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Diego Bernal & Ernest Gonzales: Atonement

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photo by Scott Stulberg at http://www.asa100.com

Back in 2008, I used a website you may have heard of (Myspace) to reach out to some local, San Antonio based producer named Diego Bernal. I thought his beats were cool and wanted to include a track of his on a compilation. At the time, Diego was a civil rights attorney for MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense Fund) Basically, it was Diego’s job to sue certain people in Arizona when they were doing racist illegal stuff. A few years later, I had helped him release two full length albums and we became really good friends in the process. Late one evening, I get a call from Diego asking if he could come over. He just had a meeting with Joaquin Castro (now a U.S. congressman) in which it was suggested that Diego run for city council. My wife and I will take full credit for peer pressuring Diego into running for office….either way he decided to do it. I designed his campaign logo and website and he hit the block, talking to people in the community and won. This past year he ran for his second term against no opponents. Needless to say…he won.

Just so you know, Diego is the type that takes the city councilman job very seriously. He works tirelessly from early in the morning to late at night…all with very little pay. Actually I think none. It can be a little stressful to say the least and we don’t get to hang out too much. I think that’s why Diego hit me up about working on an album with him. He knew I worked quickly,  together we could make something new, and we could kick it. So during the summer, when city council went on vacation, Diego and I went into the studio to work on an album.

From the first track, a theme began to emerge and what started as a dusty, southwestern sound turned into a concept album that was written to be the soundtrack of an unmade Mexican Spaghetti Western film. The album, Atonement, is a tale of love and loss. It’s a story in which the hero finds himself in despair and makes things right again in the end. It’s the story of Atonement.

But that’s not really the ending.

The album will be sold on pay a what you want model and 100% of the proceeds will go towards the creation of a non-profit program called SAMPL (San Antonio Music Production Lab) aimed at teaching at-risk youth to produce music.

Atonement will be out Sept. 17th, 2013 via Exponential Records

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