Victimas del Dr. Cerebro Show comes to San Diego

Videos by Estevan X. Barrios

In the mix of the sick shows going down in San Diego this summer, Victimas Del Dr. Cerebro made their second stop on their USA tour on Wednesday, July 12. Originating from Nezahualcoyotl, a city in Mexico’s capital, the band played a mix of old and new songs. The tour, in support of the group’s new album, “El rey de los monstruos”  (Cerebro Records / Dragora 2017), released earlier this year, started in early July.

I was lucky enough to talk to the band. The group is extremely excited about their new members: Adrian Toussaint (guitar) and Julian Andre (drums). Also new to this tour, dancer Priscilla adds excitement to the live performance as she jumps and writhes around the stage dressed as a monster.

Videos by Estevan X. Barrios

After more than 25 years together the band continues to have notoriety. But, thanks to hard work and dedication, the group is now touring for their ninth album. Founding members include father and son duo Jesus Flores “El Chipotle” (keyboard, saxophone, and vocals) and Ricardo Flores “El Abulon” (vocals and keyboard). Brothers Arturo Flores “El Tuco” (bass) and Daniel Flores “El Ranas” (guitar) are also founding members of the band.

El Tuco said the new members have added to the band’s already solid foundation. He mentioned that the side projects of all the members have also helped the band continue to constantly reinvent itself.

Abulon explained that Las Victimas are not a band of one genre.  They don’t limit themselves, and there is room for all genres in the music they make, Abulon stated. They want to show people that there is more to music than electronic, electronic pop, pop rock, and other mainstream genres. In that quest, the group continues to make music with sounds they like and have never heard before. They are bringing in a new era of rock.

This band is a family in itself, and it will be interesting to see how they continue to grow. Thanks for reading, and make sure to check out their new album, “El rey de los monstruos.”

An Interview With Party Favor

On June 25, the second day of the ID10T Festival at Shoreline Amphitheater, I sat down to talk to the EDM artist Party Favor about his fans, touring and of course, music.

KCR: First of all, congratulations on a great set tonight!

PF:  Oh, thank you, you’re too kind.  It was fun!

KCR: So, you went on tour last year and you’re playing quite a few dates this summer. How’s that been going?

PF: It’s been amazing.  I had my first Friday off last weekend and it felt great.  [Touring] is awesome. I’ve been doing this for a long time and as a musician, in any genre, you can only hope to tour a lot – but it’s definitely very taxing on you.  For shows like this though, where I can come up here (I live in LA) – the Bay is so close and they always show me so much love.  I’m very happy to be here.

KCR: What’s your favorite place that you’ve visited so far?  I saw that you’ve been all over the world recently.

PF:  Yes, oh man, I’d say Myanmar was really cool.  It was a country that was extremely closed-off. Until about five years ago, they hadn’t opened their borders. They didn’t have internet.  It was so neat to be there, and all these kids knew all the words to the songs [I mixed] and to my songs. There was so much energy I couldn’t believe it.  They had been in the dark for so long and they caught up so quickly. And it was a really cool country too.

KCR: Do you have any good tour stories from when you were abroad?

PF: Tour stories from when I was abroad?

KCR: Or just in general.

PF: I have other tour stories.  I don’t know if they’re appropriate for radio (laughs), but abroad was pretty cool.  In Japan, I was out in the Shibuya area, which is a huge shopping area.  So, I was out there walking around and I had three different people, all separate, come and find me on the street in this huge area where there’s hundreds-of-thousands of people walking around, because of my Snapchats.  Some girl brought me a picture she had painted of me. So it’s just really neat. I would never have thought that in some other country halfway around the world someone would have painted my likeness, and taken their own time to do that.  It’s humbling. But, it’s also super weird.  I’m like “wow” – I don’t know how to handle it.

KCR: So you went to Chapman–

PF: I did.

KCR: –and you studied film. How do you incorporate that into what you do now.  Do you incorporate it at all?

PF: I do. I mean, when I first started I was hands-on with my videos. I was like a video Nazi. I would want it just like this. I would edit my own videos and things like that. But, over time, I’ve released control and let other people edit. When I was first getting started in music I started by sampling [music] kind of similar to how I would edit a film. So, it was a nice transition even though I had never had a musical background. It worked out. It was meant to be.

KCR: And now your songs are getting in commercials and stuff too.

PF:  Yeah the irony is awesome.  Knock-on-wood, let’s keep it going.

KCR: You also listen to a lot of different genres – from when you were growing up to now. Do you incorporate those into your music?

PF:  I try to. I think that if [the many genres] don’t necessarily come through in my music, they come through in my sets.  I try to always be super diverse in what I play.  And I always try to respond to where I’m at – you know – If I’m in the Bay I always play some Thizz music. I think for me, I just like anything that makes me feel good.  So, it doesn’t matter what genre – if it’s rap, if it’s metal, if it’s Cali dub – I just like to make people feel good. If my music can do that, then I’ve done my job.

