Nacho Cano is the mind behind Twin Cabins. Nacho was born near Mexico City, but now resides in California and is attending CalArts. I’m Sure is the debut album by Twin Cabins, and the product of many years of bedroom recordings and one that was well worth the wait. During the hectic time leading up to the August 14th release of I’m Sure Nacho took some time out of his days to talk with us about eating and growing up in Mexico, traveling in Spain, moving to California, and life in general.
More about Twin Cabins including videos, and streams of the new album (and single!) can be found after our chat!
Where did you grow up, and when did you move to San Diego? How did your diet change with the move?
I was born in Mexico City but I grew up in Toluca, Mexico. I love the food down there. Pambazos, which are basically like tortas, but made in small buns, with mole verde and chicken, deep fried in dirt and salsa. I loved Enchiladas con chile verde, and chilaquiles. I would have to say that most of my favorite foods are spicy. I have never really been a fan of sweets or candy. My diet changed when I moved because vegetables aren’t as ripe here, it all seems to be transported and shifted around. In Mexico, my mom would get food from a market in which people sold things that they picked themselves from their own ranches. It wasn’t a huge change but it has made the food that I have in Mexico all the better. America just doesn’t really nail it when it comes to that. However, I would say that my diet changed drastically after a scary health period about a year ago. I changed it to be more healthy… so I had to abandon my only American crutch which are Hot Cheetos. I have been off them for over a year now and I don’t miss them. But that also includes almost if not all chips… Oh well, you gotta do what you gotta do to keep a leveled mind and a healthy body.
Yes, I think it was when I was 6 and my mom took me to Sushi for the very first time in my home town at a local Japanese place. Funny thing, it was authentic. I was a little brat about it and declined constantly to have it. I said raw fish looked stupid and completely tasteless. She gave me a Philadelphia Role and I ate it. Afterwards, I realized the great pleasure of food. I found that there is such a value to it, and that it’s difference added culture and novelty to the whole thing. After that I started eating anything, and I have tried everything that I possibly can. From Cesos (brains) to the raw fish in Sushi. I’ve had my great deal of things, and they all speak of culture. To be honest here, I went to Barcelona a year ago just for the seafood and the tapas. One of the best decisions I have made in terms of traveling – and life.
I grew up with my mom, my older sister, and our maid, Pera (pear). That was her name. We ate all the best Mexican food which was all cooked in house. My mom would be very busy with work and ran around all the time. Yet somehow, she’s always make time to drop me off at school and pick me up to go home and have dinner altogether. She was the worst at cooking rice. There’s this saying in Mexico that if you can’t cook rice you can’t get married. She was so bad at it we would throw it away. She was finally able to make great rice and re-married. That’s how I got here; I have my mom to thank greatly for that. Besides that I often ate anything spicy. I’ve always had a high tolerance for it and have always enjoyed the way that spice dances on your tongue and stings it all around. My mom would often take us to my grandma (who is a cook among the Gods) and she would prepare Enchiladas with green salsa like no ones business. Or sometimes, my mom and my grandma would pair up and make Mole Rojo, which is basically spicy chocolate on chicken.
Every Sunday at my grandma’s. My grandpa would wake up early and get the daily bread along with other pastries. My grandma would get the meat, which would either be cow or goat along with my mom’s personal favorite brains. As a kid, it never seemed weird to me that we ate brains from time to time. They would crackle when you cooked them. I imagine most American readers are cringing at that description. But it’s practically a taco, you take the brains you cooked and wrap them in a tortilla, put some salsa on that, and bite into it’s crackling goodness. I tell you, that if I served it to you and you had no knowledge it was brains, you wouldn’t notice.
Have I tried anything adventurous recently? America really isn’t the place for adventurous food; it always about what’s the spiciest or the biggest and so on… I guess when I was in Europe, I went to a restaurant which was near the shore. I went alone and there were old men everywhere, which is always a good sign because it means it’s been there for years. I just ordered anything that looked interesting. Though I wish I had the money to try out Bull Testicles but bailed. I would if I could though, doesn’t seem to harsh. My friends did it and they thought the taste was rather heavy.
Did you travel to Barcelona alone? Eating in a new place is a great experience, but can be intimidating when you are by yourself. What is the food that makes you want go back?
I traveled with my high school. I was with my then romances, and it was a really weird experience. I spent most of my time walking around alone so I could avoid these two girls, which most of my music is based around. It was a liberating feeling to not feel the scrutiny of a dying love and someone who feels so novel. I remember in particular walking around the old architecture, and narrow streets. I’d talk to locals and get free churro’s for being friendly. I would always stop and get coffee, or some type of beer. There was a fantastic bar, near the Picasso museum, called El Xampanete. I ate all the seafood that I possibly could while I was there. I can’t recall the names, but that meal alone (pun intended) was a fantastic memory. I never found it intimidating to be alone. I found it liberating. Far more liberating than the time I spent with some of the other people on that trip, and the pressures.
Well, if we are talking about American foods then I can talk about how like last year I pushed myself out of my comfort zone by trying out some of the most indulgent of American foods. I worked at a fair for some time last June and fair food is deep fried. I did it all with one of my good friends. We tried fried butter, fried twinkies (actually good), friend kool aid (they thought it couldn’t be done), and fried oreos. Let’s be real here, this was a disgusting day, I hated myself so much. So I guess it’s adventurous for Americans to push the limits of health, that’s their culture, which I find really frightening. Way out of my comfort zone.
