Interview w/ Richard Morales of the Band, Chachi

16 Jul, 2012

For more information on Chachi visit their website at: www.Chachi.us

View Chachi Live

Below: Randy Garcia, Richard Morales, & Jennifer Ng

Chachi flyerChachi is an indie rock band based in the Southern California area. I sat down to talk to Chachi’s singer/songwriter/guitarist, Richard Morales, on new year’s eve 2009 and he talked about his musical influences, where he finds inspiration and I finally found out how the band, Chachi, got it’s name.

Dig In Magazine: Hi Rich! I know Chachi just got done playing some shows in San Francisco recently and are playing around the Orange County and Los Angeles areas, how are you and how are things going with the band?

Richard Morales: Things are great. We cut down the amount of shows during the winter months so we can concentrate on recording our next album. It was tough to get together during the holidays, but we managed.

DIM: Who makes up the band, Chachi? How long have you been playing together and how/when did the band come about? How did you all meet?

RM: Randy and I have been playing in and out of various bands since high school. This most recent incarnation came about after Randy moved from Piru and I came back from San Francisco. We got together and decided that we should give one more project a try and see if it could work. Jennifer answered an ad we put out back in June, I believe. After we rehearsed with her, she became an obvious choice. Jason entered the group after my cousin John left the group. He has been a great addition and has helped continue our forward momentum.

DIM: Where is Chachi from and where is the band based out of?

RM: All around Southern California.

DIM: How did you come up with the name of your band?

RM: Randy played this character in an independent film who was named Chachi. He ended up writing a song–based around that character and the movie–that we used to play called “2 Down 2 to Go.” When we were first putting a demo together we were using Chachi as a temporary name, and without wanting the hassle of thinking of a new one, we just decided to stick with it.

DIM: What genre/category would you say your music belongs to?

RM: We clump the style together in the indie rock category, which seems to encapsulate a wide range of musical styles. But it’s pure indie rock in the sense that we are able to handle every aspect of our music and business ourselves.

DIM: Were any of you formally trained in music or was music something that was self-taught?

RM: I took formal guitar lessons as a teenager, and started as a music major in college. From what I know Randy and Jason are both self-taught. Jen is currently going to school for drums and percussion.

Image of Richard Morales in the studioDIM: When did you start playing the guitar and singing?

RM: I started playing guitar at 13, the singing came a bit later, maybe 16.

DIM: Were you around a lot of music growing up? Who are your favorite musicians that you draw inspiration from?

RM: I don’t remember a whole lot of music being around as a child. I didn’t start getting seriously into it until I was about twelve, after I discovered the Beatles. After that I got heavily into the classic acts like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and David Bowie. I mainly get my inspiration from songwriters like Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, and Leonard Cohen, but also bands like the Pixies, Pavement, and early Modest Mouse. My music seems to always incorporate some blues styling I probably subconsciously insert because I listened to so much when I was learning how to play guitar; Stevie Ray Vaughan being one of my early heroes.

DIM: What musicians are you listening to these days and do you go to many shows? If so, what shows do you go to? Are you into the local music scene in Los Angeles?

RM: These days I’m digging the Decemberists, Arcade Fire, and the Flaming Lips. I haven’t been able to make it to a lot of shows lately, because I ‘ve been so busy. I can’t say that I’m really into the music scene either.

DIM: Do you write your own songs? What is your song writing process, i.e. what inspires you to write and where do you draw inspiration from?

RM: Both Randy and I are the main songwriters. He comes from more of a pop influence whereas my background is blues, but somehow we’re able to find a middle ground because of our love for indie/alt rock. Pavement is probably the band that we both draw an equal amount of inspiration from. But the writing comes from everything around, from the music I hear, to conversations I’ve had; and the mad characters I’ve met that have created some memorable experiences.

DIM: What keeps you creative?

RM: Constantly being exposed to new ideas.

DIM: What are most of your songs and lyrics about? Like do you have to be in a certain mood when you write songs? Do your songs reflect your mood at the time you write them?

RM: I’ve tried to write once during a deep depression and nothing came out. I couldn’t even manage to pick up my guitar. My songs may seem angry and bleak at times, but I’m actually pretty happy when I write. 90% of my songs have to do with previous relationships–the ones that turned ugly–perhaps that is why I’m reluctant to write a love song. So, my songs end up being about the joys of loneliness and finding strength in self-reliance. At least I think that’s what I’m singing about.

Image of ChachiDIM: Where do you record? Do you have a studio?

RM: We don’t have an official studio, but we’ve recorded where we rehearse; over at Hot House Studios in Santa Fe Springs. Randy has a bunch of recording equipment at his house which doubles as our studio when we want to lay down vocal and guitar tracks. He also does the mixing there.

DIM: Are you guys working on anything new? Any new songs in the works?

RM: Yeah, we’re currently recording songs for our new album, which should be out by March or April. I’m really excited about it, because it will feature new songs that show how much we’ve grown as songwriters and musicians.

DIM: How many CDs have you put out? And where can people buy your music?

RM: As Chachi we have one CD out which is available on Amazon and iTunes titled “Socially Inept.” It’s a very minimalist and modest effort, but the cover does feature a painting from my friend Mike Glass who is a great artist. Most of the songs were recorded by Randy before we were officially a group.

Image of Chachi in concertDIM: Any upcoming shows we should know about?

RM: We’re playing KEGS in Redondo Beach and Ghengis Cohen in West Hollywood in February. You can check us out at chachi.us for the dates, or become a fan on Facebook/Myspace to get updates. We are actually in the process of overhauling our website so there should be some pleasant surprises.

DIM: Just wondering, do you guys have day jobs or are you full-time musicians?

RM: Half of the band has day jobs, and they tell me they are willing to quit in order to make music forever.

DIM: What does Chachi do for fun…on your days off?

RM: I can’t speak for the rest of the band, but I enjoy going to the movies by myself, getting drunk during the day, and writing letters to friends filled with mad ramblings.

DIM: Thanks for taking the time to talk to Dig In Magazine and hope to see Chachi play again sometime! Wishing you and Chachi the best of luck with recording and your upcoming shows!!!

About the author

Cindy Maram

Cindy Maram is Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Dig In Magazine. She is an accredited film journalist for Sundance Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Mill Valley Film Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival and CAAMFest, as well as writer, vlogger, designer, digital, online & social media marketer. She possesses a B.A from UC Davis and a M.A. in Mass Communications + Popular Culture Studies emphasis in Film/Marketing/Writing from Cal State Fullerton.

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