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Article: De La Hoya Interview.
Writer: Brinepacer
Date Posted: 22/02/00

Interview with Oscar and Aaron of De La Hoya. Check the music reviews section for the lowdown on their 'Has No Credibility' EP, out on Rok Lok records. A band well worth investigating.

O - oscar, guitarist of De La Hoya
A - aaron, singer of De La Hoya

1. What inspired the name De La Hoya?
O - The name comes from a list of possible band names made up by our original bassist and drummer. It's partly a joke on my name. It doesn't really mean anything.
A - Apparently it means "of the container," or something. I don't speak much spanish, so I'm at the hands of those who do.

2. When did you form? How did you reach this line up?
O- Aaron and I met at college orientation week in the hot summer of 1997.
A - I first saw oscar shirtless in a towel.
O - He was in a ska band called Skatallica, which I think is awesome. And funny.
A - The jokes never stop. He was in a band called Mindset, even though he knew some other band was already called that.
O - We went through many different bassists and drummers before I found Carly and Jaime through an ad in a 'zine store. That is the lineup on the CD EP "has no credibility". That version of DLH did 2 tours supporting that record. Carly left the band towards the end of 1998...
A - It was in September, actually.
O - ...and Chad Austin joined on bass. We did 2 more tours, and somewhere in there we recorded a record with Don Fury, who also produced it, called "DANCE! Techno Mega-Mix Vol.42" for Red Leader Records ( That record is just beginning to see the light of day.
A - Meaning that it might actually come out sometime soon.
O - But anyway, after we finished the new record and a US tour, Aaron and I parted ways with Jaime and Chad. Our new drummer used to be in a ska band called the Loose Nuts, and Al from my other band Nakatomi Plaza is temping on bass.

3. What would cause the band to break up?
O - Nuclear winter. No, really. For me, when it stops being fun, I will stop being in DLH. But I don't envision that happening anytime soon.
A - When I start dating Yoko Ono.

4. Describe your music for someone who's never heard... music?
A - The sounds we create are not what you would call original, but they are our own, and in that way, they are somewhat unique. With any luck, the sonic value of delahoya makes your pulse quicken, your head nod, and hopefully, it makes your mouth smile, or at least smirk.

5. What inspired you to play the music you do?
O - I've been playing music for a long time. Then when I was 12 years old I heard Nirvana...
A - He had really long hair.
O - ...and then shortly after that I got into punk hardcore.
A - Oscar says punk hardcore as if it's one word.
O - Ignore him. My favorite bands in high school were Quicksand, Gorilla Biscuits, Lifetime, Garden Variety, and Sunny Day Real Estate. So I do it 'cause I love the music. Now I also do it for the kids.
A - One time when I was in high school we had some motivational speaker ask us if we'd rather lose our vision or our hearing. Mostly everyone wanted to keep their vision, but I wanted to keep my hearing because at the time, I was so enthralled with the sounds that were entering my ears each time I went home and turned on the stereo. The idea that I could make similar sounds come from my mouth and my hands so excited me that I had to try it.

6. What have you released so far?
O - There were 2 self-titled demo tapes. God awful stuff.
A - Wait...the first demo sucked, and probably no one will ever hear it except for the people at Coney Island High who never returned our calls. But some people actually like the second one, and it has decent sound quality.
O - And then we did the Has No Credibility cdep (originally pressed by Traffic Violation and Crap Records, now pressed by Rok Lok and my own BD Records). And then we recorded the track "How to Get to Heaven from Chatanooga, TN" for the Incompatible 3.0 cd-rom (put out by Victory and Punk Uprisings). That also included a DIY music video (shot by Arun from I Farm) for the track "Follow". The cd-rom is now out of print, but you can find "How to Get to Heaven" on Rok Lok's "The Hope Machine" compilation cd. And right now we are feverishly awaiting the release of our first full-length "DANCE! Techno Mega-Mix Vol. 42" which is on Red Leader Records.
A - The Incompatible Comp is still floating around in a lot of stores even though you can't order it anymore, and the video is great, if only for laughs.

7. How did you hook up with your record label? How do you get on with them?
O - With Rok Lok, I was looking for someone to help BD split the repress of "Has No Credibility". I knew of Rok Lok because Nakatomi Plaza had toured with On the Might of Princes, who did their first record with Rok Lok. So I called Mike and asked if he was interested, and we hit it off. Mike's a great guy who puts out good records. We have no complaints about him. With Red Leader, we had heard good things about Matt so we asked if he wanted to do the new full-length.
A - Considering that we thought our record was going to be out months and months ago indicates some of how we feel about our label relations. Though we made some sophomoric assumptions, we would be lying if we denied the periodic tension that occurs between us and those responsible for putting out the "DANCE" record.

8. How does the songwriting process work in the band? Is it one person or a democracy? Do you fight much over how a song turns out?
O - Aaron and I have always been the songwriters of the band. It's pretty democratic, and we always try to take whatever music a person brings in and improve on it. We don't fight per se, but we do go through alot of trial and error together.
A - Actually, some of the material is very collaborative and some of it is not at all. When it comes to structure, chord arrangement, and major stuff like that, we definitely solicit opinions from each other and from whoever else was in the band at the time. But there are other times, either lyrically or on guitar parts, when we don't ever touch what the other person has done because we know that whether due to passion or skill, we won't do it better.

