Dreckig: Heritage in a discothèque

Fancy to going dancing on the last day of the world? Interview with Cumbia electro band Dreckig.
January '23

Shana Lindbeck and Papi Fimbres met in Portland, Oregon, after spending their childhoods in Germany and Mexico, respectively. They founded Dreckig, which is German for “filthy,” in an effort to pay tribute to their heritages in a fresh and creative way. Both have a strong affinity for the melodic rhythms of cumbia and the electronic music of Germany, and they have developed their own distinctive styles within that spectrum. These components are blended and imagined in the studio using just vintage synths and drum machines, then presented to the stage in a magical dance club frenzy. A bit mind melting?

Johann Wagner of Pinewave Studio once again worked with Papi and Shana on the third album by Dreckig.

They produced Digital Exposure using the studio’s outstanding collection of vintage drum machines, synthesizers, and modulars; their favorite instruments were the Roland 808, DMX, and Moog Voyager.

The album, which continues the tradition of singing in Spanish, German, and English, touches on issues such as social constructs, with songs like “Own Your Shadow” and its exhortation to examine one’s existence, on environmental impacts, with songs like “La Ballena,” a love song for deep blue ocean, and on embracing daily life, with songs like “La Mita,” which tells the tale of an adventurous trip to Mexico’s breathtaking coast. The flute, Dreckig’s third and occasionally only voice, gives their distinctive sound a concentrated viewpoint and completes the album in its rawest form.

[Futuristika!] What inspired you to create the sound of your band, Dreckig?

[Papi Fimbres of Dreckig] Shana & I have been in bands together for years & we wanted to start a two piece from our backgrounds. Her being German & myself being Méxican American, we approached the idea of starting a band in the vein of Kraut rock/German electro & Cumbia club music. We thought, ‘would it be possible to marry these musical themes together?’ and lo & behold, we did it!

How did you two meet and decide to form the band?

We met a LONG time ago here in Portland, Oregon, at a daycare where we were both working at the time. We’ve been together for over 17(!) years. Shana was not a musician then & once we started dating, I told her that I always wanted to date another musician, jokingly. She then said, ‘well, would you teach me to play drums?’ and I was so psyched that she was up to the task & of course I taught her to play drums. Our first band together is still in existence, Orquestra Pacifico Tropical, an eleven piece psychedelic Cumbia dance ensemble.

What music have you both been influenced by and how did it shape the sound of the band?

We are really inspired by Kraftwerk, Mamman Sani, MoonDog, John Coltrane, Andres Landero, Meridian Brothers, just to name a few.

How did you incorporate Latin rhythms, Krautrock and retro electronic dance into the music of Dreckig?

I grew up in Los Angeles, in the West Lake neighborhood that is predominantly Latino & growing up, I heard & saw a ton of Latin music everywhere. It has always been instilled in me, but when I moved to Portland in ’99, I didn’t realize how much I would miss the sounds of Cumbia, Salsa, Norteños, etc. So, I started incorporating those sounds into my everyday bands here in Portland. Once we decided to start Dreckig, I knew I wanted it to be clubby because there just weren’t that many straight up dance bands in this city & none were doing Cumbia electro.

How did you arrive at the title ‘Digital Exposure’ for your most recent album?

‘Digital Exposure’ feels like what the internet has done to us all slowly & eventually. We just expose ourselves so much on these damn contraptions & don’t have conversations & physically see each other any more, especially with the pandemic. We wanted to shine a light on just listening to an album & finding yourself in the ether of the tracks.

What is the story behind “La Mita”?

Oh, this is a good story! So, Shana & I throw a free, all ages music festival called Homie Fest every summer (we have been dormant since 2021) & we have some awesome homies in Guadalajara. One of them owns land on the beach in Punta De Mita, Jalisco & so we went to scout the location & see if it would be feasible to take the fest to the beaches of gorgeous México. While we were there, swimming & having a great time, heavy rains came down on us, all of a sudden & there were flash floods as a result. We almost got swept out to the ocean & got separated from our friends & had to wade through murky, nasty water to get back to where we were staying. We felt like we were about to die & so we wrote a song about our experience, “la Mita.”

What has been the most difficult part about making Digital Exposure?

The most challenging part was that the pandemic hit & slowed our mixing process for the album to a near halt. Our engineer, Johann Wagner, eventually figured out what to do & got a program where we can mix the album in real time from our homes. We also have a studio in our basement, so we managed to finish the mixing process that way, which was actually fun!

What has been the most challenging part of working with the other person in your band?

Shana & I have been together for so long that we are so fortunate to listen & anticipate each other’s needs. I feel so damn fortunate to have such an amazing partner who is so nurturing & compassionate. At one point, before the pandemic, I was in 20 bands at the same time, if you can believe that! I mean, that’s a lot of understanding from a partner, if you come to think of it, ha!

You seem underlining your heritages, your background whereas managing some unique bend? What was the trick behind the scenes, joys or suffer of your personal experience with the band?

It was very natural & easy for us to link our musical heritage together to weave what is the sound of Dreckig. We constantly listen to music from around the world & new music as well, to inspire & motivate us in many ways. I feel very fortunate to be able to do what we do & have people love our music. It never ceases to amaze me that people love this crazy ass dance Kraut Cumbia shit we do!

This is Dreckig’s first time collaborating with San Francisco’s Broken Clover Records to release the album on vinyl and all music platforms. Digital Exposure is available on LP, CD and download released on August 12th, 2022 via Broken Clover Records. Orders are available here. The album hits all streaming services on February 17th 2023.  ✪


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