Alert312 just released The Upside Eternal this past fall. Here’s an interview I did with the group about their recent music, the story behind their name, and the inspiration behind the new record.
Gabe: What’s the story behind the name Alert312?
ALERT312 came from a passage in Ephesians 6:18, “Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” We began simply as ALERT, but after we joined Humble Beast and released more records, we quickly realized that if you were to Google search “ALERT” you’ll find weather alerts, crime alerts and sales alerts; not ALERT music – so we added 312 to our name as a nod to our home Chicago, as 312 is a Chicago area code.
Gabe: What are some inspirations in the new record?
Boogalu: I was musically inspired by the soul of Robert Glasper’s Black Radio, the energy of Little Dragon, and lyrically by the writings of C.S. Lewis, the book of Hebrews, and various other parts of Scripture. Thematically each song was heavily inspired by current events; my own struggles (Haunt Me Home, Dwell All Day) family (Darkest Night), the city (Gargoyles, Everyone Eats) and current American society (No Holds Tongue, Flood Ash, Wild)
Moral One: Another note on Boogalu’s writing is that a lot of his ideas happened on his bike rides to and from his home to the studio; seeing and experiencing the neighborhoods, people, and buildings. So he would show up to the studio super excited about fresh ideas he would have. Musically I went through various musical phases producing the record (this record took 18 months to make)! I listened and studied latin drum and percussion breaks to James Blake’s minimalism to LCD Soundsystem’s energy and drums to the soul and musicality of the Soulquarian era (which is my personal favorite era of music and my biggest influence). You’ll hear shades of all those influences cohesively make sense on the record.
Gabe: What are some artists you grew up listening to; and artists you have listened to in the last year?
Boogalu: I listened heavy to all Fania Artists: Ruben Blades, Willie Colon,etc. The Roots, Common, Talib, Mos Def, Tribe Called Quest, SFC, Tunnel Rats. Cal Tjader, Ray Barreto, Grupo Niche, Ozamatli, and Fernando Ortega. Moral One: I grew up on a heavy dose of rock music. My dad played drums and did some local touring in a Chicago rock band so those records were always on in the house – from some Beatles to a lot of Keith Green, Rich Mullins and other Christian rock bands. When 1995 hit and I started exploring what I wanted to listen to I dove head first into hip hop. Biggie, Pun, Mos Def, Kweli, The Roots and Common were my favorites. This year I listened to D’Angelo’s ‘Black Messiah’ a lot, Hiatus Kaiyote’s ‘Choose Your Weapon’, and Kamasi Washington’s ‘Epic’ among some others.
Gabe: What do you think of the state of Christian hip hop?
The honest truth is that we don’t have an opinion.
Gabe: Who is an artist you would like to collaborate with and why?
This might be a boring answer, but we worked with everyone we wanted to on this record! Wait thats a lie! Leon Bridges! We love his music and would thoroughly enjoy being in the studio with him. Leon, call us.
Gabe: How can people stay in touch with Alert 312 to keep up to date with what you guys are doing?
You can find us at our home hifinative.com And on Twitter/FB/IG @ALERT312