Inner Prisms

By Victoria Banegas

Posted December 5, 2013 in Music
MEMBERS: Gerald Penilla (lead vocals/guitar), Ruben Ruvalcaba (lead bass/vocals/saxophone), Sam Marsey (lead guitar/vocals/harmonica), Nico Miles (lead percussion/fresh kicks), Kurtis Jones (lead keys) and Makaila Elson (lead vocals/backup vocals).

KINDRED SPIRITS: Devendra Banhart.

RECENT RELEASES: Singularity (May 2010) and Synchronicity (July 2011).

CITIES OF ORIGIN: Redlands, Riverside, Rialto and San Bernardino.


FREQUENTS: Back to the Grind (Riverside) and Mission Tobacco Lounge (Riverside).


(WEB)botwLife’s troubles are just as transitory (if not more-so) than life itself. With songs like “Learn How to Love” and “Everything is One,” Inner Prisms eloquently delivers this message through its rhythmic melodies. Discovering his hidden talents in the desert of Jacumba, Mexico, lead singer Gerald Penilla knew that making music was his calling. Unlike most, Penilla sought music as a way to enlighten his audience and create a sense of togetherness. With the help of band mate, Ruben Ruvalcaba, Penilla was abled to bring this idea into full affect by learning more formal aspects of music, which played a vital role in the evolution of the band’s sound. Since starting off as a small project between Penilla and Ruvalcaba in 2010, the band has expanded and now consists of six members creating a stellar ensemble. Now on their third album, Inner Prisms continues to promote positivity and well being, with soul warming sounds and profound lyrics.

How did your band get together?

Gerald Penilla: Inner Prisms formed in 2010 when Ruben and I began to write songs together while living in a house near UCR. Sam was one of the many musicians featured on the first album that was representative of the musical community that had developed in and around UCR. After a year of writing and playing as a duo, Sam became a full-time member, and the trio became the second incarnation of Inner Prisms. Together we recorded a second album consisting solely of the three members. In the summer of 2012 the group picked up a drummer from Redlands named Ryan Sarmiento (The Calicos/Moro Amour) and Kurtis Jones on keyboards. Together the quintet began work on Inner Prisms’ third studio album and continued to write and gig as a five piece. In early 2013, Ryan withdrew from the group to focus on other projects, and Nico Miles immediately filled the position. Recently, through the same musical community, vocalist Mikaela Elson has joined the group, and the band has grown to six members.

What inspires you to do what you do?

Penilla: There’s two [aspects] of it, one is the aspect of sharing a positive message with people—love, compassion, more spiritual states of mind and two, is to create musical experiences that people can relate to . . . that are part of the human experience. We have songs about love and loss, because I think it’s important to capture the essence of the human experience, all the ups and downs.

Is there anything else you’d like us to know?

Penilla: The key inspiration behind our project is to share an experience with people. Our music is about reminding people the importance of love and how happiness comes from within, not from the material world, which is how so many of us have been conditioned to believe. Our hope is that people leave our show with a new perception of both themselves and our world.


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