LAist Interview: Dios (Malos)
Don’t be fooled. Just because, Dios(Malos) formerly Dios, soon to be We Are Dios, change their name more often than Prince, it doesn’t mean they are flaky about this music stuff. These guys are in it for the long-haul, calling themselves “lifers.” Veterans as it were of the Los Angeles music scene which is as beautiful, quick burning, and potentially dangerous as a homemade bottle rocket.
With their music prone to exciting and unexpected experimentation, music critics have a hard time pinning down their sound. Their music is heavily influenced by the golden age of psychedelic rock that came out of the 1960s, but honestly what isn’t? The point is that these guys do it well. The thundering fuzzy guitars, flutes, organs, reverb, and other implements of destruction float through your brain with a grace that eludes most pop music. Dios (Malos) will capture your imagination and hold it hostage for a couple days.
We caught up with lead singer, Joel Jerome and bassist, John Paul Caballero, at the aptly named Rock It Cafe in Hawthorne to ask them a few questions:
"Epileptic Tunnel Vision"
Where did you get the name Dios (Malos)?
Joel: We used to be called God. You know as a joke. So people could say, "God is playing here tonight." And then we added a little mystery and switched it to the Spanish, Dios.
John: It's kind of ambiguous, you know? No one knows if we're a metal band or a techno band or what.
So how did become Dios (Malos)?
Joel: We actually had to change it because of an injuction from the heavy metal singer Jonny Dios. They said it sounded too similar. And after 30 different variants of Dios they accept Dios(Malos) as an alternative. But I think on this next album we will change it to We Are Dios.
Joel: We're really just kinda sick of people asking what it means anymore. We Are Dios is much simpler.
Do you consider yourselves part of a music scene?
Joel: No, I don't think there is really a scene at all. I think for a scene you need like three or four bands playing together all the time.
John: Yeah, it's more of a music writers take on a sound. You know when there are three or four bands playing in a certain area.
Joel: Like in San Pedro, where I live now there is a small scene. There are a bunch of bands that usually play together at parties and stuff, but it's a small one, I guess.
Do you like being on stage or recording better?
Joel: Recording definitely, recording. I mean, I like being on stage too, but there's an anxiety there. It's not the people, though. I can play in front of thousands of people, but I want it to sound good. I need to play good. What we do on record is really hard to reproduce live, and I want to represent it live. Sometimes it's awful, I worry so much that I can't just relax and play.
John: When you record too there aren't limitations. And when it's live you have less control. I mean having a bad monitor can ruin a whole set.
What is the weirdest thing you saw on stage?
John: We were playing at Bonarroo this one time, and everyone starts cheering us on. So, we were like "Hey we're playing really good." And then we realize that there's this naked guy hanging from the rafters. We thought they were cheering for us, but they were egging this guy on as he climbed the wall. Completely buck-naked, and then he fell. It was super high, you know and he broke his leg. The guy was on tons of acid or something and thought he could fly. It was hilarious to watch, you know before he fell.
Do you consider yourselves a democratic band or a dictatorship in the way you function?
Joel: A dictatorship!
John:No, no we're more like a constitutional monarchy. We have a parliamentary system.
Joel: Yeah, I get the final say because I write the music, but I love input. I really really like feedback, but ultimately it's my decision.
Do you guys get to hangout much outside the band?
John: No, we're like an old married couple that doesn't sleep together anymore. Because we live all over the place, we don't get to see each other outside the band.
Joel: But we're all still very fond of each other.
John:Yeah, we get along great on tour! We get along perfectly.
Be sure to go see Dios (Malos) this month at the Spaceland on Mondays. Really you have no excuse. It's free! Or get down to more of their groovy tunes at dios malos.