In her previous music life, Viri Dimayuga fronted Viri and Los Bandidos. She was backed by a male band as she sang original rockabilly tunes en Español.
Two years ago, Dimayuga gave up performing in dresses and pumps and put down her acoustic guitar. She and bassist Raul Nuñez switched out folk and funk for pop and techno.
“Things were falling apart [in Los Bandidos],” she tells the Reader. “And I always had a love for electronic music hiding in the closet.” She says Depeche Mode and New Order got her hooked, but it was the catchy dance music of Chvrches and the success of Daft Punk (also a duo) that led her and Nuñez to fully embrace the synth and form Sisster.
“I always loved electronic dance music, but I had repressed it for so long. I guess you could say it really started with the song ‘I’m a Barbie Girl’ [by Aqua] I loved as a kid.”
Things have worked out. When the House of Blues or Music Box needs a local band to open for a touring Mexican headliner like Siddhartha or Enjambre, Sisster gets the call. The duo are currently recording their first album with Oingo Boingo bassist John Avila at his L.A. studio. And on April 16, they will launch a ten-day tour of Mexico City venues. “It’s our first tour in Mexico.” Dimayuga says she put the tour together herself, built on connections she made from a previous Bandidos tour. “Some shows are actually in large outdoor venues.”
Dimayuga and Nuñez (she works as a cemetery counselor, he’s in landscaping) were both born in Tijuana and moved to San Diego in their teens. She believes Mexicans are more open to electronica.
“I think kids in Mexico appreciate electronic music more,” says Dimayuga. “They grew up with it. They like to dance more.” Sisster plays regularly at TJ venues such as Franz Prada. But the U.S. is opening up, she says. “Times are changing. A lot of bands today don’t have traditional drummers or guitars, which some people call ‘real’ instruments.” Sisster relies on sequence tracking and looping on stage. “Everything we play on stage we build from the bottom up. Everything comes from our brain. There’s so much new technology that bands don’t have to look like they used to.”
While she wasn’t around for disco, Dimayuga says this time, electronic dance music is infiltrating pop differently. “Disco slapped people in the face where people said ‘What the fuck?’ Now it’s gradually getting more popular. It’s more subtle.”
Sisster celebrates the release of their newest single, “Quiero” with a Friday show at the Manhattan in Chula Vista. Fellow electronic Spanish pop bands Sin Color and Polartropica (from L.A.) also appear. Free admission.