Till a couple of 12 months and a half in the past, I at all times stated that I didn’t like “loud” music. I didn’t thoughts if the quantity was turned up, however an excessive amount of noise made me uneasy; I most well-liked lullaby child music always of the day, or songs about fuckin’ bitches and getting cash as a result of who doesn’t like being brainwashed? After which I heard Soul Glo.
I’m not solely certain what it was about them that made me change my thoughts—maybe the truth that they’re Black, however then once more, the drummer TJ is white, in order that couldn’t be it. Perhaps it was as a result of they permit the listener sufficient time to breathe earlier than one other auditory flogging. (I’m listening to Diaspora Issues now, and no, that may’t be it both; all the album scares me.) Extra possible, it’s simply because they’re actually gifted, and I really feel lucky to have had the chance to speak with them.
Earlier than we get to the good things, let me introduce the band: There’s TJ, whom you already met. GG, the guitarist, and Pierce on vocals.
This interview has been edited for size and readability.
Excessive Occasions: How’d you guys meet?
TJ: I met GG some time in the past. I met GG, like, over a decade in the past.
GG: I met TJ at a present in New York Metropolis at 538 Johnson. And I met Pierce by means of band stuff. Pierce really booked my outdated band’s outdated present in Philadelphia.
Pierce: Individuals had been coming in, popping out. And basically, each TJ’s time and GG’s time simply got here to be within the band. I’ve been on this band from the start, however all people else has joined.
HT: So how does a track begin for you guys? What’s that appear to be, going into the studio?
Pierce: It actually relies upon. Anyone normally comes with an concept. The thought is perhaps a full track already able to go. Or it’d simply require just a few little flavorings from every of us. Or one in all us will solely have a pair riffs, after which we kinda simply play issues, play the concepts time and again, discuss how we wish them to sound. Or, typically for the digital shit, GG’ll simply be making beats and typically I’m there and I’ve concepts that GG will then translate into songs.
HT: Do you go in with a theme?
GG: Musically, nah. I don’t assume so.
TJ: Kinda simply occurs a whole lot of the time.
Pierce: There was instances the place we’d ask one another, What do we wish this subsequent shit to sound like? One album I used to be like, I would like this shit to sound like ache. And I really feel prefer it did.
HT: I really feel like there’s some comedy to the music movies. How do you’re feeling that performs into the music itself?
TJ: I used to be simply the topic of the music video. The music video was actually a Pierce concept. I imply it’s all form of taking part in up minor themes within the existence of this band. Was my expertise of becoming a member of the band because the drummer actually being flagellated on a rope? No. Nevertheless it was painful. I obtained a name and it was like, do you need to play this fest with us in every week, and I used to be like certain. After which we practiced the set every single day for every week, and I used to be like, I really feel like I may form of play this. After which I simply needed to do it. It beat me into form, in a way.
HT: What position does hashish play in your music?
GG: Jesus Christ.
TJ: Nicely I imply, you heard the start of the album, proper? I’ve been smoking weed every single day for, like, over a decade so it has a job to play in just about all the pieces I do.
Pierce: The best way different folks drink espresso, I believe, is how I smoke weed. The best way different folks smoke cigarettes is how I smoke weed. It actually has helped me handle my anxiety and depression in a means that I wanted for a few years earlier than I actually found it. Smoking weed as a teen for the primary time, I simply didn’t know I may really feel, like, good. I didn’t know I couldn’t have a continuing monologue that’s completely pushed by nervousness. And that’s simply actually underrated for someone like me. Clearly, I need to be a extra well-rounded individual, so I’ve to search out different issues in life that do this for me as nicely; and likewise weed helped me to appreciate that. They’re all, as GZA stated, planets revolving across the identical solar. The music, weed, and all the pieces else that I like are the issues that maintain me tethered to this mortal coil.
GG: I used to be smoking weed as a child.
HT: As a child?!
GG: To affix this band, one of many necessities, nicely not a requirement, however I used to be requested earlier than I joined this band: Do you smoke weed? And I stated, every single day. Now I don’t do this every single day anymore, due to a sure scenario that I used to be part of, however I did smoke weed final night time and that shit was loopy.
HT: Do you smoke collectively, like within the studio?
Pierce: We used to so much, like so much so much.
HT: What triggered the change?
GG: For me, I obtained arrested. So it simply fucked me up somewhat bit and I can’t do it on a regular basis, as a result of I get tremendous anxious now.
HT: How do you’re feeling about mass incarceration in relation to hashish?
GG: It’s bullshit, off high.
TJ: Particularly when you might have locations which can be rolling out legalization. That’s ridiculous. How will you get locked up for some shit that’s not even unlawful anymore?
Pierce: It’s just like the emancipation proclamation got here out and niggas was nonetheless slaves as a result of nobody instructed them. It’s like niggas will actually simply steal your life away, and never let you know.
