Perra Vida: Hardcore Straight from Peru

Photo: Samuel Giron

Straight up... Perú Perra Vida has me pricing flights from BWI to Lima (spoiler alert: I can’t afford it). The recently released S/T 5-song ripper from the international family we call hardcore is a gem. It’s worth every hour misspent scouring Bandcamp, every crate you waste time flipping through, and every mischosen 7”.

At once unmistakably current yet fondly glancing backwards, the early '80s hardcore punk vibe is done to a dizzyingly high standard. With a sound that seamlessly and thematically fuses classic Riot Grrrl, first wave hardcore, and street punk; the confrontational approach is altogether more daring and intense as a result of their locale which, arguably, is the birthplace of punk rock.

There’s a loose and almost scattershot edge that plants them firmly on the punk end of the spectrum, walking along a wire of implosion. It deftly teeters on the edge of falling apart, which injects a sense of dangerous urgency into their approach. They immediately call to mind the wave of Latino hardcore that reigned supreme in Pilsen, Chicago.

At times, it recalls the angular two-note surf leads of Agent Orange or Night Birds, the leftist fury of Los Crudos, the barely-organized chaos of The Germs, and the defiantly forced entry approach of Spitboy or War on Women.

Photo: Anibal Tafur

Distinctly themselves, Perra Vida pulls influence from all branches of hardcore and manages a fiercely original sound. Admittedly, there’s a litany of Perúvian rock subterraneo bands that I can’t pretend to know that make their way into the band’s lineage and sound. Another touchstone woven into Perra Vida’s tapestry is early NYHC, the evidence strongly represented in third track “Acoso," the bass-driven standout song.

Front-loaded with ferocious lead vocals with reinforced gang chants, it’s an altogether exhilarating ride that’s over in a blink. “Nobles e Infames” rides a mid-paced hardcore stomp, talk-singing a breakdown that’d make a young Keith Morris proud. Here’s hoping we get some new tunes in the not so distant future. 

Their mere existence is an indictment of all forms of abuse, be it domestic violence, street harassment, gendered violence, or wholesale corruption; Perra Vida takes on all comers. The message is the music is the message. Lest said message gets lost, do yourself a favor and translate the lyrics. 


PV en vivo. fotos x @albertogamarra #hardcorepunk #punkrock

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I reached out to the band and member José Diez Canseco kindly took the time to discuss everything from representation in the local scene, to the myriad other projects that Perra Vida is involved in. 

You’re a relatively new band, right? How’d the tight sound gel so quickly?

Yes, we are sorta new. We started in January 2018 officially in Lima, Perú, but me (jose-drums) and Alejandro (guitar) had been already jamming before on what would become Perra Vida’s songs. Once formed, we just decided to practice a lot, every week, sometimes twice a week. We took an approach to never cancel any rehearsals, for example, if the bassist/vocalist/drummer couldn’t make it, we’d still practice with what we had. The sound also has a lot to do with the mixing and mastering work of Will Killingsworth from Dead Air Studios, he did an awesome job at making the EP sound really fucking awesome.

Photo: Samuel Giron

I’d be lying if I said I know much about the scene in Lima or Perú at large. What’s the scene like for a band like Perra Vida? 

The scene in Lima is pretty small, it’s nothing compared to what you see in Chile, Colombia, Argentina, and Mexico, for example. We have a much smaller and divided scene. There is only one hardcore sXe all-girl band, and as for punk rock there are basically no bands with girls playing in them. Unless theres some band out there that doesn’t have any social media, I don’t know of any other punk band that has half girls/half boys playing punk rock here in Perú.

 In general, as a country, we are behind in almost everything compared to our neighbors. Whether its education, politics, public services, transportation, basic needs for our people, we are behind on everything ...even punk rock. 

Are you involved in other projects/bands? Who should we check out/support?

We're involved in the following bands: 

Diana (vocals) sings and plays guitar in Alias La Gringa:

Noelia (bass) plays in Kusama and Blue Velvet:

I am the vocalist for a hardcore band called Venganza:

What's the climate like for a band with female representation in Lima? The lyrics are inherently confrontational. How’s it been received? 

Perú right now is in the bottom three countries that have more violence towards women, and our country is just full of corruption everywhere. So, we take those two things as inspiration for our lyrics. So far it’s been well received because a lot of people understand that this was necessary in our scene. It needed some sort of representation in Perúvian music. We don’t necessarily say that we are a feminist band, however we are getting labeled as one, and if that is necessary for our message to get across in a country like ours, then so be it. fuck it.


un preview de los fotones que se vienen gracias a @mmdfotografia ������

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Perra Vida can be found on Instagram and Facebook.

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