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Meet Diego Ayala and Victor Padilla of Cooli Ooli in Baldwin Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Diego Ayala and Victor Padilla.

Diego and Victor, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
We both met in middle school but started the band during our years in college. We used to be a four member band but it is only just two of us. We formed in February of 2017 with the simple goal of just jamming out with our friends. As things started to get serious we wrote a set of songs and began looking for opportunities to perform. Victor actually put together our first show in West Covina and had bands Tidal, the Wave, Tied Minds and Lisakira join the stage with us. After that the ball kept rolling, we had more shows in the area and started making more music. 2019 was a bittersweet year for us. Two members left our band but we played a lot of great shows and dropped an EP. We were discouraged at the start of this year; we debated on continuing to play as a two-piece or taking a break to look for new members. After our first show as a two-piece in LA (Harvard Yard Bar with friends Dropkix), we found that we enjoyed playing this way a lot more and that maybe we didn’t sound too bad? So for now, Cooli Ooli is just Victor and Diego; two best friends in the whole wide world and aspiring rock-stars, who also love playing video games, playing DnD and eating chicken wings. Like seriously, we love wings.

Has it been a smooth road?
HELL NO. Work ethic was all over the place, scheduling was a pain and passion was scarce. AS much as we like to have fun and pretend to be multi-billion dollar celebrities, we had to really look at the band as a business. Diego is about to graduate from Cal Poly Pomona with a degree in Public Relations and so he is always trying to find ways to utilize some skills for the band. Being in a band is time-consuming: designing merch, writing music and making decisions. It really is about balance. Of course, we had some issues to battle in our personal lives. There will be people who won’t believe in you and people who will say or do negative things. We learned that not everyone is going to like and that’s okay. The most important thing that helps us get through any obstacle is to be self-reflecting, be accountable, and be able to take humility.

Can you give our readers some background on your music?
We are an alternative rock band. The goal is create music that embodies our personalities; we really just try to be fun and make booties move. Realistically we just try to be ourselves on stage. There is no mask. There is no act. We want audiences to really see us and connect with us. In a way we are vulnerable on and off the stage. We love making jokes and making new friends. So, yes we aim to play some fun music but we also try to connect with anyone; other bands or people listening. We are most proud of two things. One is our passion which involves the ability to keep going, despite obstacles. Two is that we are proud to share our experiences with other bands that have made it to our hearts. We love Tidal, the Wave. We love Beach Clinic. We love Step-Brother. We love Chase Petra. We love The Sweats. We love Future Reference. It is amazing to share the stage with these great people. We really don’t know what sets us apart from others, but hope that someone can give us that answer someday. One last goal we have is to be the first band to play on the moon and have Pitbull open for us.

What were you like growing up?
Diego: I have always been into some form of creativity. Be it stories, games to play in my back yard, music to write, etc. I didn’t know I wanted to play music until I was ten. I explored piano, drums and guitar until I began making hip-hop beats on Fruity Loops Studio, that lasted about eight years and is still going. I’ve always been the type of person that needed to over-fill my plate. I have to be doing a bunch of things at once or things begin to feel unproductive. So younger me was involved in choir, some sports, personal music writing and looking for ways to help my future career in PR. Hobbies always and will always include video games. Best past time and it really is a way to de-stress.

Victor: I grew up listening to music all of my life. I was quiet and timid growing up until third grade wherein recess, other kids would play; I would be listening to music on a portable CD player. When it came to family parties, my mom would make me sing in front of my family and it was always the same song every time. I would sing “Let it Burn” by usher. I always hated it but retrospectively it helped me overcome my fear of stage fright at an early on age. After countless years of talent show performances and the evolution of portable music players, I began writing music in middle school and continued to this day. You can kick down my bedroom door and see me playing guitar, video games, and crying (not kidding; like seriously, I’m ugly crying in there sometimes).

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Professional photos taken by Reymond Rivera

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