It's a tough call as always, but right now the most interesting group of like-minded music-creators in Houston is probably the acts under the umbrella of Wonky Power Records. The label's roster boasts a pair of Houston's most adventurous rock bands, Tax the Wolf and Satellite d'Homme; arguably its sexiest synth-pop group, Bang Bangz; and a handful of solo auteurs who tinker with the boundaries between EDM, Latin folk music and avant-garde pop, including HPMA nominee GIO Chamba and George West and Wonky Power's newest discovery, Jerk. The label's headquarters on Navigation Boulevard even doubles as a music venue every so often.
But tomorrow, Wonky Power will need a little more room for a fiesta they're calling their “Summer Bash,” because WP owner Mario Rodriguez (a member of Bang Bangz, Tax the Wolf and Satellite d'Homme) and his team are bringing in a very special guest from a few thousand miles away: Dengue Dengue Dengue, a self-described “tropical bass” duo from Lima, Peru, whose sound is in the same neighborhood of Gio Chamba, the label's resident digital-cumbia ace and a breakout star of FPSF 2015. The tropical vibes inside Walters downtown should be at least as thick as the waves of heat coming up from the asphalt outside, as Dengue and Chamba perform alongside FLCON FCKER, Jerk and Bombon DJ Navo.
Chamba will also perform a short set 3 p.m. Saturday at Cactus Music, alongside a meet-and-greet for Dengue Dengue Dengue. Chamba is the one responsible for bringing in their Peruvian guests, explains Rodriguez.
“He’s the one who started showing us music from South America and started bringing different sounds into his music,” he says. “He made a huge shift in sounds; maybe I would say like almost eight months ago or something like that. I feel like he got heavily influenced by that South American culture and what they’re doing, and I think he just fell in love with all that.”
A few months back, Rodriguez and his friends successfully brought the Peruvian DJ/producer known as Deltatron to Houston. They spotted a niche they saw wasn't being filled, so they hope to continue bringing in similar artists from outside the U.S. and pairing them with like-minded locals.
“I guess since we’ve all grown up with Latin music in our homes and to see that there’s not so many touring Latin artists that we really enjoy here in town is sometimes is a little bit of a shame,” offers Rodriguez. “It’s just that they don’t get the opportunity to come up here and do their thing.”
“It seems like Houston is really wanting stuff like that, or it’s looking for something like that, more music from that style,” he adds. “That’s what we’re about right now.”
Wonky Power is about to get busy, too. Following Saturday's show, Rodriguez says Chamba's debut EP should be out in a manner of days. Still to come are another Bang Bangz album; the debut by another Wonky Power signee, Rex Hudson; and some previously unreleased Tax the Wolf material.
“We're trying to dedicate our time to really doing great recordings, and taking our time and doing events that we are really proud of,” Rodriguez says. “And just seeing how it goes – just pushing our name out there more than anything else.”
Since it's Friday, we thought we'd help prep you for tomorrow's bash by suggesting you spend the rest of the afternoon grooving to some Dengue Dengue Dengue and a few more of Wonky Power's hottest Soundcloud clips. Enjoy!
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The Wonky Power Summer Bash, featuring Dengue Dengue Dengue, Gio Chamba, FLCON FCKER, Jerk, and DJ Navo, goes down Saturday night at Walters Downtown, 1120 Naylor. Doors open at 7 p.m.; cover is $20 at the door or $15 in advance.