In an evening fogged with an amazing impromptu, living room performance, an intense Magma DVD session, and one of my favorite video shoots I’ve ever done, these two creatures—Paco and Sergio of Corima—touched down on earth to relate to me their mission here, how their journey to Los Angeles was, and—of course—their love for Magma and all things Zeuhl.
Band name: Corima
Origins: El Paso, TX
Band Members: Paco (keyboards) and Sergio (drums)
What are your musical histories like?
Sergio: I started playing drums when I was 13 and I was a lot into punk rock. I still like the energy of punk rock but obviously I don’t listen to it as much as before because Paco and me, we found out about Zeuhl and we fell in love with it—Magma and all that. I was in a couple punk bands before Corima. And yeah it was when we found out about Mars Volta, we found out about more progressive bands like Mahavishnu Orchestra, King Crimson—so we started Corima with those influences. Then Paco came in the band and that’s when we started finding out about Magma and all that, so we decided to switch into that genre.
Paco: I was 15 when I started playing the piano, and I got in this band called Arcadia. We would do ’80s covers. Then these guys—Sergio and other guys—were playing in another band called Corima.
In El Paso?
Paco: Yes, in El Paso. So they were already in Corima. They would play more stuff like King Crimson, Emerson Lake & Palmer, and Mars Volta. They invited me and I started playing with them and we started finding out more and more about more progressive bands—Zeuhl and stuff like that. We fell in love with Zeuhl. The other musicians started one by one leaving the band for personal reasons. And in the end we just ended up being the bass player, Sergio, and myself, the keyboard player. Before there were two other guitar players. So they left the band and that’s when we started composing more Zeuhl kind of music. Then we recorded our album and toured. After the tour we decided we had to move away from El Paso because we didn’t have much support in El Paso. You show them a little something different like this—like Zeuhl—and people, I don’t know, they don’t want to learn different styles of music.
What were the reasons to move to LA?
Paco: It was more for the experience of moving to the city, moving out from El Paso—which is silly, I guess, but not really. We thought, we we have to go to the city now and see what’s up, and besides, of course, they will appreciate more of the music out there. It was also the band—we gotta keep going and see what happens over there with the band. We also wanted to find out if there were more people that would appreciate this kind of music in bigger cities.
How’s L.A .been so far?
Sergio: I like it.
Paco: It’s good. It’s got its amazing things and bad things just like any big city. I feel like we haven’t played so much, so I don’t know how big the prog scene is here.
Sergio: Yeah the thing that held us back a little bit was the bassist. The bassist, Paco and myself, we were all going to move here—the three of us. Paco and I moved first because the bassist said he had to fix some things first, but he never really moved. So the first few months, the first year really, we weren’t playing because we thought he was going to come. But he never did come so we were like, “Nah…fuck it.”
Paco: “Let’s just compose for you and me and let’s see what happens.”
So what’s Corima’s musical activity been like?
Paco: This summer we played in Mexico and El Paso. Right before the concert in Mexico we played here two shows at a coffee place…I don’t remember the name….[looks over to Sergio]
Sergio: Sunset…? I don’t remember the name of it.
Paco: And then that same day we had a show at a venue….[looks back at Sergio] Do you remember?
Sergio: [laughs] No.
Paco: But thanks to that show now we got this upcoming show.
Sergio: Because of Sean. Those two shows in L.A. were sorta last minute things. The guy who invited us to play, we played with him in Philadelphia. We had a pretty important tour out in the East Coast after we recorded our album.
Before or after moving to LA?
Paco: Before. We still had our bass player.
How can people listen to Corima? What have you all recorded?
Paco: We only have one album that has the bass player and both of us. I mean…we’re still selling it, are we? [looks at Sergio]
Sergio: I think we already sold in the cities we had to sell.
Paco: Holy crap! Okay. We were planning on recording a new album this winter break. But apparently not. But we are ready to record next summer. We’re planning on having many more upcoming shows.
How has the material changed musically without the bassist? Do you guys play older songs or did you make up new ones?
Paco: We made up new songs, and we took one of the songs that we would play with him and fixed it a little bit, made some changes and everything. I do feel a bit of a change in the music. Because we’re always going to progress and try to find our own sound—although we’re not trying to find a sound, you know, we’re just playing whatever comes out.
Sergio: I think the compositions have matured a bit.
Paco: Oh, by the way—we’re looking for a bass player! If anybody out there likes Magma, Koenjihyakkei…
Sergio: Experimental music, Ruins…
Paco: Yeah, like Ruins. They can email us or contact us on Myspace.
Any plans on expanding beyond that?
Paco: Sure, sure. We’re getting a violin player soon—I should just say straight out she’s my girlfriend. She has an amazing ear and it will be great to have her play with me.
What are you all up to outside of Corima?
Paco: Music composition at LACC. I want to be able to play jazz. It’s hard, I still gotta get my voicing and changes and all that. I guess just struggling for myself, struggling as a young musician. It’s, you would say, an inner struggle, a deep struggle to become better on the piano. I mean, I really believe the piano can drive someone crazy. It’s fun and an amazing experience. I’m learning to sight read and all that, and that’s gonna help me in the future for my compision—for our composition.
Sergio: I’m also in school at LACC. We’re always trying to grow. Music—you never stop learning, you never get to the point where you say, “Oh, okay, I’m done.”
Paco: “I’m done, this is it.”
Any last words?
Paco: Well, we hope a lot of people go to the show and enjoy it. I hope they get a different experience in music, and we hope to blow up their ears!
Sergio: Yeah, hopefully, hopefully.
Paco: And um….HAMTAI!
Sergio: Yes. HAMTAI! [Note: Hamtai is the Kobaian word for “Salute!”]
See Corima at Pehrspace this Monday, November 29:
Starts 9:30pm / $5 / all-ages
**Attend the closing of Picture Con Sequencia art show at Echo Curio at 8pm & get $2 off this show!
Pehrspace—325 Glendale Blvd., in Historic Filipinotown