AJ Davila-- A Shot of Puerto Rican Garage Rock Straight to the Heart

Love/Terror in DC on Halloween Weekend

Posted on Sunday, 26/10/2014
By:Juan Leon

When I had the pleasure of reviewing AJ Davila's raw and joyous album Terror Amor last year, I had the distinct feeling that although the echoes of influences past -- maybe The Cramps, My Bloody Valentine, Jesus and Mary Chain -- were pumping through the heart of Davila's solo debut, something distinctly, fiercely original had been forged through Davila and his collaborators' unbounded creativity and unique cultural perspective.

No surprise then when NPR starts running articles on what sounds like a wild underground rock scene brewing in Puerto Rico (Davila's homeland). 

The Black Cat hosts a solo set from the former Davila 666 frontman this Halloween weekend as part of the Burgerama Caravan of Stars. Terror, love, and Halloween? Sounds about right.

AJ Davila y Terror Amor

Check out Kesta's interview with AJ below:

Kesta Happening: I’ve read a lot about the burgeoning indie/underground rock scene in Puerto Rico. Could you talk a little bit about this? What’s it like? Is this going on in New York’s Puerto Rican community as well?

AJ Davila: Right now Puerto Rico has one of the best music scenes in Latin America! The quality and the quantity of the bands are great and we are talking about a non rock and roll oriented nation. The kids are hungry to make music. The scene is really small so everybody knows everybody-- from the punk shows, hip hop and electronic music. You can see that in New York too. You have groups like Buscabulla and Balun playing a lot and making great music!

KH: Terror Amor sounds incredibly raw and different from most of what’s out there in the music world these days (it reminds me a little of bands like The Cramps, My Bloody Valentine and the Jesus and Mary Chain), where does that sound come from?

AJ: I dont know! I'm a music lover...I love the old school sound of recordings. I do every thing in my living room...so with the little things I have, I try to do the best I can.

KH: Could you talk a little bit about Terror/Amor (What it was like recording the album, where your inspiration came from, etc.)?

AJ: Of all the albums that I've recorded this is my favorite by far! I experimented a lot in the studio with different sounds and I took my time to write. The album is about all the things I have been through for the last 2 years. It's an album about heartbreaks, revenge, and the wild life! It's an open book for my last 2 years.

KH: Do you think there’s a certain way the “latin rock” sound is perceived (especially in the US)?

AJ: Yeah, people in the states and in a lot of places in the world-- including Latin America -- think that to play latin rock you have to have some kind of latin instrumentation or tropical flavor and that's bullshit. I don't like the term "latin rock." I play rock-and-roll and it's in Spanish because that's my language. Do people call rock in Asia, Asian rock?

KH: How is that perception changing with groups like Davila 666, and La Vida Boheme?

AJ: We have made our careers in the United States and Europe singing in Spanish...We are part of all the indie music scene in the States. A lot of bands in Latin America think that to play in the States you have to sing in English to make it and that's not true! Music is a universal language and people feel that. So yeah, I think we are doing a change.

KH: Who are some of your influences?

AJ: A Tribe Called Quest, TLC, The Stooges, Cam'ron, Mazzy Star, The Rolling Stones, Marvin Gaye, Depeche Mode, Harold Bud, Tom Waits, John Lee Hooker, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, David Bowie, Curve, etc.

KH: What are your thoughts on DC?

AJ: I've played a few times at the Black Cat...I love the city!

KH: What can we expect at the show on November 1st?

AJ: Pure Energy and Black Magic!!!

 

See AJ Davila live this weekend 11/1 at the Black Cat with Dum Dum Girls, CHERRY GLAZERR together PANGEA, EX COPS, and MOZES & THE FIRSTBORN.

(Doors open at 7:30PM)

Black Cat
1811 14th St NW
Washington, DC

 

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