Aaron Montaigne- Having grown up in San Diego its very interesting to talk to you monsieur about z culture of music there today. Are you here in LA or still in 619 (San Diego area code)?
Rafael Reyes- Yeah man, you were in a few of my favorite bands in San Diego and now we’re here full circle back in LA – well, I’m still in San Diego. Back and forth. We’re down here working with our boy Ray, El Mondo upstairs. Like I was saying we’re just – David and I we try to work with a lot of numerology, so everything is kind of like in a pattern. When the story is told in the end the message will be understood but right now it’s hard for people to put all the pieces together because the pieces aren’t all there we’re still creating them as we’re going. We have SXSW this year, so we’re kind of just planning with Ray how we’re going to set up our stage, how we’re going to set up our performance. Because you know we really want to set ourselves apart from everyone else we don’t just want to say ‘Hey here’s our music listen to it’ we really embody the full – what it is to be a full artist. Like David Bowie, you know, to uh – RIP – to put on a whole show, a whole something that you can take with you and want to like
AM- You mentioned breaking z stereotypes.
AM- That’s a like – I saw you guys play the other night at El Rey and you could totally see that in z audience you got punks, Goths, cholos, lots of cholos. I saw cholos throwing up in the fucking lobby (laughs).But diversity is one main thing that I see culturally, even beyond the music you guys do.
RR- Yeah! I think it’s in a way, it’s unity and it’s so beautiful to be able to unite different subcultures and whatnot and for me I really feel that we ourselves are kind of the voice of those who have been rejected by the outcasts. Even though the outcasts have been rejected by society, we’ve taken it even further to like be able to, like, empower those – because even in like subcultures there’s cliques – like punk, Goth rock, you got the skaters, you got the cholos, these are all subcultures but they all clique up and say ‘hey this is who we are or we aren’t and if you aren’t up to this you’re not welcomed’ so in a way that’s kind of what cholo Goth is, bringing both that have been rejected by the outcasts and given them kind of um a voice.
AM- And a community.
RR- And a community, thank you.
AM- And that’s something that I recognized at z show easily. You were speaking about numerology, and that’s one thing in that Vice interview you were talking about sigils and magic and I was personally curious if you tap into that. Is this something you use in your everyday and your lesser magic?
RR- Briefly but not too much because you know as a practicing magician you’re not really – you know the rules are you can’t really talk too much about what it is that you do and I have in the past so therefore I’m still doing it but I do get a lot of backlash from the community but even then I’m still to the point where I am so in my own world where I’ve taken it further from where I’m even rebelling against that even though it’s a community I’ve been involved with fro a long time and I’ve been involved in the practices of magic, of sigils, more than anything my strongest and where I feel that I am the most innate in is in sex magic and sex magic is really where I propel as a magician and it manifests for me like immediately and it’s, I have a few partners that I practice sex magic with and I don’t want to say that’s part of our success but that’s definitely a focus point when I am practicing magic, especially sex magic my target has been for Prayers to be successful and to be a number one band and because to me not just the message that prayer represents but the love that I have for Dave Parlay is so important to me that it’s my way of communicating my love to him is by having us be successful.
But yes a lot of it you know, I’ve done it all in a sense but for me the one that had bared more fruit more than like – I can’t go into too much detail a lot of it – you know, you got he candle work, you got the sacrifices, you got the blood rituals, you know David and I have done blood rituals together you know and uh we’re but for me where I feel my strongest point and even my partners who I practice sex magic with have recently said this is where you are the strongest at and I really feel that I am – through sex magic will manifest what I want the very next day right after I orgasm. I will orgasm and my phone will ring and it will be exactly what I was aiming towards during the act of sex.
AM- Yeah, definitely, you know as someone who has practices sex magic quite often; it’s so crazy to me when people don’t because it always fucking works.
RR- It fucking works.
AM- Anytime I do any sort of spell, when I want something or want this thing… Bam.
