Things are about to get plenty real. It’s been my pleasure to take some time to ask “Knife” Sotelo some questions and find out about his life in Nu-Metal and what sets him apart from the rest. We cover the map from personal philosophies to music and perhaps for the first time in my life…I’m actually called-out directly as somewhat ‘Abrahamic.’ That is a first for sure! I get ‘Bohemian’ quite a bit…but that’s the first time anyone’s busted out the ol’ ‘Abrahamic’ on me! Why in the hell did that come up? Read on to find out!
Seriously excellent time with “Knife” Sotelo and it really is awesome to see an artist answer questions directly, honestly and openly like this without ducking. But then…when you read into the life of “Knife” you’ll realize this man has never ducked or shied away from a punch of any kind during the course of his entire life…
…just expect him to come back swinging harder & faster, stronger & longer. “Knife” Sotelo was born with more than 12 rounds of fight in him…check out the interview below and see what he had to say to us when we recently caught up with this gripping entertainer.
Interview with “Knife” Sotelo
SBS: Alright…tons of questions about to come at ya Knife…I want to say thanks for taking the time to talk to us before I even get started here…so thanks! Read a lot about you in this past week my friend…I’ve done my research & all…but from your own words, what’s the music of “Knife” Sotelo all about?
Knife: My work explores the relationship between the universality of myth and romance tourism. With influences as diverse as Eazy-E and Body Count, new insights are generated from both explicit and implicit dialogues. Ever since I became a Minister of Music for ULCM I have been fascinated by the unrelenting divergence of the human condition. What starts out as hope soon becomes manipulated into a cacophony of greed, leaving only a sense of chaos and the inevitability of a new synthesis. As shifting phenomena become demystified through emergent and critical practice, the viewer is left with my testament to the circumscriptions of our future.
SBS: You mentioned in several of the write-ups as well that the music you make is Nu-Metal. I gotta say man…it’s funny that for two genres spread so far apart, electronic-music and metal need to hang on to the sub-genres harder than any others out there. I’m done with genres…there’s just too many out there in general all describing one basic encompassing sound. So you tell me Knife…what makes your music Nu-Metal and not ‘just metal’ or anything else; why is it important to make that distinction and how does/doesn’t that distinction benefit the music?
Knife: I always wanted to like the Nu-Metal now, but I just couldn’t do it. Don’t get me wrong, I can get down with a few select albums like early SLIPKNOT and LIMP BIZKIT (when they were Nu-Metal not ‘American Thrash’ or whatever they were later called) but no matter how hard I tried, Nu-Metal disappointed me even more now than when I find a new Mia Khalifa video but it’s one where she has bush 🙁 That is, until I started what is IMO the first eponymous band to truly get Nu-Metal right since Rob Zombie. *laughs* Here are some reasons why my band gets Nu-Metal so, so right: Band is made up of good-looking guys and one girl with a style reminiscent of the band PRAYERS instead of gross losers with long, stringy hair who look like they dropped out of 9th grade to work at a cardboard box factory. Crowd is all 10/10 Latina scene girls who look like they smell really good, not a sea of whales in HELLYEAH crop tops with c-section scars and muffintops spilling out over the top of their pleather pants (brb barfing). A vocalist who can actually SING, which means we have a sweet R&B/dubstep-ish breakdown parts instead of those stupid parts that every dumb 2000s Nu-Metal band did where the retard singer would be whispering over an eerie guitar riff all like “don’t mess with me cuz I’m crazy and I might snap!!!!”
SBS: Can you explain ‘Chavacano Rap?’ You see Knife? This is what I’m talking about – I’m convinced you’re already attempting to create another new genre right in the middle of this interview…
Knife: In the Philippines I coined the term Chavacano rap. Chavacano or Philippine Creole Spanish is a Spanish-based creole language spoken in parts of the Philippines and since Filipino rap is heterogeneous, encompassing rap in languages such as Tagalog, Spanish and Ilocano, as well as English, this was the term I used for my music in the islands. In the United States I’m regarded as a Chicano rapper despite the fact I’m only half Filipino and half Spaniard with no Mexican bloodline whatsoever but aside from the many many genres I’ve been put under, one thing is for certain, my music is Gangsta Rap.
