When I get on the phone with Dengue Fever drummer Paul Smith, the band is driving up the 101 Freeway towards San Luis Obispo, noting the lovely weather. Only a week into their month-long U.S. tour, the band’s twitter posts are already commenting on how “rather quickly” they’re moving and it is somewhat surprising how cheery and relaxed Smith sounds. They’ve been enjoying traveling and performing with Secret Chiefs 3. “They’re friends of ours,” Smith says, “and fun to watch.”
Dengue Fever’s stacked schedule is no surprise, especially considering that it is the only popular Cambodian Indie-rock fusion band based in the United States right now. The band draws much of its musical inspiration from early Cambodian pop and psychedelic rock ‘n’ roll, which is complimented by singer Chhom Nimol’s distinctly Cambodian vocals and traditional dance moves in their live performances. The result is powerful, groovy and exotic.
The band’s aesthetic is reflective of the beautiful things that can result from combining ideas from different parts of the world. The band recently toured Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, where they spent time not only performing for fans, but also giving back to the community. “It was definitely inspirational and a lot of fun,” says Smith when he mentions the band’s experience working with a center for handicapped children.
Dengue Fever is stopping for two nights in San Francisco this weekend. The band performs tonight (Feb. 2) at Great American Music Hall on February 2, and Slim’s on February 3.
Dengue Fever plays February 2 at The Great American Music Hall and February 3 at Slim’s. Doors open at 7:30pm both nights, and tickets are $20 – $44.