Zechs Marquise celebrate 'Getting Paid' release at Low End Theory
Thrusting listeners into chase scenes through psychedelic dreamscapes is nothing new for El Paso prog rock instrumentalists Zechs Marquise. However, the major difference on their latest album, “Getting Paid” (out Wednesday on Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Productions via Sargent House), isn't the fear of being chased, but of what's running up behind you.
Through the incorporation of boom bap beats and sci-fi funk, the images of creepy, red-eyed specters haunting their first album, “Our Delicate Stranded Nightmare,” have been replaced by '70s mobsters, Kung Fu assassins and gun-toting Willie Dynamite lookalikes.
And while it’s not hard to see where Marfred Rodriguez-Lopez and his brothers Marcel and Rikardo garner much of their influence (their older brother is psych rock demigod Omar Rodriguez-Lopez of The Mars Volta), “Getting Paid” adds more concise rhythmic formulas into their Latin-spiked jam band roots.
It makes sense when you consider their longtime friendships and cross pollinations in the underground L.A. beat scene with artists like DJ Nobody, Daedelus and Busdriver. So much so that the news that they’ll be holding their album release party Wednesday as part of the Low End Theory at the Airliner seems like a natural choice.
The ideas for "Getting Paid" were hatched in 2009 with a handful of chopped-up electronic beat sequences hammered out by Marcel Rodriguez-Lopez (who splits time as the percussionist in the Mars Volta and the Omar Rodriguez Lopez Group). From the foundation of those beats came a number of impromptu jams from guitarists Marcos Smith and Matthew Wilkson.
“The idea was to have each song have that element of life and catchiness and a bit of hip-hop influence while making the tracks distinctly different from one another,” Marfred Rodriguez-Lopez said in a recent phone interview with Pop & Hiss. Since their start in 2003, this is the band’s first album to be distributed through a larger indie label like Sargent House.
But this definitely isn't a 180-degree change for the group. Their proclivity for pairing for Tito Puente-inspired salsa grooves with guitar pedal atmospherics still results in many similarities to The Mars Volta. The main difference is that these jams come with a dose of '70s vibes that are less about 'shrooms and more about gold chains and candy-colored Chevy El Dorados.
[The new album] definitely steered us into a different direction,” said Marfred. “I’d say it spawned a lot more creativity from the group as a whole. And we’re looking forward to applying that to the next album as well.”
Zechs Marquise performs Wednesday at the Airliner (Low End Theory). 2419 N. Broadway, Los Angeles. (323) 221-0771, www.lowendtheoryclub.com. $10. 10 p.m. 18+.
Photo: Zechs Marquise, from left, is Marcos Smith, Matthew Wilkson, Marfred Rodriguez-Lopez, Marcel Rodriguez-Lopez and Rikardo Rodriguez-Lopez. Credit: Courtesy Zechs Marquise.