Get Mobbed Up With Mafia Rusa

Representing OC hardcore at Saturday's No Violence In Our Scene festival are Mafia Rusa, a two-guitar five-piece of guys who grew up on classic OC hardcore and ska and sing in Spanish. Equally at home at the Whisky a Go-Go or a (really loud) backyard barbecue, they bring aggro-skank straight to the grill with a style that's Tijuana No! on an SS Decontrol trip, sans horns. Bassist Hector Rivera talks about the band's seven years as SoCal hardcore stalwarts.


OC Weekly: How were Mafia Rusa formed?

Hector Rivera: It began as a side project; we came together from previous bands and just decided to jam out. We all were playing local backyard shows, and we all decided to try something new. We have been together for seven years, with a couple of lineup changes. But we are currently back to the original lineup, which has been the strongest and most consistent yet. Our album Hong Kong Horror is due out in December.


Your sound is mostly hardcore, with some ska breaks. How did your sound evolve?

I grew up when the hardcore movement was going strong, with people collecting vinyl and 7- inches, and that's how I brought my piece into the band. Most of the members are into hardcore but also listen to different styles of music. The Mexican ska-core movement had a huge influence on us as well. We play what we like to play; for our newer material, we will try to incorporate more of a surf style and whatever can get thrown in.


The band's name translates to “Russian Mob.” What's the connection?

It came from a movie we saw called Nicotina. There's no actual connection to the actual Russian mob; it just sounded unique and is an interesting part of the movie, so we figured we'd go with it.


Your songs are written in Spanish. Does your music transcend language barriers?

There have been people who do not know one word of Spanish and can get into what we play and can sing our lyrics, yet they do not know what they're actually saying.


What have seven years on the hardcore scene taught you?

Everyone has to pay their dues and earn time slots for shows; we are just now, I feel, getting recognition for the hard work we have done.


What's been the most hardcore moment thus far?

Two months ago, we got tagged in a picture online in which there was this person who got our band's logo tattooed on him. The people were from Mexico City, and that was a real honor for us to know that someone will actually have our band name tattooed on him for the rest of his life. That is pretty hardcore in my book. Also knowing that people outside LA and Orange County have heard about us is pretty awesome.


Your tunes make me want to thrash my desk. And yet you're playing a No Violence festival?

Yeah, our music is pretty fast, loud and can sound like it would cause violence, but we're pretty much just chill. And yes, we believe there shouldn't be violence in the scene. The festival was actually started by the band La Pobreska due to a close friend of theirs who was a victim of violence. Violence has no place anywhere, especially in the scene. It's all about having a good time and enjoying some good music.


This column appeared in print as “Get Mobbed Up.”

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