DOWNSET Announces First Album In Eight Years', 'Maintain'
April 29, 2022
Los Angeles rap/hardcore pioneers DOWNSET will release their first album in eight years, "Maintain", on June 10 via Nuclear Blast. On its sixth LP, the band draws inspiration from its early hardcore and hip-hop roots while reigniting its passion for the streets and fury for the current societal and political injustices.
The official music video for the album's first single, "The Place To Be", can be seen below.
Guitarist Rogelio Lozano stated about the new song: "This was one of the first tracks written with the new members Bobby Ponte and Philip Gonzales. With Nick Jett (TERROR) engineering and co-producing, our first objective was to try and revisit the original DOWNSET sound of the first ever recorded demos. To try and recreate the tone, we first unwound our guitars and basses back to drop 'C,' and then created heavy rhythmic beats and riffs to facilitate a platform for Rey Oropeza's hard rap flows."
Lozano adds about the lyrical content: "The lyrics to this song combine several subjects into one song and at the end all tying in together. Represent yourself with class, responsibility and courage. Setting a good example for our youth is my interpretation of the message."
Following the band's recent signing with Nuclear Blast, DOWNSET reissued its controversial demos that helped ignite a street led movement around the world, "Anger/Ritual" seven-inch and "About Ta Blast" seven-inch, which were initially released 30 years ago. Additionally, DOWNSET debuted a music video for the bonus demo track "Breed The Killer" that features vintage live footage of them performing the song.
The word "maintain" is defined as "a condition or state of affairs; to provide with the necessities for life or existence." To have the ability to maintain is to be able to hold fast to the unpredictable balance that is life, and to find a way to prosper through the most fluctuating of circumstances. DOWNSET is no stranger to this concept, going on to use life's checks and balances as the inspiration for "Maintain".
The members of DOWNSET have reawakened the passion of old-school hardcore within themselves, and have tapped back into the energy that fueled them from the beginning: life, death, love, hate, injustice… and the streets.
"From the beginning I've had concerns about the problematic nature of society," explains Oropeza. "I reflect on the experiences of my life. There are concepts that should be challenged and thought about. Everyone is going to come to their own conclusions on how they feel about inequality, misogyny, political topics, etc. but all of these things have kept me critically focused on my activism over the years. My abilities as a vocalist revolve a lot around what I'm feeling, going through, or witnessing at the time; pretty practical."
"During pre-production, 'Maintain' was the first song that we plucked out of the air," says Lozano. "Going through hard times you've got to hang in there, hang on, maintain and hold it down. During the first wave of the pandemic, we had a lot of fear. Everyone was getting sick, people were dying like our manager Scott Koenig (RIP). It was amazing that we were able to pull all the work off that we did for this album through lockdown."
With Lozano producing and working in a variety of recording studios alongside the likes of successful engineers and artists for many years, it was only natural for him to take the helm of the recording process for "Maintain".
"I was lucky to have full responsibility for this album," he says. "It was kind of like a graduation; I was finally able to produce my own album in a big studio. I was really happy and confident and with the help of Nick Jett from TERROR we had the perfect combination for DOWNSET and for the sound of this album. Jett made it really easy for us to go through pre-production and the writing process."
"Maintain" track listing:
01. Maintain 02. Blackest Of Days 03. New Respect 04. Won't Forget 05. Wreck It 06. On Lock (Only the Defest) 07. The Place To Be 08. Your Power 09. Positive Mind 10. Hear Me Now 11. Deeper
The album was mastered by Howie Weinberg in Los Angeles, California.
"We had a good time and we're really happy with the way this record turned out," says Lozano. "I'm happy with the tones, and with the maturity we show in our writing and recording this time around. Regardless of what kind of responses we get, we genuinely love the album, and that's what really matters for us. Just like Rey's lyrics to the final song on the album, ready for it, I'm ready for it, bring it on."
Rey Oropeza - Vocals Rogelio Lozano - Guitar Phillip Gonzales - Bass Bobby Blood - Drums