Interview with The Dead-End Alley Band

Mina intervjuer / Permalink / 0

Have any of you played in other bands?

Seb: Yes. Each member of The Dead-End Alley Band have previous experiences by playing in other projects. The most experienced were Javier (Bass player) and Jafer (Drummer). They played for long time in the underground scene before being part of The Dead-End Alley Band. How is it that you started playing music? Javier: Well back in 2002 my friends at school used to gather together and grab a guitar and play Nirvana tunes and songs from the period of time, mostly what Mtv used to aired and some classics as Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Iron Maiden... the usual stuff. So that’s where my interest in playing music started, as well I started playing Nirvana, mostly Grunge music, that is my favorite music style, then I the other things came along. Seb: I guess, I was always in the music, because of my family. I got this conection with the music, very early, but it was in 2006 when I started to develop it in a public way, with small bands and projects, and also, my own compositions.

Leonardo: When I was a kid, I loved the music class in school. One day, I remember asking the teacher if I could play his guitar. As toying, I put some pens and crayons inside the hole of the guitar and it sounded weird, but I loved that sound and from that moment, I wanted to play guitar.

Jafer: It all started when I was 13 years old, at school. All these “school-bands”. What are your names? / Who plays what? / How old are you? Sebastian Sanchez-Botta / Vocal + Keys / 29 Javier Kou / Bass + Vocal / 29 Leonardo Alva / Guitar / 23 Jafer Diaz / Drum / 46 Have you had other previous members? Seb: We started being a 5-pieced-band, with two guitars. A guy called Rolando ‘Delfin’ Valle, who plays in some other Peruvian bands like Los Rezios, Morte Kvlto and Tröncho, joined us, but because of a tour with one of his bands, was difficult for him to be focused at 100% in The Dead-End Alley Band, so sadly we played just one show with us. After that, we turned into a 4-pieced-band and the line up remains the same from that date.

Did you make music even when you were young? Seb: Yes, we all did.

Where are you from?  Seb: We are from Lima, Peru.

What year did the band form?  Seb: The idea of having this band, started in 2011, but we started composing and recording in the beginning of 2012, so, we can say that 2012 is the year when the action started.

What's your style of genre? Seb: Heavy psych and blues. These are the styles we are actually focused in, but some others like to add that we also are stoner rock or even close to the doom thing. But, well, is all about heavy music in the end.

What inspires you?

Javier: Sometimes it’s hard to think about what inspires me. There are moments were I am listening to music, let’s say The Doors’ ‘Not to touch the earth’, which is my favorite band, and I start thinking “Wow, I would have liked to compose this song!”, then I grab my guitar or the bass and start fooling around the melody. Besides music, sometimes being alone at night, or a rainy day makes me think about some lyrics and how a song could sound. Seb: That’s perhaps a tought question. In a musical way, my inspiration uses to come with a musical phrase or motive or riff that comes into my mind. Then, I grab a dictaphone and record it to work on that thing later at home. Night is the perfect moment for me too.

Leonardo: A girl. Jafer: To listen to all kind of music.

How often and where do you reherse? Seb: We have some different ways or seasons for rehearsing. For example, if we have an upcoming regular local show, we rehearse just one in a week. Facing a tour, as it was in 2015, we rehearse really hard, the whole week if it’s possible. And during the demo sessions or songwriting process, we use to rehearse at home every weekend during the summer since.

How have you developed you started with the music?  Seb: Well, in the beginning, as many bands, we started playing in every venue or club we could play, here in Lima. Not so big expectations, to be honest, just playing and improving every day. But, when we signed to Nasoni Records (Berlin), we got more attention here. After the releasing of our first album in vinyl, we realized that we have to take this to a more serious direction. After that, we recorded our 2nd album, which was released again with Nasoni, getting more attention, and after that, the first European tour came out. That was the breaking point, that was shown out with the release of our 3rd album.

