A very dynamic sit down with the founders of the band, Luis Hernandez (guitar) and David Silva (drums) while working in new rhythms and material.
In December of last year, I went to the House of Blues in Anaheim to cover a Maskatesta show, and among the many opening bands that night, was a band called Simbala. I only caught the last couple of songs of their set, one of them was an original song and another was a No Doubt cover, but even the No Doubt cover sounded different, they put their own spin on it, while, their original song, had this reggae and ska vibe. There was something different about their original song and it just stuck with me through the night, even through all the other veteran ska bands.
Soon after that night, I began to see the band show up on different flyers for shows around town playing the House of Blues, The Conga Room and playing with bands like Gondwana and other top artist. I had the pleasure of enjoying Simbala’s music once again at the Unirock Festival in Boyle Heights, this time, I made sure I caught their whole set and they blew me away with their energy, charisma and their playing abilities. Then, I caught the band once again at the King King in Hollywood, they were no disappointment. Unfortunately, after the last concert, I lost sight of them, until recently, when I got the chance to talk to the founders of the band, Luis Hernandez (guitar) and David Silva (drums) as they were in the studio working on new materia.
Al Borde – Simbala was very active for a while, but then it sort of disappeared, was this a planned hiatus, or what happened?
David – It was not planned, it just happened, we just needed to refocus so we decided to stop for a while but we are back and everyone has a more mature attitude. Now looking back, it was actually a good thing to take some time off from playing live, because it gave us the chance to work on some new music and we have renewed hopes and we really like the music we have written and we are pumped for going back out and playing live.
Tell us about the beginning of the band?
David – Simbala started in 2010, but Luis and I have been playing together since 2006, but we were just learning to play together and we didn’t really have any plans for a band at that time, we were just jamming and it allowed us to develop our style, which we later incorporated into Simbala.
Tell us how the name Simbala came about?
David – I was looking through a book for baby names and I found about 4 different names based on the personality of the band members and within those names, “Simbala” was one of them. “Simbala” is an Indian name and it has different meanings and one of them is “power” which goes with our philosophy for our music and I also liked the way it sounded and everyone in the band liked it.
Luis – “Simbala” also has a kind of mystical ring to it.
Although your music, some people would consider to be Ska and reggae, I detect many other aspects, what are your influences?
Luis – I have always been about reggae and David was always a classic rock guy, so we already had this connection with those two styles and when we met our bass player Rolando and singer Sandra, they were into ska, so we figured we would try something in that style and it really worked well with our influences, but it does have a different feel and sound that incorporates all the influences we all bring to the band.
David – We don’t really consider ourselves a ska band, because we have so many influences and perhaps that’s why we haven’t really fit in with the other bands in the L.A. ska scene, but we are really happy with the way the band sounds and we want to have the freedom to try out different ideas.
When you are writing or recording, do you try to follow a certain path that you think people will like or what is your process?
David – We do it for ourselves first, we want to create something that we like and enjoy and hopefully the audience will like it. We are the type of musicians that create music for the sake of the music, if you start creating music to try to appeal to the taste of people, then you begin to lose your identity as musicians or artists.
Now that Simbala is back in full swing, you can catch their energetic live performance this Thursday night at The King King in Hollywood for A & M Entertainment’s “Dia De Nuestros Muertos” celebration along with Signa and Les Yeskaz.
To keep track of Simbala’s performances and news about their new music, you can follow them on Facebook at Simbala Latin-Rock Ska.