LUIS: Art is everything within creating a vibration of sound, whether it be cumbia, hardcore, rap, metal… It’s our creative expression, from Chucky coming up with a riff, to the creative bassline that Brando lays down, to the backbone of the drum parts and Martin’s interpretation of that, to whatever Carlos ends up writing out… Whatever he’s feeling from the energy that’s already been ignited by the collective of the band. It’s an artistic expression, from the jump, through and through. And from there, how do you take a song and translate that energy through the album cover, the video, and the local artists that we work with, all to represent the band…

Within Desmadre, there’s a very deep cultural overlap within all of us as individuals. So when we come together, art is truly radiating from every angle of what we do. From all our homies with lowriders, to our homies that are sick graffiti artists, to all our homies that are amazing tattoo artists, to skateboarding homies – our roots are deep here in the artistic melting pot that makes up Los Angeles.

CHUCKY: My mom’s from TJ and my dad’s from Zacatecas; I’m the first generation in my family born here. Growing up, money was a struggle. Even getting a guitar as a kid was a mission. My parents had to put in so much work, especially my mom, to keep the family together. That’s something I carry with me today – between the friends I choose today, we try to keep that brotherhood.

BRANDO: The band’s like a family unit. We move as one, we all look out for each other. And at the end of the day, we all break bread together.

CHUCKY: Right now I work in scaffolding. It’s a construction job. A lot of my coworkers were born in Mexico. Some of them don’t have papers, some do, but it’s one of those things where if you’ve been around it, you know how hard immigrants and, speaking for my own, Latinos, put in work. It’s valuable to see a drive like that firsthand and apply the work ethic to everything else I do, music especially.

Work ethic is what speaks for everybody. Your upbringing, where you come from, doesn’t matter. Fortune or not, if you want something bad enough you’re gonna make it work, however you make it work.

People see the way we’re dressed & already associate us with LA and the whole ‘foo’ thing, you know? Some think we’re hard & wanna give us a negative shine or whatever… I remember when I first saw the the Clownin’ Around music video that Luis did for us, that was the first time the image of the band really felt encapsulated.

BRANDO: First thing I see is you f*cking smiling, grabbing the 30-pack… <haha>

CHUCKY: That’s what I’m saying. Everything from the car, to being in the hood right there, you know? Getting pressed while we’re shooting out front like, yo, where you foos from? Unfortunately that’s just how some neighborhoods can be, but being in that environment is… I mean god d*mn, we really have to live up to this name because everywhere we go, there’s always some f*cking desmadre going on. It’s a bittersweet feeling when we’re just representing our culture. But that’s what they think we are, I guess. That’s for you to perceive and cast your own judgment upon. There’s no explicit statement that we’re trying to make.

Carlos and I were in a band called Frostbite for something like 11 years; towards the tail end, we wanted to try a different approach. We had a song in that band called Desmadre, so when we were coming up with a new band name, he was like, just f*cking call it Desmadre. Less is more.

BRANDO: Chucky approached me to play bass, showed me what he was up to. I was a fan of Frostbite already, so I was super open to it. We met up in front of Randy’s Donuts in Norwalk, right there off the freeway; I remember sitting in the car out front listening to the first demos.

CHUCKY: In our 3 year span, we haven’t really had an original lineup. We gradually dropped singles instead of going the EP/album route.

Up to this point, I’ve been writing the songs. I pre-produce everything. I sit down with the vocalist and mess around with the patterns so we’re in sync… Me and Carlos used to record vocals inside a closet. I have a one-year-old daughter now so I can’t record at my house anymore, but we’ve grown to the point where we have our own studio. This [gesturing around the room] is where we run music production, merch over here… Now we have Luis as our manager, Martin on drums, Sirrealist as a DJ and rapper, our accordion player Frosty…

It’s been an easy process to get to this point. I’ll write the foundation of a song and everyone meets here to add their spice to it. Like, I’ll bring in demo drum tracks to a session, but when a live drummer touches the kit, the entire dynamic of the song changes. Even down to what our engineer does, I’d say he’s a part of the band as well. There’s a lot of cooks in the kitchen now. It’s been cool, going from being the person trying to get everything done, to everyone sharing the table.

LUIS: DIY is the utmost important key that comes along with being part of the subculture of hardcore punk. And to understand what DIY truly means – I mean, if you want it, you just gotta do it. You wanna play in a band? Get your friends together, listen to cool bands, write music. Put it together and make it happen. You wanna go on tour? You wanna play Seattle, New York, Texas? How are you gonna get there? You figure it out. Book it yourself. My first full US tour, me and my friend Lee booked the whole thing.

Like, that show at First Street Billiards – it was literally me, Carlos, Chucky, and Nate from Xibalba sitting at my kitchen table chopping it up. We should play 1st Street Billiards… We’ll play in the back outside, make the show free to enter… Dude, what if we did a big ass graffiti piece? It was all planned in less than a week.

DIY outside of hardcore is the craziest thing to normal people. But the beauty of that is it gets you into so many cool places because you’re different than everybody else – you look at things a little differently than the average person. When you understand what it takes to create, and how to uphold a community within your own participating efforts, you understand how to be a contributing member to your community and can grasp the importance of giving back.


By Hector Zaldivar

Professional magician. @hexzald