Do you have other interests of work outside the band?  Javier: Personally, I have it, but sometimes it’s difficult cause the logic thing it’s to team-up with other musicians you know but that already have a band, or more than one. Now, it's not a serious thing, but when I have time I phone-record some tunes in the style of Townes Van Zandt, at least I’m trying to ha, ha, ha.

Are you looking for a booking agency, and what are your thoughts around that?  Seb: It is always a good thing to have a booking agency or a tour manager. It helps you a lot. During the booking process of the first European tour, it was a crazy thing to organize everything. We got a hand from StoneFree Bookings (Austria) and Radioactive Booking (Italy) for the first week of the tour. In the end, it was a really stressful thing, so yes, it would be nice if we can have a booking agency for the next tours.

Are you looking for a label, and what are your thoughts around that?  Seb: We have already a label (a lot of labels for this album). If there’s something we’ve learned from the labels, is that they are a great support for making your music being heared beyond your circles. Having a good label as Nasoni or Clostridium Records (our actual label) provides your music or your band, a good impression for people who never heard before about you.

What made you decide to make this music?

Javier: The big love I have for The Doors, the idea of The Dead-End Alley Band was to play Doors’ songs, thing that never happened. So the idea changed to the creation of music with the 60s and 70s sound. Leonardo: I love blues. I wanted to be in a blues band, and, well, with The Dead-End Alley Band, I found some more heavy obscure psych and also blues, so I fit there perfectly.

Jafer: Listening to great drummers like John Bonham and Steve Smith, my favorites!

What are your songs about? Javier: Nothing in particular, we do not have a theme to talk about, sometimes the songs can talk about love, in particular way, or about the night, nightmares, or (twisted) stories. For example 'It's Too Late' (1st album), talks about a hostage that ended up suffering from the Stockholm Syndrome, or 'Nightmare Goes On' (2nd album) that talks about a bug phobia but in a very gloomy way in a paranormal sceneario, or 'Headstone Forstress' (3rd album) that is a very own way to pay tribute to our World Wonder, Machu Picchu.

Who does the composing and writes the lyrics? Seb: In the beginning, me and Javer worked in everything about music and lyrics. During the process, we realized that Javier was more deep inside the lyric-writing thing, so, nowadays, he is always behind of most of the lyrics of our songs. About the music, now the whole band is giving musical ideas or riffs to start building up the songs together.

Do you start with the music or the lyrics? Seb: We often start with the music.

Do you compose in a certain environment? Javier: Every time any idea comes up, it’s more likely to write in random moments that to force myself to do it. Seb: Yeah, it uses to come out spontaniously. Personally, I think that if you force the composition process, it would be noticed when you listen to the final mix. Leonardo: Wherever destiny finds me with a guitar in my hands.

Have you done any covers live? Seb: Sure! We played “Locked Up In The Snow” from King Diamond & Black Rose, and it’s a song we often include in the setlist. We also have a heavy version of “Venus”, from Shocking Blue. And, during the European tour, we played “Snowblind” from Black Sabbath, in the first three gigs.

What language do you sing in? Seb: In English. Just in this 3rd album we have only a little phrase in Spanish in one song.

What are the least and most people to attend one of your gigs? Seb: To think in the least people attending to a show of us, it probably bring us back to our very first show. Just 3 or 4 guys there. Then, during the European tour, perhaps the show in Vaals, Netherlands was the only gig with least people attending. But also, when we think in a gig with the most people attending, it brings us to the tour again, in Tübingen, Germany. House packed and the best show of our carreer at the moment.

What ages are most of your concert attendants?  Seb: It’s difficult to say. Yeah, there are always young people there, but also you can see some old-silver-haired-guys who loves the style. It happened during the tour, too, in that gig in Vaals, the most excited guys were the old ones.

Do you always play the same songs live, or do you vary? Seb: We use to vary according to the gig subject. For example, if the gig is all about psychedelia, we play the most psychedelic stuff in the setlist. Also, we were invited to play in some metal things, and in that case, we line up with the heavier stuff in the setlist. But, also, there are some “musts” in the setlist that could fit in every gig.

