London-based L Sicario have honed a deliciously cool brand of desert rock, which just oozes funkiness.
The band is formed of London school friends Chris (guitar) and Mike (bass), who lived with Niko (lead vocals and guitar) at Leeds University. Niko joined him in the capital, they started jamming together, realised they were onto something cool so started looking for a drummer and, after a few awkward jazz drummer auditions found their mate’s girlfriend Ellie, who fit straight in.
The unusual looking band name is designed to give people an indication of their sound, and from them not wanting a ‘The’ name. As frontman Niko explains: “We’ve always described ourselves as sort of a funky Queens of the Stone Age-esque desert rock and so we ended up with ‘El Sicario’ because it has a desert rock feel and it doesn’t count as ‘The’ if it’s the Spanish equivalent. We then found out some obscure Mexican rapper already had that name so we cut it to ‘L Sicario’ because they looked a bit mental and we didn’t to start with them and the name just stuck.”
And their sound reflects their cool name, as Niko adds: “We play loud rock with a funky groove, we all sing and love a good vocal harmony. Imagine Sly and The Family Stone got together with The Rolling Stones to have a fight in the desert narrated by Leonard Cohen.”
The band’s debut single Interstellar epitomises that funky sound. It opens with a dirty little guitar riff that continues through an edgy, almost crooning opening verse that gradually builds up to a few repeats of “Insterstellar.” A winding guitar riff follows, then drops into a cool second verse with more prominent guitars and backing vocals then flows into a really cool repeating riff that continues under more repeats of “Interstellar” as the track builds towards an ending.
Check it out in the video below:
As frontman Nikos explains: “Interstellar is one of our funkier songs, generally our songs are a bit heavier but we always keep a good groove everything we do. It’s spacious, it has some cool vocal harmonies and an outro we’re really proud of. It’s always one people like to dance to when we play live.
“The music came from playing with the guitars doing a descending riff whilst the bass playing an ascending part at the same time which gives it the weird feel. The lyrics are some of my favourite that I have written. I like to write about snapshots of my life at a certain time rather than write about a single explicit theme, so this is about not wanting to grow up, not waste time in a pointless job, moving to London and distance in a literal sense but also from your ambitions and goals.”
Chris tells us the band is their way of plugging a gap they see in the current music market. He explained: “I think first and foremost music is one of the great gifts of life and something we all share a passion for. Me and Mike shared a love of guitar music growing up, and I’m sure it’s the same for Nikos and Ellie, but there seems, bar a few exceptions, a dearth of good guitar bands now.
“So I think the band is about filling that void and making music that we want to hear and that needs to be made. I love all types of music but rock and roll is for me and that’s what we play.”
And Ellie adds: “There’s also that element of watching your favourite bands perform live and just wanting to be like them. I used to just watch loads of videos bands preforming at various festivals and gigs, and things like that tend to inspire you as well.”
The band takes strong influence from QOTSA and, in line with Chris’ point above, guitar bands like Oasis and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Chris expands: “Even though we write a lot of our songs separately I think we come from a similar space and a similar approach. I’ve always liked the subtleness of certain artists so I quiet like lyrics with a bit of ambiguity for the listener, as long as it captures a particularly mood and feeling that’s what’s important – on a personal level I think that’s why music is such a unique way of expressing yourself, you can articulate things that can’t be communicated in any other way.”
And Niko adds: “I like to write about several snippets of what’s going on in my life or in society at a given time rather than single themes. I’d like to think our lyrics are one of the main points that make us different from other bands, I want every line of my songs to be good or at least interesting in isolation and I like weird word play so it usually ends up a bit cynical too.”
The band is set for a busy 2018, they tell us they have a lot of music for people to hear and are aiming to record an EP early in the year and then looking to tour as much as possible. You can see them play Nambucca in London next Saturday (27 January) then Camden Assembley on 24 March. More info on those is here.