RR- Yeah. And you know I think I’m pretty strong at sigil magic, too, you know banishings and what-not. My partners are way stronger you know I just focus more on my strong points and you know where I’m weak at you know I have members of the community – you know even then I’ve become even though I’m part of the community – one of the warlocks once said to me he really felt that what he appreciated about what I bring to the table is that even in an environment that’s supposed to be a free thinking and magic there’s still structure and there’s still rules. But then I come and without you know so much you it’s almost like chaos theory. You know I come and really feel that through destruction I can you know create. And power myself and our listeners and I feel that it’s been actually being received quite well. Because I have now, people like yourself who know the language of magic and like know the archetype that they are picking up and saying ‘hey, you know, he’s one of us.’ Without me really having to really talk too much about it just because they listen to the lyrics and they’re able to pick up on the language that is spoken but only understood by us.
AM- Right. Cool. Um I want to talk about your music and aesthetic. Aesthetically you guys have this huge unique thing going for you is that you’re Cholo Goths. You got these burly fucking tattoos, you’re hanging with gangs, you have noir fingernails and you’re Goth, and that comes through the music, too, because the music you guys write is pretty aggressive at times, but your vocals and lyrics are very emotional.
RR- Like gothic music is – romantic and sensitive. Vulnerable.
AM- Your music and aesthetics are very similar because there’s a lot of duality involved.
RR- Yeah. There’s a lot of pain and sorrow in gangs. And you know there is this romantic idea when you’re a gang member that you know through the struggle life will get better. And there is a lot of loss when people go to prison and you lose your loved ones and people forget about you and you’re out on the streets living the life of an outcast. And you know Goth culture um they really are outcasts and what I love about got culture and what I love about gang culture that they both have identical – not so much the make-up from the 80s and 90s but if we transcend the make-up – what the gothic culture and what the gang culture both have in common is that it’s something that you never grow out of. Have you noticed that? It’s something you never grow out of.
AM- I’ve noticed that, I go to Goth clubs and it’s like that dude’s 60 over there and he’s having a good time.
RR- Yeah, they don’t grow out of it where in other cultures they grow out of it. But there’s something about those two that they stay with you for the rest of your life. There’s exceptions to the rules of course in everything. But the majority don’t. There’s something that is very ingrained and very deep rooted in those two subcultures that I’ve always been a part of and now I just eclipsed them together. I brought the sun and the moon to create what is Cholo Goth along with Dave parlay.
AM- I want to ask a little bit about San Diego. Growing up there in the 90s, it was like Seattle was taking off, San Diego was z next big scene. What’s going on in San Diego these days, besides you guys?
RR- We are the most influential and popular band coming out of Sand Diego right now and in reality we are the only thing that matters right now out of San Diego. The reason is, is because people in San Diego are not focused on individuality they’re focusing more on trends and you know the doom metal scene is huge right now surf guitar psychedelic rock you know and that’s everywhere right now, everyone’s trying to sound like Black Sabbath. And you know I love Black Sabbath but come on. Black Sabbath exists and existed and you know that’s what’s going on in San Diego I you’re not in a fuckin’ psychedelic doom band, you’re not really cool and that’s what happened with us we were the only two individuals pioneering this sound or going back to the basics like Soft Cell, like Tears for Fears, like uh Pet Shop Boys where it’s two guys making amazing electronic music and that’ what we want to do we want to be the black Pet Shop Boys and in San Diego there was no platform for it. Now there’s a bunch of fuckin’ copycats because we kicked the door in, and now that we kicked the door in there’s tons of bands you know there’s Mystery K, there’s Angel’s Dust but we’re the pioneers of that shit.
We were talkin about this yesterday, about how our first show was a kid’s birthday party, our tattoo artist’s tattoo party, so our first show was for a bunch of 5 year olds. A lot of reasons we’re successful is because we don’t think we’re too cool for shit. A lot of bands think they’re too cool and that’s their demise.
AM- It’s pretty incredible that in one year you’ve gone from playing Complex to playing sold out shows at EL Rey, that’s pretty incredible for just two years. What else you guys got up.
