Four teenagers are bringing back indie prog rock with an unstoppable drive and kick-ass tunes. Their technicality and attention to detail separate them from being your typical cookie cutter high school band. Don’t let their ages fool you – these kids can shred harder than you'd expect.
The Taco Truck started in 2013 when longtime friends Alex Soto (bass) and Cesar Landa (drums) decided they were going to perform at their middle school talent show for the second year. They invited fellow concert band mate Sid Piravi (vocals/guitar) to participate in what they thought was going to be a one-time performance. Prior to the talent show, they had zero anticipation of becoming a band.
“The vibe was so good that we just stayed together,” Piravi tells the Weekly. "We could all tell that we were made to write together."
The band strictly performed renditions of songs by bands like Foo Fighters and Kings of Leon for three months before growing tired of playing music that wasn’t their own. The group would eventually meet Emma Hattesohl at Los Rios Rock School in San Juan Capistrano. In September of 2015, guitarist Hattesohl (who the band refers to as the blonde, female Slash) officially joined after playing a few gigs with the guys over the summer. It was then that the band sounded complete after experiencing the difficulties of having only one guitarist. Their first EP South County was released in November of 2015, consisting of six songs, all of which have a theme of a teenager growing up in Orange County.
The Taco Truck have played numerous shows at places like The Strawberry Bowl, The Coach House, and House of Blues Anaheim. They've even been featured on KUCI just in the short amount of time that they've been established as a band. What did you accomplish before you were 18 years old?
The Taco Truck are currently in the process of creating their first full-length album with eight rockin’ tracks that they’ve been working on for a year and a half. The album will have completely different sound with brand new songs. The band considers it to have a “mystical” indie/prog/alternative rock sound that is much more theoretically advanced and mature compared to South County. This upcoming album’s sound is influenced by Rush and Kings of Leon – talk about a combination! The record is expected to be released sometime in March.
Whether their influence is a family member, musician, or simply a feeling, The Taco Truck translates their ambition into music they genuinely like and are proud of – no matter how many times it takes them to get it right. There's no question about whether or not this group challenges their musical ability.
Victor Landa, Cesar’s father, has supported The Taco Truck since the beginning and has taken on the role as their booking agent and mentor. Landa, an ardent prog fan himself, considers their music to be a tribute to prog, or what he calls "millennial prog." He provides the band with a place to practice, drives them from point A to point B, and keeps them motivated to always strive to be better.
“They really believe in what they do,” Landa says. "I don't do anything for them artistically or tell them where the band goes....I learn a lot more from them than they do from me."
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Tests, zits, crushes, and grades all pose as problems for high school students. Having a band on top of all that has its own obstacles from voice changes, appreciation from established musicians, and efforts to create a distinct sound. And of course, being underage preventing you from getting the amount of gigs you'd like.
Despite these predicaments, The Taco Truck have adhered to their musical endeavors but most importantly, have obtained the elements to become not only a successful band, but successful individuals at such a young age too. It makes sense why their collaboration as one entity naturally flows so well - they are humble, versatile, forward thinking, and passionate about what they love. Be sure to remember the name.
"Our goal as songwriters is to create something that someone who doesn't know much about music can like because it sounds cool, but also [for] someone who does know a lot about music can say, 'whoa, this is complex,'" Hattesohl says.
The Taco Truck performs at McCormick’s & Schmick’s Pilsner Room on Sat. Jan. 28, 7 p.m. $20, all ages. For full details, click here.