Primarily distinguished and driven by its lyrical focus on Christian themes and values, Christian hardcore bands may leave some of you scratching your heads, but we highly encourage you to stay open and don’t define and define them only through religious perspective. Our today’s guests, California’s DOULOS clearly don’t have an agenda to beat people over the heads with their Christianity, but with their high energy and dynamic performance, they are surely able to deliver a lot of fun, especially are around again. With their sheer fun factor and obvious passion, it’s hard not to fall into the allure of their debut EP on Thumper Punk Records, and to day, to give it a well deserved attention, we are giving you an insightful backstory of their project and full track by track rundown of “The Middleman” EP.
Words by DOULOS:
Doulos really didn’t start as a band at all it was originally a car club filled with low riders and rat rods, cholos and punk rockers! Doulos isn’t big on making ourselves sound fancy or hyped up, we are what we are and we don’t apologize for it.
Doulos started on December 17th of 2016 where Ed Boi, Rebel Mel (founders of Doulos Car Club) meet some teens (Noah “Dr. Know” and Joe, who was lead vocals to a Riverside local band Stomp Out) that they felt led to watch out for because they were somewhat wondering aimlessly. They one night went to a show in Bellflower, California, A Blood on the Door event where bands such as Headnoise, Cause for Rebellion, and Infirmities were playing.
We were approached by a guy named Jet Wilson and he was hosting a channel called Blast TV where he wanted to interview us , not really sure why lol we were just spectators but I think he thought we were in a band (we absolutely were not lol). Jet turned on the camera and cornered us and asked if he could get an interview and I (rebel Mel) said yea sure (I’m so lame lol) the guys really just played along. So loosely paraphrasing Jet turns on the mic and goes live and asks “the question” “what your band name and where are you from?” And slightly awkwardly I replied with a smile “um Doooulos!, from Riverside Ca” and the guys just smirkingly went along with it as Jet went further to ask more questions that I cannot remember but one last one that I will never forget, he asked if we wanted to play a show that was being promoted at the House of Rebellion in Moreno Valley CA and of course I answered yes! Lol. That show was to take place in 2 months and we had only a guitar player Dr Know, we didn’t know who would sing who would play drums who would be on bass but we were all in anyways hahaha. We got together and somehow Rebel Mel (bass) figured out how to play a few tabs and Dr Know guided with riffs we could all swing and we brought in a beginner drummer that could keep with our pace as Ed boi wrote and yelled lyrics that proved deep to our shallow ability to play actual music.
Our first shows were interesting to say the least, but we kept persevering and went through 2 drummers until we meet our now drummer Jeff young aka El Jeffe in May of 2017 and honestly we didn’t understand at all why someone so good would want to play with us, but he meet Noah “Dr Know” years prior and liked his riffs and heard we were looking so he stepped in and honestly it’s been so amazing having him. He has helped us grow so much and never been pretentious and been a true teacher of music and just a rad brother.
𝐴𝑠 𝑓𝑜𝑟 2020 𝐼 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑘 𝑤𝑒 𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑦 𝑔𝑜𝑡 𝑘𝑖𝑐𝑘𝑒𝑑 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑔𝑢𝑡 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑤ℎ𝑜𝑙𝑒 𝑝𝑎𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑚𝑖𝑐 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑑𝑖𝑑𝑛’𝑡 𝑘𝑛𝑜𝑤 𝑤ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑡𝑜 𝑑𝑜 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑖𝑡 𝑎𝑡 𝑓𝑖𝑟𝑠𝑡.
I would like to say that like so many other bands that we just wrote music and kept recording but that just isn’t the case with us we had a long distance relationship with each other for a while and just spent time with our families, with our kids and new spouses etc. it definitely was not a easy year as we had lost friends to overdoses due to mental illness and some of us had a real hard time with our own mental illnesses and grasped to just feel normal.
I think we are really just getting our feet wet with our music, we have progressed so much and we all bring something so different to the table that the sky is the limit to what we produce next.
Honestly we are hoping to produce another EP soon but if it turns into a full length than that’s cool but I’m not sure it really all depends on how things go in our lives, we are just trying to do the best we can with the time we have and hope that people understand.
