While the duo of Best Coast has been famously touting the excellence and energy of Southern California through its post pop, the hardcore duo It’s Casual has been focusing on the more aggro side with its SST-informed blend of stripped-down punk and metal. The New Los Angeles II drops out on November 20, and is full of rippers about everything from the joys and challenges of public transportation to feeding the poor crappy food via EBT cards. I paid a visit to the singer, guitarist, and It’s Casual main man Eddie Solis to chat about the brand-new album and its message.
MW: Was it difficult to make a second New Los Angeles album with new ideas and energy?
ES: I can honestly say the first one is good. Actually, it is great! But the new one is even better because I raised the bar and had to write better songs and record them better than the first time. That required work! But I was stoked on the mega amounts of worldwide press coverage received by my car-free message and the video for “The Redline” off the first New Los Angeles record. That fueled me. And have you listened to the albums in a row yet?
MW: Not yet, but I will! What are some of the changes in the city that you’ve observed between the first and second New Los Angeles albums?
ES: Yes, I can. There are much more public transportation friendly campaigns from the media and the city. There are more stories running in the news and more minds open to being car-free. More minds open to giving public transportation a try!
MW: While you are critical about how things work in L.A. in songs like “Sharing Is Not Caring” and “Less Violence, More Violins,” there’s also a sense that you really love it it in songs like “California Is Not an ATM” or “Keep The Children Occupied.” Can you talk about that balance?
ES: Most musicians will write about a girlfriend they once had or a heavy experience 10 years ago. I am reporting now what I see in front of me. This is now. This is real life. I am not gonna fake sadness or happiness. I am just gonna convey what I witness!
MW: It seems like your albums could almost be a platform for someone running for mayor or a council seat–if you weren’t wired to rock, of course. But do you think your music can affect change?
ES: Everything I put out there has conviction and belief, and if people can connect with my music riffs and messages they will see how easy it is to make changes for the better. I am also gonna be hosting my own radio show called “Los Angelesnista” and I will have a photography installation called Through The Eyes of a Bus Rider, so why can’t my music and message trickle down into the political world?
MW: Now that you’ve made two New Los Angeles albums, can you share your thoughts on some of the “old” albums by other bands?
ES: The albums by The Doors and X were heavy–not only in the content by the timing. We Angelenos needed them and they dropped at the perfect times. And then there was Randy Neuman’s epic “I Love L.A.” Actually, I have an updated version called “I Love El Lay” that will be released on Cinco De Mayo next year. It will be a single and the music is nothing like the song they play after the Dodgers or Lakers win. Los Angeles is a very big place with a lot of people and cultures mixing. We deserve multiple recordings about it. And if any of you non-natives don’t like it, get outta my town!