What did you do at the fair? Did you work at one of the food stands?
I sold Birkenstocks with a family friend. It was honestly the best job I ever had. Best management and pay. Also, you get to flirt with old ladies and sell them shoes, and old ladies are the delight. So, no I didn’t work at the food stands. I just ate.
The Del Mar fair, it was like under a retail tent, so it was kind of a commercial fair. Yeah, there were rides and all that jazz but at the same time there were areas where people could buy things for a bargain. That’s where I came in. I was not downwind. There was like a whole area of just horrible food to eat, and I had to walk there to eat it. I only had lunch there that one time with my friend, I mainly packed my own.
Have you traveled much in the US?
I haven’t but I really want to travel up the coast. I have stayed mainly in California and have only traveled to places in Minnesota and Boston.
I can only say that, in Boston, Clam Chowder. The first time I ever tried it was in San Diego with my then middle school girlfriend and her parents. The last time I ate it was in Boston. Talk about love right?
Everything is crazy unhealthy here. It’s really difficult to avoid nasty meals wherever you go. Everything has to be made at home if you want to really be healthy. Also, Americans just don’t understand how to cook food from other countries, they adopt it as their own and just deep fry everything. Make it fatty. Furthermore, the vegetables aren’t nearly as ripe or as tasty as they are in Mexico, the same goes for fruit.
For me the most exciting things these days has been authentic Asian dishes. This has been really easy being in New York with such a diverse population. Have you ventured into these types cuisines?
I do for the most part. I eat everything near my home town. I particularly like Asian cuisine, that could be because of what I said about sushi. However, every body in my family has different tastes and they often argue about what to eat. I don’t particularly mind which food I eat to be honest, I just stray away from curry because of what it does to my insides… it pulverizes them (I go harshly on the spice.) But I would have to say that despite what curry does to me I really enjoy eating certain types of Vietnamese Curry, particularly any with chicken and spice involved. Also, there are certain places in San Diego that actually nail Mexican food, for example, Lucha Libre Tacos… insane. I think it’s because I live in So-Cal that there is a bigger chance you’ll run into Mexican food… Either way, I am moving to LA county, so I am sure that variety will expand ten-fold. Since LA is a phenomenal city… I will be attending school there soon… sorry, you caught me at a day dream.
The San Diego area is big on wood fired pizza. Do you have a favorite spot?
Alright! Thank you for asking this question, there is one joint that is the absolute best, also the cook the people, the location is incredible. It’s authentic pizza, the cook is a sweetheart and he used to cook for Italian soccer teams; Milan, if anyone is interested. Picolo Mundo! It’s rad, it’s quiet and you can bring your own wine. Honestly, if you are ever in Pacific Beach, go there. It’s a treat, and quite romantic.
Do you cook at home? If so what are some of your signature dishes?
I do cook at home but I think that my specialty is breakfast. I love cooking breakfast for others and myself. I think it’s an amazing and important meal, also, guys who cook breakfast are essential. It’s kind of romantic. Anyways, my specialty dish would have to be crepes from scratch, but instead of using Nutella or other chocolate, I use Cajeta which is a type of goat’s caramel. I also don’t turn them into a triangle, instead I roll them into tacos, I sprinkle powdered sugar on top of them and finally cut up some fruit and serve them to my guest of honor. It’s to me the most fun dish to cook. Also, I always have fun with it and treat it with much care.
My mom did. She learned on her own. It was a great bonding experience, I love her. I owe a lot to her.
Well, breakfast implies they stayed the night and are willing to stay for longer. I think it’s romantic to take someone out and dazzle them, but it’s even more romantic to cook for them the morning after. It just feel far more right you know?
What are your drinks of choice?
Personally, huge fan of beer. But it has to be German and it has to be imported. Franziskaner is a definite favorite. If not I am a big fan of Victoria from Mexico. I am a huge wine drinker. I love wine, when I go to Europe (or the only time I did) I brought back some wine simply to hold it for a special occasions. I am a fan of red wines in particular, I’ve never been a fan of whites or even certain pine wines (Greek wines I believe.) I typically drink with my dad and we enjoy them. I recently went to Mexico and had some wines from Cuernavaca. It was okay. Some local SB wines are alright, I forgot the name which is pretty bad of me. But I had it with this one beautiful girl on a date. It was the perfect closer to our evening.
You mentioned that a song, or two, was inspired by particular dates you had, and the food you ate. What song is that? What did you eat?
One song was called “Pier Cafe,” which is a bit of an interlude before the closer. It’s about this date I went on with a girl after some troubled times. I remember in particular that this date had occurred sometime after a funeral and we wanted to get some lunch. We drove to the Pier Cafe which is in Ocean Beach, San Diego and walked across the pier towards the cafe. It rests atop the ocean and overlooks the beach. It is halfway through the pier and it just lets sunlight drain in. I remember taking photos and talking about prospective futures all while eating corn dogs and grilled cheese sandwiches; childish foods in very adult times. It was a moment that had me overwhelmed with nostalgia, even if it was so instantaneous. It’s a short song. A good one.
Twin Cabins is on the move, and on the heels of I’m Sure‘s release has dropped another great single called “Love Lake.”
We can only hope that Nacho’s being at CalArts doesn’t slow down his amazing musical output. Twin Cabins can be followed in many places…click on the links to be kept up today with new tracks, shows, and news:
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