets glossed over.

Amidst mosh pits and head-banging, Devyn interviewed the festival’s attendees about what it’s like to be young and Latinx in LA today. — André-Naquian Wheeler

Photography Devyn Galindo

Sofia, 29, marketing student, Portland

What brought you to Todos Es Metal?
My partner and I have always wanted to see Sadistic Intent and since we’ve moved from Los Angeles, it’s been really hard to. We saw that they were playing with everyone we wanted to see and decided to come back for the weekend.

How did you first get into metal?
Just in high school. I had an older brother that was into music and showed me the way.

What does it feel like to be in a space with this many Latinx identities?
Portland is very homogenous in terms of identities. It’s very white. Coming back to LA to see a metal festival that was made for us is beautiful. Everyone here is brown and happy and enjoying themselves and it’s fucking cool!

What are you wearing, from head to toe?
I am wearing my mom’s gold hoops that she gave me, an old necklace that was also gifted, a band shirt, and just some black boots.

What’s the best thing about being young in LA?
Everything! Even if you’re middle-aged, it’s still cool to go to shows. People don’t look at you weird. You’ll meet people and talk to them. They have stories all the time.

Photography Devyn Galindo

Pelucas, 24, surgical technologist, LA

How did you first get into metal?
I grew up with it. I was brought into the scene because of my parents and my family members, who are from Mexico City. They grew up going to the backyard shows all these Mexican metal bands played.

Tell us about LA’s Latinx community.
I like coming to the Latina metal community, specifically, because everybody’s so passionate about the music. The local bands and the new bands have a lot to give and we enjoy that. I feel like if we give them support, they always give us good music.

What are you wearing, from head to toe?
I’m just wearing some Force Pumps, black leggings with pleather on the sides, a nylon belt, a denim jacket, and — a mullet!

What’s the best thing about being young in LA?
Partying with friends. Instead of being responsible and working, being able to come to a show, enjoy the music, and crack a few beers with my homies.

Photography Devyn Galindo

Leslie, 25, bartender, LA

What brings you to Todos Es Metal?
Transmetal! They hardly ever come here and they finally came, so now I can say that I met them for the first time. They’re from Mexico and their visa had expired, so they were having a lot of trouble getting that figured out. 2011 was the last time they played here.

How did you first get into metal?
I was pretty much raised with metal. My whole family are metalheads. My cousins, parents, and aunt are here! We roll deep.

Tell us about LA’s Latinx community.
I think it’s great! It was kind of dying before, but lately it’s been slowly picking up — especially with events like this.

From head to toe, what are you wearing?
I’m wearing a black fatal hat, a black hoodie from Inferno (which is my cousin’s band), black jeans, and black Dr. Martens.

What is the best thing about being young in LA?
Probably the shows. And the food (but that applies to any age).

What is your message to the world?
Don’t let the metal die!

Photography Devyn Galindo

Daya, 21, bartender, Bellflower, CA

How did you first get into metal?
My dad had cassettes in his storage. He had bands like Last in Line, Iron Maiden — a lot of good shit.

Tell us about LA’s Latinx community.
It’s a fact that we’re really hard workers. I have two kids and I provide for both of them. We strive. A lot of us just want to get our citizenship. That’s what’s really important.

From head to toe, what are you wearing?
I’ve got my leather on from middle school! It’s obviously all fucked up. Then red jeans and my high tops!

What’s your message to the world?
World peace. I still believe in it.

Photography Devyn Galindo

Michelle, 28, journalist, LA

What brings you to Todos Es Metal?
I just moved to LA from New York about two months ago. With that move, I feel like I’ve been exploring a lot of different genres that I hadn’t before (I used to be really big into techno). Since moving to LA, I’ve been listening to a lot of funk, R&B, psych rock, and metal. That’s what I love about LA too, it’s a really diverse city.

Why is diversity in metal important to you?
Obviously diversity in any genre is important. People bring fresh ideas with anything that’s not homogenous. But also, I think the people who are making this culture should be able to get the recognition and support that they deserve. It’s not like this kind of diversity doesn’t exist elsewhere, it just doesn’t get represented.

What’s the best thing about being young in LA today?
LA feels like it’s on the comeup. You can feel this electricity and momentum in all kinds fields — from music to art to movies. Having lived in a lot of cities, I feel like this is one of the most diverse cities I’ve ever been to. When I go to clubs, I see people of so many different skin colors mingling and I think that’s really unique.

Photography Devyn Galindo

Jennifer, 21, cook, LA

How did you first get into metal?
My dad.

Tell us about LA’s Latinx community.
More people are being proud of their ethnicity now. We’re no longer afraid to show our culture.

What’s the best part about being young in LA?
You get to party a lot!

devyngalindo.com

Photography Devyn Galindo
Photography Devyn Galindo
Photography Devyn Galindo