Q&A Exclusive With Hip Hop Influenced Band ANiMALSOUL
Whats going on ANiMALSOUL?! We really enjoyed your latest COLOR EP, it really gave us a whole new appreciation on good music in general. May we ask how did your group come about, and how does your group tie into underground Hip Hop?
Jourdan Harper – What’s up UGHH! Thanks for listening to our EP! We really appreciate the love. ANiMALSOUL came together in January of 2015, but we’ve all known each other for a long time. Particularly Ivan, Alan, and Valente Arellano because they’re brothers. Frank, Jourdan and Valente played in a band for a few years before ANiMALSOUL got started, so when everything came together it just felt right. We connect with the hip hop community because we’re really huge fans of the genre, and even though we don’t exclusively play hip hop, we try to draw upon the genre for inspiration and use hip hop influences whenever we can.
Alan Arellano – I have to say we’re all strongly influenced by one another. We’re individually trying to find something to pique our own interests all the time, and it’s usually new hip hop records and artists we share with each other. I’d say we do it to see if anyone feels it as much as we do individually, and that’s a big part of our evolution.
What specific area are you guys from. Also, how has your local community supported your movement?
Jourdan Harper – We’re from El Paso, Texas. The community has really been fantastic with supporting us. We had a huge amount of people come out to our EP release party and ran out of copies by the end of the night. El Paso is generally kind of slow on the uptake with the local music scene, so the amount of love we’ve received from our community in the year and a half that we’ve been together has been really overwhelming.
Alan Arellano – Agreed. The support we’ve gotten from the local scene is something i didn’t really expect myself! The music scene in el paso has really started shaping up in the last couple years, and it feels like there are some great artists around now, so to be able to turn heads while the scene is on the come-up is so cool to me.
We would like you guys to break down the creative process on your new COLOR EP. From what I understand, its has 2 POP songs and 2 HIP HOP songs. Also how did you guys come up with the trippy album cover?
Jourdan Harper – When we write music it often starts as an idea on the computer, kind of like an outline of what we want to happen. Someone will throw down a cool beat, then someone else will add some synth work or a guitar line, then bass, and so on. We all pretty much play everything so we’re all very involved in the songwriting process. We produce all of our own music and record everything ourselves, so we have complete control over all the sounds that come out on the EP. We mostly just write whatever we feel like. If someone writes a hip hop song and everyone digs it, we just build it up until we’re satisfied with it. Same with the two pop songs on the album. As long as it sounds like ANiMALSOUL and it sounds dope live, we’ll play it. The album cover was designed all by Valente. We had the idea to play on the theme of the color cards that would pop up on old analog TV’s and he went with it.
As a group, how do you guys hold each other accountable regarding making sure all your music is great and 100% complete? How do you guys feel about the longevity on the group, meaning how long do you guys plan to stay together?
Jourdan Harper – We definitely don’t pull any punches regarding our music with each other. If we don’t like the way something sounds then we change it, no matter what. It really helps that we consider our band a family. Three of us are actually brothers and the other two (Frank and myself) are practically adopted, so it makes it very easy to communicate. We always try to be real with each other, and I think that it really helps our music come together. We plan on playing together for as long as we can. The goal is to hit it big and to play together forever.
Frank Cano – Being the newest member of ANiMALSOUL, I feel like i have the most to prove. It’s a very positive thing because since we’ve all been playing music together for so long we all know what to expect from each other. We all want this band to be the absolute best it can be and it takes equal parts from us all. This band will not settle for anything else short of being a household name and the sky is our limit.
Alan Arellano – There’s no doubt in my mind that we’re in this with no end in mind. I don’t know anybody I can work with like i can with these guys, and the challenges we’ve faced up to this point are something we only know how to deal with together. We know each other and we can say absolutely anything, so when it comes to music, or just life in general; honesty is what holds us accountable.
Planning on releasing any more videos to complement your COLOR EP?
