By Allyson Nobles
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Photo by Drew Longworth

Who the hell is CAPYAC?

No one can really seem to put their finger on whatever kind of hemorrhage this duo is gushing. After seeing the LA-based band perform a handful of times around town, I am caught on the CAPYAC net they have cast, an absolute cavitation of texture, ooziness, and all out visual and audial bewilderment. They’re the kind of funky, smooth jazz, sexy cougar vibe that leaves me thinking, My mom would love these guys (I should note, Melinda has incredible taste).

A dive into the dark world of YouTube comments reveals a diverse sprawl of thoughtful criticism, confusion, but also surprisingly impassioned reactions:

“stupis, ignoran no talent useless bull chit  waste of  digital space”

“Wtf is going On wtffff”

“Emotive. Raw. Colorful. Vindictive. Sublime. Paint me in your pastels and send me into the ethereal CAPYAC. How bright might your star shine upon all of our dreary, dramatic, doldrums of lives. Encore.”

Following my stumble through that archaic rabbit hole, I decided to sit down with the two masterminds just shy of their curiously elements-themed residency at The Echo for the month of May. I was only further propelled into the befuddlement that is CAPYAC.

I joined them in a havened back patio of an East Hollywood café littered with many small, free-range dogs, one unfortunate dachshund hobbling about on three legs.

“I’m bummed Samosa Jones couldn’t join us,” Eric Peana sighed over a veggie and red quinoa bowl. Sitting across from him was an unphased Delwin Campbell, nibbling on a doughy chocolate chip cookie. And Samosa Jones? Their manager, Anthony Erickson. The two Austin-natives were apparently approached by Erickson after seeing a music video, keen to make a formidable Texan trio with the help of his savvy business skills.

“We told him, ‘The only requirement is that we call you Samosa Jones,’ and every time we saw him we’d cook samosas. But now it turns out he’s just a fucking weirdo,” Peana elaborated.

I prodded for details about their upcoming shows at The Echo, and what to expect from their previous creative endeavors. “I feel like there’s an element of our band that’s like, wanting to try to combine multiple different mediums. We did a very half-assed fashion show some years ago that was received pretty well actually.”

Keeping the tradition of themes for each show, every night is one of the four elements: fire, wind, water, and air. They kept mum on specifics, but skits, special guests, surprise giveaways, and elaborate set design are all on the agenda. “We had 24 back-up dancers at a show in Austin. We had a runway and all this random shit… We’re trying to bring that element here. The last show [of the residency] we do will be the closest to that. We’re bringing out the full band from Texas. Probably some dancers. We take ourselves too seriously.”

They’re even looking into developing their own fragrance:

Peana: It should just be really bad.. Maybe it’s like your face goes numb…

Campbell: Sichuan pepper oil

Peana: What’s that stuff that you take that loosens up your butt?… Poppers, yeah.

Campbell: It’s just prescription drugs… but they don’t have a smell though

Peana: Maybe it’s poppers meets like lavender and sage.

Campbell first started the band back in Austin, with Peana joining soon after. “It used to be that there weren’t a lot of dance bands in Austin. No one was dancing. No one was playing dance music.” Campbell had previous success with folk band The Fire Ants, even scoring a photo with Pinetop Perkins, but felt the desire to heed his talents to a new musical dimension.

When asked about inspirations, Parliament was a focal point, “their whole thing is like super repetitive songs that are catchy and fun to dance to.” I asked for more insight, to which Peana lamented on losing his virginity to an ice cream scooper with an air of old milk and Delwin adamantly pressed on his distaste for Sublime. Their motivated ramblings only disturbed with the intrusion of a dog in a red plaid jacket for the brisk chill of a Los Angeles afternoon in the spring. They greeted the small lumberjack with delight, noting to its owner that he needs a little ax to complete his outfit.

After success in the Austin-area, the duo decided to head west, with Campbell and Peana planting their seed in Los Angeles three and two years ago respectively. They’ve since been building themselves into a vital presence in a city that could use more punctuated chaos.

“CAPYAC is like a chunk.. of.. street butter.. It’s like this small little thing, and as it rolls it collects more dirt and stuff like that. And everybody thinks it’s really ugly. But then when you look closer like under a magnifying glass it’s actually a lot of color.”

Photo by Drew Longworth

CAPYAC’s progress has been steady, with many releases over the years, a new EP to highlight their closing show May 27, and a full album expected in 2020. They’ve shared a couple of the bangers already, including “Ceasefire” featuring Cool Company and the glorious opening lines, “If I made a song about you, would you stay mad? And if I made a million off of it, would you come back?”

They’ll additionally sprinkle some of their other songs from the EP throughout the residency, with their featured artists in house. On May 13th, the duo will be joined by Annabelle Maginnis to share their track “Little Toes,” a tune glossy as a park’s pond in the setting sun. The water just hardly rippling, a swirl of pinks and oranges making for a sorbet reflection Monet would surely paint, and I would bathe in for days. It’s that good. The song and an accompanying video are anxiously anticipated for their release on May 10th.

The residency is expected to be full of surprises, discovery, and even a full-blown reunion of the entirety of CAPYAC, including saxophonist Marshall Lowry, MC Rudi Devino, vocalist Oolaf, and drummer Zach Yañez. There are additionally rumors that former president Barack Obama will DJ, as well as a timed-explosion of the moon with the last song of the residency. While there won’t be merch for sale, CAPYAC have some specialty item giveaways for lucky fans as well.

Capyac kick off their residency at The Echo tonight with Benny Bridges, Paper Idol, Magdalena Bay, and Moon Ensemble.

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