A Gang Member from San Diego and a Punk from TJ are the Creators of ‘Cholo Goth’

Prayers "Young Gods" video credit: Prayers "Young Gods"

If your parents ever worried about you listening to “devil worshipper music” or warned you about hanging out with cholos, listen to the band Prayers when they’re not around. Why?

THIS is Prayers:

they killed it last night at the @hacullaofficial @rochambeaunyc party

A photo posted by Victor Michael (@victor_michael) on


Vince McMahon gulp

KICK BACK, FOO. No te asustes. They’re the creators of SD Killwave, a genre of music they’ve dubbed “Cholo Goth.”

What’s SD Killwave?

SD stands for San Diego, the city they call home. “Killwave” is a sinister play on “chillwave,” a word used to describe breezy bands like Toro y Moi and Washed Out. Still not getting it?

This is all you need to know: it’s Cholo Goth.

Credit: Prayers SD / YouTube

Prayers create songs about heartbreak, violence and surviving life on the streets over ’80s-inspired electronic beats. And it WORKS.

Singer Leafar Seyer is a member of one of San Diego’s oldest gangs.

Seyer – the dude in the middle – is a member of San Diego’s Sherman Boys gang. (If you’re wondering what Leafar Seyer means, read it to yourself in reverse. You’re welcome.)

But wait, Seyer also considers himself a “Goth kid.”

He grew up loving bands like Bauhaus and Lords of the New Church. But he rounded out his musical taste listening to bands like Pet Shop Boys.

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So why doesn’t Seyer do gangsta rap?

Seyer: “I don’t listen to gangster rap because I live it.”

In 2013, he formed Prayers with Dave Parley.

??? thanks @robertxreyes for the new Diablo Armada pics ???

A photo posted by Dave Parley (@daveparley) on

Parley is a producer and beat maker who grew up on a steady diet of punk and hardcore music (yes, he’s totally got that Rick Rubin + The Undertaker thing going on). In 2013, he asked Seyer to collaborate on a few tracks. In two days, Parley and Seyer hammered out 8 tracks.

It became their debut album, SD Killwave.

Credit: Prayers SD / YouTube

That’s a clip from the track “Ready to Bleed.” So what makes these dudes get along so well?

They’re both Mexican immigrants.

We #PRAYERS #SDKILLWAVE are playing tonight at U31 we go on at 11pm thank u …..

A photo posted by Leafar Seyer (@prayers) on

Born in Cotija, Michoacan, Seyer was a child when he and his mother crossed the border to join Seyer’s father in San Diego. They did it with the help of his uncle, who was a coyote. Parley grew up in Tijuana before moving to San Diego. 

And they don’t drink or do drugs.

Seyer says he gave up drugs and alcohol to avoid ending up in jail – he’s been locked up twice. Seyer says he’s been sober for 10 years. Parley is straight-edge.

After dropping an EP called Gothic Summer last year, Prayers are back with a new album.

Credit: Noisey / YouTube

Here’s the music video for the title track “Young Gods.” It’s like a Cholo Goth version of Michael Jackson’s video for “Beat It” –with actual gang members.

Yes, those dudes are throwing real madrazos.

Seyer: “We are not actors.”

So what’s their mission? To flip stereotypes on their head.

When he was 18, Seyer and his father opened a vegetarian Mexican restaurant in San Diego called Pokez. Not quite what you expected from a cholo, right?

Seyer told the SD City Beat: “Being a gangster means doing whatever the fuck you want. And if that means painting your nails, wearing lipstick, then that’s what it means. I had to fight to dress the way I dress. Maybe it’ll inspire some gangsters to say, ‘I don’t have to live my stereotype.'”

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