"I basically learned to play guitar to start Soul Power, and I just wanted to play in a straight edge band with my best friends and shamelessly rip off Outburst," jokes Soul Power guitarist Jose Gonzales. The multi-talented musician (he's also the singer of crossover crew Mizery) is chatting with me about the band and their new EP, The Low End Fury. Our singer Erik and I would just hang out and write music non-stop. The well is pretty dry when it comes to straight edge musicians, but we got it together with my good friend Chris originally hoping on bass, and Dylen from Drug Control getting down on drums. It took a long time till we could write songs good enough to call a demo, and even longer to create something we were really proud of that turned into our 7". Chris moved to second guitar and we threw Richmond transplant Nic Seibert onto bass and it's never felt better.
"The only label we even considered sending it to was React! Records. If they would have said no, we would of just put it our ourselves through our label, Undertone Records. To our suprise, [React! Records owner] Ev was super into it and it was his idea to have us split the release so we could have more creative control."
Earlier this week, No Echo contributor (and Break Away vocalist) A.E. "Ace" Stallings brought us the exclusive premiere of a track off of The Low End Fury, and today I'm excited to bring you the entire EP:
The title of the new EP is an obvious homage to A Tribe Called Quest’s seminal hip-hop album, The Low End Theory. I ask Jose what the significance of using that title as an influence is. "So, our singer and I met a long time ago through mutual friends, and even though we were both brown and straight edge, what really brought us closer to each other was our shared love for golden-era hip-hop, A Tribe Called Quest especially. We originally had been toying around with the name 'Youthful Expression,' a classic Tribe song, but Cold World beat us to it. One day, I thought of 'The Low End Fury' while working on my other band's record, but the label shot it down. I guess Erik was hoping that they would because he instantly snatched it up for Soul Power. Honestly, it's a much better fit. The meaning grew deeper as we kept working on music and it reflected the world around us.
"The people at the bottom of the social class system — people of color, women and LGBT community — we're at the low end of the totem pole. We need to fight harder than anybody else, find the fury within ourselves to make it. The Low End Fury is that fire within each of us that refuses to go out."
I recently went to a hardcore show at Top Space in Los Angeles and a lot of folks seemed to be excited about Soul Power leading up to the gig. "First of all, huge shout outs to Madison from Suburban Fight for throwing us on, that was a legendary gig to be a part of. We all had a ton of fun and people were moving around and singing along, so that's all I can ask for! Loads of people seemed to know the new song we put out the week before, so it was a wonderful surprise. [Free, Have Heart, Fiddlehead singer] Pat Flynn came up directly after our set to tell us how much he dug it, so we must be doing something right! Sidenote: I just read his interview on your site, and makes what he said to us that much more meaningful."
So, what’s up with the current state of the San Diego hardcore scene? "Musically, we are killing it! A lot of cool shit coming out recently and when shows do go down and are promoted well, they do great and are super fun. The issue is there hasn't been any consistency since The Che closed up for renovations. I see a good amount of people from SD at shows in OC and LA, so once we get the [legendary San Diego venue] Ché back in May, things should start to pick up again. Don't get me wrong, there's been a good amount of cool DIY and 21+ shows happening, but like I said, consistency is the issue.
"I get hit up by bands and agents who want to book a show but can't because a place is either too small or not all ages. As far new bands, absolutely do yourself a favor and listen to R.O.C. If you like the crossover sound San Diego has been pumping out like Take Offense or Mizery, you'll love this, no doubt. Drug Control and Take Offense both have new music coming out as well. Tensions on High coming soon! Take less. Give more! Peace and one love forever!"
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