Jourdan Harper – We’ve been thinking about it, but we might just hold off to drop a video for our second EP that’s in the works. We’ve learned so much making this first release that the second one is going to be twice as good. We will definitely release something for the second EP. However if something comes together for one or two of the songs off this release we’d be more than happy to throw a video out.
How do you guys feel about social media & BLOGS on how they play a role in getting your music heard? Also does social media distract you guys from promoting old school style by going to the street and spreading the word MOUTH TO MOUTH?
Jourdan Harper – Social media & blogs like UGHHBLOG have been so helpful with getting our music out there. El Paso is slow on the uptake with online music, so while we’ve got a great following around town, it’s been difficult to get it to catch on online locally. This is where being featured on blogs has helped us out so much. Our release has been featured around the web and it’s made it possible for so many people who aren’t from El Paso to get into our stuff. We just want people everywhere to listen to our stuff. Social media is definitely a distraction from going to the street because it’s just like another job. Instead of just going around with posters and telling people, now we’ve got to do the exact same thing but online. But the beautiful thing is that you never know who’s going to end up listening to your music, and that’s what we love about social media & blogs. Big shoutout to UGHH for the feature.
Frank Cano – Social Media/Blogs have really helped us so much because it just spreads our music so much farther than our feet can. Its interesting because we come from a generation that does EVERYTHING online, and our music is part of that. It can be distracting from doing things old school, but at the end of the day we try to let our music do all the talking for us.
Alan Arellano – When it comes to getting people to shows i feel like we burn the candle at both ends, which can be a pain, but the footwork is something the internet generation isn’t super willing to do, so the commitment from all of us is very advantageous. Jourdan works really hard at the online PR and we’re very fortunate to have someone like him who’s willing to be the first to do it and set the bar high. Signing on to any social media feels like i’m walking in a room, and Jourdan’s in every single one. all. the. time.
How often have you guys performed together? Are you guys planning on touring or jumping on a huge show line up?
Jourdan Harper – We played a bunch of shows during our first year as a band to lay down a solid foundation and build a big following around town. Early 2016 we toured out to California as part of a West Coast tour put together by our record label, Electric Social Records based out of El Paso. Our next goal is to hit up the big cities in Texas, and then head out to the East coast to spread the word out there. We just played Neon Desert 2016 back in May. We played with Tyler, The Creator, A$AP Ferg, Tory Lanez, Future just to name a few.
Alan Arellano – Definitely have a wishlist, but only time will tell. It would be out of this world insane to be billed with Tyler again.
Our most popular question, what is your definition of “underground hip hop”?
Jourdan Harper – To me, underground hip hop is really where it’s at. Mainstream is all about the whips, women, two phones, work work work, hola como esta & konichiwa, and stuff like that. But where is the substance? Underground hip hop is real. People make music that makes you feel something. It’s more than just a good beat that you can dance to, it’s got real meaning. It’s real people talking about real situations. I appreciate that.
Frank Cano – Jourdan hit the nail on the head on that one. “Underground Hip Hop” to me isn’t a specific genre of music, but really just guys expressing themselves no matter what any haters can say. It might not appeal to the masses and it might be commercially successful yet that doesn’t stop us from really putting exactly who we are into our music. You could kind of compare it to indie bands.
Alan Arellano – Often I hear people speak down on how the laptop made music production “easy”
– anyone these days can make music, and that’s killing the music industry because of oversaturation of the market and blah blah blah. To me, that’s the best part. Anybody can make what they want to hear, and anyone can take interest in what they choose. Underground hip hop is the people. Like, real people giving you what they’ve got. The imperfect mix and unmastered grit..that’s crazy to say considering people who aren’t “professionals” can get very close to mixedbyali-tier quality. Most importantly – this music has substance. When i hear something i like, i feel it. All the stuff on the radio is too easy to tune out.
Where can people find you on the web? Drop all the vital links.
Lastly, any shout out?
Jourdan Harper – Huge shoutout to Christian Yanez of Electric Social Records. He is the man behind the scenes and has helped us with everything we have needed. Also shoutout to all our homies on ES records. We are humbled to share a label with all these talented individuals.