For the past decade, Piñata Protest has been rocking the Latino music scene with their accordion-infused, punk rock, Tex-Mex sound. Their lively mixes and Spanglish lyrics created a movement Latino audiences all over the country can relate to, winning them a gig at Sound On Sound Music Festival on Nov. 4. The Daily Texan spoke with lead singer and accordionist Alvaro Del Norte about the San Antonio band’s tour, their inspirations and how they influence Latino culture.
The Daily Texan: What kind of elements did you decide to incorporate into your music when creating your sound?
Alvaro Del Norte: Definitely the accordion — that is what separates us from most other bands. Specifically, the one I play, the button accordion — I have it tuned to a Norteño sound, which is the music we mixed into our sound.
DT: How did you end up mixing this with a rock-punk sound to create your music?
ADN: In punk rock, you can have a simple social rhythm, and it’s almost like polka. In a lot of ways, it’s just traditional rhythms sped up and played more aggressively.
DT: Where do you get your inspiration for your lyrics?
ADN: Everything just comes from things that the band has been through: life and, well, everything. We have some songs that are more politically-based, and then there are other ones that are about thinking. There are others about heartbreak and falling in love.
DT: You are on a tour with Brujeria and some of the posters for the tour are politically inclined. What sort of critique have you gotten from this?
ADN: There hasn’t been any negative critique. Given what happens during the shows, especially with the band Brujeria during their set, they will get the crowd to chant “F*** Donald Trump” and I think it is very unanimous how everybody feels. A lot of people there are Latino or some version of that. There definitely are a lot of Hispanics who come to the show and everybody there feels the same way, but we haven’t gotten anything negative at all.
DT: How is the tour going?
ADN: Very, very good. We were a little bit skeptical that the Brujeria fans would not enjoy our music because they are more heavy metal and we are more upbeat and punk-rock. It seemed at first that people were a little confused and didn’t know what to make of us. [When] we get onstage, I pop out my accordion, and I can see [people] turn to their friend and make a comment, but as the show goes on, the crowd warms up, and by the end, everybody gets what we’re doing.
DT: How do you hope your music will influence the Latino culture in the U.S. right now?
ADN: A lot of people who have come to our shows say, “Your music is helping to bridge the cultural musical gap between myself and my kids, or just myself.” A lot of people will come up and tell me that a certain family member, usually a father or grandfather, would play accordion, and our music helped them get in touch with that and where they come from. I dig that, because I went through that myself. That is how the band started. I was trying to find myself growing up, and one thing I looked at was all the music I grew up listening to, and I ended up falling in love with it after initially hating it. It helped me get in touch with my roots.
Piñata Protest will perform Friday, Nov. 4 at Sound on Sound Music Festival.