Since banding together in 2012, psychedelic cumbia-punk trio Thee Commons have made waves in and around their hometown of East Los Angeles. These romp ‘n’ rollers have managed to marry two unlikely genres that are world’s apart in perfect pastiche harmony. Live, they’re fearless, confident and ready to go off-script at a moment’s inspiration. It’s wild stuff, just as it absolutely should be. Their hypnotic yet invigorating act disseminate the perfect pastiche that is psychedelic cumbia punk.
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Chris Remmers: We are going to talk about your experiences, the places you’ve been, the things you have seen and how that has shaped your career. Why don’t we start by telling us a little bit about where you are from?
David Pacheco: My brother and I, the main founders of the band, grew up in Eastern Los Angeles, which is predominantly a Mexican-Spanish community with lots of great coffee shops and an awesome music scene. There’s definitely not a lack of artistic talent in the area.
CR: What would you say were some of your inspirations for you and your brother to start this band and pursue a career in music?
DP: When my brother and I were young we would go to our grandmas house, little [gatherings], and my brother and I would always bang around pots and pans trying to make music. Eventually, when we got a little older, we got our first drum set and guitar, and we started playing a lot of punk rock. It wasn’t until 2010 when we heard this compilation from Peru that really inspired us to take on this new kind of sound. These musicians in Peru normally preform a lot of music with an accordion, but what they did was switched that with an organ and an electric guitar. This was very appealing to my brother and I, because it was a rhythm we loved and something very reminiscent of our childhood. That really inspired us to help us create the sound we have today.
CR: That is amazing! Where would you say some of your most memorable shows were?
DP: There is the one place called Echo Park Rising and it’s a crazy place where I would compare to a South by Southwest type of feel. The whole town turns into venues at night and it’s just an incredible place to be. We preformed at one of the bigger stages there and it was just insane. We just had a sense of solidarity of everyone coming together for the sake of music.
CR: Have you ever preformed anywhere so far in your travels that gave you sort of a culture shock?
DP: Yeah, actually that happened a lot when we were touring the United States last summer. A lot of the locations we were at were these very hipster clubs popular with a lot of white people. We are used to playing in front of more predominantly Latino crowds, so that was interesting for us, because we got to see different cultures dancing to it in their own way. It was very cool to see people react and enjoy themselves in their own way. We would always get, “Hey! You guys remind me of Sublime.” Which in itself is an amazing feeling to get compared to such an amazing band.
CR: That must really be an amazing feeling to get compared to such a legendary band. Transitioning more into personal travel, if you’re going on a vacation are you looking to hit the beach, hike in the mountains, see a new city or something different all together?
DP: For vacation I would say that I definitely prefer isolated areas, so places like the mountains or the desert. The desert definitely if it’s during the spring. During the summer I must admit I do like the beach, but if I had to take a vacation Northern California is an amazing place to visit. There’s always something to do, or new places to see and you really get the best of both worlds. You have the beach, mountains and desert all in generally the same area.
CR: What are some of the first things you like to do when you touch down in a new location?
DP: Normally the first things we like to do is go check out the venue we are going to be playing in. A lot of the times we’ll take a nap and recharge the batteries then head out and look for thrift stores. After that we enjoy finding good food and really whatever there is to do within walking distance of whatever venue we may be playing at.
CR: Everyone has a bucket list of places they would eventually like to visit. Do you have three places in mind that are on that list for you?
DP: The one that comes to my mind is definitely the Galapagos Islands. It just has a magical element to the place, the surroundings, the people and the amazing history it has. I definitely also want to check out Peru, and believe it or not Mexico City, as well. I will most likely get to do that before we head back out onto the road, but yeah those are all the places that are on my bucket list as of right now.
CR: Lastly, to wrap this up for you, where is your next big trip and what’s it for?
DP: I would say our next big trip will be more on the east coast. Chicago is somewhere I am really looking forward to playing, as well. Colorado is also a spot on the tour where we tend to have a lot of fun too.