For the past few days, we've been obsessed with the YouTube account of a dude called “ian m,” who out of nowhere started posting the most amazing NOFX covers by a mariachi band called El Gordo Miguel y su Banda del Norte, and their only release known to date, Sin Efectos. So far, Ian's only published three covers: “Linóleo”/“Linoleum”; “Jalisco, MX”/ “Olympia, Wa”(which is a Rancid track that NOFX covered on a split); and “No me llames gringo”/ “Don't Call Me White," which are all awesome, but little else is known about them, and surprisingly, in this day and age, no other info about the band or the covers is available on the internet.
The songs are amazing both because of how well adapted they are and how good they sound, but also because they surprisingly give a new perspective on NOFX, taking away the songs' inherent punk agressiveness and instead replacing it with a sense of longing and melancholy, while speaking about the experience of being a Mexican immigrant in the US.
We sought out Ian to try and find out more about this Sin Efectos tape, and he was kind enough to let us premiere a new track: the cover of “Thank God It's Monday," which you can listen to below while kicking back some caguamas.Noisey: So, tell me a little about yourself: Where are you from, what do you do?
Ian: My name is Ian, and I’m a software engineer and graphic designer from Los Angeles. I also make videos and documentaries in my free time.
How and where did your cousin find this tape?
My cousin Nico lives near Yuma, Arizona. He’s pretty crazy and really into underground Norteño music. He told me he found the Sin Efectos tape at a flea market in Yuma and paid 50 cents for it. When he heard it and realized it was all NOFX covers, he knew I would like it and sent it to me here in Los Angeles. He also helps me figure out the lyrics because my Spanish is super terrible.
Were you a fan of NOFX before this?
I’m a huge NOFX fan! They released The Decline when I was 13 and I’ve loved them ever since then. That’s why my cousin sent me the tape.
How about of mariachi music or norteña?
I have a big Mexican family from Texas, so I’ve been exposed to Corridos Norteños my whole life. But I was into punk rock growing up, so I never paid much attention to them. Talented musicians, though. If anyone could cover The Decline, it would probably be a mariachi band.
Why did you decide to upload this tape to your YouTube account one song at a time? What did you think would happen to these songs once they were up in YouTube? Were you surprised about the reaction they've been getting?
I put the first few songs up just to see if anyone would care. I thought I’d get maybe a few hundred views at most. After I woke up and saw I had 5,000 views I realized it could be really popular, and a fun thing to keep going for a while. So that’s why I decided to just upload the rest one at a time; I like that people are always wondering what’s coming next. Also I’m really busy and uploading from a cassette tape takes a while.
You know there's no town called Caguamas, Arizona, right?
One of the first things I did when I got the tape was look up where “Caguamas” was on the map. So I found out right away that it doesn’t seem to exist. I’m not sure if it’s a joke, because they drink large beers called "caguamas," or if it’s a misprint on the tape. Maybe it’s an inside joke I don’t get.
Are you really El Gordo Miguel?
Ha! I’ve received a lot of accusations that I’m the one behind all the music. And after Fat Mike tweeted about it, a lot of people asked whether I’m actually a joke by El Hefe. All I’ll say about it is this: the only thing worse than my Spanish is my singing. So it’s not me!
How many tracks are left?
On this tape there are ten tracks in total. But after the videos got so popular, my cousin said he asked around Yuma and heard there may be another Sin Efectos demo out there somewhere. So, maybe more!
Any final thoughts?
I’m stoked that NOFX has heard these songs, and that so many people like them… And I can tell you the rest of the tape is awesome. Thanks for watching!