Cholo Goth is a thing. Here, there and all around the Southwest, the sound—and the subculture—is becoming all the rage at dance parties, clubs and concerts. All in all it’s a darkly glorious homage to what was and what might yet be, whether that includes low-riding pachuco pants, frajos and rolled-up bandanas or black eye shadow, lipstick and chains.
You can thank the dudes from Prayers, a musical duo outta San Diego in Califas, for bringing this new sound, attitude and subculture to the light—to the delight of audiences across the nation.
Prayers (Dave Parley and Rafael Reyes) makes music that is centered on a sort of wantonly cray and crashing keyboard kindness, along the lines of goths who came before, namely outfits like Christian Death, Depeche Mode and probably the whole dang darkwave catalog made between 1979 and just last week.
Reyes and Parley infuse this black vibe with with ideas and experiences gathered during Reyes time as a member of the Sherman Grant Hill Park 27 gang, a seriously intense criminal enterprise from which the two began the deconstructive expository process that ultimately resulted in def and dark tuneage like “From Dog to God” and “Drugs.”
In reality, it probably helps to experience all of the above firsthand, but if you’re not down to be part of la vida loca, you can still get a fine approximation of the flavor by listening or dancing or just staring into space as the fantastic mix of two distinct lifestyles coalesces onstage.
Cholo Goth Night, featuring Dave Parley of Prayers is happening at Inside Out (622 Central Ave. SW) on Friday, June 21. In order to find out more about all of this, I rang Dave Parley up to ask him what in the heck is going on with the genre, the subculture and its Chicanismo. This is what he told me.
Weekly Alibi: Hey, is this Dave Parley?
Dave Parley: Hey, what’s up, blood? How are you?
So Cholo Goth Night is coming up in Burque ...
Are you gonna spin some heavy tuneage? And what exactly is Cholo Goth, by the way?
It’s the music that me and my brother, Rafael Reyes, make. I do Cholo Goth Night in honor of the music we make as Prayers. So I play all the songs from our band and the music that inspired us to create the sound we have with Prayers. It’s a lot of darkwave, new wave, ’90s hip-hop. It could be anything really; Cholo Goth is what I want to play.
So is Cholo Goth an identity, too?
Yeah, that’s what we are. That’s how we identify, so that’s what we create.
For people who haven’t really listened to those things you reference, how would you describe the musical component of Cholo Goth?
For someone who has never listened to our music, the easiest way to understand it is like this: If you like Depeche Mode mixed with NWA but with a Mexican flavor, then that’s what it sounds like. That’s Cholo Goth.
I can dig that. Where does your sound come from?
It comes straight out of San Diego, California. But I’m originally from Tijuana in Baja California, and my brother is from Michoacán.
Does Mexican culture shine through in your music?
Yeah, but we love darkwave and new wave, too, and everything that’s related to that. The ’80s. My brother is a real cholo, a real gang member. He grew up in the ’90s, so he listened to all that West Coast hip-hop, too.
Do you dig Morrisey?
Yeah, that’s included. Cholo Goth is pretty much like freedom to look or to speak or listen to what you want. It’s freedom to be who you really are.
Why should Burqueños come out to see you on Cholo Goth Night?
So that you can be around people that are having a good time, forgetting what their lives are for the moment. Everbody is welcome and all becomes one at Cholo Goth Night. No matter what, all is one, ese.