tristan reyes

The Stranger sent AJ Dávila, singer and multi-instrumentalist of Puerto Rican garage-rock band Dávila 666, a few questions via e-mail. He answered them all in Spanish, and despite the help of two bilingual translators who worked on the responses all day long, we're still not really sure what he's talking about half the time. Anyway, here's what he said.

Let's start with some basics. How long have you guys been playing together?
Greetings, Seattle. We have been playing together as Dávila 666 since December 2005, but we've been like a family doing lots of things together before that—from selling crack, to stealing bicycles to give to beautiful transsexuals who don't have any money, to gangsta rap; we've been in orphanages, knife fights, cock fights, and have had lots and lots of fun.

What are the good rock venues to visit in Puerto Rico?
La Perla, Vista Hermosa, El Cotto, Monte Hatillo, Quintana, La Colectora. There you will find the best rock in Puerto Rico. Now, if you are referring to music, the answer is Costa Bar, Taller CE, Nuestro Son, and many more.

What is your practice space like?
In Puerto Rico, we practice in the Foam House Studio. It's the studio of two great friends of ours, Armando Lassus and Waldemar Izquierdo. It has great equipment, a good vibe. It's like playing in the shower. It's our second home. We've been practicing there since we started the band, and we'd never go anywhere else, because your home is always your home.

What does the name Dávila 666 mean? Are you guys Puerto Rican satanists?
Dávila is a popular Puerto Rican last name and 666 is the number of the beast. It means Puerto Rican son of a bitch. There's nothing more satanic than being a badass dude who does whatever the fuck he wants.

It seems like reggaeton is the biggest thing in Puerto Rico right now. What drew you to garage/punk rock instead?
Reggaeton is the same as garage—it's a music that has grown from its roots in its own way. With garage or reggaeton, if it's good, it's good.

Who is Daddy Yankee? If you could say anything to him right now, what would it be?
Daddy Yankee is a legend of reggaeton, an artist of the most famous genre in the world. Great person. I've met him personally. We train at the same boxing gym in Puerto Rico. If I were to tell him something, it would be, "Daddy, let's go find some bitches!"

You're at home right now... if you could go out and see any local band, who would it be?
Holidey (degenerate and demented rap), Lopodrido (my favorite Puerto Rican punk band), Los Vigilantes, Las Ardillas, Necronazis, Circo, Plan B (rogue reggaeton), Yowell y Randy (the best Puerto Rican reggaeton), and Disco Danser. Those are the ones that I'd go see. They are the best of the best.

People in the United States are pretty excited about your self-titled album on In the Red Records. Is that your only record?
We have a 7-inch with HoZac and another with Douchemaster Records. We are going to put out an EP for Norton Records, a split of Rolling Stones covers, a split with Thomas Function for Vice Records, a cassette for Burger Records, and our new disc is coming out next year.

What's the best part of touring the United States?
Watching American football games and listening to Kenny G all day in the bus.

I've read that your New York shows get packed with Puerto Rican attendees. Do you feel a sense of support from countrymen when you tour abroad?
New York is like an extension of Puerto Rico. There are more Puerto Ricans there than on the island [Puerto Rico]. Whenever we play in the Big Apple, it's like being at home. It's like a romantic salsa party at the beach. Nowadays, there are so many Puerto Ricans and Latinos all over the States, and it's a blessing to be able to see people who speak your same language. When we played in Toronto, the last place we expected to find Latinos, we made friends with some Dominican bachata musicians, took them to our show, and even though they have different styles of music, Latinos abroad always have a sense of unity. It doesn't matter where we are, Latinos always understand each other, and we're always like a family. We know how to get together wherever and whenever. So, baby, start a fire, the pot is full of asopao [stew] and the people want to party. recommended

Translation by Lee Wilson and Elena de la Cruz.