New Music
06.04.2011, Words by Charlie Jones

"Hello, Tropic Of Cancer!"

Juan Mendez is probably best known as Sandwell District collective member Silent Servant. Tropic Of Cancer sees him team up with fellow LA resident Camella Lobo, takes the dark drive of his other work, ups the post-punk and minimal wave flex, and touches on the more desolate end of shoegaze. In 2009 they released the ‘Dull Age/Victims’ 10”, and recently put out second single ‘Be Brave’ on Downwards. Be sure to pick up the brilliant, pulsing dead-eyed stare that is their next release, ‘The Sorrow Of Two Blooms’ EP coming out this month on Blackest Ever Black, a track from which you can stream on this page.


Camella Lobo and Juan Mendez.



Current location?

Long Beach, California.

Your sound?

Camella: Juan is very visual, whereas my perspective is firmly rooted in storytelling. Somehow those points of view come together to form music that others have referred to as dark and foreboding. We just think it sounds like us. We never force anything. It just happens.

How do you record?

Camella: Most of our songs have been recorded in a single take, sometimes coming into existence at that very moment. We find that when we try to perfect them they lose something. It’s actually very strange.

Previous experience?

Willing things to be.


Juan: Too many to specify.

Camella: Trish Keenan for innumerable reasons.

Previous releases?

‘The Dull Age’ (2009) and ‘Be Brave’ (2011), both on Downwards.

Next release?

‘The Sorrow of Two Blooms’ EP on Blackest Ever Black.

Next playing?


How did you become involved with Blackest Ever Black?

Camella: Meeting Kiran Sande, who created the label, was fortuitous and meant to be. His vision is closely aligned with everything we put out into the world. When he approached us to work on this EP for Blackest, we were honoured and very happy. At the same time, I was quite overwhelmed with anticipation. I just wanted things to be proper and to give the label what it was due.

Juan, how is working on this different to your work as Silent Servant and as part of Sandwell District?

Juan: In Tropic of Cancer I’m forced to be more collaborative on the spot. Camella and I start creating a tone and it develops from there. It can be quick and painless or totally mind-numbing. I might have created something that feels like it works but come to find a day later that it’s terrible and need to start over completely. The Silent Servant and Sandwell District work is more private but it also has collaborative elements, albeit in a different way. Karl O’Connor (Regis) and I talk about tone and we go off and work independently and come back with content.

I’ve recently been liking the Ladies And Gents Auxiliary blog. How important is art and the visual side of things to the band?

Camella: The Ladies And Gents Auxiliary has acted as my lens for several years now. It has become a way for me to manage my own little slice of the errata on the Internet. It’s mostly a place where I post things I don’t want to forget. As far as visually informing what we do as a band, all of our influences and desires exist there in one way or another.

Blackest Ever Black will release Tropic Of Cancer’s ‘Sorrow Of Two Blooms’ EP in April


You might like