Pensacola, Florida
Friday June 22nd 2018


Paloma Debut EP & Get Ready To Play DeLuna Fest

By Josh Encinias

Photo taken by Michael L. Smith of

Paloma isn’t new to the Pensacola music scene, having performed a dozen shows this year. The members are familiar to the area, but for many of them this is the first time playing in the same band.

Giovanni Lugo leads the band as Paloma’s songwriter, guitarist and singer. Aaron Finlay is Lugo’s long-time friend and drummer. Hale Leal is on bass, and Nathan Dillaha also plays guitar.

“We started in March, and we want to spread and share our music as soon as we write it. I’m excited to play in front of new faces,” said Lugo.

In the last two years, Pensacola’s seen a rise in shows from local and national acts. The opening of Vinyl Music Hall and the addition of DeLuna Fest and Hangout Music Festival revived large-scale interest in Pensacola’s music scene.

Lugo and his bandmates stand on the right side of the changing scene. Each is a long-time citizen of Pensacola and contributed to the music scene throughout the early 2000s. This year they play the second annual DeLuna Fest.

Ray Ruddy suggested Paloma to Deluna’s Production Manager Clint Aull, who was looking to add a good local act.

“When I realized Paloma had Gio, I said yes. He’s one of my favorite vocalists,” said Aull.

This summer the band worked on maturing their skills. They want to create a style all their own, locking listeners in with unique rhythms, beats and melodies.

“The kind of music that makes you pay attention–so you’re still thinking about it after it’s over,” said Lugo.

Fans will have a taste of Paloma’s music in early September when the band releases its EP featuring four original songs. Sean Peterson engineered the EP at Raw Panda Studios, while Bill Roberts produced the EP at Wor Mastering. Roberts has produced for 35 years.

“Mastering is like painting a picture, and when it goes to the mastering it’s like Bill’s drying the paint and putting it in a beautiful frame,” said Lugo.

“Tigerpaw”, “Upstairs/Downstairs”, “If It Takes All Night” and “Weeks Turn to Seconds” are the tracks featured on the EP. The music’s tone is low-fi throughout. If a comparison had to be made, Dinosaur Jr.’s “Back to Your Heart” is a good reflection of the EP’s style.

Lyrically, this is the first time Lugo’s written about relationships. In conversation he likes to create abstract word-pictures of his ideas. But his songs are nothing of the sort. “Tigerpaw” is about a relationship degraded by a girlfriend’s family. They disapproved that Lugo was raised outside of the Southern socialite world. But don’t expect such a clear message from each song. “Weeks Turn to Seconds” is also about a relationship, but its lyrics are not nearly as specific as those of “Tigerpaw”.

Paloma completed their EP in August. The night the music came in, Lugo drove around East Hill listening to it in his car. He said he’s satisfied with everyone’s work.

Right now the band is readying the EP for release and practicing for their DeLuna Fest performance.

“We’re playing a stage right at the entrance to the festival. Apparently, those are high traffic areas,” said Lugo. “At DeLuna we want to start punchy. We’re confident people within an earshot of listening will turn.”

Before they play DeLuna they’ll do a gig at the Loda Live Music Festival in Mobile, Ala. on Sept. 10. 

When asked about their attitude going into the DeLuna Fest show, Lugo could only say, “We’re just thankful for them to have us.”

WHEN: Sept. 10
WHERE: Downtown Mobile, various venues
COST: $10

WHEN: Oct. 13-16
WHERE: Pensacola Beach
COST: $149.95 General Admission Weekend Passes (in advance)

Download Paloma’s EP here:
More on Paloma: