Outernational Shares Details On Their Music and Their Message!
The New York based rock and roll group, Outernational, is Miles Solay, Dr. Blum, Leo Mintek, Jesse Williams and Nate Hassan, and well, they’re ready to rock the world with their music and their message. Las Gringas caught up with them at the 2012 Pachanga Latino Music Festival, and we had the chance to interview Dr. Blum, who plays trumpet, organ, keyboards and accordion (all while wearing a top hat!) and Miles Solay, lead vocals. They filled us in on the story behind their current album, what its like to collaborate with Calle 13 and what they have up their sleeves for the rest of the year!
First, let me say that I had really high expectations for their live performance, and after catching both sets they played during the 2012 Pachanga, I am muy feliz to report that these guys know what they’re doing. They’ve got that rock and roll edge and have mixed it with a punkish/skaish vibe and folk and cumbia musical influences that all results in a mesmerizing product. Add their ability to bring all this to the stage in high energy, nothing held back performances, and you’ve got a legit rock group on your hands!
The Message: Todos Somos Illegales
Rock and roll, especially Outernational’s version, is not something I recommend for the faint of heart. The self-proclaimed “high octane” rock this group claims also comes with an intense message to match its intense music. When asked about the intent behind their current album’s provocative title, Todos Somos Illegales, Dr. Blum and Miles both let us know that their message goes beyond the music. They are fighting against the idea of borders, and they want people, their fans and others to move beyond that mentality. As Miles suggests to “start thinking about humanity” with Dr. Blum adding that the mixing of their different sounds, the eclectic rock, folk, cumbia, can inspire people to imagine how the world could be a different place. Presumably, a place where people and cultures come together, and the issues of where the line in the sand is drawn fades away.
Collaborting with Calle 13
One of the reasons why I was initially so intrigued by this group is because of their collaboration with Puerto Rican duo, Calle 13, on the 4th track of their current album.. It’s no secret that Las Gringas are huge fans of Calle 13, and so we had to know what it was like to work with them! Not surprisingly, both Dr. Blum and Miles reported that it was a rewarding experience and especially so because they promote similar messages.
“Its great as a revolutionary artist to to link up with another revolutionary artist. There aren’t enough popular artists out there saying the world could be a better place.” -Dr. Blum
“He’s (Rene) a deep cat…not enough artists out there…gonna say the truth…not so afraid of the consequences.” -Miles Solay
Solay had heard the music and lyrics of Calle 13 before, but caught them in concert for the first in Los Angeles in 2011 and, like most of us who have had the opportunity to see them live, was blown away. He expressed his interest in working with the duo to producer Tom Russo, and in a matter of days the ball was rolling. They met up on the road in Mexico, and discussed options over the phone. So, at the end of the day, we have “We Are All Illegals” feat. Tom Morello, Calle 13 and Chad Smith.
The tour which led them through the Pachanga fest wrapped up on May 24th, but Outernational is just getting started. Dr. Blum let us know that they’ve got another album coming out titled, Welcome To The Revolution, and he promises it will be “smash your face…melt your face” rock and roll.
Besides the album, Miles indicated that the group will most likely head back out on tour in July to promote the new music. There is even a possibility that they’ll be hitting up MIA around August or September, so get ready.