Entertainment

Ocho Ojos Is The Psychedelic Cumbia Band Bringing A Fresh Sound From Coachella Valley

The Coachella Valley is known to most as the home of one of the largest music gatherings, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. But if you look deeper, the desert area is home to miles of agriculture, a developing suburb, and a growing music scene.

Ocho Ojos, a local band from the Eastern Coachella Valley, is a product of that underground culture that many outside of the area might not be aware of. The group, Danny Torres (Synthesizer), Cesar Flores (Guitar/Vocals), James Gastelum (Bass) and Rafael Rodriguez (Drums), wears their hometown on their sleeve and are proud of it.

The group’s name, Ocho Ojos, is Spanish for eight eyes, a reference to the thick black glasses that both Flores and Torres wear.

Credit: chrisvphotography / Instagram

Dressed in matching white button-ups and white patent leather shoes, similar to the kind chambelanes wear for a quinceanera, the group likes to keep it fresh. Flores says he found the shoes at a local Goodwill one day and realized this was going to be their look. It was also helpful during the hot Coachella nights to be wearing white.

“If you look good, you feel good. And if you feel good, you play good,” Torres said. “It’s a part of who we are as a group and a reflection of our style.”

The group, which started as a duo of only Flores and Torres in 2016, started off by playing backyard gigs in their hometown. They slowly moved up to bars and local clubs and after a year, people began recognizing them.

“We just wanted to create songs that people could dance to and escape to,” Torres said. “We moved up after a year and soon we realized that people got attached to the group.”

After three years, the group would expand to a four-piece, with the addition of Rodriguez and Gastelum. This has helped them keep up with the numerous requests to play shows throughout the Coachella area.

The group likes to call themselves a “psychedelic cumbia band.” It’s a tribute to the fusion of sounds they’ve been inspired by.

Their style is what makes Ocho Ojos so unique and popular in the Coachella Valley. The group says they were inspired by the music they and their parents listened to growing up. It was a mixture of cumbia, classic rock and a lot of heavy metal.

“The music I grew up listening to had a huge influence on me and really inspired much of the music we are creating today,” Torres said. “People here love our sound and I think it’s a reflection of what we listened to growing up.”

That sound is thriving in Coachella’s alternative music scene, where indie rock, desert rock, and punk are more popular than ever. The mixture of cumbia is a tribute to their Latin upbringing and plays a special part in their success with locals.

“Our environment inspires our music. It’s consistent right in the middle of the area and the desert,” Rodriguez. “We even have a song with a sound of a snake in it, I think Coachella inspired us all.”

While the group had success, it wasn’t until a last-minute addition to the 2017 Coachella lineup that they had their big break.

Credit: chrisvphotography / Instagram

When Ocho Ojos first performed at the Coachella Festival in 2017, they performed on a Sunday to a small crowd of about 100-150. The group was also a last-minute addition, so their name wasn’t on the official concert poster and found out they’d be on the bill on Monday of that week.

Fast-forward two years later, the group was officially part of the lineup and performed along with the likes of Bad Bunny and Tame Impala. When comparing those two different experiences, Torres says it felt like the second time around the group in a way earned the spot.

“It was a completely different experience and it was a completely different process,” Torres said. “We made the lineup and we weren’t just that band from Coachella, we made it because of who we are. We felt like rock stars that night.”

From playing in bars and backyard gigs, the group felt the event was a culmination of all that hard work put forward. Rodriguez says after attending the festival as fans for years being on that stage was special.

“It was surreal after attending the festival for years to find yourself up there it felt like an out of body feeling,” Rodriguez said.

The sky is the limit for Ocho Ojos as they now plan on expanding their reach beyond Coachella.

Credit: chrisvphotography / Instagram

The group sees growth in themselves and their unique sound that has played a big role in where they are today. For them, performing at Coachella wasn’t anything close to the pinnacle of what they hope is a long music career but another stepping stone.

“All the work that goes on behind the scenes and all the little things that you consider the tedious work is important,” Torres says. “If you go into it with the idea that you’ll be famous it won’t work.”

They hope to continue expanding their fan reach and keep touring around the country. Their love of experimental music and more importantly, their love for the Coachella Valley is what drives them to keep going.

“It’s that desert love and that appreciation for what music has brought into our lives,” Gastelum says. “At night when the temperatures drop, people are dancing and they are enjoying the night, we love it and it keeps us going.”