𝐷𝑜𝑢𝑙𝑜𝑠 𝑖𝑠𝑛’𝑡 𝑏𝑖𝑔 𝑜𝑛 𝑖𝑛𝑓𝑙𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑜𝑢𝑟𝑠𝑒𝑙𝑣𝑒𝑠. 𝑊𝑒 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑤ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑤𝑒 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑤𝑒 𝑑𝑜𝑛’𝑡 𝑎𝑝𝑜𝑙𝑜𝑔𝑖𝑧𝑒 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑖𝑡. 𝑊𝑒 𝑙𝑜𝑣𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑚𝑎𝑘𝑒 𝑚𝑢𝑠𝑖𝑐 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑤𝑒 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑦 𝑒𝑐𝑙𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑖𝑐. 𝑊𝑒 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑎 𝑚𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑎𝑔𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑤𝑒 𝑓𝑒𝑒𝑙 ℎ𝑎𝑠 𝑎𝑛 𝑖𝑚𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡𝑎𝑛𝑡 𝑝𝑢𝑟𝑝𝑜𝑠𝑒 𝑏𝑢𝑡 𝑖𝑡’𝑠 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑐ℎ𝑜𝑖𝑐𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑙𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑒𝑛.
We like to think of ourselves as band that has a lot of fun, we like good music, really any kind because we can’t handle music elitist that say you have to listen to only this and can’t sound like that if you want to fit into a genre … well then don’t fit us in because honestly we just don’t care about all that jazz! Wait jazz?…yea I can dig it! And disco… don’t put us in a box because we will most likely bust out of it. Don’t get me wrong we love our punk rock and hardcore, it’s our main squeeze but we want to be free to do what we want so we can express ourselves in how we feel in the moment.
As a band we fight weekly in practice lol, we all come from different musical influences and backgrounds here is some commentary from last nights practice:
Jeffe (old as dirt): I grew up listening to my dad’s radio station KRTH 101. Got my first drum set when I was 11, a Rodgers five piece concept drum set with all plastic hardware lol. I learned how to play the drums by ear, playing the Beatles (with a Liverpool accent), The Who, The Rolling Stones, Led zeppelin, The Doors, Classic Rock disco era for me. Grew up listening to a lot of skate punk, Thrash metal and classic Rock. My heavy influences are Tim Alexander (primus) and Danny Carey (Tool). I can take anything around me and get inspiration, tables, floor, my daughter’s toys, I have modeled my style slightly off my inspirations, I like that funk jazz style with hard core thrash feel lol put that in your pipe and smoke it! My drum style is controlled chaos. I’m a sloppy drummer, I have no technique lol…What I lack in technique I make up for in passion.
Noah (23) – I’m not big on just choosing specific inspiration because it’s so limiting, I hear something in so many guitar players. I’m a music listener and it’s all good, I listen to everything and I think it drives our style of hardcore.
Ed Boi (39) – I came from watching my Abuelo play Tejano music with his bands growing up. I fell in love with 50s rock and doowop. I later started liking 80s and 90s hip hop and not till I was in my teens did I start liking metal and certain styles of punk rock. After I came to my faith, I found it hard to find music that I liked because honestly I felt it was cheesy and lacked genuineness, that is until I found a band called Sleeping Giant that totally rocked my world. They were raw, hard, passionate and stood for what they believed. They changed my whole outlook.
Rebel Mel (40) – I was raised on various types of music, my dad most def classic rock, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, but he really loved blues as well, BB king, Stevie Ray Vaughn. My uncle Richard Harvey was good friends with the blues seen and played with a lot of these cats, was super inspiring to know that growing up. On my mom side it was all about 80s new wave top 40 and ska!. As I started developing my own music taste I would say I leaned heavily on more death rock and horror punk like the misfits and Christian death, but New wave was a big part as well. My favorite band of all time is The Cars. I love fun punk as well like The Toy Dolls. If it was up to me we would have synth and oversized blazers, full blown 80s goth punk lol. I was heavy in the punk scene by 12 and was running the streets and living in squats by 14 its really just a part of my life.
Ed Boi has always had a gift of writing and his wife (Rebel Mel) encourages him to use his gift. “Ed Boi, I and the band share in a passion to have a genuine message, one that speaks of the true hurts of this life.
𝑊𝑒 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝐶ℎ𝑟𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑎𝑛𝑠 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑏𝑎𝑛𝑑, 𝑏𝑢𝑡 𝑤𝑒 𝑑𝑜𝑛’𝑡 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑎𝑛 𝑎𝑔𝑒𝑛𝑑𝑎 𝑡𝑜 𝑏𝑒𝑎𝑡 𝑝𝑒𝑜𝑝𝑙𝑒 𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒 ℎ𝑒𝑎𝑑𝑠 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑖𝑡, 𝑤𝑒 ℎ𝑜𝑛𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑙𝑦 𝑠𝑝𝑒𝑎𝑘 𝑚𝑜𝑟𝑒 𝑎𝑏𝑜𝑢𝑡 𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑝𝑜𝑛𝑠𝑖𝑏𝑖𝑙𝑖𝑡𝑦 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑠. 𝑊𝑒 𝑙𝑖𝑣𝑒 𝑖𝑛 𝑎 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑙𝑑 𝑜𝑓 𝑏𝑟𝑜𝑘𝑒𝑛 𝑝𝑒𝑜𝑝𝑙𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑤𝑒 𝑔𝑒𝑡 𝑖𝑡.