KCR: Speaking of genres, on your Facebook page it says “no genre.”  Do you wanna talk a little about that philosophy?

PF: My management’s fired, they messed up (laughs). No, you know, I think in this day and age, at least for me, to say “oh I’m this,” [would be pointless], because I don’t like being labeled and I don’t think a lot of people do. There’s so much you can do with music and for me, with “dance music,” you’re not necessarily rock and roll, you’re not blues, you can do so much. I can play dubstep, I can play deep house, I can play whatever, or make that if I want to. Having no genre enables me to be anything.

KCR: Do you have any upcoming plans for an album after putting out the EP that you did?  Or maybe another EP?

PF: I would love to, and I’ve talked with my management about doing another one this fall.  I’ve definitely got material. But I think in this day and age it’s so hard to do EPs, especially albums, because people’s focus is on one song and that’s it.  With streaming, the good thing is that you have access to a million songs, but unfortunately artists can work 7,8 months, sometimes a year, on an album and then people hear your stuff and two weeks later they go “Where’s your new stuff? Where’s your new song?” So it’s easier to put all your focus and energy into a single and say “Hey, focus on this, this is my new song, let’s put all our energy into this.” I’ll play new music at my shows but keep the focus on one thing.

KCR: Who are you listening to right now?  What’s on your playlist?

PF: I’m listening to the new 2Chainz album, it’s awesome. “Pretty Girls Love Trap Music” is what it’s called.  Seems to be the case (laughs). I was just listening to AC/DC on the plane here, and that always gets me fired up.  So a little bit of everything.  I’ve definitely been listening to a lot of hip hop, but I love classic rock so I’ll always put that on.

KCR:  Who would you like to collaborate with in the future?

PF:  Oh man.  I don’t know.  Rick Rubin, he’s a producer from the stars.  He’s a hit-maker.  Or maybe Max Martin from Sweden.  But I’m not really a popstar so I don’t know if that’ll happen.  Unless I take a pop career.  I’ll be the new Jonas Brother or something.

KCR: That could be your genre.

PF: Yeah, Jonas Brother!  I’ll change it.

KCR:  Any last thoughts?

PF: Shout-out to San Diego, I love you.  Coming back soon to Bassmnt, let’s get sweaty.

Make sure to see him on Saturday, July 23, at Bassmnt. Get your tickets here.

Featured Image by Sarah Anderson.

DLD Rocks San Diego

On Monday, May 29, I had the opportunity to cover the concert of a band that exemplifies perseverance, determination and of course, passion. Few Mexican bands get to go on tour in the United States, but DLD is one of them. During an intimate interview on their tour bus, the members of the band, Francisco, Erik, Edgar, Keno and Sergio, agreed on one thing: the essence of DLD goes beyond what words can define.

DLD was formed in the late ’90s in The State of Mexico with the name Dildo. After they gained popularity, especially in the US, they had to come up with a more appropriate, kid-friendly name for the band. However, they did not want to radically change the band’s identity; so they abbreviated their former name to DLD. Despite this change, the band still considers Dildo to be their authentic name.

Some people may argue that DLD is a purely alternative rock band, while others may say that they play pop rock. These assumptions are neither right nor wrong. The truth is, according to the band, DLD enjoys playing a little bit of everything, which  is what makes them so unique and powerful as a group. As a result, DLD has attracted a heterogeneous audience that ranges from young teenagers to grown adults – all of whom sing along, together, at the band’s shows. The amazing audience in San Diego was no exception.

This was not the first time that DLD performed in San Diego. However, this occasion was particularly special since they are promoting their sixth album “Futura.” “Futura” is an album significantly different from their previous records. It was recorded in Cancun, Mexico, a heavenly place where the band felt like they were more connected to nature. This allowed the group to create more fresh and breathtaking songs. When I asked the group which track was their favorite, they could not agree on one particular song, because the album has so much variety.

The DLD US Tour started in El Paso, where they performed at the Neon Desert Music Festival. San Diego was their second destination. They also performed in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

People started to get in line outside The Casbah around 7 p.m., even though the concert began at 10:30 p.m. DLD opened with “A Distancia,” a song from their album “Primario,” released in 2012. Before they started playing, Francisco (the lead singer of the band) said to his fans, “We’re gonna f*ing rock The Casbah… I’ve always wanted to say this.” After these words, an amazing night, full of contagious energy, began.

As the night went on, the audience got fired up listening to their favorite songs from the album “Futura,” which included “Estaré,” “Sigo Siendo Yo” and “Las Cruzadas.” However, the mood changed suddenly as soon as the band started performing “Reencuentro,” a song dedicated to a former band member who passed away. The narrative of this song and the emotion with which DLD played it touched the hearts of the whole crowd at The Casbah, who sang along.

