"Except for the sax, pedal steel, and a guitar solo on one of the songs, I played all the instruments. I don’t think I’ll make an album like this again. Not sure what the next one will be like." - David Thomas Jones.
David Thomas Jones is an indie-rock artist based in Austin, Texas. "Occult Years", which is due November 13th, is his first release in six years! During that time, he kept busy with with several projects including writing music for and acting in the film "Mr. Roosevelt (starring SNL alum Noël Wells. The fictitious band from the film, The Leeks, a collaboration between Jones and Daniella Pineda (Jurassic World), and is featured on the Mr. Roosevelt Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. He has also performed with Noël Wells’ own band The Marys."
David's music is beautiful and after hearing his latest single, "In Springtime", it transported me to a few years back. It has a very mid-200s nostalgia factor, which makes it even easier to fall in love with. "In Springtime" also has a very thought-provoking video. It can be interpreted several ways, but it made me think that it all ties up with the new album's name, "Occult Years".
I recently got to talk to David and this is what he had to say:
Desert of My Eye (Pao): Please tell me about "In Springtime" and the writing process behind it.
David Thomas Jones: The song was really a spur of the moment thing. I was going to be recording a different song that day, and while everything was getting set up I just started playing the guitar riff. My producer started singing over it in a falsetto voice and we thought it was funny. That kind of spurred us forward and we started recording this instead. You can kind of hear one of us laughing on one of the backing vocal tracks. We were just entertaining ourselves.
D.O.M.E: I would also love to know the idea behind the music video. It's such an interesting story and I would like to know your take on it.
D.T.J: I think it’s open to interpretation a bit. Someone I showed it to was convinced that it was about the boy, Max, renouncing his father’s mysogynistic views. I like that the best. The idea came from a few brainstorms between me, Jake Bayless, and Christopher Owings. They have a production company called Fall Hard Films and they’re amazing. Jake wrote and shot it and Christoper directed. I think we just wanted to tell the story of a loveable, yet possibly delusional kid.
D.O.M.E: It's been six years since your last album. How was making this album different than the previous one? Was there anything different about it or do you have a certain way about making your work?
D.T.J: Hmmmm. I don’t know if the writing and recording process was much different. I was pretty depressed during the first one. My producer, James Jones, saw me at the store looking all gray and mopey and he was like, ‘Dude, let’s record an album.’ So it may have been happenstance that the first one came about in the way that it did, or came about at all. With this one, I had a lot of personal stuff going on and I ran out of money a lot, and I was also probably being lazy a lot. Some of that time was spent writing and recording a couple songs for an awesome movie called Mr. Roosevelt, which I had a small role in. So I wasn’t being totally lazy the whole time. You should check it out in Netflix.
D.O.M.E: Austin is such a great city with such vibrant music. Do you find yourself inspired by it? Does it reflect on your music?
D.T.J: I don’t think so. I’m more inspired by ideas and interactions with people. I think the biggest influence being in Austin has on me musically is KUTX 98.9. They play all sorts of cool stuff and sometimes a song I hear will spark the urge to create.
D.O.M.E: Who are your biggest influences lately?
D.T.J: I would have to say PJ Harvey, Aldous Harding, and Liz Harris AKA Grouper. I’ve been listening to them a lot over the last year. I couldn’t make anything that sounds like them, but what they do influences how I’ve been thinking about music. They’re all very moving in their own way.
D.O.M.E: What else would you like people to know about Occult Years?
D.T.J: Except for the sax, pedal steel, and a guitar solo on one of the songs, I played all the instruments. I don’t think I’ll make an album like this again. Not sure what the next one will be like.
D.O.M.E: As a final question, what are your top five jams of the moment?
D.T.J:The Community of Hope by PJ Harvey, Call Across Rooms by Grouper, Imagining My Man by Aldous Harding, A Spoonful Weighs a Ton by The Flaming Lips, and Awake by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.
