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Arts & Entertainment

Como Somos: Perdidos Redefines What It Means To Be Lost

The Dallas rock band speaks about the cons of punk music, new development in Oak Cliff, and growing up undocumented.
By Stephanie Salas-Vega |
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Perdidos is not as lost as it thinks.

The Dallas rock band, whose name translates to “lost” in Spanish, has been in the punk scene since 2017, but its members have been around individually even longer. Its fans and even other musicians have referred to them as “legends.” They share stories about playing with either of the four members or, most commonly, say things like “you would love Perdidos” when the band is mentioned.

Perdidos is one of the few bands in Dallas punk that make exclusively Spanish-speaking music, because, to them, it’s more expressive.

The last time the band released music was in 2018 with its second EP Futuro Oscuro and, as a band, they don’t have a big social media presence. Yet, Perdidos cannot be forgotten and it’s largely due to the four Hispanic former teenage punks and DIY urbanites who make up the band.

Vocalist Diego Osorio, originally from the state of Tamaulipas in eastern Mexico, has lived in Dallas for the past 14 years. He was a former member of Dallas acts Realidad Brutal and Youth Aggression. Drummer Raymond Diaz and Josh Valdez, the only member from El Salvador, were both in Nuklear Fear back in the day. Edgar Ortiz, the youngest and newest member, was in Esterikos and Malpractica before taking over as Perdido’s latest bassist. 

Its band members have come and gone, but its message has stayed consistent. They have watched the predominately Hispanic neighborhood where they built their reputation change under the weight of forces that brought gentrification and displacement. The band has performed in punk festivals outside of Dallas and hopes to one day tour Europe but faces a tough roadblock: immigration. Still, nothing stops them.

On the patio of Charlie’s Star Lounge in Old East Dallas, the band shares laughs, inside jokes, and plenty of beer. They blurt out an endless list of people—“vatos Perdidos”—in the city that they thank for their come-up and support.

Only proving that when they feel lost, the city, even as it morphs into something new, will continue to guide them. 

This is what Perdidos had to say, edited for length and clarity. Plus, a playlist of 10 Spanish songs they love.

Who even is Perdidos and how did it become to be what it is now?

Diaz: Where do you wanna start? Back to the roots?

Osorio: [Diaz and I] have been in bands since around the mid-2000s, like 2008, when we really started playing shows. [Valdez and Diaz] used to be in another band called Nuklear Fear and I used to be in another band called Youth Aggression. We played a couple of shows together and then we didn’t really see each other that much anymore.

Diaz: Me, [Valdez], his brother and another homie had [Nuklear Fear], and it didn’t last that long. Maybe like a year tops. Even though we still hang out, we don’t know why the band never played. We didn’t play for a while, but I’ve always been jamming with [Valdez]. I played guitar and me and this foo would just jam. We started jamming with these other guys for a sec, which is actually how Perdidos came to be. We jammed with this other guy on drums and the original bassist. We didn’t have a singer. We kicked that drummer out and we’ve seen [Osorio] at Double Wide.

Osorio: We went to an Aztec Death show, and they came up to me. He was like, “We’re trying to start a band and we need a singer. You doing anything?” I had quit the other band I was in for a while. I had been listening to this band from Canada called Pura Mania and I was like, “I’ve been jamming to this. If you guys want to do something like this, it’d be pretty cool.” We did not do anything like that. 

Osorio: One night we got together – and I bought a PA – and I showed up to our old bassist’s house like, “Let’s jam and if it goes good then I’ll keep the PA and I won’t return it.” A week later we made our first demos.

It was good because we clicked right away. This is the band that I’ve been waiting for. I had sung in Spanish in other bands, but I wanted this band to be all in Spanish. We were trying to come up with a name, and originally, we were going to call it Todo Perdidos, but I wanted to keep it one title. We jammed the songs for, like, three months and then we recorded the first tape, which is La Gente Esta Maldita.

Ortiz: I’ve known them since then. I think I’ve seen them since they started playing their first shows. I’ve been friends with [Osorio] for 10 years. I met him like 10 years ago, we were both playing in bands. I always thought they were fucking cool.

Why Spanish lyrics?

Osorio: I’ve always been a fluent Spanish speaker because it’s my first language. I didn’t learn English until I was 10 years old. I’ve always liked how everything sounds in Spanish. I learned how to read in Spanish and write in Spanish and I always thought that Spanish has more emotion. It’s more expressive and I’ve always liked that. That’s what I was writing at the time and the music went really well with it. I had a couple of songs written down and I was like, “I like it. This is where we’re going.” You can express it better in Spanish. Es más emotivo.

Diaz: It wasn’t a conscious move, that’s just what we kick it with. We didn’t start this band to ride the coattails of the Latinx community. We’re Latino. It came out organically.

