Los Mocochetes is a self-described “Chicano funk” band based in Denver, Colo., combining sociopolitical messages with a welcoming dance-friendly sound. “We wanted to make music that even folks who disagree with our message couldn’t help but dance to,” says vocalist and percussionist Jozer Guerrero.
Ahead of Los Mocochetes’ two Colorado concerts this weekend, we connected with Jozer to talk about the band’s unique name, their blend of strong messaging with dance-friendly rhythms, the story behind their powerful song “43,” and what lies ahead as they continue to grow their audience across Colorado and beyond.
What was the initial spark that inspired you to start the band?
Los Mocochetes was founded 2015, after a few of us started a jam session that picked
up momentum – and because of this beautiful project, and a strong brotherhood! We wanted to make music that we grew up listening to but, with a modern twist. We also wanted to address different issues that our community was facing and use our platform to bring good to the ‘hood!
What is the story behind the name Los Mocochetes? Is this a term you created yourselves?
One day a group of extraterrestrials, or maybe our ancestors, picked us up and took us to an
enchanted land called New Mexico. This is where our story begins. Those extraterrestrials
showed us the power of the boogers, a.k.a. “Mocos,” and the machetes we held in our throats.
When we combined the youthful energy of the Mocoso, with the powerful energy of the
machete, we got a perfect blend, a balance – a lot like our music. Therefore, we are Los
How has the band’s sound, lyrics, and message evolved since you first started playing together?
Our music has evolved slowly and beautifully, almost like a baby learning to walk! We have all
become so much better since we started, we have learned to work together more efficiently,
and we have learned to be vulnerable with each other, which allows us to really tap into the
feeling the songs need. Our lyrics have become less apologetic, our sounds and rhythms have become even tastier! And we aren’t afraid to experiment with sounds and genres – we refuse to be forced in a box.
You describe your band’s sound as “Chicano Funk.” How deeply is “Chicano” (or “Xicanx”) a vital part of the band’s identity?
It is extremely important! Our connection with our roots and ancestors is one of the main
sources we draw from for inspiration. We seek to honor our traditions and continue to spread
our culture through our music and stories – continue the work started by our leaders like
Guadalupe Briseño, Ricardo Falcon, and of course Corky Gonzales.
Are there specific issues or messages you and your bandmates aim to build awareness around with your music? Have these issues evolved over time?
We are a band that seeks to spread love and positivity through our music. We combat issues
like racism, gentrification, immigration, and the inequalities we face as people of color! We feel like these issues continue to attack our people, and we will not stop playing our music until these issues are addressed.
Your music has a socio-political edge, but it’s also upbeat and danceable. Was that an intention from the start, to create a dance-friendly sound?
Yes! We wanted to make music that even folks who disagree with our message couldn’t help
but dance to! We believe music is a perfect bridge to get folks to realize how similar we are, and not focus on our differences for once, but how this music makes your body feel! We also
understand that this makes our message more digestible, and we hope this can impact folks on a larger scale.
Can you talk about the ideas behind and origin of the song “43”?
The song talks about the 43 student activists from Ayotzinapa, Mexico and their tragic murder and disappearance. They were all student teachers and were at a protest when they became
victims of violence. It was unclear who committed the crimes, however, recently justice has been served.
Originally the song started as a poem. After the poem was finished, I [Jozer] still felt the urge to say more, so I started writing the song. I was initially inspired by a chant the victims were chanting at a protest. We wanted to bring awareness to the issue and inform folks about the injustices that occurred.
You’re based in Denver, and you play shows across Colorado. Are you actively working to build new audiences outside the Front Range…and outside Colorado?
We love Colorado and get out to as many towns as possible. We are trying to expand as far as we can, and this summer we’ll be traveling to California, Utah, New Mexico, and Wyoming!
Do you have plans for new releases or recordings in 2023 that you can talk about?
We have been working on a new album, and hopefully we can release that sometime in 2024. But also we plan to release another single before the year is over. And we have a music video
coming out next month for our latest single “Christmas Cold as I.C.E.”
The Colorado Sound Presents Los Mocachetes Saturday, March 4 at 2454 West in Greeley, Colo.
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