Local Latin-folk band, “We the Folk,” can be seen every Sunday at the Culver Hotel, entertaining guests and fans with their lively, vivacious and fun take on the folk genre, which is exotic while tipping the hat to the traditional. David Childs plays accordion in the band, and so we spoke to him about what we can expect if we drop by on a Sunday night…
CULVER CITY NEWS: WHEN DID THE BAND FORM?
David Childs: We the Folk formed back at UCLA, where we all met. At the beginning, it was a trio. It was David and another accordion player, and Gabriel the fiddle player. All music students at UCLA, and the mission was to create a good band and to play pop-up events. Showing up outside a frat house or on the street corner in Westwood. That’s what it was for a while. Then we the folk gained some legitimacy when we opened for David Grisman, the famous bluegrass musician, at Royce Hall. That was one of the earliest real performances of the band. After that, we added a drummer and a bass player. That was our new rhythm section, and we become a quintet. We started doing more house parties, the coffee house at UCLA, and Spring Sing which is the UCLA talent show. We won ‘Best Band’ in 2014. That was a great boost for us. We picked up a couple of residencies around town – we started playing in 2015 at Culver Hotel. They usually have jazz there, but we’re the one group that’s not jazz. We play Seventy7 Lounge right across the street twice a month, on the second and fourth Wednesdays. We played The Mint a while back, and that was our first legitimate venue. We did a Troubadour show a year-and-a-half ago opening for The Dustbowl Revival. That was another step up for us. We decided to make that our album release night. So we released our first album April 23 2016.
DESCRIBE THE SOUND…
Not traditional. This is a hard question because our instrumentation is pretty typical of a Latin music ensemble – accordion, guitar, violin, Latin percussion, and upright bass. Right now, we’re saying it’s a Latin gypsy fusion. When we cover pop tunes, it ends up sounding like that. On iTunes, our genre is folk, but I don’t think that categorizes up properly.
WHERE ARE YOU BASED?
Our home base for the last couple of years has been Culver City, because we have a couple of regular gigs there. For a good period of time, we’ve all lived in Culver City, though we’ve spread out a bit now.
HOW DID THE RESIDENCY WITH THE CULVER HOTEL HAPPEN?
They reached out to us a couple of years ago, asking us to come in for a night. We saw it as a good opportunity. It was basically an audition. We went in and played, and got the gig. We3’ve played there every week for two years, and it’s been one of the most fruitful things we’ve done. It’s a great way to get our music out into the public.
DO YOU MIX UP THE SET WEEK-TO-WEEK?
We have a repertoire that we play every week but we’re picking up new songs all the time, and we quick-arrange music. We can get requests and arrange it then and there on the spot. We have certain go-to songs that we have every week. Lately, we’ve been enjoying playing the “Game of Thrones” theme.
IS THE AUDIENCE THE BUILT-IN HOTEL AUDIENCE, OR ARE PEOPLE COMING TO SEE YOU?
More and more, people are coming to see us. But every night, most of the faces are new. That’s a great thing, but it’s also good to have regulars.
What can we EXPECT from this set?
You can expect some good background music for the first half hour of our playing as we warm up. Then, as theaudience gets a couple of drinks in them, we’ll kick up the beat a little bit. We’ll add in some more Latin characteristics to our set. You can expect from originals from us, in Spanish and English. And also some covers of songs that you recognize.
WHAT ELSE DO YOU HAVE COMING UP?
We’re playing several weddings. We are working on a spring tour, although nothing is finalized. We also have other residencies around down.
We the Folk plays the Culver Hotel every Sunday from 7:30 p.m.; 9400 Culver Blvd., Culver City; 310-558-9400; culverhotel.com.