Thee Commons Revive Old-School Cumbia With a Psychedelic Twist

René Pacheco (left) and David Pacheco of Thee CommonsEXPAND
René Pacheco (left) and David Pacheco of Thee Commons
Guillermo Mendez

East L.A. band Thee Commons have a sound that’s far from ordinary. The psychedelic cumbia punk band consisting of David Pacheco on vocals and guitar, René Pacheco on drums, and José Rojas on bass combines their musical taste and cultural upbringing into a sound that radiates raucous party vibes anywhere they go. The band are currently on a west coast tour that hits the Wayfarer on December 23.
David Pacheco connected with the Weekly to discuss their sound, their most recent full-length Loteria Tribal, released last April on Burger Records and reveal tidbits about their forthcoming 2017 release, Paleta Sonora.

OC Weekly (Kim Conlan): How do you describe your sound?
David Pacheco: We describe it as psychedelic cumbia punk. It’s a mish mash of traditional ‘70s and ‘80s cumbia. We add that punk element, which comes sort of from the attitude we play with, and also the way my voice changes from a gentle whisper to a ferocious growl.

What themes tend to arise when writing?
Definitely the whole cumbia vibe, the theme would be the celebration of life, because I think Latinos in particular, the way we were brought up, there’s always a reason to have a party or a celebration. Even if you might be dead broke and you can’t afford to have a get-together, you’ll still do it because you want your son or your daughter to have a nice birthday party. There’s always that cumbia music or banda music playing in the back, so the celebration of life I think is what we really embrace.

You have released many Volumes of music on a very regular basis since 2012. What’s the idea behind that decision?
The idea behind that was for us to develop a continuous work ethic, so that was a challenge that we set for ourselves. It was initially supposed to be three volumes, but as we got into this, we immersed ourselves in the process of just working and constantly creating and it just took over. Then it became, now we’re on Volume 4, we should do Volume 5, and Volume 6.

Can you tell me about this current tour?
This tour pretty much just happened spontaneously and last minute. We got offered a gig up in Watsonville. We thought it was a solid gig, so let’s book more around it, and it’s almost like a last hurrah with the Loteria Tribal before we release the new album, which is what we’ll be playing more live. We’re keeping up that work of visiting cities that we don’t come to that often and just building that fan base. It’s like planting a seed. You go and then you check up on it, and water it, and hopefully eventually it starts flourishing.

And the end of the road finale is at The Wayfarer?
We actually played our tour kickoff for the U.S. tour we did back in July at The Wayfarer, so it’s like coming back a couple months later after we toured the U.S., after we recorded a new album. We haven’t played Orange County in a while, the last time was a very last minute show with The Budos Band at The Observatory.

You have an upcoming release?
The new album was recorded the first week of October at One Take Studio in San Pedro. After our first US tour we were left in a state of limbo. Coming back to our day to day routines felt slightly mundane. We used that ennui as a fuel to remain creative. All of September we rehearsed about three to four times a week for the whole month and came out with the new album Paleta Sonora. It's the first record in which we sat down with the engineer and mixed the album ourselves.

Thee Commons perform this Friday with Coral Fangs and Scissorbills at The Wayfarer. For full info and tickets, click here.


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