Davila 666 discusses new album, 'Tan Bajo,' on In the Red Records
Puerto Rican garage rock band Davila 666 inspires a fierce loyalty among its fans. At its last appearance at Gonerfest in Memphis, Tenn., crazed concert-goers brandished Puerto Rican flags and the dance floor was quickly flooded with jubilant gushes of Pabst.
“We were so amazed when we saw all those Puerto Rican flags,” said bassist AJ Davila, speaking from the tour van that will land him and his band mates in Los Angeles on Sunday night. “It’s crazy because we have a lot more love in the United States than we do in Puerto Rico, even in any town in South America. It has become our land, our place.”
Thanks to that fervent fan base, plus a string of solid releases on independent labels such as HoZac Records, Rob’s House Records and L.A.’s own In the Red Records, not to mention a herculean touring schedule, Davila 666 has spread its joyful gospel of melodic, garage pop and raging punk rock from coast to coast.
It’s no surprise the band inspires strong loyalty, because it’s a quality it gives right back. Its sophomore platter, “Tan Bajo,” released in March, is dedicated to the memory of late garage rocker Jay Reatard, who was an early supporter of its efforts. The entire record was recorded using a microphone Reatard gave the band as a gift during a spin through Memphis. And although Davila 666 is managed by big-league Vice Records, it's stayed true to In the Red, the label that gave it its first big break.
“Larry has been like a father,” said AJ Davila, speaking of Larry Hardy, the label’s honcho. “Since we started in music we have always been In the Red fans, so to be a part of the family now is like a dream come true. All we have is because of him. All we have for Larry and In the Red is mad love, much love and respect.”
Later this year the label will be releasing an EP that is essentially the second half of “Tan Bajo.” “We recorded, like, 25 songs,” explained AJ Davila. “But we only took the first half for ‘Tan Bajo,’ so the second half is coming out now.” Compared to the band's self-titled debut album from 2008, which had a more pop oriented edge, the new album was an exercise in experimentation.
“We recorded everything in two weeks,” said AJ. “And every time we made songs it sounded darker and more psychedelic. We did what we always do with pop hooks and melody, but we tried to experiment more. We just let everything flow.”
Once the current tour concludes on Nov. 7, Davila 666 will return to Puerto Rico to begin work on its third album, this time allowing a more luxurious time frame for its efforts. “We’re going to get a big house in the countryside of Puerto Rico,” said AJ Davila, “and bring our studio over there and record for two months.”
-- Jason Gelt
Davila 666 with Cheap Time and Fidlar at the Echo, 1822 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park. 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $12.
Photo: Davila 666. Credit: Vice Records