Thee Sinseers is an East LA band known for “Chicano soul,” a genre that was created in the City of Angels as a Latin take on Black R&B and soul that also originated here in the 1960s. The sound is defined by dreamy, sunny, and romantic ballads.
A big inspiration for Thee Sinseers lead singer Joey Quiñones is 1960s rocksteady music, as well as Ritchie Valens, Little Richards, and Ray Charles.
“It really fascinated me that these guys were there sitting with these ideas and these concepts in their mind — not just lyrics and guitar playing, but the whole orchestra with a horn section, the vocals and all the layering. That's just how I heard music in my head since being in marching band, and loving the whole group orchestra kind of sound and the different layers and the different instruments.”
Today, Quiñones plays more than a dozen instruments, which he credits in part to those marching band days. That includes obscure instruments, such as the conga and vibraphone.
Quiñones’ foray into singing started when a friend was performing at a late-night comedy show and wanted a band that would play between his segments. He sang “These Arms of Mine” by Otis Redding.
“It was a really tall order for somebody who doesn't [sing]. I remember getting really nervous and having a couple drinks and just trying to get as comfortable as I could. I did my best Chicano Otis Redding impression and I got such a good response. That's all it took for me to start taking it seriously and start putting my voice out there.”
The band’s name is an homage to other 1960s Chicano bands, like Thee Midnighters.
“They rehearsed at the same spot that we used to go and play gigs at. They used to go around to the same record shops and eat at the same taco stands. They were like our Chicano Beatles. Growing up, you heard stories about Thee Midnighters, ‘Oh guys are in a band? You got to be like Thee Midnighters.’”
Quiñones says he naturally gravitates toward love songs, due in part to it being one of the easiest genres to write and relate to. That includes the song “Love Me Like You Used To,” which is all about heartbreak: “You meet that person that one day, they're just giving you the world, the next day they treat you like they don't even remember your name.”