Santeria, a rock band with three-parts pure Cajun blood and one-part East Indian, was born in the haunted bayous and swamplands of Louisiana where atmosphere plays as much a part of the music as the rich cultural legacy of the Deep South. For 10 years, they defied expectations by releasing three exceptional records (Santeria in 1998, Apocalypse, Louisiana in 2000 and House of the Dying Sun in 2002) on their own label (GolarWash Labs) while banging out hundreds of gigs in Nowheresville towns across America. By some miracle or supernatural force, they somehow retooled the basics of â€œsouthern rockâ€ and modified it into a new and inspired formâ€”relatively free of Confederate clichÃ©s and beer guzzling drunkennessâ€”concentrating their creative energies on expressing the isolation and loneliness of the modern Southâ€”at times loud and overbearing and alternately quiet, subdued, and withdrawn. Rumored to have been cursed by voodoo practitioners upset at the band appropriating the name â€œSanteria,â€ the band soldiered on through countless setbacksâ€”freakish car crashes, cow hearts stuff in their mailboxes, knife and gun fights, eviction from their band house, paranoia, mental illness, police harassment and numerous unexplained phenomena.
The band is set to unleash their latest full-length Year of the Knife on March 10th. Produced by four-time Grammy winner Tony Daigle (Sonny Landreth, Dr. John, Gatemouth Brown) Year of the Knife is a dark, complex and compelling album that mixes hard-rock, ghost-town blues, psychedelia, world music and primordial punk. Despite purposely eschewing the Cajun/zydeco musical influences of their region, thereâ€™s no escaping the Southern Gothic mystique that lurks within these 13 tracks.
As vocal/guitarist Dege Legg explains about the creation of the record, â€œSome of it has nothing to do with music. Faulkner. Junkyards. CÃ©line. Literature. Fan boats. Sunrises. Richard Brautigan. The bayou. Alligators. Trailer parks. Shit jobs. Survival. Hurricanes. We arenâ€™t re-inventing the wheelâ€”just trying to spin it in three directions at onceâ€”the future, the past and our own. These songs are our experience of the South, rather than the beaten-to-death version from bands the world over. With us, thereâ€™s an odd sensitivity that has nothing to do with being â€˜bad boys.â€™ We see the Deep South as the haunted, national subconscious of America. Like an unspoken species of guilt, quietly manifest in the subtext of America. All of the songs are mysteries. Like telepathically transmitted enigmas. I donâ€™t know where they come from. Or why. But weâ€™ve always been blessedâ€¦and lucky.â€
Along with Legg, Santeria is completed by guitarist Primo, bassist Chad Willis and drummer Krishna Kasturi. â€œAll of us are Cajun boys, born and bred,â€ Legg proudly states. â€œRaised amongst the swamps and farmlands of southern Louisiana, except for Krishna, who moved here from southern India, at the age of 5, with his entire family. Itâ€™s an East-meets-South thingâ€¦even we donâ€™t understand it. Youâ€™d have thought weâ€™d gravitate toward a guy who could play a good shuffle, but instead we drifted into an unknown polyrhythmic universe as a foundation for the band.â€
The quartet is renowned in their region for their explosive live shows – with some journalists going so far as to claim that theyâ€™re one of the best live bands on the planet.
Santeria will be touring in support of Year of The Knife. Dates to be announced soon.