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Jim Vargas of Bayonics
Music to Shake Your Ass To
by Matt Crawford on Feb 08, 2008
With its fusion of Latin music, hip hop and funk, Bayonics have gained a reputation for providing the perfect soundtrack for bumpiní and grindiní across the dance floor. The 10-piece band has roots in San Franciscoís Mission District, among other locales, and holds a monthly residence at the Elbo Room, along with regular gigs at other clubs throughout the Bay Area and U.S. tours. The bandís next Bay Area performance is February 23rd at Cafť du Nord. Jim Vargas, a vocalist/MC with the group, spoke with SF Station during a phone interview.
SF Station (SFS): Did you really drive from San Francisco to Miami in a three-wheeled buggy?
Jario Vargas (JV): No, that was just us screwing around on our website, but we are going back there soon. We are going on tour March 1st and we have some show dates there.
SFS: Bayonics goes to Florida a lot. What is the connection?
JV: One of our good friends does a lot of the booking out there and Miami is one of the most international cities in the United States. There is a lot of Latin flavor, so itís a good place to go to get some decent exposure.
SFS: Is it hard to stay focused and organized with 10 people in the band?
JV: It is, but I think everyone fills in a different aspect of the group. It has definitely taken us a while to get the ball rolling with some things, but we are heading in the right direction. We get a lot of help from the people around us.
SFS: What are you doing to transcend to the next level?
JV: We brought on interns to help out. We are doing a lot of research. Iím doing a lot of the booking so Iím busy all day long trying to get us bigger and better concerts, like festivals and the Wu Tang show we just played.
SFS: Wu Tang Clan, is know for its squabbles and infighting, how do you avoid those types of situations with Bayonics?
JV: We try to keep it internal and we just try to hash it out. First and foremost, we are friends. The musicians step up and bring professionalism to what we are doing. Everyone brings something back to the band because we know it is going to be successful. All of the money we make goes back into the band. The guys are dedicated enough and they donít let little shit get in the way.
SFS: Ozomatli is the closest mainstream comparison to Bayonics. Have you taken any cues from what they have done to gain success over the years?
JV: Definitely. They have been doing this for such a long time, and they have paved the way for bands that have an eclectic style of music. Itís a combination of everything -- hip hop, funk and Latin music -- and they have opened up doors. I have seen Ozomatli more than 20 times and I continue to show support because they were the ones who were able to revive the whole movement.
SFS: With all of the gigs Bayonics plays in the Bay Area, how do you keep your shows fresh?
JV: The guys in the band are really creative and always come up with a new gimmick or a new cover to perform. We also bring guest performers and constantly write new music. All the guys want to do is write and play. We are also pretty versatile. We can do a full-on samba set at quinceanera, and the next night play a hip hop set opening for Wu Tang. It depends on our mood whatever the hot new thing is that we are doing at the moment.
SFS: That must also allow you to adjust if the crowd is not feeling what the band is doing, or does that even happen?
JV: That doesnít really happen any more. People want to come to our shows and shake their ass. We provide a lot of dance music and people want to have a good time. I think the live energy is what people come to see.
Bayonics perform at Cafť du Nord on February 23rd. The show starts at 10pm and tickets are $10.
by Matt Crawford on Feb 08, 2008