Takes on Border Issues with its Music

Deportation. Disappearances. Illegal immigration.

This isn’t the agenda for an immigration lawyers conference – it’s the focus of the New York-based band Outernational’s work this year.

Outernational’s latest album is called “Todos Somos Ilegales,” or “We Are All Illegals,” and it has been the inspiration for their concerts, many of which have been held in border states.

Outernational is scheduled to perform Thursday night at Dominion on Lafayette Street in Manhattan.

“We’re a band that stands for emancipating all of humanity,” said lead singer Miles Solay, “we do that through songs.”

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Solay says their message is the opposite, but in an “in your face” sort of way.

“The idea is that in this day in age, the idea that any human being would be deemed with the term illegal or alien is completely ridiculous,” he said, calling it a concept that “belongs in the past just like the idea of one person owning another person belongs in the past.”

Outernational has been compared to the English punk group The Clash for weaving politics and social issues in its music, and for being provocateurs.

BBC Radio said: “These boys are the next big thing. They are an incredible mix of hard rock, hip-hop and world music. They mix politics and dance music in the best way, much like The Clash did.”

Solay knows that their music alone is not going to change the world, but hopes that it inspires people who will push for justice.

“We try to jump start a new culture,” he says, “A culture that’s not putting people down…we’re actually trying to have a whole new hybrid racial culture.”

It’s not just about music, Solay emphasizes.  “This is rock and roll that makes you think different, that makes you see different,” he proclaimed.

The band’s work has some star power behind it, featuring Audioslave and Rage Against the Machine lead guitarist Tom Morello as a producer, as well as Chad Smith of Red Hot Chili Peppers on their next album.  This means a lot to Solay, who calls Morello his mentor.

“It’s very cool, we don’t take it lightly, and we really try to make the most of it,” Solay said, referring to Morello’s contributions to their work.

The artistic admiration goes both ways.

A quote by Tom Morello on the Web says: “Outernational uncompromisingly tells the truth, and they paint a picture of the world the way they see it and a way that we don’t hear on the radio and television as much as people need to.

The group has also worked with members of Calle 13 on video.

“Welcome to the Revolution”, the band’s next album, will have a heavy input from RHCP’s Chad Smith.  “That’s kind of our next move,” Solay said. He says the album will have a live show type of feel.

For the group’s Thursday night performance at Dominion, which will also feature the Bowery Riots, doors open at 9 p.m. and tickets are $10 per person.

E.J. Aguado Jr. is a freelance writer based in New Jersey. You can reach E.J. Aguado at: aguado91@gmail.com or via Twitter: @Aguado91

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