While standing in the sun is not my favorite thing to do, I would gladly do it to watch S.W.A.T. perform anywhere. A hard-hitting local Latino rap group, S.W.A.T. grabbed hold of the audience and didn't let go until their performance was done. Even then, they went inside Hiney's to do an encore performance. But before that, we all sat down to have a quick Q&A session.
EPMS: What brought you all together to form S.W.A.T.?
Gatrin: Working at West Telemarketing, I met Hash and we were in the break room and we started rapping. Tresio was in the break room too and he joined in. Then we knew we had something.
EPMS: How long have you all been together?
Hash: Over five years.
EPMS: What inspires each's individual lyrics and songs?
Gatrin: Feelings, pain and emotions and my kids. I'm thankful for the opportunity to release my energy this way.
Hash: My struggles. This is all reality-based rap.
Tresio: I come from a musical background, so it's in my blood, and I found a new way to express myself with S.W.A.T.
At this point, Hash introduced me to Dean "Bass" Davis. Bass was introduced to Hash by Gatrin about five years ago. Bass is a representative of Double Barrel Records and produced Hash's first album that was self-titled, "HASH". Bass hung out for the rest of the interview but let S.W.A.T. handle the answers.
EPMS: What musicians do you look up to?
Hash: I hardly listen to music. Life's struggles are my inspiration and what brought me to do this. Like I said, I do reality-based rap. Nothing fake about it.
Tresio: Old-school mexican singers. That's what I grew up with. That's what inspired me.
We momentarily paused so S.W.A.T. could give autographs to a guy who was asking for his sons. Hash, Gatrin and Tresio gladly gave the man the autographs and even got up to pose for a picture with one of his sons.
EPMS: What do you think about the new voices coming out locally in the hiphop world?
Gatrin: I give them a lot of props and support.
Hash: I think most kids think anyone can rap. Cause they put a couple words together, you know, they think they are hot. If you are serious, if you will die for your group and support your group through any obstacle, THAT is the example of a true musician. If you aren't real, you will never be real.
Tresio: I don't wanna judge because I'm new as well. But the main thing is to BE real, and STAY real.
EPMS: Do you care if you play in front of ten people or one hundred people?
Gatrin: We do it for the love of music.
Hash: The day I forget about my people is the day my album will flop. I'll rap in front of ONE or ONE HUNDRED people, to me, it doesn't matter. As long as I connect with someone through my music.
EPMS: What did you think of the Copal Fest?
Tresio: I love it, and I think the world of it.
Hash: We got props and love from the crowd. As underground artists, that was payment enough.
Gatrin: I wish there was more support for people like us.
EPMS: Guys, thank you so much for your time, I know you need to go and do your encore performance inside, so, is there anything else you would like to add?
Hash: What is the Assassin's (S.W.A.T.) goal? To completely raise the bar on the Mexican/Latin rap industry.