HOUSTON, Texas - Let's time-travel for a moment, shall we? Back to August 6, 1945. The very day a little boy would change the course of history. Ring any bells?
The place was Hiroshima, Japan and that "Little Boy" was actually codename for the atomic bomb that would soon destroy the city during World War II. It was first time a nuclear weapon was used in warfare, and it's said the 9,000-pound bomb destroyed 5 square miles and an estimated 140,000 lives.
Atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan
Okay, now hold that thought and fast forward to 2020 in Houston, Texas.
There you'll find a six-piece band called Priests of Hiroshima, named after that historical day. You see, when the U.S. dropped Little Boy on Hiroshima, there was a group of Jesuit priests who not only survived the blast (when everything around them was leveled), they miraculously never got radiation sickness.
The priests incredible story of survival struck a chord and became a muse.
"We use their story as a symbol for an indestructible message," says Flux, Priests of Hiroshima bass player.
Priests of Hiroshima's unique sound fuses hip hop, industrial, and metal with lyrical focus on social change. The band was born 4 years ago in response to the socio-economic and political climate of the nation.
The diverse group of eclectic musik makers identify as such:
Steve G - vocals (Black American, from Sandusky, OH)
Nino - vocals (Irish/Italian American, from Houston, TX)
Flux - bass (German/British American, from Baton Rouge, LA)
Shaun Richardson - lead guitar and synths (German/British American from Denver, CO)
Dave Ooi - rhythm guitar (Asian-American from Houston, TX)
Perry MacAdams - drums (American Jew, from Houston, TX)
"We consider ourselves reporters, who make observations and then report them into songs. Where some may have seen plentiful bounty, many people were suffering, and have been for a very long time," says Flux.
Words that ring true during a worldwide pandemic with daily reminders of continued racial injustice.
"This is music for a revolution, this is music that unapologetically demands to be faced."
I was taken back by Flux's words and the passion behind the band's purpose. Staying true to their mission, the band recently rolled out a musik video for "Say My Name". The song boasts a unique and powerful sound paired with perfect reflections of the current state of society. The video caught traction quickly upon release, landing thousands of views.
"Say My Name" is a special song for us, because of how it's layered," explains Flux. "It is actively anti-racist, from both the perspective of a black man (Steve G's first verse) and then the (respectful) perspective of an enraged white ally (Nino's second verse). In between it all are breakdowns, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s eulogy for the 6 black girls murdered in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, Robert Kennedy's eulogy for Dr. King and Ted Kennedy's eulogy for his brother Robert."
Flux describes the song the same way a torch gets passed. The band turns pain into passion, fueling a powerful message.
"The ending still gets to me almost every time, with its melodic grace and desperate cry to simply want peace and equality for everyone."
Complimenting the success of "Say My Name" is the self-titled album it's featured on. The nine remaining tracks are also packed with messaging intrigue.
"The album follows the theme of the Ragnarok, which is the philosophy that the gods have a war in the skies, some of them die, and humanity is left to rebuild with the ones who are left. Our album follows this concept completely," says Flux.
"Today, we have our own gods who need to die. Greed. Systemic racism. Lust for power."
As we dig deep to discover our own truths and navigate the madness, this up-and-coming band from The Bayou City reminds us of the healing power of music. If used correctly, it can be an undeniable tool to help mend wounds and discover beauty in destruction.
Priests of Hiroshima's authentic impact during this revolutionary time, without a doubt, makes them true musik healers.
First photo of Little Boy bomb casing to ever be released by U.S. government (it was declassified in 1960).