Do you have a regular place you play live often? Seb: Well, in Lima there is a small bar and club called Hensley, that is some kind of hotspot for the underground scene. Yes, it is the place we’ve played the most.

What was your first gig like? Seb: As we said lines above, it was nice but at the same time, weird to play just for 3 or 4 guys there. We were part of a huge line up, and we was the last band of that fest. We played nearly 1am on Sunday, so… Yeah. It was like that.

What was your latest gig? Seb: They were great! Before this interview, we played the first two gigs of the 3rd album era. The first one was in a metal open air festival in the highlands, and it was mind blowing! The second one was in Lima, at the Hensley bar, introducing the whole album live. Was a good one too.

Have you had to cancel a gig? Seb: Sadly, yes. Just a couple of times in all our career.

Where have you played live this year? Seb: Most of the shows of this year were in Lima, and also in that metal festival in the highlands of Peru. We are about to travel to the North to play in a small fest, and then, close the year again in Lima.

Where do you plan to gig the coming year? Seb: We are planing our first South American tour, so perhaps next year we will be playing in some other countries in the region.

When did you start to sell merchandise, and what do you have for sale? Seb: We started with the Cds and vinyls during the gigs. After that, we got merch for the tour (t-shirts) and now, we have to reload our merch table for the upcoming gigs.

Where can people buy your merchandise? Seb: For the moment, at the shows.

What do you think about people downloading music instead of buying records now a days? Javier: I can say that it’s better to buy ‘em but truly I also download music, it was more often a couple of years ago, nowadays I use the Youtube to listen to some stuff, it's better that way cause I don't occupy the space in the hard drive ha, ha, ha. But I buy records, I’m a vinyl and tape collector. Jafer: Both methods are good.

How do you think the music industry have changed because of this?  Javier: For the big-well-known bands is a loss, for band like us it’s a free window of advertising. Seb: Things are easy now, yes, but at the same time, you have to find the way to get well promoted in that huge ocean of bands and digital albums nowadays, with a label and physical editions of your work, also merch and, obviously, gigs.

What do you think of my work? Seb: It is great to take your time to search for a band that is so far away from your hometown, to know more about them. It’s really nice!!

How do you think and know that this interview will help you in the music business? Seb: Supporting and spreding the word is always welcome! And it’s a great thing that you take your time to share the band experiences to your contacts with this interview. Thanks a lot for that.

Do you have any role models or idols? Seb: Perhaps, the bands or artists we love.

Is it easier to find inspiration from older bands, or bands that are more active today?

Seb: It’s about to get the best of both worlds.

Javier: Older bands, personally I don’t listen to a lot of new bands, and when I do it’s just for pleasure and not for inspiration, but sometimes you can’t handle that and ends up inspiring you in some ways. Leonardo: For me, older bands, totally! Jafer: Older bands!

What have been your biggest obstacles? Seb: I think, the flaws of each member in the band. We all have flaws that could be against the things we want to achieve as a band. The thing is not to let them to be more than our responsabilities with the band. Also, there are some other things like money or the difficulties for artists here in Peru, but we keep playing and having fun together, no matter what obstacles we find ahead.

What advice would you give other bands or artists? Seb: To always search for professionalism, no matter where they have to play. Have fun, yes, but don’t forget to look for good gear, proper outfit, proper show off and sound, and also, have a restless search of everything in the underground music business… To ask people who knows. To ask for contacts. To send emails and demos constantly to the promoters and labels. In other words, not to wait next to the phone.

How do you get psyched for a gig? Seb: Experience taught us not to get drunk or extremely high before a show. We can drink or smoke, yes, but in a normal way. After the show, do whatever you want. In my case, I always prefer to have a bottle of red wine with me. It keeps me in my best mood for a show. No more, no less. Javier: There's not such thing like a ritual or something like that, sometimes it's some drinks before going to the place we're supposed to play, or sometimes I grab those drinks before the show and also at the place of the show ha, ha, ha. One thing that is true is that I play with a couple of beers on me, or sometimes 3. Leonardo: I used to pray to Father Duane Allman to get his blessing. I remember, with Seb, during a show in the highlands, we payed a kind of tribute to Pachamama (Mother Earth) as the ancient Peruvians used to do. He he he. Jafer: To get focused, calm and start finding my inner beat.

