The rapid-fire pace — especially for the genre — is all part of Del Villar’s plan to make the teen trio 21st century regional Mexican pioneers: “It’s not like the old days, when you could release one album a year,” says Del Villar. “Now, you release one album, and [fans] want another.” Adds lead vocalist Pedro Tovar: “As young artists, we can adapt more easily than the older generation of musicians. That’s the advantage we have.”
Based in Patterson, Calif., Eslabon Armado — brothers Pedro (18, lead vocalist) and Brian Tovar (17, bass and bajoloche), along with friend Gabriel Hidalgo (19, harmony and background vocals) — started recording music in the Tovars’ garage in early 2019. The Tovar brothers kept running into Hidalgo, who was in another band at the time, at a handful of hometown gigs, playing mostly weddings and quinceañeras; after learning Gabriel was familiar with their music, they asked him to join.
The group immediately stood out for its sierreño ballads, which fuse the style’s traditional acoustic guitar with electric bass. Del Villar signed the act later in 2019, with Pedro and Brian’s mother staying on as the band’s manager.
The name Eslabon Armado ("a united chain") was given to them by Pedro and Brian's father, who first inspired Tovar to start writing songs. "My dad used to help this music group back in the day when we lived in the Bay Area," Pedro previously told Billboard. "He started listening to sierreña music [popular in the northern states of Mexico], and that's when my passion for music started. He would write songs, not professionally, and I started to write, too. I was, like, 10 years old."
Now, Pedro mostly writes about personal heartbreak and plucks inspiration from romantic films, but on Corta Venas — which includes covers of Gianluca Grignani’s 1995 pop-rock hit “Mi Historia Entre Tus Dedos” and Banda El Recodo’s 2019 track “La Mejor de Todas” — the original lyricism goes deeper, and gets a bit darker. “It gives me a Fifty Shades of Grey vibe,” Pedro told his more than 300,000 followers on TikTok a month before the release of Corta Venas (which translates to “cutting veins'' in English). The frontman explained that he’d been writing songs ever since their last album arrived, but wanted to time this new release to winter, “when people are sad.”