To build up hype for this Friday’s no-cover showcase at Chula Vista’s Manhattan Bar (courtesy of our sister company, the San Diego Music League), we’ve talked to a couple of the bands on the bill. First, we chatted with The Slashes’ lead singer/guitarist Esteban Rene about their vintage post-punk style, their position as outsiders of the scene, and how his time as a bay captain inspired a song off their last album.
How do you like to describe The Slashes’ overall sound/themes/ideas for the uninitiated?
We are best described as post-punk, like we walked the wet London streets circa 79/80’s. So there’s a bit of the Britpop vibe as well. Lyrically like Edgar Alan Poe meets Iggy Pop. A 3-piece band from SD. All members are of Mexican decent. We all wear black, and song themes include love lost, disaffection, nautical life.
Nautical life stands out as a pretty interesting topic. What song comes to mind first as exploring that, and where did you draw the inspiration from?
I’m a licensed captain. The song is called “Compass Rose.” It’s on our debut self-titled record. I wrote it while on a cruise around the San Diego bay. The story is about 2 people trying to escape this city, specifically San Diego. She is stuck, and he’s coming to rescue her and take her away via ship- it’s that simple really. However, she disappears…
Definitely feeling the post-punk influence in the guitar tones & vocal style. Now like you alluded to, most of the songs you have out are from your 2015 album. What about your style has changed between that & the material you’re working on now?
We’ve simplified. Songs are shorter, faster, a little more aggressive & punchier. [We’re] working on a new EP. We have one [song] ready for listening [on our website] called “NuNu’s.” It’s about a once-popular bar, our hangout. It’s about living it up & enjoying a night out.
Speaking of bars actually, you’re kicking the new year for the band off next Friday at Chula Vista’s Manhattan Bar. What can you say about how that area’s local scene has helped/treated you guys?
Well we haven’t played Manhattan Bar before, [but we] have heard good things about it! There’s a lot of bands that play in the SD scene. Not a lot of bands like us, but that’s cool.
It’s been challenging getting decent gigs. We are by far not the darlings of the scene… if you’re not kissing the right arses, well, you know how cliques work. We have had [91X Loudspeaker host] Tim Pyles & [Casbah owner] Tim Mays help along the way. We just haven’t gotten a major push by the gatekeepers, if you will. We are the outsiders.
And following that show, what do we have to look forward to from The Slashes in 2018?
Currently booking a west coast tour, still in the making. Some possible gigs in NYC. We have new material recorded; just trying to find the right price to mix & master! [We’ll] keep you posted!
Catch The Slashes this Friday, January 19th at Manhattan Bar!