Photos by Stephanie Loftus ; Written by Stephanie Loftus
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
We are excited to bring you The Lemon Trees from San Antonio, Texas for today’s scene spotlight! Consisting of Steven Martinez as lead vocals and guitarist, Salvador, “Sal” Alviso on both guitar and bass, and drummer Julian Holguin, this trio’s music is bound to get you up and dancing. Not only did we get to catch one of their last shows of the year on December 23 at Vibez Underground, but we also got to conduct an exclusive interview!
To gear things into motion, we began by asking The Lemon Trees’s origin story. Sal and Julian immediately piped in by saying that they were going to let Steven answer this question as he was the only original band member. He mentioned that he was inspired by going to local shows and decided to start the band with his friend after graduating highschool in 2019.
Originally, the band was going to be called “Surfriders,” taking inspiration from a street sign they saw, however, the name lasted roughly seven minutes. Sitting in his friend’s truck, they were reminiscing about how both of their grandmothers had lemon trees in their yards. Steven reflected when they chose their name by saying “And for a minute, it got quiet and we just looked at each other and we were like, ‘The Lemon Trees.’ And ever since then, it’s been The Lemon Trees.”
Next off, we wanted to ask them about their creative process when producing their music. Sal replied, “I guess the approach we take is more modern, we don’t play in one room with a bunch of instruments. We kind of come up with an idea on the spot, record a little demo, and we add onto that.” Steven chimed in by saying, “Life inspires us too. The first three albums, the idea of it was heartbreak, family troubles, life troubles…”
Speaking of songs, The Lemon Trees released their latest single, Movin’ On in November. Steven shared its meaning by saying, “You gotta move on with life, you know. Certain things, they just come to an end. Friendships, relationships, whatever it is, you just gotta move on from it.”
We also asked the band members if they could open up for any show, who would they open up for and why. They had a difficult time coming up with a collective answer as each member has a different music taste, however it brings them together when jamming out together.
Julian started off by saying, “Deftones for sure, that’s the band I get inspiration from when playing drums.” He also mentioned his admiration for their drummer, Abe Cunningam, and that when he first began playing the drums, he would play along to Deftones. Sal said that he would like to open up for The Strokes as he has been listening to them a lot recently. Steven has two bands he would like to open up for. One is for a local band called Floats as,” they were a huge inspiration in the beginning,” and the other band is Blink-182, which the band often covers their songs during performances.
We were also eager to know if they had any exciting projects or shows coming up soon. “We do have an album we’re working on,” Steven announced with the release date being TBA. He also said, “We also do have a couple of shows coming up as well, but the main big one we’re looking forward to is with Archer Oh on February 11 at the Paper Tiger!”
As 2023 is coming to a close, we also wanted to ask the band what their favorite memory has been this year. They had some memorable moments with Julian joining the band and when the audience created a mosh pit during their cover of Damn It by Blink-182. However, their most memorable moment was during a show at Jandro’s.
Julian recalled, ”We were playing the last song and some old dude came up while the bass was off and he looked at me and asked, ‘Hey, can I play with your bass?’ I said yeah and it was off and I thought he was going to pick it up and pretend to play it, and he straight up plugged it in, turned on the amp, started messing with the settings, and he just played.”
Steven added on by saying, “It was weird because we covered Blink-182 again and I told him the first note and he knew the whole song.” Julian and Sal mentioned it was a crazy moment for them as his partner was telling him not to play, but he continued anyways.
To finalize the interview, we asked the band what was one goal they had for the new year, and unanimously replied, “The album!,” and Steven also added the idea of doing a Texas-wide tour, with the band saying that they’d love to play in Austin again. The Lemon Trees have plenty to look forward to in 2024, and who knows, maybe this could be their greatest year yet!