Osorio: We’re doing what we like, and we just happen to be Latino. That’s what happened. Luckily, we’re Latino.

Ortiz: It’s closer to home.

Valdez: It’s the culture.

Diaz: It’s us.

What are some of your music’s themes who is your audience?

Osorio: El miedo al vacío. (The fear of the emptiness.) That’s why it’s Perdidos. Todos en un momento de sus vidas han estado perdidos. (Everyone at one point in their lives have been lost.) We’ve all had those emotions of being lost, not belonging or the fear of the emptiness. That’s what I love talking about. Look inside of you and all those feelings you have, try to express them. Luckily, I found this band where I can do that. Todos estamos perdidos, pero perdidos juntos. (We are all lost, but lost together.) That’s how I’ve always seen it. If we’re going to be lost, at least let’s be lost together.

For La Gente Esta Maldita, was that la vida es una broma, pero si no ríes, te mata. (Life is a joke; if you don’t laugh, it kills you.) For Futuro Oscuro, is that el futuro no es oscuro porque es malo, es oscuro porque es desconocido. (The future is not dark because it is bad, it is dark because it is unknown.)

We didn’t start this band to ride the coattails of the Latinx community. We’re Latino. It came out organically.

Raymond Diaz, drummer for Perdidos

Are you currently working on releasing new music?

Osorio: Right now, we’re in the process of coming up with all the music and all the songs to put out an album.

Diaz: It’s written, we just gotta go record it.

Osorio: Our goal, pretty much, is that we want something on vinyl. Hopefully, whenever we get that out, go on tour, tour Europe. That’s our main goal right now. España.

Ortiz: I gotta get some papers. I’m undocumented.

Are you OK with sharing your experience as an undocumented musician who wants to tour outside of the country?

Ortiz: Yeah. It sucks, dude. Marriage sucks. I think that’s the bottom line of being undocumented, like “fucking get married.” It’s a shitty process. It’s fucking hard.

I came here when I was almost three years old. This is, like, in 1999. It was such a lame gray area. I didn’t grow up very ambitious or anything because there’s no chance of having ambition whenever you’re undocumented. Whenever you don’t have generational wealth. I know shit’s gonna happen at some point. Within time, shit can change but it’s only taken 25 years.

Osorio: You’ve got hard working people here that just happen to not have papers, and they live their whole lives here. What are they going to do in Mexico? That’s really hard thing to comprehend. 

Ortiz: No home in Mexico, and I’m not allowed here.

Osorio: To me, the humbleness that first generation kids have is really cool. It’s our first time experiencing all of this that our parents didn’t have. They know that “man, we have it good” knowing our parent’s struggle. I feel that brings a humbleness because you hear your parent’s stories.

I feel like I was figuring out America and American culture the same time my parents were because I was born not too long after they migrated here. Like, we were both learning what this country is like.

Valdez: You have your life at home, and then you have one out there you have to live out.

Osorio: Then having your parents like, “Fuck, what is my kid doing going to shows and why is he into all this weird stuff?!”

Osorio: Like, you’re first generation and then you get into punk and you’re doing all this crazy stuff.

Diaz: Disappointing.

You guys have been playing music for many years, how has the music scene and Latinx youth culture changed?

Osorio: I’m really happy that everybody has accepted us even if there’s a language barrier. Music is music. Si sientes la emocio, you’re going to connect with it. That’s what I try to portray – that emotion.

Valdez: With us growing up, speaking Spanish and listening to Mana, that was frowned upon. Now, the internet is doing its thing, and everybody is so connected. But back in the day you didn’t even want to get caught speaking Spanish.

Osorio: When I was going to Sunset High School I got that, “So, you’re a rocker foo? Ya’ll be worshipping the devil?” I’m like, “we live in the same neighborhood, what are you talking about?”

Valdez: Like, how you gonna shame me? We live on the same block.

Has that inspired Perdidos in any way?

Osorio: It’s a cliche thing to say, but music kept us out of trouble. I hate to say that Oak Cliff was bad, or whatever, because it was working class. It’s got its rough spots but it’s working-class Hispanics. If you’re into bad stuff, you’re going to be into bad stuff. Bad stuff happens everywhere, it’s not necessarily the neighborhood. Oak Cliff feels like it’s being gentrified because it’s been in the hands of Hispanics for so long. People are like, “It’s safe now, we can invest” and then the people that built up the neighborhood are being kicked out. Oak Cliff has changed.

Diaz: Don’t even get me started on that. Oak Cliff is still changing.

Osorio: Perdidos doesn’t necessarily talk about all that. It’s more the emotion of not belonging, like never really fitting in and all the troubles that come with that. The fears that come with that and the toll it takes on you. I guess the aftermath of all those years of all that stuff. The fear of the emptiness and never belonging.

Ortiz: And embracing it.

Author

Stephanie Salas-Vega

Stephanie Salas-Vega

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