There is not a lot to do for older teenagers or young adults in Roswell. It is worse for young people if they come from a low-income environment with broken families and high unemployment.
The Unity Center is one of the few places that provides a safe, drug- and alcohol-free environment. They hold gaming tournaments, have free games on site and throughout the year are the hosts of low-cost concerts of all kinds of music genres.
Next plan for the center is to have its own recording studio to help artists who are just starting out or don’t have a large budget. On average studio time can costs $500 and up according to Hank Sisneros. Sisneros is the singer for the band Amy’s Not Breathing.
“I had a vision to build a sound studio here for the last five years,” Bobby Garcia said. Garcia is the manager of the nonprofit center. “I needed the right people to help with this.”
Garcia found the right help in Sisneros.
“I want good enough equipment, a good enough sound,” Sisneros said. “We don’t want to spend too much money. We want to get really professional equipment, because there are many musicians in Roswell that need to be heard, that don’t come to shows. As for technology, I need something that is easy to use and also has good sound and engineering.”
“Roughly, we are thinking $5,000 – $8,000 that we want to put into it,” Garcia said.
Part of the project is rebuilding two rooms at The Unity Center.
“Ernie Romero Construction are donating their time and material,” Sisneros said. “We are putting a window in the middle (of the rooms) because both rooms will be part of the studio. One will be the control room, one will be the actual studio.”
“We are pretty excited about him helping out with this,” Garcia said.
To get the money, Garcia is hosting a benefit concert at The Unity Center.
One of the musicians performing is Psycadelic. He is exactly the kind of musician that Garcia and Sisneros want to encourage with the new studio.
Behind Psycadellic — which is on purpose misspelled for better identification — is a young Roswell family man and hip-hop/rap musician, Raymond Espinoza.
Espinoza’s music style has deep roots in the old school of rap and hip-hop.
“I like the older rap compared to the newer generation,” Espinoza said. “In our days it’s just money, women and drugs. It’s bad.”
Roswell is Espinoza’s home, ever since he moved here from Denver, Colorado, as a child.
“I went to a few elementary schools because I was raised in a tough family, bad situation,” Espinoza said. “I went school-to-school elementary-wise; I went to Mesa Middle School, I went to Goddard High School and then University High School. I graduated from University High School in 2012.
“It was kind of difficult. I didn’t have support from anyone family-wise, I didn’t have anyone to look up to or as a role model. I kind of figured it out by myself. Observing and taking it, putting it into perspective and decided for myself, I didn’t want to live the way I have seen other people live. I didn’t want that life. Because I knew one day I’d have my own family and I didn’t want them to be around that.
“This is going to be my first performance,” Espinoza said. “I am new to music. I always had the passion for it, deep down inside of me. Music is in everyone actually. Creativity is in everyone. You got to put that out there. You got to be you and not care what everybody else is thinking and just do it. This will be my first performance. I am excited.
“I know a lot of people tend to not like my music because it does have a deeper meaning to it,” Espinoza said.
Listening to his songs, one can hear the struggle of Espinoza’s life reflected. Most of his songs have double meanings that only insiders in the scene can really understand. On the surface it looks as if it glorifies drug use, but the real message is about the ugliness and desperation. The words are raw and pointing out the dark side of Roswell.
“I want to keep them (young people) away from it.” Espinoza said. “I did this so you don’t do it. Learn from that; I teach you all that so you stay away from it.
“There are some things I want to point out,” Espinoza said. “A lot of people try to ignore it. They don’t want to see that. It’s the scary truth. That is what hip-hop was created on; they try to expose what is really going on. I put some of it into my music. But I also put in stuff that is going on around the world. This doesn’t only happen in Roswell. It happens all over. I want people to hear it out. This isn’t something you just push aside. This is something we’ve got to face. Because it is going to hurt the future and generations after us.
“If you look around, children, teens in our days are acting and dressing like they are 20, 30 years old. It is sad. They are cussing, it’s bad. I know my music is a little obscene too (some F-words and rated R language),” Espinoza said.
Espinoza’s love for his family is very clear when you talk to him. “I got three kids,” he said. “One is 5 years old — my only son — I have a daughter that is 8 months and I have another on the way, due July 31st.”
Espinoza assists selling plants to earn enough money for his family. “It’s good, gardening is therapeutic,” he said. “I try to teach my son about gardening but he is little, he likes swimming and water. It is good to teach them when they are young. They are like a sponge. If you teach them the right things they are going to learn from those things and use them in their daily lives.
“Roswell is just a piece of the puzzle,” Espinoza said. “It is just downgraded. But Roswell does have a good environment. There are good people here. With my job, I am always out there. I meet new people every day, everybody is kind and friendly but then, there are days when you get the grumpy person and their negativity is just trying to rub off on you. You just need to say, ‘I got this. I am not going to become negative because you are negative.’”
Asked how he heard about the event, Espinoza said, “I have a friend that is really close to Bobby (Garcia), Picasso The Kid. He is a friend with Bobby and had a couple shows there. He introduced me. I’d seen that Bobby tried to do something good. He is trying to help the youth in a positive way. It just sucks, because a lot of youth doesn’t go there because they’d rather be with their friends doing dumb stuff.
I got in contact with Bobby because he posted on his status (on Facebook), he is looking for musicians and bands and artist to help with this benefit. I thought that would be a good idea for my first performance, to be helpful.”
Other artists performing are Examiner, Amy’s Not Breathing, The Houses We Die In, Beast Boii! Fin The Crazy Town King, J Killz & Zion50 and Neckwringer. It is a mix of known rap/hip-hop, rock and hardcore groups of Roswell and the region.
“Music brings a lot of people together,” Sisneros said. “That’s one thing I really like about this idea. To bring people together and give them a place where they can show their art.
Garcia and Sisneros are also open for old equipment donations from churches and radio stations. All donations are tax-deductible.
The event is for all ages and takes place July 29 at 6 p.m. at The Unity Center, 108 E. Bland St. For more information, call 575-208-8603 or visit its Facebook page.
Vision editor Christina Stock can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 309, or firstname.lastname@example.org.