|Also known as Leafar Seyer|
Years active 2010–present
|Name Rafael Reyes|
|Born August 2, 1975 (age 40)Cotija, Michoacan, Mexico (1975-08-02) |
Genres Goth, electronic, Chicano rock, New wave
Instruments Vocals, keyboards, guitar, synthesizer
Associated acts Prayers, Nite Ritual, Vampire, Baptism of Thieves
Similar People Prayers, J D King, The Olms, John Easdale, D Generation
Rafael Reyes (born August 2, 1975) is a Mexican-born author, artist and musician raised in San Diego. Born in Cotija, Michoacán, he came to San Diego as a young child and spent time as a member of the Sherman Grant Hill Park 27 gang. Reyes is credited with creating the Cholo goth genre of music which lyrically explores the harsh realities of gang and street life over throbbing beats and swirling synthesizers. Reyes' book, Living Dangerously, was released in 2011. Living Dangerously, a roman a clef, follows the main character through a series of gang and graffiti-based adventures.
Reyes joined the Sherman 27th Street Grant Hill Park gang when he was a teenager in order to save his father's life after a skirmish at a local market. Upon graduating high school, Reyes opened San Diego's first vegan/vegetarian Mexican restaurant, Pokéz, with his father. After running the restaurant for eighteen years, and after his father's death, he sold Pokéz to his younger brother. In 2010, Reyes served time in jail for assault, receiving two strikes under California law. He credits his jail time and the two strikes for changing his life. While in jail he began writing Living Dangerously. Upon his release, he toured California to promote the book. He also began to focus on his artwork, showing in San Diego. He has since shown in Los Angeles at Coagula Curatorial with John Fleck (actor) and John Roecker as part of successful "Two Johns and a Whore" group show. Looking for a more direct way to interact with an audience, in 2011 Reyes formed his first band, Baptism of Thieves, followed by Vampire. With the break-up of those bands he created Prayers with Tijuana-born Dave Parley. He also performs solo as Nite Ritual.
Prayers released the album SD KILLWAVE in 2013, with two videos, "From Dog to God" and "Ready to Bleed". Prayers' second album, GOTHIC SUMMER was released in mid-2014. Prayers opened for the Cult during that band's 2014 tour.
Reyes developed Diamond Dogs, a group of retired gang members with an interest in art and music, as an outlet for young men looking for an alternative to gang life. Diamond Dogs provides outreach, emotional and artistic support in a positive environment while stressing the importance of community and family.
In January, 2015, Reyes was included in a special exhibition at the LA Art Show, "Dark Progressivism: Metropolis Rising" which included important Southern Californian Chicano, Cholo and street artists. "Dark Progressivism: Metropolis Rising" was the first international showing of this uniquely Southern California genre.
Reyes conceived Prayers' video for the song "Gothic Summer," the title track of their second EP, released in May 2014, which won the 2015 San Diego Film Festival Award for Best Music Video. Gavin Filipiak, the video's director also won for Best Editing in the music video category.
On May 26, 2015, Prayers released the title track of the Travis Barker-produced third CD, "Young Gods" as a video single, through Noisey/Vice Magazine. Like all of their videos, the "Young Gods" video was conceived by Reyes, under his musical alter-ego Leafar Seyer. In the song he references Aleister Crowley: The lyrics "do what thy will shall be the law" is an homage to the English occultist's "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law," while Crowley's Magical formula for Tetragrammaton is explicated in the song's final lines. Reyes frequently mixes Western esotericism with the Olmec magic of his ancestors.