Placazo: Conjuring Dark Tunes from the Depths of East Los Angeles

From Hell Gardens, California, amidst the bleak streets of East Los Angeles, a force emerged. Placazo arose in October of 2023, uniting disparate souls under one banner of darkness and defiance.

Fusing elements of hardcore punk, power violence, and death rock, Placazo's cacophony defies genre boundaries. This amalgamation of sonic rebellion is aptly dubbed Bruxo Hardcore, a testament to the band's unyielding commitment to their unique sound. Influences as varied as the depths of [the] human experience—punk, post-punk, grindcore, and even Mexican corridos—converge to form a sonic landscape both haunting and visceral.

In a defiance of convention, Placazo boasts a line-up unlike any other. With not one, but two vocalists and two bass players, the band forges a path less traveled in the realm of music. Eschewing the traditional guitar-driven sound, their sonic assault is anchored by the primal rhythms of dual-bass guitars, creating a visceral intensity that is both relentless and hypnotic.

As Placazo charts its course through the punk scene, theirs is a quest for enlightenment, a journey guided by the whispers of the ancients and the cries of the oppressed. In the realm of Placazo, darkness reigns supreme and from the shadows of East LA, they shall continue to cast their mark upon the world, leaving behind a legacy shrouded in shadows and steeped in defiance.

I've been told we're unable to reveal the true identities of the members of Placazo, but I can, however, assure you that a select few have been featured here across the pages of No Echo in the past. Placazo's Gritos Desde Mitclan EP is now available on Modern Sleeze Records. Check out my interview below with its veiled members, which has been lightly edited for general clarity.

Who are the members of Placazo and what is each member's role within the band?

OVAHC SAICAM: vocals/high-ends bass/BRUXO/storms
DRAHCIR ZEHCNAS: percussion/BRUXO/sickness
SIRK AIBARAS: vocals/BRUXO/agriculture
ROTCEH AREVIR: low-end bass/BRUXO/seduction

What does your band name mean or roughly translate to in English?

OVAHC: The name comes from a Chicano slang word meaning “tattoo” or “a tag of some sort.” We use it as a way of saying, “we’re here to leave a mark and hope the mark bleeds.”

How did all of you first meet and decide to form the band?

OVHAC: We formed the Placazo coven in [September] of 2023. We met as members of The Hell Gardens Church of Santa Muerte many, many years ago. DRAHCIR & I, coming from another project, were asked to perform a seance for a Halloween event. After doing our due diligence on the request we realized that we needed a little more help and called in SIRK to aid in the preparation. 

DRAHCIR: After a few practices we understood what we were doing was powerful, but needed a fourth to complete the coven and have all elements and roles filled for the event. ROTCEH was called to join and we completed the seance as Placazo. 

OVAHC: Several people died that night. We don’t like to talk about it.

What does the title of your debut EP, Gritos Desde Mitclan, mean and what do each of the nine song titles translate to?

OVAHC: Gritos Desde Mictlan translates to “screams from the underworld;” mictlan being the underworld in Mexica mythology. For the most part, Gritos is a concept album. We wanted to pay tribute to the Mexica gods and give thanks for the power we get from the stories and the energy we draw from them to create the music we share with the world.

Track 1: “CHAPALA” - Chapala is a lake in Mexico where, as a child, I was told kids disappeared all the time. It was scary because even as a kid, I felt something, although, I couldn’t explain it, I just knew for real something was wrong there. Well, as an adult, I come to find out that Chapala was a place where a bunch of conquistadores were killed by Mexica. So, in my head, the missing children were taken by the ghosts of [the] conquistadores who died there as payback. 

OVAHC/SIRK: Track 2: “XIPE TOTEC” - Xipe Totec [is] the life/death re-birth deity… god of agriculture, goldsmiths, silversmiths, liberation and deadly warfare, and the Earth. If you don't provide an offering, the corn isn't going to grow.

OVAHC/SIRK: Track 3: “COATLICUE” - [Coatlicue,] “mother of the deities,” is the Mexica goddess who gave birth to the moon, stars, and Huitzilopochtl. We ask for her to protect us from all those b***ards of the world. 

SIRK: Track 4: “AMPOLLAS” – [Ampollas] translates to “blisters.” A song about retribution to all the colonizers who f***ed over our ancestors. Their bodies will blister.

OVAHC/SIRK: Track 5: “TLALOC” - Tlaloc is one of the most important and formidable gods in the Mexica empire. He was considered the god of rain, water, [and] lightning and was the ruler of the third sun. The rains will soon wash the scum off the face of the Earth. 

OVAHC: Track 6: “CIHUATL MITOTLI” – [Cihuatl mitotli] translates to “woman dancing.” 

OVAHC: Track 7: MICTECA CIHUATL – Mictecacihuatl [is the] lady of the dead. [She] holds a pivotal role in Mexica mythology. She serves as a deity associated with death, partnered with Mictlāntēcutli, the god overseeing Mictlān, the deepest realm of the underworld. Responsible for safe-guarding the remains of the departed and presiding over ancient ceremonies dedicated to the deceased, Mictecacihuatl embodies the intricate balance between life and death in Mexica belief.  