READ: As Coachella Weekend Two Starts, Some Want Concertgoers To Respect Those Cleaning Up After Their Day Of Partying

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Billboard Listed The Top 50 Latin Music Songs Of All Time And Some People Have Questions

Entertainment

Billboard Listed The Top 50 Latin Music Songs Of All Time And Some People Have Questions

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Latin music is something we all grew up with. Our parents raised us on the voices of Celia Cruz and Vicente Fernandez. We cleaned the house and entertained ourselves on road trips to these artists and they are ingrained in our DNA. Billboard recently released a list of the 50 best Latin music songs of all time and some are undoubtedly iconic and others just aren’t Latin music.

Billboard dropped their list for the 50 best Latin music songs of all time and some of them are truly classics.

Amor Prohibido” by Selena, “Guantanamera” by Celia Cruz, “El Rey” by Vicente Fernandez, and “El dia que me quieras” by Luis Miguel are just a few of the songs on the list that deserve all the praise. They are songs that transport us to our childhoods and cherished family memories.

The list also includes some newer songs that have rocked out adult worlds. “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi, “Mi Gente” by J Balvin, “El Farsante” by Ozuna, and “Tusa” by Karol G and Nicki Minaj all made the list. Not only do these songs speak to the Latino audience, they have been able to go mainstream sharing our musical culture with the world. That’s something to admire and respect because it gives our community representation like never before.

The list has proven to be just want some people have been asking for.

Tbh, this would make a pretty amazing road trip playlist if you need to pass the time. Nothing like a mix of Latin music songs playing along to give you a big, inclusive sabor of Latin America through music. A little be of Mexico and a little bit of Puerto Rico mixed in with a little bit of Colombia is pure joy and magic.

However, a lot of people are questioning the list’s inclusion of Spanish artists.

The list has various artists who are not Latino, but Spanish. There seems to be an unspoken rule in the music industry that music in Spanish is automatically Latin music. Fans have long been arguing against the industry’s blanket label of Spanish-language music automatically being considered Latin music.

Rosalía, who has arguably become the face of the debate, is listed as having one of the best Latin music songs of all time.

While Rosalía does make some good music, there is a real push to make sure the artists of Latin American roots are uplifted in Latin music. There is nothing wrong with including Rosalía in your Spanish-language playlists but Latin music fans want the distinction made that some artists aren’t Latino.

You can check out the rest of the Billboard list here.

READ: Vogue México Put A Spanish Music Artist On Their Cover And Called Her Latina And Latinos Almost Set Twitter On Fire

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Demi Lovato Gasses Up Her Teen Self In Her Latest Music Video ‘OK Not to Be OK’

Entertainment

Demi Lovato Gasses Up Her Teen Self In Her Latest Music Video ‘OK Not to Be OK’

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Demi Lovato is hardly a stranger to opening up about the things that have plagued her. The “Sorry Not Sorry” singer has long used her voice and platform to shed light on the issues that so many young girls struggle with. Namely body image. Like many young girls across the country (who are reportedly more likely to suffer from the pressures of our society’s pressure to obtain the “ideal body”) Demi Lovato has been open about her years struggling with eating disorders. Moreover, in recent years Lovato has positioned herself as an advocate for young girls suffering from similar issues.

In a recent music video, Lovato is opening up about her pain by doing so with a girl she can relate to on a completely different level: her younger self.

Lovato’s newest song comes with a heartwrenching and brilliant collab with Marshmello.

In her latest video, Lovato finds herself transported to her childhood bedroom, waking up in her old bed. When she looks in the mirror, she finds herself staring straight into the face of her younger self (a la Camp Rock). Marshmello also wakes up in his own childhood room, and the two artists end up settling with their past demons throughout the rest of the video. 

The lyrics of the song detail the process of coming to terms with dark emotions and mental health struggles. “Don’t get lost in the moment, or give up when you’re closest,” Lovato sings in the new music video. “All you need is somebody to say, it’s OK not to be OK.”

Throughout the video, the teenage and adult versions of Lovato and Marshmellow rage in their bedrooms in the video before ultimately finding a balance. The video concludes with both versions of Demi holding hands and meeting up with the teenage and adult versions of Marshmello while dancing down a street.

“I think it’s just such an important subject,” Marshmello said about the song’s release on World Suicide Prevention Day. “I think a lot of people, about negative feelings and negative thoughts that are affecting them are kind of scared to bring it up, scared to talk about it. When in reality, they’re scared because maybe the person won’t relate or the person won’t understand, when in reality most of time the person that you could bring it up to, will most likely has felt like this or will understand or can relate as well. So I think it’s very important to talk about it.”

Check out the music video below!

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