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Rising local band Virginia’s Basement crafts “emo trash” anthems

The St. Paul band recently played a Radio K In-studio show and is currently working on new music.
The band cites inspiration from 1980s punk and emo bands.
Image by Myles Ross (courtesy)
The band cites inspiration from 1980s punk and emo bands.

Virginia’s Basement is gaining popularity in the Twin Cities music scene with its self-proclaimed “emo trash” sound.

The band, comprised of Santana “Santi” Vigil (guitar and vocals), Kyle Zendejas (drums) and Nen G Ramirez (keyboard) cites inspiration from 1980s punk and emo bands such as Fugazi and Rites of Spring.

The band’s debut album, “BUBBY.” was recorded in their friend Bruce Eiler’s Sonny Recording Studio in Faribault, Minnesota.

“He really knew how to give us that Midwest sound and give us grit to sound good on tape,” Vigil said.

Their songwriting process typically begins with Vigil writing the lyrics and basic guitar riff, then presenting it to the rest of the band. Each of them contributes their own ideas to modify the song until they have a product they are proud of. Every member adds to the song in a way that creates a unique sound.

A standout track from the band is “Ice Cream,” a song both the band and the fans love. The song grew in popularity due to their stellar live performances, demonstrating the band’s talent for writing memorable and catchy songs.

Virginia’s Basement dropped a single last summer called “Desperate” and is currently preparing for a new album. The opening track “Dino” is named after and dedicated to Vigil’s cousin, Gabriel “Dino” Mendoza who died last year.

The band is also working on their first-ever music video, which will feature animated visuals to go along with their music. 

After almost two years of being a band, Virginia’s Basement said they have “gotten a little worse in the best way possible.” 

They describe their genre as “Emo Trash” because it’s “supposed to sound awful and beautiful and make you kinda cry,” said Vigil.

Their sound also became more emotive after keyboardist Nen Ramirez joined the group.

In addition to being a musician, Ramirez is a poet who performs spoken word poetry throughout the band’s live concerts. Their book, “All Women are Born Wailing,” is an example of the language skills that they offer the group.

The band’s name has a special importance for the members. It’s a homage to Vigil’s mother, Virginia, who gave the band the room and encouragement it needed in its early years. The band’s music and unwavering pursuit of success to support their family exemplifies their loyalty to their roots. 

Vigil, Zendejas and Ramirez each have an important role in how the band came to be. The band cited Kyle’s commitment to practice and jamming as what kept the band together in the early days. Later, when Ramirez joined the band on keys, they helped the band rank second at the University of Minnesota’s Battle of the Bands this last spring.

Other than the Battle of the Bands, Virginia’s Basement’s other memorable performances include the Walker Teen Takeover at the Walker Art Center and the “BUBBY.” album release party. The latter took place in Virginia’s backyard and drew over 200 attendees which resulted in two police visits, showcasing the band’s energy and ability to perform unforgettable concerts.

Virginia’s Basement is currently planning on returning to Sonny Recording Studios to record their next album as they continue to develop their “emo trash” sound.

Correction: An original version of this story misstated the name of the studio recording studio. It is Bruce Eiler’s Sonny Recording Studio.

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