From Mexico to California striving for peace and tolerance

An interview with Hector Rivera from No Matter What!

He likes to say that his home is planet earth whose inhabitants are his brothers and sisters. His name is Hector. He is a Mexican musician whose interests range from the path of spiritual discipline and experience of Advaita Vedanta Philosophy to music and art in their widest meaning.

Born in Mexico City, Hector grew up in Acapulco, on the Pacific coast of Mexico, and in Zihuatanejo, northwest of Acapulco. He then returned to his hometown Mexico City, and later went to Puerto Vallarta. Thirty years ago, love led him to California. He fell in love with an American girl. At the beginning of his staying in Los Angeles he thought of spending just a few months and then returning to the Mexican Riviera or traveling to Europe. Unexpectedly things led him to follow a different path. He married the American girl and they stayed together for 11 years. Then they divorced. However, after the divorce Hector decided to stay in Los Angeles.

Back in Mexico he had attended college where he majored in Business Administration, English and French. He always had a passion for music. Playing guitar and drums was what he was most passionate about. Therefore after the divorce he followed his passions.

He studied at the Los Angeles Music Academy which today is the LAMA College for music professionals, in Pasadena, where he majored in Drums and Percussion. Soon after he started gigging with bands playing every music genre, from jazz to rock and everything in between.

Hector Rivera percussion

Today he strives for peace and tolerance and he does it through music. In 2010, together with a Swiss trumpet player, he founded a band named No Matter What! It is a bilingual punk-rock project which sees involved other professional musicians of the Los Angeles music scene.

Thirty years after his emigration, he shares with us his thoughts about his personal and professional life and about the realization of the “American dream” in the city of angels.

NAP. – If there were any difficulties which were the ones you faced? –

H.R. – I have always been fortunate. I was welcomed with open arms and bright smiles. I could not be more grateful to the people who have crossed my path and enriched my life. I found helpful friends and life has been good to me. I cannot think of any difficulty other that the inherent changes that life brings about with the changing of seasons and environment. These are difficulties that I welcome and embrace as they inevitably have something to teach me. –

NAP. – Do you think that migration has changed you? –

H.R. – Living in a different country and speaking a different language offers endless opportunities for development. It broadens one’s perspective and ultimately shows that life, friendship, human interactions and art are to be found, no matter where one is. Learning the traits of a different culture helps one see that the human experience is similar around the world. –

NAP. – Do you miss your hometown? If so what do you miss about it? –

H.R. – I miss my family (parents, brother and other relatives) but fortunately have the opportunity to visit them often. –

Hector Rivera guitar

NAP. – You have a band named No Matter What! Can you tell about it? –

H.R. – No Matter What! Is somewhat of a recording/production project at this juncture. I met my band partner, trumpet player, song-writer and singer Mona Seda in 2010. We clicked musically in taste and creative abilities. That year we wrote a song called Don’t Take It No More inspired by the 2008 securities crash and resulting corporate injustices that followed suit. Little did we know that the song would become the first of fourteen to be included in our passion project. A filly bilingual (English & Spanish) conceptual album called People Power / Poder Del Pueblo. It is a story of love, resilience and the pursuit of justice.

Highly political in nature, it does not fit an any preconceived box. It takes elements from the “left”, “right”, “center” and everything in between. With the passing of time, we have been fortunate to meet amazing friends who are musicians and who have contributed their unique creativity to our collective project. It is a project of love. A project whose message is most important, not so much the outcome or cliché ideas of what most people call “success”. The creative process is in and of itself already a successful story. We, as a band, love to create content that is original and thought-provoking. The musical style is as varied as the it can get. While based on the roots of rock music, it touches on elements of acoustic Latin jazz and other styles. While finishing the production of People Power we have also started writing new material which is bound to please some and upset others. We remain true to our convictions and our idea of peace & love through music. –

Find out more about No Matter What! at www.nomatterwhatband.com