Kristian G. Salaises
Danny Torres Credit: Kristian G. Salaises

Local band Ocho Ojos has been the talk of the Coachella Valley for a couple of years now. With two performances at Coachella under their figurative belts, the eight-eyes clan has been on a roll, with no plans to stop. The band released single “Cali” late last year, and new track “Baile Trankis” arrived in late January. The unique blend of cumbia and psychedelic music makes for perfect party-time jams, as every show from the band feels like a celebration. Behind the keyboard is Danny Torres, the latest to take the Lucky 13; here are his responses.

What was the first concert you attended?

The Sounds of the Underground Tour back in 2006. It was a metal concert with about 10 to 15 bands on the lineup, but I honestly only cared about two of them: Cannibal Corpse and Behemoth.

What was the first album you owned?

The first album I ever purchased with my own money was King Diamond’s Abigail.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of Steely Dan, and some more-contemporary artists like Mayer Hawthorne as well. I’ve really been enjoying a lot of the music Hawthorne has been releasing as a solo artist, and through his side project, Tuxedo—anything groovy and funky. I’m a metal head at heart, though, so I always have Immolation, Pantera and Sepultura on my playlist.

What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get?

I don’t think I can say that about any artist, genre or musical trend. There’s too much music in the world, so many different styles, that even as a musician, for me to say, “I don’t get it,” would be illogical. Music, like any other art form, is meant to be enjoyed (or hated) on an individual basis. I may not like a particular artist or genre, but that doesn’t mean I don’t “get it,” because I do get it. There is a difference, and I understand why people love a certain artist, genre, musical trend, etc.

What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?

Without a doubt, Michael Jackson. Alive would be Sade.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

I’m not sure. I think I enjoy music too much to feel as if I have a “guilty pleasure.” I’m not shy to turn up the volume on any song or artist I like.

What’s your favorite music venue?

As far as performing, my favorite venue to gig at is Club 5 in Indio. It’s a small spot, but they’ve got a good sound system, good vibes para la raza, and great owners! It’s always a fun time performing there.

What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?

“They may fix the weather in the world … but tell me, what’s to be done, ’bout the weather in my head,” “Weather in My Head,” by Donald Fagen. My brother introduced me to this song shortly after my dad passed away, and the lyrics and song really stuck with me. They really helped me through that tough period of time.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Michael Jackson. For as long as I can remember, he has been my No. 1 influence and is one of the main reasons I began playing music. His Moonwalker film was one of my favorite movies to watch as a kid. I have studied him intently as a musician and performer; his entire catalog of music and his live performances have had a huge impact on me, and to this day, I think of him when I’m about to perform.

You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?

“Can I sit in on a studio session?” is what I’d be asking Mr. Donald Fagen of Steely Dan.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

I would have to go with a traditional song that’s played at probably 100 percent of Mexican funerals: “Amor Eterno” by Juan Gabriel.

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?

Bad by Michael Jackson. I can listen to that album in its entirety any time.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

Everyone should listen to the newest single, “Baile Trankis,” by Ocho Ojos (shameless plug). But seriously, check out “Healing” by Mayer Hawthorne. (Scroll down to hear it!)″

Matt King

Matt King is a freelance writer for the Coachella Valley Independent. A creative at heart, his love for music thrust him into the world of journalism at 17 years old, and he hasn't looked back. Before...