The members of the Selma band Resident Alien Invasion grew up in the 1980s, the sons of immigrant parents. It was a sort of parallel universe where instead of R.E.M. and Boy George there was Los Bukis, Los Freddy's and Jose Afredo Jimenez.
The band makes a unique Fresno appearance Sunday night at the Babylon Club, 1064 N. Fulton St., with Aiming For August and Jordan Williams. The Bee chatted with singer/guitarist Carlos Cisneros about the band's name, the local music scene and how music tends to break the language barrier.
Let's start with some history. Who's in the band? How did it come together and how long have you been playing?
We're a band consisting of three brothers. Carlos, Omar and Hector Cisneros. Hector (drums/vocals) and I have the most playing experience, with just over 10 years each. Omar started playing right around 2010. As soon as he was solid enough on the bass, we started the band.
Can you explain the name and how it relates to what the band does, or the type of music you create? Or just your lives in general?
As kids we saw that term a lot, "resident alien." Our parents had immigrated from Mexico, were learning to speak English and had not yet become U.S. citizens. Resident alien is the term for a legal immigrant in the U.S. Today our parents are citizens, but that process of growth and change coincidentally manifested itself as a timeline in the music to which we were exposed. The "invasion" part comes in the form of our hope that people will enjoy our music and keep us on their playlists. We're trying to invade playlists.
You were exposed to a lot of Latin music and musicians before finding American pop music. What was it like to hear Motown or classic rock or whatever for the first time?
Oh, it was awesome! You ever get to the end of a playlist or album and wish there was more of it? That's kind of how it felt. There was a whole world of unheard music that somehow felt very comfortable, as though we'd heard it before. Music for some reason allows for influence and borrowing freely, despite language barriers. A good bassist or drummer, for example, will sound good regardless of language. Much of the Latin music we heard had a bit of American/British influence. So maybe you can imagine what it was like for us when we first heard the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix or Led Zeppelin.
I hear a lot of classic rock and blues influences in the songs. What are the band's major influences these days?
The Mars Volta was huge for us, but they're gone now. The Local Natives are doing some cool stuff, too. Most recently it's been all about local bands for us. The Long Black Veils from Selma, and bands like Iwanaga have influenced our live shows quite a bit. Also bands like Mezcal, Llama Boy, Sahab, Sci-Fi Caper and Fashawn … love their music. Most recently Le Wolves have caught our attention. It's all about D.I.Y. these days and we respect anyone doing it.
You could be the first local band I know that has its own beer. Tell me about the Resident Alien Invasion brew?
Bencomo's (Home Brew Supply) in the Tower District, man! We helped a friend of ours brew up some IPAs (India Pale Ale) and somebody came up with the idea to label it with "Resident Alien Invasion" stickers, since we had waaayyy too many of them printed up. The beer turned out pretty awesome. Not the hoppiest IPA, but respectable.
Know a local musician or band more people should be familiar with? Send details to Joshua Tehee, firstname.lastname@example.org or @joshuatehee on Twitter.