The world needs bands like SP's right now. Pulling no punches with their hard-left politics in the face of a world where Nazis seem to have become acceptable again, the L.A.-based band are about to release their Rise/Fall EP via their own Baby Robot Records, and they're playing a record release show at the Highland Park Bowl in May, so we chatted.
L.A. WEEKLY: When did the band form?
STEVE ALBERTSON: Me and [Steve] LaBate have been playing music for eight years now. We started playing in Atlanta — we had a band called Sex BBQ. We started a business together, and we ended up moving out here to L.A. In between, we have another band called Illiterates, which we also have a record coming out for, but the rest of that band’s in Atlanta. When we moved here to L.A., we wanted to keep playing music, so me and LaBate have Allen [Kronenberger] and James [Holland] as the rhythm section.
STEVE LABATE: We were at a party at Dangerbird Records, all hanging out in line waiting for the keg. We struck up a conversation — Allen is a music attorney and James is a radio promoter. But we’ve all always played in bands. We started rehearsing with them and in the first practice we wrote a few songs. We kept at it from there. That was 2017. We recorded our EP late last year. These first four songs are very political and we were feeling the moment leading up to the last election. All of our stuff is probably not that political, but these four definitely are.
SA: I couldn’t help but write it. I’ve been a borderline anarchist since I was really young, reading things like Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky, things that were released on Alternative Tentacles. I’m from Chicago, and there used to be a place there called the A-Zone, an anarchist collective. They’d have punk rock shows there, and also zines and things like that. Our Illiterates records have a bunch of political songs on there, too.
But this current climate is the worst of my life. George Bush started wars that are going on even now. But now we have this goofball who’s letting people be pieces-of-shit Nazis. I have these far-left political leanings, but with everything that happened with Trump, my optimism with people has diminished. I used to believe in the best in people, and now people feel like it’s OK to be shitty to people. I just hate it.
SL: It’s easy to get discouraged, but what we want to do with the aggressiveness of these songs and things that we’re saying, we just felt that rage and wanting to fight.
Describe the sound.
SA: Post-punk, psych. The main thing is, LaBate’s not allowed to do any wanky guitar solos. That’s one of the main things. We’re not looking for mood with what we’re doing, we’re looking for a visceral reaction. When you play an all-ages show at the Smell and have teenagers moshing, it makes you feel alive as you get older.
What can we expect from the set at the Highland Park Bowl?
SL: I think we’ll be doing everything from the EP, and also a bunch of the songs that will be coming out on the new record. We feel like we’re coming into our own as a band. We’re ready to get out and start playing a lot.
SA: This will be our EP release show, so it’s gonna be madness. But me and LaBate have another record coming out with the Illiterates and have a run of shows with that band, too.
SL: Our band just started a record label and we’re going to be putting out music by other bands. Our first release will be from this great psych-rock band called Gringo Star from Atlanta. They’ve been around for a while — cult heroes. We’ve got three or four releases on the schedule. We have Baby Robot Media, and now Baby Robot Records.