HT: Why do you make music?
Pierce: I don’t actually really feel like I’m that good at an excessive amount of different shit, for actual. So when this caught for me as a child, it caught. I imply, the straightforward reply is as a result of I can’t skate.
GG: My dad is a percussionist and he gave me some drums as a result of he thought it was a good suggestion and ha ha. He in all probability kicked himself within the ass a number of instances for doing that due to how I developed as a person. It’s simply one thing that I caught with. Anyone left a guitar at my crib and I simply picked it up, and I taught myself tips on how to play it as a bass, then I used to be like, Yo bro, there’s two extra strings on it. Then I began educating myself guitar shortly afterward. I don’t know, I simply felt like I ought to maintain doing it as a result of it made me really feel good as I progressed with the instrument. And over time I simply stored assembly cooler and cooler folks, which made me really feel a way of belonging.
TJ: My dad obtained me into punk. It’s simply one thing I’ve at all times been considering and it’s one thing folks have been encouraging me to do.
HT: Hmm. Do you come from a rich household? Punk music looks like one thing solely rich mother and father would introduce to their children. I don’t know why I really feel like that.
TJ: Not broke, however not rich significantly. I believe it’s simply because my dad’s younger, comparatively, to different folks my age. [He’s] nonetheless in [his] mid-50s now and I’m going to be 30 subsequent month. He was simply into cool shit and it helped me. He simply had this big pile of CDs. It was both that or go to the library. I’d simply take shit from the library and burn it. My mother labored at a library.
Pierce: I used to be additionally burning a whole lot of CDs, for certain. I used to be simply speaking final night time to someone about how I listened to Metallica for the primary time on a burned CD that they made for me. It was Metallica’s Experience the Lightning on one facet, then Arch Enemy’s Doomsday [Machine] on the opposite facet. I used to be already listening to a whole lot of rock music throughout that point… I used to be in center college, so I used to be in all probability like 12, 13. My dad was actually into music additionally, however he was into jazz fusion principally, and a whole lot of bizarre pop. He doesn’t actually hearken to metallic or something in any respect; that was extra so my very own character. However I really feel like he undoubtedly obtained me on the trail of listening to very, very energetic and busy music. He labored for the Census Bureau; my mother was within the army, so we have been, like, center class. We may go on trip, not yearly. And it was at all times by means of timeshares.
HT: How would you say class influences music and the bands that come out? Do you assume if they arrive from rich mother and father, they’ve a greater shot at success?
Pierce: Yeah, I believe it might probably undoubtedly make a distinction. Like, my mother and father paid for me to have classes for a great seven years. And that actually led to me having a mentor who modified my life and the best way I take a look at music and all the pieces. And GG very decidedly didn’t have that have. So I really feel prefer it doesn’t matter, nevertheless it can also simply assist when it’s there.
GG: I really feel prefer it’s dependent in your pursuits. The sources can undoubtedly assist, however in case you fuck with what you’re doing, then you definitely’re gonna do it nicely.
HT: How do you’re feeling in regards to the categorization of Black artwork? Like Afropunk, for instance. Or going to a bookstore and seeing the African American part.
Pierce: Nicely, Afropunk is a damn-near meaningless time period. I really feel just like the dialog that we would want to have about Afropunk, and simply that time period, and the pageant round it, is longer than ten minutes will enable. [That term] doesn’t actually signify something that it initially was meant to. I don’t know, that’s simply what I’ve to say.
HT: Afterlife. Does it exist?
TJ: I really feel like once you die, you’re accomplished. I believe that is all we obtained.
Pierce: I really feel just like the afterlife may exist, like power is rarely destroyed, it’s solely transferred type-beat. Heaven to me is sort of a egocentric concept. We’re already given the prospect of heaven right here, and we’re fucking it up. However I do assume hell is actual.
Pierce: I believe reincarnation is actual. It may be actual. You return into the soil, come out an entire new nigga.
HT: If I such as you guys, who else ought to I hearken to?
GG: You ever hearken to :3lon?
Pierce: That shit will change your life. Spellling. Meshuggah. Cloud Rat. El Alfa. Tokischa. Tupac. Dance With the Devil by Immortal Technique. I used to be on my own in the midst of the night time once I heard that track for the primary time. I heard that shit and I simply appeared on the laptop display screen and stared in silence after that shit performed. Like what the fuck did I simply hear?!
HT: What do you assume the way forward for music seems like?
TJ: They’re simply gonna begin operating software program to generate jingles and shit. It’s gonna be an AI world.
GG: We’re gonna be capable to Airdrop with our minds.
Pierce: I believe all the pieces might be… Like, genres will develop into far more merged collectively, and I believe Black music will merely be a single style that artists simply do completely different traditions concurrently throughout the identical track.
HT: Will white folks be capable to make Black music?
Pierce: They already are.