We have a three-word policy in this band, anything more than three words is a big no-no

By Neshy Denton

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Los Dedos looms into view through Bristol’s music scene mist. Their exotic sound perks through the rest of the city’s fog in the most humbling manner. They first said their greetings in 2020 as a newly formed band and released their debut EP “Los Dedos” the following year. Since then, they’ve proved how to break loose on surf rock grooves and compulsive bolero blues – wow, that was not meant to rhyme.

They are a promising three-piece who rely on the diligent principle of giving their listeners a good shimmy. I’ve found myself listening to their addictive energy whilst driving through country roads and feeling completely unstoppable. But other songs would easily align properly with a dreamy margarita on a sunny beach day. Today, they stay true to their word with a steadfast third EP release, and we know it will be a salty one. 

I can’t start this interview without asking first. Why the name Los Dedos? And why a Spanish name? 

Choosing a band name is a nightmare! We had a list of names that we liked and all of them were already taken, so the fact that Los Dedos was available meant it was a winner! We came up with Los Dedos (“The Fingers” in Spanish) and we specifically liked it as we are an instrumental band… we use our hands and fingers to make music with no vocals. We also have a Spanish member of the band, so it made sense to go with Los Dedos.

Bristol’s got the perfect landscape for a sound like yours, but you veer off from the city’s punk blues tendencies towards a more Latin bolero twang. What brought you to this style of music? 

Yes, we are a Bristol-based band, but none of us are originally from Bristol! We weren’t thinking about the local scene when we started. We just started making the music we like. When we started the band we made a playlist of tunes that we liked and many of them had that sound. There is plenty of surf and instrumental music, such as Dick Dale and The Langhorns with that type of Latin flavour who are big influences for us – and we didn’t want to be just another kind of Ventures/Shadows traditional surf band. 

What has the response been like in the UK?

It’s been really good. We have a solid fan base from different parts of the UK within the scene, but we’ve also played at some big festivals and got national radio play. This is where we get exposed to many people who don’t normally listen to surf music. It has given us the opportunity to show different crowds what we do. People come and tell us after our gigs that they had no idea what surf music was about, but they now love it!

I’m sure you’ve been told this already, but your music feels like you’re living a scene in a Tarantino film. Have you ever imagined a specific scenario when writing music?

When you’re writing instrumental music with no lyrics, sometimes it is easier to start with a scenario or a name for a song first and then write a song from it. It’s way better than writing a tune and then coming up with a random name afterwards just because you need a title. We made a list of themes and song titles for our first EP and wrote some songs from there. That’s how songs like Panic Buy and The Bat came about.

Do you think you musically share the same characteristic traits with a Western film? Apologies if this is an odd question. 

Certain elements in our music are similar to those in classic Western soundtracks, but as a three-piece, we can never really achieve that big, epic orchestra sound. Even with our basic lineup, the combination of reverb, heavy twangy guitars, and the occasional trumpet part certainly nods to the music of people like Ennio Morricone, who has influenced us and our sound.

So, what can you tell us about your third EP release? 

It will be titled ‘El Salado’ (Salado means salty in Spanish). Six tracks were recorded in Giant Wafer Studios in 2023. Like in our previous releases, we have a wide range of sounds—some crunchy garage, classic surf, blues, exotic, noir. We like experimenting with different styles! It will be released on 10-inch vinyl, CD, and digitally on April 25th on Otitis Media Records—the title track, ‘El Salado,’ will be the first single.

How has the creative process come along compared to your last projects in terms of writing and influences?

Similar to our last projects, and I’d say that the influences are the same. We tend to write songs and come up with ideas separately, and then we get together and work on arrangements as a full band. That said, the very first demos of the band were written during lockdown, remotely from our houses, and in many cases we wrote songs using programmed drums and looping rhythm sections. So, the songs’ rhythm sections were more rigid. Now we finish the songs and play live demos in the rehearsal room so Sam, our drummer, can take the songs to very different places. Being a three-piece instrumental band certainly has its limitations. But, also, we are very free to let a song or idea take us somewhere we weren’t expecting.

You did say you’re a strictly instrumental band, but do you ever plan on getting vocals on your songs?

We have a three-word policy in this band! Anything more than three words is a big no-no. We have added some backing vocals to ‘Penumbra’ from the new EP, but that’s just some ‘ahhs,’ so it’s allowed.

What is your relationship like with the business side of the industry? Have you had any record deals, or are you an independently driven band?

We are an independent band. However, we have the support of Otitis Media Records. They are a Texas-based label that has helped us with physical releases and distributing our music in the US. Noah and Chris are amazing guys doing so much for upcoming bands and putting out some really great music, so we are really happy to be part of that label!

Any unexpected news we need to keep our ears peeled for? 

Sure! We are releasing a limited edition 7-inch record with Sunnyboy66. He makes amazing compilations and is starting his label. We are very excited to release our single ‘The Hunt’ on vinyl with him. Looking at a summertime release for that.

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