DEMONS MY FRIENDS – full interview with Rock Hard Italy
DEMONS MY FRIENDS – ROCK HARD ITALY INTERVIEW
Year of foundation: 2022
City/Country: Austin TX / Mexico City, Mexico
Line-up: Pablo Anton (Guitar/Vox), Lu Salinas (Bass/Vox), Arturo Martinez (Drums)
Genre: Stoner Metal
Bring The Night (Single) – September 2022
We Are The Resistance (Single) – November 2022
Make Them Pay (Single) – January 2023
Demons Seem To Gather (Full LP) – April 2023
Band member: Pablo
First of all, welcome on the pages of our magazine!
Could you start with a short biography of the project? When did you start thinking about this new artistic adventure?
We just started it back in March, completely by chance, when we got together in Austin Texas for a jam session at our friend’s recording studio. We had no plans at all to start a new band. We each had our own separate bands and we also had a lot of other things going on in our lives at the time. I mean, we don’t even live in the same city! We just wanted to get together and jam for fun, nothing serious. Blow some steam off after spending almost 2 years in lockdown with no shows and not being able to see each other in person. But after three days in the studio coming up with fresh ideas, we realized we had created something special almost by accident, and the project grew organically from there.
How did you develop the amazing mix between stoner, classic rock and typical heavy metal solutions? Is this the result of a spontaneous evolution?
It just happened spontaneously in the studio. There was absolutely no planning involved in the making of this first album. We all walked into the studio with nothing, not even a single idea, and three days later, we walked out of there with these new songs. So I think it just comes from the musical baggage that we each brought into the mix. Lu and Tarro come from playing in one of the most recognized hard rock bands in Mexico (QBO), and I spent ten years in Washington DC immersing myself into the stoner rock scene of the east coast before moving to Austin about a year ago.
Would you tell us something about your first song Bring The Night? How did you develop the songwriting process?
This song, like most others we have done, started with a couple of riff ideas that I presented in the studio, which then Lu and Tarro stringed together to form a song structure around them, playing with different grooves around the same riff. Overall, the songwriting process with this band has always flowed very naturally and without much debate. A particular riff leads us to a particular groove and then we follow that to wherever it takes us. It feels more like a process of exploration rather than creation, really. It’s been thoroughly enjoyable so far and it’s one of the reasons we are so devoted to this project, because as musicians we know how hard it is to find that type of chemistry and like-mindedness in other people.
Where did you find the inspiration for the lyrics?
This band deals with a theme that strung from sharing with each other the mental health issues that we all experienced during the pandemic. Being in lockdown forced us to face our darkest inner demons and taught us how to maintain our composure while they danced freely around us. We also arrived at this decision organically. Once the moment came for us to decide what we wanted to say with these songs, we realized that this idea was top-of-mind for the three of us, and that it was a very powerful message that we wanted to put out there: “You are not alone, we are all going through the same thing right now. We are not lost. We can still prevail if we learn how to make those demons our friends”. Hence the name of the band. This song in particular, “Bring The Night”, looks at the inner struggle of self-worth, and all the negativity that the lack thereof can create in our minds.
How do you usually write new music? What does it come first?
The groove always comes first. Without groove you have nothing. So you need to just jam endlessly until you get one, and then once you get one, grab it tightly and let it pull you in whatever direction it wants to go. It knows better than you what the song needs…
What do you want to communicate through your music? Is there any specific message or point of view inside of it?
Not too long ago, someone in a podcast interview we did asked us about the concept of the band, and after we explained it, he replied in somewhat of a mocking tone: “So you guys are almost like a self-help band”. That stuck with us, because in a way I think we are, but not for the audience, no. Our purpose with this band is to heal ourselves, through the process of sharing our emotions with people out there we’ve never met. Because that’s the biggest beauty of music, isn’t it? Being able to feel the emotions of total strangers simply by listening to them sing their songs. And from an artist’s perspective, the same is true. There’s nothing more gratifying than having other people connect with you on a deeper level through the songs you write.
There is a very intimate point of view inside of it, strictly related to the circumstances of the pandemic times: do you think that music can be a solution or a way to escape from this difficult situation?
Both. Music creates the solution to isolation by BECOMING an escape from it. By providing us with a vehicle to connect on a deeper level, on an emotional level. I cannot imagine what the lockdowns would have felt like without any music. In particular, I don’t think I would have survived at all. Whatever turmoil we collectively faced during the past three years, for us what kept us going was always music. The desire to continue enjoying it, sharing it and creating it.
Is there any space left for hope and salvation? Or we have to accept our nature without the possibility to improve the state we’re in?
Hope is a renewable resource. It is endless and no matter how dark times get, we can always create more. For example, now that things reopened and live music is finally back, we’ve felt a bit disoriented, for sure (and I’m sure a lot of others in the music industry feel the same). It’s hard to form a strategy when so much has changed. When most of the venues we used to love are gone, when most of the bookers we used to know got fired from their jobs, when labels are backed up with releases until 2024, when every single band is putting out music frantically at the same time, and also touring at the same time. There’s an overflow of content being put out there everyday. It’s almost ironic. There’s more shows than ever, but less people attending them than before the pandemic. It’s a daunting scenario to be starting a brand new project in, yet we are filled with hope that, within this cacophony, there is still a place for our voice to be heard if we are determined to find it.
What’s the secret of the chemistry between you three? What do you have in common?
Well, Lu and Tarro (bass and drums) have been playing together in another band for the past 8 years (QBO), so that definitely helps. But on top of that, we’ve all known each other for over a decade, and we also have very similar family backgrounds (as we recently discovered while chatting on the road). So that’s probably not the answer you were looking for, but that’s all I can say about that. It’s easier to have chemistry playing with people you already have a strong personal bond with, I guess.
You are actually working on your first album: do you want to tell us something about it? What could we expect?
Yes. We’re recording it at Red Nova Ranch with the great Jeff Henson, who’s a staple here in the Texas stoner rock scene and recently worked with bands like Spirit Adrift, Greenbeard, Duel and High Desert Queen. We’ve had a blast working with him! He is a really intriguing producer that has a very unique way of pushing each of us to reach the truest version of ourselves when we write and play, if that makes sense. As a prelude to the release of the full album we’ve prepared three singles, two of which are already out there on all digital platforms, and a third one which will come out in January 2023. After that we will finish mixing and mastering the rest of the songs in March and release the full album digitally in April. We are also planning on releasing the vinyl version of the album as soon as we can, but like I mentioned before all the labels are backed up with releases for the foreseeable future, so we are just going to have to be patient and wait for our turn to press it. And we can also hope that it won’t take too long! Like I said, hope is endless in this band!
What are your expectations regarding the future of the band?
No expectations, just the desire to keep playing. Always.
Thank you so much and greetings from Italy!
Thank you as well to you and anybody who’s reading this! Much love from Austin TX and Mexico City.