I recently got to catch up with indie-rock band, Strange Cadets, from El Paso, Texas! They just released their single, "Seaside", which will be part of their not yet released EP, "Love's Not Time's Fool". You can listen to the song down below. Strange Cadet is made up of Ricardo Solis (Lead vocals) Pepe Ramirez (Lead guitar) Raul Haaz (Bass guitar) and Alan Montes (Drums). The are heavily influenced by the Arctic Monkeys, Tame Impala, Kings of Leon, The Killers, and Foo Fighters. I think it really reflects on their sound especially the new single, "Seaside".
I recently got to interview Ricardo Solis of Strange Cadets and this is what he had to say:
Desert of My Eye (Pao): I would love for you guys to tell me about the band itself! How did the project come about? Have you guys always known each other?
Ricardo Solis: The band really started at the beginning of this year. Pepe and I have known each other since we were in high school. We’ve always dreamed about this, traveling the world and doing what we love. In mid-2017, we both started writing songs as a hobby. We ended up writing a couple of songs and by the end of 2017 we met our former producer Cesar Legazpy, who helped us to build this project. He produced a song for us, but we felt vulnerable and insecure so we came to the conclusion that we needed two more members. We immediately started looking for people to join our band. A friend of ours introduced us to Raul Haaz, bass player, who happened to be looking for a band at that time. We instantly clicked. At that point, we were just missing a drummer. One day we were all together and Cesar told us about a family friend and how well he played drums, but he lived in Dallas. I remember Cesar showed me a clip of him playing drums to “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone”, and I instantly knew he was the perfect fit to complete our band. Cesar spoke to him about us needing a drummer and he showed him a couple of our demos to him. By the next week he was already moving to El Paso. From the very first rehearsal, we felt a very strong chemistry between all of us.
D.O.M.E: Why did you guys decide to call yourself's Strange Cadets?
R.S: It’s a funny story, everyone is so intrigued about how the name came to be. It was actually a night when we were doing recording for one of our songs. I remember we were eating nachos in the living room during one of our “breaks” and by that time we already had a deadline to have a band name in order to start promoting our material. Someone in the room came up with the name
'Space Cadets". The band always wanted a name with the word “Strange” in it, so we figured out that maybe combining it with "Cadets" would sound good. We were not to sure whether to keep it at first, but we just decided to keep it.
D.O.M.E: Please tell me about the EP. Is there a theme behind it? What inspired it?
R.S: The initial idea came to us through a demo we released about 6 months ago on our website. The name came from the Shakespearian sonnet “Love’s not time’s fool” and we found it to match perfectly with the song’s message: “love will never fade away”. I think that in this EP every song has it's own theme, but it all correlates to the same idea.
D.O.M.E: "You've been waiting for someone new, I really hope he likes you too." Those are lyrics to "Seaside" is it based on a true story. Love the sound by the way.
R.S: Thank you that’s so sweet. All of our songs are based on a true story or experience. I think that we all have experienced a broken time in our lives. I am really grateful to share those experiences through our music.
D.O.M.E: When is the expected release date of the EP?
R.S: There is no release date yet, but we are doing another single release soon.
D.O.M.E: Do you have any shows coming up?
R.S: We are doing a small show on November 16. We will be announcing more details soon. After that, we are planning on playing some other local venues and tour other cities as well.
D.O.M.E: Do you think that being a band from the border and being located in El Paso has influenced your sound?
R.S: Thats a great question. We think it’s a privilege in having all of this variety in culture due the fact that we were raised by Hispanic parents and we were influenced by Latin rock.
In late September, Panteon Rococo released their latest single, "El Último Ska" which "embodies the Mexican group's new and surprising nuances to the contemporary music market"! It came out just in time for Panteon's Day of the Dead event at Hollywood Cemetery on October 27!
For those that are not familiar with Panteon Rococo's career, it is a 9 member group that started in 1995. They are most known for mixing genres like reggae, ska, punk, salsa, mariachi, rock and mestizo-music amongst others. This internationally known band has also been known for their energetic live performances, their songs whose themes range from love to politics, and creativity! With nine albums under their belt, there is no doubt that they have built a name for themselves.
