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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Bolero Meets The Modern Club in Los Rivera Destino’s New Single “Castigo” with Pedro Capó

Latidomusic

Bolero Meets The Modern Club in Los Rivera Destino’s New Single “Castigo” with Pedro Capó

Puerto Rican band Los Rivera Destino are back with their new single “Castigo” featuring Pedro Capó. The song is the first single from their long awaited album which is due to be released this summer.

Castigo” is the best of both worlds: fusing Bolero and Dembow, creating a fresh take on songs we would listen to at the club.

We had the chance to interview Los Rivera Destino for Latido Music by mitú, and they talked about filming the music video, songs that they would like to see with Bolero covers, working with Bad Bunny again, and more.

Check out our interview below:

Watch the music video below:

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Dimelo Flow Talks Career Beginnings, Working With Sech, Daddy Yankee and Representing Panamá at The Global Music Stage

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Dimelo Flow Talks Career Beginnings, Working With Sech, Daddy Yankee and Representing Panamá at The Global Music Stage

Welcome to Spotlight, where we do a deep dive in the careers of artists, producers, songwriters and more people making an impact in the Latin music industry.

Dimelo Flow, the Panamanian producer behind hits like “Relación Remix” and “Otro Trago“, talked to us about how he started off as a basketball prospect turned club DJ, and how his love for music led him to become a producer. Now he’s not only working with the biggest names in Reggaeton like Daddy Yankee, J Balvin, and Bad Bunny, but has his sights on making global records and putting Panamá on the map.

Watch the full interview below:

During our Spotlight interview, Dimelo also talked to us about his creative process, knowing exactly how to craft the perfect remix and where to locate each artist to create the perfect synergy on a track.

Dimelo also touched on reinventing his sound and collaborating with fellow Panamian artist Sech for his upcoming album ‘42.’

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The Avengers project cemented Dimelo Flow, Sech, Dalex, Justin Quiles, Feid and Lenny Tavarez as a force in reggaeton and took their careers to new heights. Dimelo said that they are already working on a follow-up to The Academy.

He talked to us about sliding into Tyga’s DM’s and now he wants to produce for mainstream artists, naming his dream collabs to work with Post Malone, Drake, and Travis Scott.

READ: Run Away From That Toxic Relationship with Dalex’s New Single “Feeling”

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