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Interview with Thee Commons

3:14 PM PDT on August 21, 2017

THEE COMMONS are on a mission to fuck your shit up, but in the most fun, trippy, and joyous way possible. Their music has been described as "pyschedelic cumbia punk", but really it's the soundtrack to underground Los Angeles, a glorious mixture of backyard influences and cross-cultural contamination. Just like a night in Los Angeles, you never know where their songs will end up, and which elements in their arsenal will make an appearance. Their newest album, Paleta Sonora, is out now and available for purchase or streaming on all major services. The band's Paleta Sonora U.S. Tour launches on September 16 and includes dates with Nina Diaz (Girl In A Coma). We caught up with band members David Pacheco and Jose Rojas to discuss tacos, touring, and prime numbers...

What's your favorite taco?
David Pacheco: Gonna have to give a shout out to the homie Richie with his taco stand Tacorona from Boyle Heights. Runner-up: La Canasta on Whittier Blvd and Record Ave., they have some bomb Carnita tacos, and the green salsa is thee best.

Jose Rojas: 1. Tacos Baja every Wednesday for some dollar fish tacos as a contender!

How did the band come together and evolve into what it is now?
David Pacheco: Rene and I met at an Nsync concert. Our first band was actually a cumbia cover band of Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys. Unfortunately that was short lived. However, we met Jose in Mexico playing in a norteno band and payed for his coyote to cross him over to East LA.

Jose Rojas: and then Jose learned English watching THAT 70 SHOW which was also my first experience with psychedelics.

What is the connection between your music and your politics?
David Pacheco: Puro pinche desmadre.

Jose Rojas: I'll play anything that'll make you wanna slap your teacher.

People describe your sound as psychedelic, have you had some memorable psychedelic experiences?
David Pacheco: No, we like to stay off the psychedelics. The best way to have a psychedelic experience is to go to misa on Sundays with a mild hangover.

You've been touring non-stop, what's the craziest thing to happen at a show?
David Pacheco: Ummmm...people trying to grope us (Jose in particular)... there's something about his mustache... Also our old sax player would skateboard on stage sometimes.

Jose Rojas: I still trip out when I crowd surf! Never know who's gonna grab your butt.🍑👌🏽

What do you love most about L.A.? What do you dislike?
David Pacheco: I love the sound of paletero trucks in the summer evenings, the tamalera yelling at the top of her lungs early in the morning on Fridays through Sunday. The loud parties on the weekends and the smell of carne asada cooking on a bbq grill on any giving day. What I dislike about LA are rent prices.

Jose Rojas: What I love: Street vendors on deck! What I dislike: see the song Aenema by Tool.

Do you have lucky numbers?
David Pacheco: 69, 13, and 7.

Jose Rojas: Belphegor's prime number!! It is the palindromic prime number 1000000000000066600000000000001, cuz it's so metal!!

If Thee Commons opened its own theme park, what would it be like?
Jose Rojas: It would be called Tropilandia and the theme would be Alice in Wonderland, but cumbia-fied to the max.

What are your thoughts on gentrification?
David Pacheco: No pues, esta cabron.

Your music bridges different worlds-- what are some cumbia records you want your more punk fans to listen to, and vice versa?
David Pacheco: Cumbia essentials for punks: Fito Olivares, Kumbia Queers, Meridian Brothers, and Mike Laure. Punk essentials for Cumbianderos: Only one band... "King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard"

Jose Rojas: Cumbia essential to punks: some Selenas!! Punk essentials to cumbialeros: los crudos!! That'll wake you up for sure.

Got any shoutouts?
David Pacheco: Si pues, un shoutout a mi mama, mi papa, mi little sister and littler brother, mi abuelita, mi abuelito, mis tios, mis tias, los primos y las primas, las vecinas, la amantes del pasado, la novias de ahorita, y un gran saludo a Walter Marcado. Muchas gracias XOXOX

Jose Rojas: Shout all my friends who still call me Hozer!


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