RR- This year we got SXSW, we got Coachella. I mean, we’re working hard to get it to a platform where the world can see it and hear it and I feel like we’re in a situation where it’s a forest fire. It came from a spark and now it’s consuming everything around it. If things keep gaping this way, I think we’re going to be doing arenas soon.
AM- I think that anytime when people are doing anything – any art or music that is esoteric – it brings up conversation about the gang affiliation, I think is good for music in general. I think we’re seeing things move from DJ back to on stage performing.
RR- As performers, we’re here to break stereotypes, we’re here to encourage vulnerability, and we’re here to destroy popular culture.
AM- My girlfriend is Mexican and neo-folk goth and has a question. Were you influenced by Mexican music growing up?
RR- Me, not so much. Romatica, Ombres K, Tijuana Knoll, sure there’s a lot of bands I was influenced by.
Dave Parley- Yeah, for sure. Even if you don’t need the motion, you feel it, you feel all that – that’s why I love that music.
AM- What’s 1913 symbolize?
RR- It represents Sherman; it’s the gang I’m from. And the alphabet – the 19th letter of the alphabet is the letter ‘s’ and the 13th is ‘m’ so 1913 represents Sherman. So if you’re a gang member, you know the code.
We used to it because you don’t want the outsiders to know what you’re saying, like writing letters form jail to the outside. Just stems from that.
AM- How did Travis Barker get into z mix? When he came onstage last night, I was blown away. That guy can drum his fucking ass off.
RR- I thought it was so cool that that guy came and performed with a ski mask so that it wasn’t’ about him. You know he was saying ‘this is about Prayers tonight, this isn’t about Travis Barker.’ I mean, I didn’t care, but when I saw him with a ski mask I knew what he was doing, I didn’t care, but he’s such a good dude.
David and I were playing an art show – Jessie Hassellip – he was having an exhibition at Gnome gallery. We’d met in NY and he asked us if we would play at his opening. So we played and Travis’s photographer was there and took footage, showed Travis, Travis saw the video and the photographs, tracked us down, found our Instagram, and actually introduced himself as a fan through DM on Instagram. He gave me his number, we vibe out, and next thing you know we went over to his studio and did the Young Gods EP with him.
AM- So he produced that? And who released that, and will you stay with that label?
RR- Yes, Dave Parley and Travis Barker produced it, came out January 2015 on Lucille. The cool thing about the label is they’re allowing us to be more partners than their act. So we go 50/50 and punk, they embody that. I think it’s because Travis Barker himself is a musician and knows how the world works so he’s trying to help the artist.
We’re working on new material, and we’ll be working with a couple songs with him in a couple days. When that’s done we don’t know if we’ll put it out ourselves or with Lucille. We’re bringing in great numbers thanks to our audience and supporters so we have options now, so if we want, we could probably do this on our own, it just depends. We like working with others, we’re working on something with some of the members of Christian Death, a split 7”, and it might be coming out on Ruby, an under label of Slash, so we’re trying to resurrect Ruby with this split.
AM- I heard that there was a death in z Prayers family, I’m sorry to hear about that. I’m sure you’re writing music about it.
RR- Yeah, it really opens up a can of worms you know, I know when my old man died, I didn’t have music so I just turned to destruction. Luckily, David and I, we have music now we turn to each other in this music so we can focus our pain and our sorrow into the music. So it’s a savior, music is a savior. Yeah, RIP to all our loved ones.
AM- If you were to dedicate any song to any one, who would it be?
RR- That’s a hard one. I think I would dedicate “friends are poison’ from Prayers to all my old friends from San Diego, to my daughter; or ‘Love is the Enemy.’
You know, I was just asked what would be my entrance song, and what would be my exit, my funeral song. My entrance song would be ‘Self Control” by Laura Branigan. And my funeral song would be probably ‘Goodbye Horses’ by Q Lazarus.
But my main song, that I would dedicate… you know my dad and I just made up in a dream. He knows I love him and I know he loves me. So, you know the only person that I’m not talking to and that I’m probably not going to talk to for a very long time is my daughter, she hurt me, she hurt me really deeply. So I think the song that I would dedicate to her, is ‘Friends are Poison’ by Prayers.