Do you have any new material? Seb: Yes! We have already released our 3rd album digitally via South American Sludge Records, and in CD via Necio Records and Inti Records. It will have a US edition coming out in December, via Forbidden Place Records and also, the vinyl edition in January 19, 2018, via Clostridium Records.

What are your web sites? Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/deabperu/ Bandcamp: deabperu.bandcamp.com

How can people reach you? Via Facebook, or also, just write an email to deabperu@gmail.com

What are your plans for the future? Seb: To promote this album, with a tour, and then, start working for the upcoming album.

Do you have something to add? Seb: Just to say thank you for digging into the band and making this interview to us. Great work!

interview with Breaking Kebabs

Mina intervjuer / Permalink / 0
How is it that you started playing music and have any of you played in other bands? Our band began back when we were all in high school. Originally, Hubert (our drummer) and myself (Steven) got together and jammed most weekends. This would have been about 8 years ago. I had personally played in one or two other high school bands prior, but being quite young I would hardly count those as band experiences. Eventually our duo grew into a foursome and the band we are today.
What are your names? / Who plays what? / How old are you? Breaking Kebabs consists of four members, Hubert Tam: our drummer, George Tong on the bass, Matt King on the lead guitar and myself; Steven Andritsos, on rhythm guitar and vocals. We are all 21-22. 
Have you had other previous members? Back in high school we had a different lead guitarist named Scott Macdougall. After high school finished he left our band to join a band called Move on Be Strong. They had amassed quite a decent following and were also made up of older kids from our high school who Scott had befriended. 
Did you make music even when you were young?
I’ve (Steven) been writing music from as early as I can remember. It hasn’t always been good, but I can recall the first song I ever wrote at age 4 “Thunder, Lightning, Struck”, an uninspired rip off of AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck”. 
Where are you from? We are all from the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia! 
What year did the band form? Our musical project began back in 2010, but “Breaking Kebabs” officially became such in late 2013.
What's your style of genre? I like to think our genre blends the better elements of heavy music and pop music. We like to play hard, fast and violently, but that only gets you so far so we balance it out with choruses you can sing along to. So maybe something like Heavy Alternative Rock. 
What inspires you? We are inspired by many things. As a songwriter I try my best to channel my perception of the world into the music and the lyrics. To me it isn’t so much about the content of what you say necessarily, but more so the emotional weight of it. As a band I think we are inspired by artists that see success but don’t let it change who they are. Dave Grohl is a good example of this I think because he’s the biggest rockstar in the world but seems like the kind of guy who’d help you move houses if you bought him a slab of beer!
How often and where do you reherse? We used to rehearse weekly at our drummers house, but over the years we’ve become quite good at the songs we play and can afford to practice only when its necessary like before a gig or when I have enough new material to run through. We’re testing out using rehearsal spaces now as it allows us to practice much later into the night. 
How have you developed since you started with the music? I think the music we play has developed through the bands we’ve listened too. In the early days, the focus was sounding like the Foo Fighters, but in recent years, the wave of awesome Australian rock music in bands like Violent Soho, British India and The Dune Rats has helped round out our sound and given it a unique flavour. I think the fact that when we started we were all around the age of 14 also means that we’ve gotten a lot better at our instruments, our music is tighter and our confidence is far superior. 
Do you have other interests of work outside the band? We do have interests outside of the band, primarily gaming and sports. Matt is quite an accomplished goalkeeper. We’re also all studying at university heading into our final undergraduate years of study. I myself am doing an honours year at Monash University for Psychology. 
Are you looking for a booking agency, and what are your thoughts around that? I don’t think we’re against the idea of a booking agency, and perhaps if the right one came along we’d look into it, but I think theres something to be said for learning the craft yourself. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to work really hard in 2018 in terms of networking, building our own lineups and booking our own shows, and so far, its been beneficial.
