Thee Sacred Souls—a soul revival band composed of frontmen Alex Garcia (drums), Sal Samano (bass), and Josh Lane (vocals)—remind us why an extensive number of musical greats reside in the timeless genre. Following the band’s performance of Easier Said Than Done, off of their self-titled album on Jimmy Kimmel Live, they continued on to perform at the Garibaldina MB Society in Los Angeles, CA.
The night was essenced in nostalgia as soul intersected with what Samana deemed a “prom dance” feel. Glimmering red streamers spanned the stage as a line of anticipating fans built across the venue parking lot. I headed backstage to chat with Garcia and Samano, the two styled in 40s and 50s vintage pieces. Within one minute of our conversation it became apparent that Thee Sacred Souls’ secret weapon may lie in the diversification of music they draw inspiration from. Whether that be from record collecting as they travel or Chicano soul roots, there never seems to be a shortage of sound. When asked about bringing soul back into the present, Garcia acknowledges, “...We listen to different styles of music. Obviously we're approaching this to make soul music, but that's all gonna be like in the subconscious when we write.” Samano adds, “Naturally, other styles of music come out.”
Check out the full Flaunt backstage interview with Thee Sacred Souls members where we discussed their recent successes, soul music, dream collaborations, and the perfect day off.
The band recently performed on Jimmy Kimmel? What was that experience like?
Alex: It's not something that we expected. It's crazy because you're on the stage for five to ten minutes max.
Sal: Yeah, the whole day is planned out for preparation to perform one song. With all the time you have you're just like, “Man, do I drink? Do I not drink? Do I take a nap? Do I eat food? You know what I mean?”
Were there nerves?
S: Honestly, not until we were on stage just because I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know that the crowd was gonna be right there and somebody was gonna be a hype man to be like, “Okay, the band's gonna start now” and crack jokes. It was a different experience, but it was cool.
How do you do ‘soul revival’, but also find a way to make it more modern?
S: I don't think that's usually in thought.
A: No matter what we do, it's gonna sound modern because it’s 2022.
S: It's one of those things where you had to be those people, in that era, in that studio to truly get that sound.
A: I think it's also the fact that we listen to different styles of music. Obviously we're approaching this to make soul music, but that's all gonna be like in the subconscious when we write.
S: Naturally, other styles of music come out.
What other styles would you say you guys tap into?
A: Yeah. Brazilian music. Italian library music. Rock study. Rock city. Hiphop.
Do you think in future work you might collaborate with other artists that aren't from the soul genre?
A: We're open. We've been sampled, but that's not really ‘collaborating.’
21 Savage asks for a feature—what are you doing?
A: Oh yeah.
S: I was like, oh yeah, he knows what's up. He probably was just given the track and was like, “Yeah, sounds dope.”
That’s a good question. Like how many artists actually know what they're sampling?
S: Some of them do.
A: I mean, I would hope they own the actual 45 and they're not just getting it off YouTube.
S: I think that's how I thought of it at first. I was like, man, that rapper's dope because he uses these beats with these samples. And then I'm like, if he's not producing it and it's not really him. I can't speak on that so much because I don't know. I could be wrong.
Are you guys writing while you travel right now?
A: Lately, yeah.
S: Voice memos—
A: Really an overwhelming amount of voice memos that I'll record. Like right now, or in the green room, or whenever we have the time. Things are a lot busier. When we get back from being on the road and we're back home everyone just needs some time alone and some rest.
S: In between everything, you gotta figure out a way to get ideas down.
How many more tours do you guys have?
A: We have two already planned for the future. It's two weeks off and then another month-long tour, and then two weeks off, and then another tour in Europe.
S: So in those two weeks—man, those two weeks are kind of crucial for us, you know? It’s like the off days aren’t entirely off days anymore.
If you could get the day off tomorrow, what would you do?
S: Honestly, I really want to go to Japan.
A: Yeah, me too. I was looking into flights to Japan for next year. It's hard to plan though because if there's a month-long tour we have something lined up. It's kind of selfish— I don't know.
S: Cause we all do this together, you know?
In finding the vocalist for the band, Josh, how did you know that he was the person?
A: When I heard him, I was like that's the guy. I gotta hit him up.
S: At the time, I didn't feel like it was easy to find somebody who we thought would have a soulful voice, especially in San Diego, you know? Indie’s huge. [Josh] was doing indie. But I remember Alex had sent me a video of Josh and he's like, “Yo, this dude’s doing indie, but I think I kind of hear some Marvin Gaye.” I was like, “Yeah, I hear it too.”
Who are some soul artists that you guys grew up on?
S: Oh man. The classics.
Did you guys grow up with vinyl or musician families? Was it your parents putting you onto these classics?
A: My dad introduced me to that stuff, but he wasn't a record collector or anything. But, his dad actually is.
S: My family was always huge on music, even going back to my grandparents. They both played guitar and were always listening to music. Then my dad, since I was a kid, always had a wall of records and boxes. He was going to the swap meet and buying crates of random records.
A: I got into it when I was like 14; Going to the swap meets and picking up dollar records or whatever I liked.
Going city to city, have you been able to visit the local record shops?
A: Oh yeah. If we make time or if we have a day off, we'll go dig. In London we went out. You went to one in Manhattan, right?
S: Yeah, in Manhattan. I found some shit. A-1 Record Shop.
Not Japan, but it sounds like an ideal day off too.
A: Yo, I would love to go to Cambodia or Thailand and go digging for some fucking crazy 45s.
S: Imagine the shit that you'd find out there. That shit's probably just all over.
A: They got some heavy fucking tunes, man. Indonesia too.
What song on the album would you say is the most underrated?
A: I mean my choice is Love Comes Easy.
S: You think it's underrated? I always see everybody singing along.
S: I'd agree with Love Comes Easy and I like Sorrow For Tomorrow, but it's not for everybody. It's a different sound. You gotta have to have at least some knowledge of James Brown, It’s A Man’s World—
A: —Lee Moses for sure. That was the idea behind that song.
Were there any songs that you guys were about to cut or any songs that almost didn’t make it onto the album?
A: Love Comes Easy was not gonna make it. That was some people's opinions. I was like, dude, that shit's gotta be on there.
S: There's a song that was cut that to me that would've been—I can't say it's underrated cause it's not on the album, but I feel like that song should have made the album.
Potentially the next one?
S: It'll be out.
Any dream collaborators—dead or alive?
S: I'd say James Brown.
A: I'd say David Axelrod. That'd be crazy.
What's the theme for tonight?
S: The theme is a ballroom kind of feel. Kind of like a prom dance.
A: It's a cool venue. It's great vibe. Shoutout to the crew, shoutout to our bandmates.