9. What inspires your lyrics? Do you consider the lyrics to be as or more imprortant as the music?
O - Some punk bands base their existence on their lyrics and don't care about the quality of their music at all. Some bands sing about nothing but they can play the shit out of their guitars. I like to think that DLH is a band that's trying to write interesting music that is the soundtrack for an important message.
A - What got me into punk rock was the lyrical content, but it doesn't make sense to be in a band and not think the music is important, because you can just take your lyrics and be a slam poet and not worry about paying van insurance. The music is also important because it makes us multi-dimensional. We don't say anything that can't be found in some book or in one's own mind. And hell, some of our songs are simply relationship songs that we play for our own catharsis, and I don't know if I think those are really important at all, except to us. As for the inspiration, it initially came from how completely overwhelmed I was with the injustice in the world, particularly involving the U.S. So I had to write a few songs saying "America's bad" and "start the revolution" and so on. The songs on the new album are hopefully more thoughtful than that. The message takes these things as a given, the assumption that we need to make some major changes, and then chips away at more interesting questions within that. And then there's a handful of songs that are just about experiences we've had or people we know. It's a bit of a grab bag.

10. What was the best show/tour you've played? Who's your favourite touring partners? If you could get on any tour, what would it be?
O - My favorite tour was our East Coast tour with D.B.S (from Canada). They were alot of fun to hang out with, and they put on an amazing show every night. We just did a weekend of shows with Strike Anywhere, and that was a whole lot of fun. There's also a band from Gloucester, MA called BoxingWater that's we like to play shows with.

11. What do you fight over the most? What was the worst band fight?
O - um...
A - It would be cheap to not answer the most interesting question, so I'll give you as much as I can while being discreet. Basically, it was in a Denny's parking lot in Salt Lake City and it involved two members standing by and watching while the two others screamed fuck you as loud as they could at each other while locals rushed their kids inside the restaurant. The fight was about a cup of coffee and a cell phone, though I'd say some other issues were at stake.

12. How do you define selling out?
A - I think this term can only be self-applied, and I would only use it if I knew I was making music that I thought sucked for reasons other than making shitty music.
O - Aaron sold out with Skatallica.
A - Hey, we thought the music was good at the time.

13. Do you see the record as promotion for the tour or the tour as promotion for the record?
O - It works hand in hand. You need to sell records on tour so you can eat and get gas money, and at the same time, you're on tour to let everyone know who you are and that you have a record that they should hear.
A - I see the record as a way to hear a good band and tour as a way to hear a good band. Honestly, most of the support for tour and record have not come from each other but from our pockets and the pockets of those labels that have helped us out.

14. What is the nicest and meanest thing said about your band?
O - There's been too many nice things. There was a kid in Chicago that did a term paper on De La Hoya, and his band covered "Follow". There are letters and emails from kids that think that we're doing good things. I don't know. People are generally nice. The meanest thing: De La Hoya killed punk rock (in reference to how our first release on a label was not a 7"). Fuck the rules dude.
A - Ha! I forgot about that guy. Yeah, that kid had a loose grip on the realities of trying to start a band, and too firm a grip on what punk is. The meanest thing might have been this review from a canadian magazine called stylus who said that we sounded like a bad propagandhi ripoff with annoying leads and bad vocals. It was also a pretty honest review because it said that lyrically we were telling the same old story, which I think was true in many ways. The nicest thing...who knows. The best thing I can think of was when a kid wrote to us saying that seeing us play helped him through a really bad time in his life, though he also wrote that he wanted a date with Carly.

15. Do you think the emergence of punk in the mainstream (a la Blink 182) has effected punk at a grassroots level?
A - Blink and company do a few things. First of all, they, Green Day, and the Offspring all get props for actually being bands for years with albums and shows before their major label debuts. That's more than we can say for most anything else on the radio. Blink's most negative effect is it de-politicizes punk rock to an extent. If I tell a co-worker or an acquaintance that I'm in a punk band, they often equate that not with anti-establishment rock, but with melodic music that kind of rocks and lyrically explores sexuality and boredom. Blink have, from what I can tell, absolutely no relevance to current politics. So the fact that they get called punk rock dillutes the power of that term. I think Blink is also good, because they can offer a bridge between pop and punk-type sounds, so maybe they will attract some kids to bands that have that sound and have a political message. As for ideology, I heard them bashing Fugazi for charging so little for their shows, and that lack of consideration for the fans is certainly damaging.
O - I don't like Blink at all. Not in the least. And I have the utmost respect for Fugazi.
A - 1,2,3 Repeater.

16. Do you see MP3 as a help or a hindrance? How important do you see the web as a tool for band promotion?
A - For us it's clearly a help. We get publicity for free, what more could we want? I think few bands are truly suffering from it. I would argue that MP3's attract just as many potential buyers as they do lose them. And even if they don't buy the album, they still come to the show, pay their money at the door, which is the important thing. We need to worry about bringing people out to shows so we can keep our van running on tour, and mp3's help us do that.
O - It is really important for our community to continue fucking with the system anyway we can, and one target should be the Music Industry. It is important that we don't buy CDs that retail for $18 at a chain store. It's important for us to know where our money is going, and it's important for us to channel that money back into our own community where it can do good. So in conclusion, please continue encoding your CDs into MP3s and trading them online, but also remember to support DIY bands and labels by purchasing their records.
A - Sorry we're so preachy today.

17. What does the future hold for De La Hoya?
A - Hopefully some more serious touring. We'll be out of college in a couple months, so then we can really hit the road, maybe actually leave the country and hit eastern europe or something.
O - How about some sleep for Oscar?