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Interview: Black Creek Reign Sheds Light On “Wall Street”

We're right behind you in your fight for justice, highlighted in your recent single, "Wall Street." What inspired your group to write a Sign of the Times' to Wall Street?

The whole thing really started with the Occupy Wall Street movement, and that was a hot topic for a while, but it fizzled out and lost momentum. More recently, however, there was the hype around the GameStop and Meme Stocks. It is a Robin Hood-esque story about retail investors taking money from Financial Institutions who made a bet they never thought would blow up in their faces.

This, in turn, has put a lot of feverish attention on these hedge funds, market makers, and financial institutions. People began to realize that these tools and institutions have become very good at pooling money. But in a way that only benefits the 1% and exists very much to the detriment of 99% of the general public. And that's definitely the inspiration. That's where the idea of the song came from. How do we find equality in an inherently asymmetrical system designed to promote inequality?

Who handled the powerful songwriting behind "Wall Street?" What was that process like?

From start to finish, it was between the three main contributors in the band (Darren, Logan, and Lex). There were a lot of collaborative writing sessions where everyone got to have a fair share of the melody, harmony, and lyrics. It was a total team effort that we’re so proud of. Also, everyone’s voice gets to be heard on the recording, which is a 1st for us. Lex gets to do the bridge, Logun gets to the verses, and Darren gets to do the choruses. It took a long time to get all the parts together, and there's been a lot of tweaking and fine-tuning. But we think the work shows and got what we wanted across. It's been an 18-month hiatus since we've released something, and we couldn’t be happier to be shaking that now.

Was your group influenced by any sound or artist when creating "Wall Street?" What external forces helped bring this song to life?

Inflation, for sure. Looking around our communities, in particular, see the growing divide between rich and poor, the haves and the have-nots.

That was a big inspiration for it, no doubt. Times are tough. Groceries have never been more expensive, and the amount of food available in restaurants has never been smaller.

Cars are tremendously expensive, and tipping culture is out of control. It's all part of it. This is an angry song. People are angry, and external forces are everything we are in and around because everything's getting harder. People are busy, tired, and distracted, and they can't just win a war of attrition against government and billionaires (one and the same, really) with unlimited resources.

We were inspired by the meme stock saga that we spoke about earlier, and among the many other issues we’re trying to lend our voice to, we really want equality and freedom in the financial markets. Maybe three years later, it didn't necessarily happen as we all thought it would. But, you know, it's certainly worth the effort. But we’d rather fight for something than drift aimlessly in a sea of noise.

As for sonic influences, Rage Against the Machine is for sure. That was the biggest influence because we wanted to emulate their raw emotional output. RHCP, too, we wanted to capture that kind of energy and that kind of chaos. We wanted to get that feeling of pushing back. And there's an intensity that someone like (Zack) De La Rocha is gifted at giving. And not to say we copied him, but we definitely tried to capture that kind of energy in this song.

Buju Banton and even Damian Marley devised different versions at different times. The heart of Reggae music has always been about protest. Bob (Marley) has always been the most famous and apparent reggae ambassador. But behind the quick, upbeat-sounding songs, it does get pretty intense.

So we drew from him and tried to capture the essence of what he was saying. In this particular case, more of what you're saying than how it sounds. But this is our version of that.

How did you create the sound and vibe for "Wall Street ?" How did you want the song to feel?

That ties back into the earlier points we were making. About anger, chaos, and wanting things to sound the way the climate feels now…tense.

There seems to be a lot more violent crime on the rise. There seems to be a lot more ferocity in how people act, and we wanted to do our best to distill that into an audio format. This is among the angriest we've ever sounded; the crafting took forever. Quite honestly, there are layers upon layers of just squeal pinch harmonics here, or power chords there, or an organ bubble. We really sat and tried our best to craft something between the space of reggae and rock. You'll hear very distinct rock elements, and you'll hear very distinct reggae elements. But this is not necessarily either. It's both.

It's a song that shines live. And I'm sure any artist will tell you that capturing the energy of a live performance is not easy. And we did our best in the studio to convey that essence to the listener. Admittedly, it has to be heard live because that's how we wrote it initially. The actual execution of the song came about from playing shows and feeding off the energy from the audience. There's a really important collaboration between us and the crowd that cannot be really replicated in a studio.

And that's super important for a song like this, where the spirit of camaraderie and protest has to be shared. It's definitely a communal experience. But it did take time to put it all together. After getting the song structure and all that boring stuff, we threw a lot at it. We put in a lot of parts that we ended up taking away, and we went from everything and the kitchen sink to filling this thing out to “What are the three or four elements that we need here to get this idea across?” And how do we cut all the fat off this and give the leanest, most efficient song that we can?

What do you hope listeners take away when hearing your new single, "Wall Street?" What was your goal in that respect?

If anything, we'd want them to be as upset as we are. I'm sure everybody's paying attention to current events the best they can, but in the hustle and bustle of your average day, many things get swept under the rug or lost. We want people to feel as mad as we do. We want people to be as angry as we are at everything that's happening and everything that's not happening. Change is never easy; it's never gonna happen just by existing. Nothing will change unless you want to change it and actively do something about it. And that's definitely the energy. That's the idea that we want to get across to people. That change is worth the effort.

It's easy to be passive, but we’ll continue to lose everything if we're not conscientious. For instance, If we don't vote, someone who does vote (no matter who they necessarily vote for) is going to have their voice heard. And if you just sit there and let it pass you by, you’ve also become the problem. It’s cliche, but freedom isn't free.

And, you know, a functioning democracy requires an educated and enlivened voting bloc, and we think that's worth fighting for. We hope people get that when they listen to this song, and they see that whether or not they feel like it’s possible, they can do something about what they see, and hopefully, they will.

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