OVAHC/SIRK: Track 8: “MICTLAN” – [Mictlan is] the lowest realm of the underworld. A house filed with spiders, owls, and bats, the lowest circle of the underworld. Those doomed to enter Mictlan would undertake a four-year journey through darkness and tortures, like winds of obsidian knives, a void without gravity, and many rivers that they could only cross, if their actions in life allowed it. Only after passing through these trials would the dead come to the darkest depths of Mictlan. There, they would meditate on the states of consciousness until Mictlantecuhtli allowed them to atone for their failings in life and achieve peace with their soul dissipating into nothingness.

OVAHC/SIRK: Track 9: “ZOPILOTE” – [Zopilote] means “buzzard” or “[vulture].”  In the end, we all become food of the vultures. An ancient writing from codex on vultures. 

OVAHC: [* BONUS TRACK] Track 10 is a hidden track/a cover. IYKYK [if you know, you know.]

What is the significance behind the image featured on the cover of Gritos Desde Mitclan, and how does it relate to the themes heard within? 

OVAHC: The cover is a representative of Santa Muerte holding a knife to the world; that’s all I can say without revealing too much… we decided on wearing the death cloaks to represent Santa Muerte on stage in protest to fashion.

While we understand that fashion is a big part of most music scenes, we don’t want to participate in it. Instead, we want you to look at the death cloaks and feel the music, know Santa Muerte comes for you one day, and go home enlightened.

Who or what would you readily cite as some of your greatest sources of inspiration and influence while creating Gritos Desde Mitclan

OVAHC: I like to imagine [that] Peter Hook [Joy Division, New Order] and Andy Rourke [The Smiths, The Pretenders] grew up in East LA in the 1980s-'90s and were power violence kids. Then, I write music I think they would have [had] in that reality.

Placazo: Also, heavily influenced by Spazz, Rudimentary Peni, CIRIL, Christian Death, Ceremony, Atoxxxico, Chalino, Cadetes de Linares, and… 

ROTCEH: La Madre Santa Muerte.

What sort of writing, recording, production, creation, etc. processes went into making the EP? 

Placazo (in unison): We channel Santa Muerte. She shows us the way.

Why did you decide to have two vocalists, two bassists, and a drummer and totally forego having a guitar player within the band's lineup? 

OVAHC: The idea of two [vocalists] came from the core of spellcasting. In our case, one [vocalist] tells a story [and] the other calls for something. That’s all I can say without revealing too much.

DRAHCIR: The two bassists and [drummers] is us calling down the thunder, but, also, it’s heavy as fuck. [It] keeps us right on the border of punk and dipping a toe into some metal shit. 

How would you describe Placazo's newly-created genre of Bruxo Hardcore for those who may be blissfully unaware? 

OVAHC: Bruxo Hardcore is for everyone that can let go of the belief that there is a god out there tallying your deeds, but, also, for those who understand that because there is no god, there is no devil.

SIRK: We are the one, we are here and need to be grounded to nature, pagans, bruxos using the Earth for [what it’s] for

OVAHC: Protecting the Earth and each other from those who need a god threatening them with eternal damnation in order to be good.

DRAHCIR: Those are the people that are destroying us and the planet. BRUXO HARDCORE is about connection, to Earth, the music, and each other… 

ROTCEH: The music as a whole is a mash-up [of Hardcore] Punk, Death Rock, [Powerviolence,] and some raw Punk sh*t.

In addition to or aside from the members of the band, who else contributed to and/or helped create Gritos Desde Mitclan

SIRK: Santa Muerte, of course...

DRAHCIR: But, also, John Bloodwolf from GUTTER/Thieves, who recorded and mastered it. 

ROTCEH: Helped us achieve the sound we set out for. 

How did you guys end up linking up with Los Angeles-based Modern Sleeze Records to release the EP? 

SIRK: Oh, we love Modern Sleeze. [They’ve] been doing low-key releases for a long time. There’s stuff on their catalog from people that went on and did really cool shit. And no one really knows [‘cause] it’s not about attention with them. For example, you know Ty Segall?

Modern Sleeze put out that dude’s first band, Epsilon's Evil Robots EP. Fucking amazing release. There’s a bunch of other shit, if you dig. Thanks, dudes! 

What's planned next for Placazo? 

OVAHC: We are currently working on another release… a super-rare lathe-cut vinyl limited to 50 (of course, tapes and digital.) Just really excited about the vinyl; being a record nerd, I fucking dig for sh*t like this. [I] want it to be out there and have 46 people own this rare piece.

Hopefully, it’ll be some real ones… aside from that, we wanna hit the Coast for tour by end of summer, nearby states, and spread the Bruxeria as much as we can.


Placazo on social media: Instagram

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