SBS: Based on the write-ups I’m reading about your background on social media sites…well I suppose I’m wondering… What I see is a write-up that seems to reflect a somewhat standoffish character…is that the real you? Based on the statements of realness to follow that I’m reading…I suppose it is. But if that’s the case…talk to me about this – Music has always been a way for artists to express themselves and connect to others out there in the world…some part of you must want that doesn’t it?
Knife: Ever heard of Eazy-E and his band N.W.A.? This is my life, where I’m comin’ from. Sadly, the obstacles I faced with gangs, drugs, and police brutality are still plaguing inner cities across the country today. You see the shift, and they were right there and created part of the pivot that America took in entertainment. My art is a reflection of my reality and if you had the chance to change the situation, would you take it? Of course.
SBS: Nihilist eh? NICE. I love me some good Nihilism! I mean…wait…I mean I’m completely indifferent about Nihilism! Yeah! Hmm. Nope…that’s not even right; there’s a kickass Nihilist in The Big Lebowski so I kinda gotta lean towards at least having an opinion or feeling about Nihilism…but that’s not very Nihilist of me is it? Anyhow…tell me why this ends up being a part of your self-description? Why is it important to you to present this as part of your overall persona?
Knife: Because I truly believe that there are no objective truths, only subjective. Because many people objectify the truth, their traditional values and beliefs are dumbfounded, existence is without meaning for people that aren’t afraid of the dark. I belong to the blank generation, and I can take it or leave it each time. All I ever wanted was everything but all I ever got was cold.
SBS: It all leads me to this next question. Personally…it’s well-known on these pages that I’m not a religious person but it happens to be one of my favourite things to talk about. I’m wondering why the take on Nihilism has to necessarily be bad at all? As far as I’m concerned, it should be a beautiful thing really…if you look at the concept in general and share the warped view I have… Yet…again, reading about you…you’ve gone on to mention Satanic this and Satantic that…but honestly – why would a true Nihilist even care to identify with any kind of powerful being? According to every definition I’ve ever known or read – they just wouldn’t. So why do you take the time to include this and how is it relevant to the whole Nihilist thing you got goin?
Knife: I see your view on Satanism is quite Abrahamic 😉 no that is not my Satanism. Like Christianity, there are many sects of Satanism, I belong to the LaVeyan Satanism sect. A religious philosophy founded in 1966 by Anton Szandor LaVey, codified in The Satanic Bible and overseen by the Church of Satan. Its core beliefs and philosophies are based on individualism, nihilism, secularism, egoism, and self-deification, and propagates a worldview of naturalism, materialism, Social Darwinism, and an amoral universe and most importantly the belief of no gods or devils. As if this interview didn’t get any weirder *laughs*
SBS: Alright…let’s move away from philosophy for a bit here and talk some music… You just put out your single “I Wish You Would” to radio-stations all across the nation! Dude congrats! You went on to mention on your page that you think this is a song that ‘needs to be heard.’ Can you go into that for us? Why do you feel that way about this particular track off the debut album Me Against The World?
Knife: The song stems from the Love of 90’s American Rock band, Third Eye Blind. I.E., I can never let go of my roots. First of all, this song is not a gangster of love affair. This is about paying homage to the art of the original Slow Jamz. Don’t fret, it still has some of that freaky unpredictable weirdness that permeates the best of the “Knife” Sotelo output. Keep in mind, that I been around quite a while and time has taken its toll on my voice. This is not 1999. That said, this is still fun stuff. Very forward thinking without pandering too much.
SBS: Random somewhat…but it’s just how my brain works sometimes my friend…I’m curious to know if you could maybe lay down a Top 5 songs that are out there…that NEEDED to be heard. You know what I mean brother? I’m looking for some kind of context for this statement you’ve made about the new single…so I’m wondering what other songs exist already in music that you feel were written in that same sort of vein and NEEDED to be heard. Top 5 Knife – all you!
