Life’s paths twist and turn, but we always eventually end up where we’re meant to be.
In that respect, the story of All Souls feels pre-destined. Way back in 1994, Tony Tornay [Fatso Jetson, The Desert Sessions, Linda Perry] first met Tony Aguilar and Meg Castellanos [Totimoshi, Alma Sangre] by introduction from Erik Trammel [Black Elk, Wadsworth]. They kept in touch and always bandied the idea of “writing and jamming” about.
It took 21 years, but a band finally became a reality in 2015 when these four artists sat around a table and discussed officially working together…
“One of the things that we did in this band that I’ve never done before is have that discussion,” recalls Aguilar. “Meg and I had always wanted to play with Tony as did Erik. It finally fell into place. Once we figured out what the lineup was going to be, we sat around and discussed what we wanted to sound like artistically before even jamming. It gave us a really great grasp on the artistic angle. It was almost like forming the painting before it was brought to life.”
“This is the culmination of thirty years as a professional musician,” adds Tornay. “It’s everything I’ve wanted for as long as I can remember. When we get together, it feels like home. This embodies every reason why I do what I do.”
Throughout 2016, the quartet—Aguilar [vocals, guitar], Castellanos [bass, vocals], Trammell [guitar], and Tornay [drums]—recorded what would become their self-titled full-length debut, All Souls, during intermittent sessions at Sound of Sirens Studio in Los Angeles with producer Toshi Kasai [Tool, The Melvins, Foo Fighters].
For Aguilar and Castellanos, the music spoke to a dormant primal need that harked back to their time in the fan favorite underground mainstay Totimoshi.
“At the time, we had been doing Alma Sangre, which was our take on flamenco meshed with Ranchero,” says Aguilar. “We’re rockers at heart though, and we had been wanting to be in another rock band. It also reunited us with Toshi who did three of our Totimoshi records. He has his own approach. It’s almost like you enter into a different world with his production. Each song becomes like a journey, and nobody curtailed that. We were all on the same page.”
Following tours with the likes of Red Fang, The Sword, Kvelertak, and Torche, the band unleash All Souls in 2018 via Sunyata—the label founded by iconic Screaming Trees and Mad Season drummer Barrett Martin. Earmarked by Spaghetti Western-style expanse and rough-and-tumble riffing, the music proudly bears the wild wear-and-tear of the nineties Palm Desert scene with a twist of psychedelic voodoo and metallic edge.
Introducing the album, the first single “Never Know” barrels forward at full speed powered by gusty distortion and a psychedelically catchy refrain.
“Lyrically, I want to keep it a little mysterious,” Aguilar reveals. “It’s about people in our society who feel like they own the world, act accordingly, and behave in ways that are completely derelict of social responsibility. They’ll never know love or understand that responsibility. They’ll never know anything.”
Elsewhere, “Party Night” dements a surf rock-style gallop with punchy delivery and overcast production. The melancholy melodies of the seven-minute “Rename The Room” paint a stark picture of bipolar mood swings and abuse inspired by a dark day in Aguilar’s childhood home. Tool drummer Danny Carey kicks off the entrancing “Sadist/Servant” with a spirited cameo on Tabla Drums, providing a tribal flare.
“‘Sadist/Servant’ one never gets boring,” smiles Tornay. “It’s always in your face and never falls back in the pocket. Danny killed it. He’s playing this really aggressive instrument on the quietest part of the song!”
In the end, these four musicians were always meant for this band. That’s why All Souls is so easy to get lost in.
“When you hear this, I hope you have that experience where you’re just completely inside the music,” Aguilar leaves off. “You can just fall into it.”