Dorys Bello and Eli Oviedo are the musicians behind the beautifully haunting but soothing sounds of the Miami indie-folk band Dracula.
The duo met when they were teenagers and have been performing for over 10 years around Miami. They perform songs in five different languages and are making waves in the independent music scene for their cover of the iconic Tejana singer Selena's song "Como La Flor," which was featured on NPR’s Alt.Latino. Last year, Dracula signed with the new local independent label Sweat Records Records and their album is expected later this year. They talked to WLRN about the creation of their band and the significance of singing in many languages.
Dracula has two upcoming performances: the III Points Music Festival on Feb. 15 and Club Space in Downtown Miami on Feb. 21.
This interview has been edited lightly for clarity.
WLRN: Dracula is ominous, [an] evil but mysterious character and he's preying on people. Where did the idea come from?
Oviedo: It's funny and pretty arbitrary. We were both kind of like 'what do we call ourselves' and we're not really that good with coming up with names. At that time [Dorys] was reading Bram Stoker's Dracula. So it's just kind of the first thing.
Bello: It's worked out organically.
Oviedo: It's developed its own significance after a while too. A lot of our music is really therapeutic. There are certain emotions. We have expressed it in some abstract way through our music [that is also like] the way that Dracula is a vampire.
What was that first time you guys started performing together ... what was that like?
Bello: I just thought our voices melded perfectly. It sounds like we're one person almost with a lot of echo.
You speak numerous languages right? Where did that passion for language come from?
Bello: I speak English and Spanish. My parents speak French. I'm learning Japanese. We also like to listen to a lot of music from other places.
Oviedo: I don't know. For me, learning different languages, kind of going along with you have like a different world view based off of the way that your language works. That is just like, I don't know, something really fascinating to me to be able to think about people -- it's almost like an empathic exercise. Kind of get to know somebody through their language.
How does it feel when you're singing songs in different languages? And if so do you have a favorite language?
Bello: I love singing in Spanish.
Oviedo: Yeah I really love singing in Spanish. I think it's my favorite.
Bello: I feel like there's more heart in it.
Oviedo: It flows out of me in this like a completely natural way.
Bello: And I like the idea of my parents listening in and our families.
Oviedo: I mean the whole politics of being a hyphenated person, like a Latin American and embracing that Latin aspect of yourself and not forgetting it.
What's the story behind “Como la Flor” by Tejana icon Selena?
Oviedo: The way that the Latin American community delves into identity politics...when people refer to like LatinX, where there's this new modern take on the way that Latin American or hyphenated youth are looking at themselves and their identities as complex as they might be here in the United States ... Sometimes you look back and you think about things in your childhood and think about how Selena ended up really coming into the foreground in terms of popular music. She was singing in Spanish and English. And I think that was kind of a big connection right there. Not to mention that there's just so much nostalgia involved and also the hint of melancholy that's involved in the tragedy of her death as a young person. I think just gives you a moment for pause.
You guys recently signed with Sweat Records Records, the new independent music label and you were profiled by NPR's Alt Latino. How does all this new attention and progress feel for you?
Oviedo: I mean it's nice to get a lot of congratulations and things.
Bello: It's my dream to have an LP. Yeah that's what we're really looking forward to.
Part of it is you want more attention. You want to get your music out to more people but with more attention and more demand.
Oviedo: It would be incredible for this to be our job and our dream.
Watch Dracula's live in studio performance.