“All of us in this band have had our fair share of struggles whether it be drug addiction, teen pregnancy, abortion, homelessness etc. but the one thing we stand on is that Christ Died for all that and he is such a forgiving father and whatever is holding you back he can free you from. We don’t prize ourselves on soap box preaching but by just being living examples to what he has done in our lives and being available for those who are in need of hope.” Rebel Mel was a part of the Riverside punk scene young “old school RDP (Riverside Drunk Punk). “The punks where my only family for a time and they mean a lot to me, why wouldn’t I want to continue to do music in this scene? It’s some of the best family you can have, these people are truly an example of acceptance, they may not all have the same views but they have always accepted me for me.”
Track by track commentary:
1) Death Brawl
The lyrics: EdBoi says “I wrote this song as a statement of faith, I feel I have a responsibility to tell the truth and to proclaim it. This world is in a bad place and the church is asleep and that makes me really sad. The lyrics speak of my entering faith and wanting to share what I have and what I know to be true, not only that but the fear I have in doing so. It’s not always accepted but I feel if I believe whole heartedly what I believe than by not sharing I’m doing a great disservice to human kind.”
The lyric that states “what death are you dying for? what truth are you living for?” Stirs a question that we all have within, we know in the deepest part of ourselves that there is something to live for, what is that? And we also know that there are things we choose that are killing us both physically and spiritually, what are those things? I guess I just want to ask the question and hope it stirs hearts to really reflect on purpose, God will do the rest.
The music: We had a tough year in 2020 and went into studio about the 1st week in October, so we were hoping to get it out by Halloween hence the beginning sound bit lol… I think this song was created right at a time when Doulos was really starting to cement a style and sound that we all liked. It’s aggressive and to the point. It’s a fun song to play.
2) From the Start
The lyrics: Ed Boi says: “This song is pretty straight forward and simply has a repeated lyric because it’s just what needed to be said and how I felt. I think we all try to run away from our true calling but more so when often it has the ability to be rejected! With that being said I came to understand that my faith is not in a weak god but one that will get the job done even if I don’t and I think that makes it easier for me to live in genuine freedom. If God wants me to share and there is a person to receive he will just make it happen, I don’t need to force anything it’s a natural thing.
The music: This song was created to start fast and ends faster. It has more of the traditional hard core in the middle to give it a groove, we like the kick the door down and tick off the neighbors sound of thrash vs hardcore but only for about 2 minutes then leave lol, so here you go.
3) My Pledge
The lyrics: Ed Boi says: A song about my personal convictions, my personal walk, my personal pledge to be sober minded and vigilant. As the lyric states it isn’t a weight I put on others, I just know by own experiences where a life of Drug use and drinking was taking me and it wasn’t going to end well. Some of us have to sign a metaphorical contract just to help keep focused, not something I have to do but something I feel I should do.
The music: If you want a hardcore chanting sing along, well here you go! This is most definitely a very hardcore sound but with typical Doulos flare of 80’s hair metal twang!! Lol
4) Garden Blues
The lyrics: Ed Boi says: I guess we go through times where it all seems so overwhelming and like we may not make it through. Those are completely valid feelings and I guess I just was at a place where I saw that my creator could identify as well and that gave me comfort, also while going through the challenge remembering to help your bros and sisters that while we are still breathing we have a purpose.
The music: This is a change from our normal sound. This is one of our oldest songs that has traveled from our “humble” beginnings lol. Definitely more old school punk feel. Honestly this was where we were headed in the beginning, I think we are not finished with this area but we just like to go back and forth with it. If you could run on a skateboard it would be to this song! Lol
The lyrics: Ed Boi says: A song that points out the real struggle of self worth, depression and suicidal thoughts, and how many are plagued with this daily war in their own heads. 2020 was the year that brought this song about. We went from playing shows and normal life to complete shut down and isolation.
The headlines rang “you’re not in this alone” but many where very alone, stuck without friends, no family, stuck in a house with domestic violence etc. After a few months or so we started hearing of friends that where dying left and right, and not only that but our mental health was taking a toll and we where just struggling with the weight of being in 20 year marriage with kids and stuck in a house in the middle of a pandemic, it felt like a recipe for disaster and this song definitely defines it in a nutshell. We actually finished it in studio so you guys are hearing it before anyone.
The music: Very gritty thrash, hardcore. The guitar riffs are as emotional as the lyric. We aimed to push a drive that would mimic the angst of the song. Ed Boi nearly lost composure during the recording but gave the song a believable brokenness of what we were all feeling.