July 31, 2015, The Daily Nutmeg, by Daniel Shkolnik - "On Wednesday night, José Oyola & The Astronauts played Cafe 9 as part of Astrophest, a back-to-back mini-festival of local bands organized by Oyola himself. At the end of the night, Oyola unrolled a gently glowing violet-orange flyerand announced that on November 7, Oyola and the Astronauts would be the first local band to headline the newly opened College Street Music Hall. Oyola is intent on standing out. The rule holds from his musical ambitions to his hairstyle—a Jupiter among hairdos. And while he dreams big, he’s no space cadet. He has a vision for his band and the organizational wherewithal to get it off the ground—maybe even to the stars. But liftoff is a complicated process. It takes risk. It takes funds. And it takes a strong crew for the voyage. Thus, The Astronauts—a band that formed in 2012 to accompany singer and songwriter Oyola—and roof shingle repair work, which provides some of the funds. As for the risk, “I’ve got nothing to lose,” says Oyola. “Maybe some money, but it’ll come back around again.” Oyola’s journey here began in Hartford, growing up on hip hop and the salsa music his Puerto Rican mother liked to listen to. He was a particular admirer of the album Reflection Eternal by Talib Kweli, and of Kanye West minus the antics. He still has the receipts for two rap songs he recorded when he was 16 years old. The songs themselves he’s hidden away. “Hopefully no one will ever find them.” The trajectory of his music underwent a radical rerouting when a friend introduced him to The Mars Volta, a band from El Paso, Texas, that mixed Spanish lyrics into its progressive, experimental brand of rock. For Oyola, the band sparked a new interest in making music with bands and a reconnection with both salsa and the Spanish language he grew up speaking. One night he dreamed he owned a classical guitar, buying himself a black Ibanez the next day. “I think I went without paying my phone bill that month...”
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