"El Último Ska", which has been recently released (and attached below) is the latest single for Panteon Rococo. "El Último Ska is a song produced by Mexican musician and composer, Jorge "Chiquis" Amaro, (Fobia, Cuca, Jot Dog, La Lupita, Natalia Lafourcade, Maná, Moenia) who has long been involved with the band (Ejército de Paz, Arréglame el Alma, 2010). "Chiquis" in the production and Dr. Shenka in the composition have made El Último Ska a detailed and well-achieved work maintaining the personality of the group."
The official video for the song was released on Youtube less than a day ago! The song is so catchy that it has me dancing as I write this! It has all the best elements of the Panteon essence and ska. The lyrics are so catchy as well, including the chanting of: "Quiero que vengas y me digas que me amas y me quieres, aunque no sea verdad. Quiero que me mientas al oido mientras bailas tú conmigo el último ska",including verses in Arab in French! The song overall is a delicious and irresistible melody. I want to dance the last ska with somebody too!
Check it out and dance along!
For many years, the Grammy Awards have been a household name and still they continue to be. Friends, family, musicians, and many others gather to watch this prestigious music award show full of not only recognitions, but amazing performances.
However, the Grammy's themselves can't to justice to all the talented musicians, producers, and composers out there so we have the Grammy's latin "sister", the equally prestigious called the Latin Grammy Awards.
The Latin Grammy Awards really give Latinos the opportunity to get the recognition they deserve for their hard work and musical talent. The Grammy is one of the most coveted awards and it's always exciting see who is going to win in each category.
This year, Maná was named Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year. Maná has a trajectory spanning for more than twenty years. They are "rock en español" icons, have a Hollywood star of fame, have their own charity foundation (Selva Negra), have done many tours, have had many sold-out shows, have a great work ethic amongst many other things. I have actually interviewed some of the members of Maná and when it comes to a strong, loving, caring band there is no one better than them. They are truly deserving of this recognition. Can't wait to see what happens!
Other nominees Desert of my Eye has interviewed and/or done album reviews for include: Aterciopelados, Vetusta Morla, and No Te Va Gustar!
Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of talking to Gonzalo Castex of the Latin Grammy nominated No Te Va Gustar where we talked about their latest album, "Suenan Las Alarmas". That album just received a nomination under the "Best Rock Album" category! "NTVG is without a doubt the most powerful unifying group in South America and one of the most solid musical proposals of Latin America. With this album the group embraces the solidity and elegance that the band has built for over more than two decades of trajectory between songs, albums, collaborations, concerts and restless tours in Latin America, the United States and Spain." We can only wait and see until the award show happening on November 15th.
As mentioned before on this website, Aterciopelados was born in 1992 as a project between Andrea Echeverri and Héctor Buitrago. This duo from Colombia has been successful from the very beginning and they continue to be an iconic Latin-rock band! Their latest album "Claroscura" (which was their first release in almost ten year) was nominated for "Best Alternative Album" and their song "Duo" has been nominated for "Best Alternative Song"! Hopefully, this album get the recognition it deserves. The album not only has the iconic Aterciopelados sound, but it has underlying themes of feminism and magic. Truly a treat for the ears!
Last but not least, Vetusta Morla's album "Mismo Sito, Distinto Lugar" has been nominated for "Best Alternative Music Album", "Best Alternative Song" for "Consejo de Sabios" and "Best Recording Package". Vestusta Morla is not only one of Spain's most popular indie bands, but definitely a project to keep an eye on for they only get better and better. I remember listening to the "Mismo Sitio, Distinto Lugar" album and loving it because it took me on a roller-coaster ride of emotions.
There are many talented people throughout the categories. I could spend hours writing about each and one of them. However, that would not be possible in one article! The Latin Grammies are on November 15th in Las Vegas, Nevada. Stay tuned for updates!
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Interviews and playlists of local bands and international artists.