Knife: Top 5 ay.
- 2Mex – So Many More Words
- Shizzy Sixx – Still Around ft. Derez
- Baby Eazy-E (Eazy-E3) – Shut Up & Drive ft. N.O. Teflon
- Weezer – I Want You To ft. Sara Baireles
- Sylk-E-Fyne – Romeo & Juliet
SBS: Tell us something about making the latest album Magick Without Words. You’ve been recording since roughly 2007 if I’m reading all this information correctly…how has the process changed since you personally started? What do you do differently in recording now that you didn’t, or maybe couldn’t back when you started out?
Knife: Honestly the sound, my sound back then was minimalist. Stuff I wrote in 2007 is barely seeing the light of day. Which is funny because I have a lot of material that could be recycled for future projects.
SBS: I hate to come back to this nihilist comment in the write up…but I really do think it’s interesting. I mean…if you were to ask me, looking from the outside in…I’m looking at an artist that is well-equipped with knowledge, you can hear the skills and you can visually see you CARE about entertaining…I mean – I don’t know how anyone could read this any other way Knife! You’ve got books, albums, film & model work…I mean…here’s your chance to set the record straight once and for all and I PROMISE to not ask another question about this whole nihilism thing…but here you go, your chance…convince us you truly don’t care about all of these incredible things you’re doing. Tell me that they all mean nothing and that there’s no point to you having gotten out of bed to accomplish this massive list. Or…you can tell me that perhaps Nihilist wasn’t the best term to have included in that write up of yours…think that would be an acceptable answer as well. Your call Knife – what’s the real story?
Knife: Here’s the real, when I started music and eventually my books and films, it was all for fun, I didn’t know a damn thing, I didn’t have a passion for any of it I just did it because I was bored. I learned everything on my own. From then on I started writing short periodicals for zines until a friend suggested I share my information on a much larger scale and one thing led to another.. and than another and another and another. All the things I’ve done means nothing really, other than being a footnote in history, it was really more of hobby until I found a way to monetize everything I did, stacked my money, and yet it means nothing without respect.
SBS: You sir…are also LOADED with endorsements and sponsorships! That’s something I know would make a lot of independent bands envious…how did you come about something like that? Furthermore…how has it all been a benefit to your career and music?
Knife: I had to talk to a lot of sponsors that were willing to work. Having endorsements and sponsorships isn’t all that. Other than the free stuff, you have to make a commitment in using only their stuff everywhere you go. I honestly believe I’m giving my sponsors way more worth than they’re giving me.
SBS: When looking back at the material you first recorded now…do you feel like it still holds up? Is it solid enough all the way through that you still feel like it represents you just as well as your new album does today? Why/Why not?
Knife: I feel my earlier tracks still represent who I am today but I was a kid at the time and my vocabulary was neophyte at best. Nowadays you’ll hear me do music about the social economics of our time and what not. Of course my current days of music are going to be different than the music I started out in. My style of music has gone through a lot of change and evolution sonically and ideologically over a decade in time. So it goes to show how deep in the hole you could really get into.
SBS: Websites brother! Where do you want people to find you online and what are they gonna find there? Do you reach out through social media often? Can they actually reach YOU?
Knife: The can find me on www.knifermusick.com and www.adarkphilosophyrecords.com you’ll find news, audio/video, photos, discography, merchandise, and much more. You can also reach me on there as well.
SBS: My friend…if you answered this entire interview then you truly are a champion. Thank you for putting up with all my rambling ways and for taking the time to clarify what you’re all about! Here’s one last opportunity to do so, another way we like to say thank you for being a part of this with us; it’s the SBS ‘Open Floor’ – a space where you can say anything you like. Thanks again Knife – the floor is yours!
Knife: Thank you for having me. Thanks for your continued support! It really means a lot and I hope to see you all at a show very soon. And there you have it folks. SBS is one of a kind, and if you haven’t already been doing so, make sure to follow em as they continue to put out some amazing material. Thanks again SBS!