When I spoke to the members of Thr3 Strykes in October 2015, they were recording an album that they hoped would be out shortly thereafter.
If 15 months qualifies as “shortly thereafter,” then Thr3 Strykes is on track: [CMNCTN-BRKDWN] will be released in January, and the band is throwing an album-release party at The Date Shed on Friday, Jan. 6.
During a recent phone interview, Josh Fimbres and Josh Hall discussed the new album, including one of the tracks, “Hate Is the New Love.” Fimbres said the track references the fact that privacy is dead.
“The intent was to make it all about this new age of no privacy, and everyone is in everyone else’s business, and are we really believing that it’s really their business?” Fimbres said. “That’s what it was sort of a reference to.”
Hall said he and Fimbres faced some turbulent times while making the record.
“Basically, we lost a member; we had to take lyrics off and put new ones on, and create new energy. We had a bunch of songs, and it would have been released earlier, but we took songs off and put on new songs,” Hall said. “Plus we had daily struggles such as moving, finances, people’s attitudes and all kinds of other bullshit. We really wanted to put some polished stuff together, and this is what we did. I’m an indecisive cat, so I’m not really sure this is our best work, but it’s definitely some of the greatest stuff. But I think the best is yet to come.”
Fimbres said he and Hall were more attentive to detail than they have been in the past.
“We had a conversation one night at 3 in the morning, where it was like, ‘We’ve been at it for this long; we’re not half-stepping it,’” Hall said. “We’re under the microscope a lot more these days and not releasing stuff like we used to. Now, we nitpick a song, which might be a bad thing, but the contents have to be right. We went all-out with this album. It’s our best stuff. Like Josh said, we did go through a lot of bullshit, too.”
Hall and Fimbres made a point to limit the number of special guests on the record. They wanted to include people who they feel are truly family.
“One of my favorite songs for a while was one I didn’t really give a shit about, and it’s called ‘No Alarm,’” Fimbres said. “It has Phillie Mills on it, who has been in the rap scene out here for a long time. It’s a really good song. It has the same vibe that ‘Hate Is the New Love’ has. We have the song we did with Christina Reyes of Caxton and J.Patron called ‘The Colony,’ which we put out last year. … I feel like with the hip-hop game going where it is, it’s stale when you feature this person, this person, this person, and it’s like, ‘Man, is it even your record anymore?’ You want it to be a record, not a fucking compilation.”
Hall said he and Fimbres tried to avoid one mistake they’d made with previous material.
“A lot of the early Thr3 Strykes songs we recorded, we’d have people telling us, ‘We can’t hear your lyrics! It’s too loud,’” he said. “Now, without a doubt, you’re hearing every ad-lib, and you’re going to feel the rhythm, for sure.”
I had to ask: Were any of the songs such as “Hate Is the New Love” or the translation of the muffled title (Communication Breakdown) making any reference to the past election cycle? The answer was no.
“(The election) wasn’t really all that surprising with the way things work and how this world is right now,” Hall said.
Fimbres said American politics don’t mean much to him.
“I try to stay out of that political stuff,” he said. “It really doesn’t mean much, given a president has never really done anything for me. I guess Obama gave me a free phone, so thanks, Obama! That was cool! Like everybody else, I thought for sure that Hillary Clinton was going to take it, and she didn’t. I guess Kanye West can be a president now, or Jon Stewart from Comedy Central, and people would be cool with it, I guess. It is pretty crazy, but I try to stay out of it and drive myself crazy with other stupid shit.”
The release party is going to feature artists including Porsia Camille, Million and Albertini, DJ Amavida, The After Lashes, and J.Patron. Fimbres said they’re excited for the show and that they can’t deny there’s some great talent out there.
“We knew we wanted live music. We’re going to bring out some live players,” Fimbres said. “We’re so stoked, and not to toot our own horn, but the hip-hop scene was really stagnant there for a minute. We just kind of kept on going, doing our own thing. You can take a look at some of these shows at Bart Lounge and see there’s a whole new scene out here now. People are into it, and we’re glad that we’re here.”
Thr3 Strykes will perform with J.Patron and others at 9 p.m., Friday, Jan. 6, at The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., in Indio. Tickets are $10. For tickets or more information, call 760-775-6699, or visit www.dateshedmusic.com.