It only makes sense that an ex-gang member and a Tijuana punk would launch a movement called cholo goth. In 2013, singer Leafar Seyer (Rafael Reyes backwards) and producer Dave Parley joined forces as darkwave duo Prayers, bringing together the gloss of 80s synth pop and the gloom of goth culture and gangbanging. For the most part, Prayers has been received as an oxymoron and an anomaly, and to some extent, that’s an accurate portrayal of the band’s sound and aesthetic. But for any Latinx who has grown up listening to punk or new wave or anything else brown kids aren’t supposed to like, Prayers makes plenty of sense. A Chicano from California should be able to bump the same wonderfully weird genres as his white peers, who wouldn’t be looked at twice for loving Ministry or The Cure.

As a former inmate, Seyer knows the power of that image, and how important it is for him to resonate with the Latinx community. At SXSW, Seyer told us that la raza comes out in full force when the duo plays in Texas, and the band has garnered cult hero status among its fans. Between their art and activism, the duo also has time to sharpen their nail game and flaunt their knife play skills onstage.

Check out our interview with the duo above. Their new single “Black Leather (feat. Kat Von D)” dropped on Beats 1 today, so stay tuned for the stream coming tomorrow.

Update, 4/12/2016, 6:08 p.m.: Stream Prayers’ “Black Leather” below:

Thumbnail photo by Itzel Alejandra Martinez