The band left their most famous hits, such as “Mi Vida” and “Todo Cuenta,” for the second half of the concert. The last song they played was “Por Siempre,” magically closing the concert in a way that left the audience craving more.

The concert that DLD gave to their public was more than just a night of rock.  It was a night where people could escape from reality and let the music flow into their veins and their hearts.

It is hard for me to recount the numerous times that DLD thanked their public for their unconditional support. This proves that DLD is not only talented, but also humble and grateful. The band made it clear that without the support of their fans, the Futura US Tour 2017 would’ve been impossible.

DLD is now crossing borders, and there’s no stopping them.

Check out DLD more here, on their website.

A-Plus: The Spring Cleaning Tour Show Review

 

 

The show itself was an experience like no other. A-Plus lyrical fluidity and classic, boom bap, hip hop beats transported me from a modern so-cal setting, to the golden age of Bay Area hip hop. Sounds dope, but who is A-Plus, you ask?

A-Plus began rapping at the age of 8 in Oakland, California. He continued honing his skills throughout his teen years, and when he reached high school he helped form the underground hip hop collective formally known as Souls of Mischief. This monumental hip hop group, consisting of A-Plus, Opio, Phesto and Tajai, made their first mark on the game in 1993 with the release of their album, “93’ till infinity.” This album was dropped under the Jive record label, but once the group deviated from the major label route, they became part of an umbrella collective known as Hieroglyphics. The collective was founded in the early ‘90s by a man known as Del the Funky Homosapien. The Hieroglyphics movement sent shockwaves throughout the Bay Area that are still felt today. Their iconic three eyed logo can be found scattered throughout various hip hop scenes, and they paved the way for a new generation of artists.

A-Plus’ success in the hip hop group circuit did not deter his ambition for solo ventures. Since the release of his last group project, A-Plus has released three solo albums. The latest was released in 2014 and is titled “Molly’s Dirty Water.”

I had the opportunity to meet up with A-Plus before the show and talk some hip hop. I first asked him about the origin of his passion for music. He went on to name the hip hop pioneers Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and Run DMC as two groups who heavily influenced his love for hip hop. That love and passion for the genre is what A-Plus credits for his longevity in the music scene. This mindset empowered A-Plus and other like-minded individuals within his collectives to push the boundaries of underground hip hop and force the world to take notice. The Hieroglyphics movement was a vital catalyst which helped push the culture forward into where we are today. And, A-Plus respects the direction current music has gone and is grateful for having played a role in that direction. A few notable contemporary rappers who he enjoys are Joey Badass, Anderson Paak and Kendrick Lamar. In regards to where A-Plus himself is today, he is still going around the country doing what he loves: making music and putting on shows. The tour he is currently on is called the Spring Cleaning Tour and features other notable artists, such as Knobody and J. Lately, all supported by the spinning skills of DJ Nocturnal.

The Show

A-Plus and company’s second stop on their Spring Cleaning tour brought them to one of downtown San Diego’s premier live music bars, the Kava Lounge. The Kava Lounge is a small venue that hosts some big entertainment. As I was walking up to the venue, I was awestruck at the sight of a Boeing 747 descending over the beautifully lit San Diego skyline, and unlike the plane, my night only went up from there.

The show itself was an experience like no other. A-Plus’ lyrical fluidity and classic, boom bap, hip hop beats transported me from a modern SoCal setting, to the golden age of Bay Area hip hop. My head instinctively rocked to almost every song as the truly experienced MC showcased his ability to handle a mic and ride a beat. He played songs spanning all the way from the early ‘90s to his upcoming album collaboration featuring Knobody, titled “Grow Theory.” Knobody joined the rapper on stage. The duo’s back-and-forth style was truly captivating and reinforced the old school hip hop vibe. The Souls of Mischief rapper seemed at home on stage, and rightfully so, given that he has been doing this for decades. To conclude the show, he performed one of his group’s most beloved hits, “93 ‘till Infinity.” This was the moment I had been waiting for. This song features one of the most legendary hip hop beats on record. It was truly an honor to witness a living legend masterfully weave his words within rhyme and rhythm over such a historic instrumental. Given the small nature of the venue, at times it felt like the rapper was speaking directly to me, and that made for a truly one-of-a-kind experience. A-Plus performed for the intimate crowd with just as much passion as he would a crowd 10 times its size; even though the quantity of space was limited, the quality of the performance did not suffer.

Overall, I went to go see an A-Plus show, and that is exactly what I got: an A+ show. Twenty-four years ago, A-Plus said, “you will see, from now ’til infinity.” And, he seems to be keeping his word.