Seres Are Spanish-Singing, Latex-Wearing Misfits from Another Time and Place
Red, Blue and Green: That's all you get to know about Seres' identities.
Imagine Devo, sung in Spanish and played at 78 rpm, and you have a rough idea of what Seres sounds like. Waiting at Exposition Circle, the three men are standing between the columns of the memorial, which almost resembles Stonehenge. They are wearing different colored latex outfits that make them look like Power Rangers. They also have masks that cover most of their heads, complete with lights that shine in your eyes when they turn their faces your way.
At dusk outside Double Wide, the trio has gained the full attention of a homeless man sitting on a park bench across the street. God only knows what he and those in the passing traffic think of these men in their bright, skintight uniforms. They hesitate to stop making performance art poses until I am close enough to shake their hands.
Interacting with Seres is like conversing with an art installation. From left to right, their costumes are blue, red and green and they prefer to be addressed as such for the purposes of the interview. They stand motionless while taking questions, with the exception of some frequent stretches that seem to suggest that they are preparing to go for a jog.
Seres debuted at Crown & Harp's Outward Bound Mixtape Sessions over the summer of 2014 and released a collection of demos around that same time. Last year, they released a live album, EP and self-titled album. They have heard the Spanish Devo comparison. “I guess it’s masked people who play synthesizers,” Green says. But Red disagrees: “Devo wears hats. It’s a little different.”
Their sound is more than a little different. “Synth punk of the alien robot variety,” says Green. Seres cites Bukkake Moms as a primary influence. “Robots from some other planet,” Red agrees. They are all big science fiction fans, very much inspired by the aesthetic of Logan’s Run and the original Star Trek series. “Nearsighted projections of what the future might be from the past,” Green adds.
Red is the primary songwriter for Seres. He grew up in Nicaragua, which he describes as a strict society. He wrote many of the band's songs seven years ago, long before he met anyone interested in this particular sound. He remembers growing up watching science fiction movies and television shows that suggested a better future. “For me Seres is a vision of a future forgotten,” he says.
Seres may put on a live show that looks like a costume party, but their lyrical content is apocalyptic, addressing serious themes like societal failures and personal struggles. The overarching theme seems to be innocence lost. In his lyrics, Red addresses everyday interactions that seem to ignore and hurt other people. He also remembers how different he imagined things turning out back when he was a child.
But what they project from the stage more than anything is irony. Seres may be exorcising demons with their music, but they are also keenly aware that most of the crowd does not speak Spanish and even if they do it is hard to follow lyrics delivered in a punk fashion. Live performances are cathartic, but fun. “You can acknowledge darkness positively,” says Blue. Performances are kinetic and they like to see the crowd moving. They enjoy wandering into the audience, shining their lights in faces, even occasionally taking drinks out of people’s hands.
“There is some kind of phobia associated with not being able to see someone’s eyes,” Red says. “I think it has an intimidation factor. We’re playing with the aesthetics of authority.” Drunken people seem to have intense reactions to people wearing masks and lights and they seem to enjoy that, often before they even start their sets. It’s as if a fleet of explorers from outer space have wandered into the venue.
In contrast to Devo or Kraftwerk, who intentionally try to look alike with their uniforms, Seres also has a bit more of a focus on individuality. “I wanted to do something more like Power Rangers,” Red says. “They are clearly part of one unit, but individuals as well.” After all, the word Seres means "beings," so they are trying to encompass more than one type of individual.
Seres also enjoy combining what are often considered opposing styles, like prog rock and punk rock. Like punk rock, their sound is lean and mean. But on the other hand, they are using synthesizers similar to what bands like Pink Floyd used to record albums that are considered far more complex.
“There’s prog and then there’s people using progressive elements in music,” Blue says. “The definitions get interchangeably used.” Perhaps this sound is something everyone will have their own definition of. “Definitions are socially constructed, man, and everything is subjective,” Blue adds, sarcastically. “There is no such thing as truth.”
SERES will perform with Bukkake Moms and Guerilla Toss at 9 p.m. Sunday, March 20, at Texas Theatre, 231 W. Jefferson Blvd., $8.
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