Are you looking for a label, and what are your thoughts around that? I think the same can be said in terms of looking for a label. Maybe the right label would be worth it, I’d love to be signed to James Tidswell’s new label Domestic La La. But at the same time, in this day and age, I think it is conceivable that a band can achieve widespread distribution without the need of a third party. 
What made you decide to make this music? Music has been a part of my whole life and I have always been writing. Riffs, poems, they all just fly out of me and sometimes they’re actually not shit! I think its just a really fun way to focus our creative energies and we’ve developed a bond between the four of us that is hard to quantify or explain.
What are your songs about? I treat the music I write like a diary. I don’t necessarily focus on events in particular but rather the feelings surrounding them. I then try to recreate those feelings through the lyrics and the music. I’ve written about love, politics and everything in between.
Who does the composing and writes the lyrics? The best way to describe it is that I (Steven) plant the musical seed. I write the lyrics and I bring the concept of the songs. We then water them together as a band and it grows into and end result we are all happy with. My intention is never to be the sole creator, but at the same time, I like to take the reigns and make sure the music is encapsulating the right emotions. 
Do you start with the music or the lyrics? In the earlier days I used to start with the lyrics and then write the music, but it has since swapped and now I find myself mostly writing music and only writing lyrics when a song is ready for them.
Do you compose in a certain inviroment? There is nowhere in particular that I compose. I write anywhere and everywhere, whenever inspiration strikes.
Have you done any covers live? We like to chuck in a cover at nearly every gig. I think its a good practice because, while you want people to hear your music, you need to acknowledge that its not always fun to listen to an hour of things you don’t recognise. A nice popular song with a unique take on it can do wonders to a waning set.
What language do you sing in? Our music is in English.
What are the least and most people to attend one of your gigs? We once played a gig with no people there for the first 10 minutes before my parents rocked up, to which I am still so happy they did. The most people we’ve played in front of would be in the hundreds due to the opportunities given to us by the school, however, the best we ever drew was at our first post high-school gig and that was 78.
What ages are most of your concert attendants? Our demographic is shaped like a 2-humped camel. We have a decent following in the 18-25 age group, near nothing in the 26-39 age group, and then another sizeable following in the 40-60 age group.
Do you always play the same songs live, or do you vary? We like to keep our set fairly variable and aim to do different covers or songs from our library. However, we always play the songs we want to get the most exposure to, so a fair portion of our music is played every time.
Do you have a regular place you play live often? We like to play in as many venues as we can, but would love to land a residency at a venue at some point.
What was your first gig like? Our first gig was exciting as it was a battle of the bands. We were the last band to go on and I remember being incredibly nervous but I noticed that every other band presented themselves as nervous (to be fair they were all in high school). So then and there I decided to just go full pelt, 100% and have as much fun as possible. Its a mentality I use to this day.
What was your latest gig? Our latest gig was at the Rack em Up Pool Hall and Bar back in December.
Have you had to cancel a gig? We’ve never cancelled a gig.
Where do you plan to gig the comming year? We are just about to start gigging for this year and will be playing at the Tote and Whole Lotta Love Bar first and foremost. We would love to support a band at a venue called The Russel in Melbourne.
What do you think about people downloading music instead of buying records now a days? I think bands can no longer rely on record sales to make a living. In this day and age, streaming platforms are king and a band needs to focus on marketing themselves as a brand instead if they wish to make music their full time work. You gotta find ways to sell not just the music but you as a band and artist and things like, gigs and t-shirts are the way to do it.
How do you think the music industry have changed because of this? I think live music has taken a big blow due to the popularity of streaming and digital music in general. People are more interested in finding music through recommendations on Spotify than through pub crawls. Although I don’t necessarily think that its all bad, its just a matter of who can adapt.
What do you think of my work? I think you do a very thorough job and clearly reach out to a wide spread of bands given we’re from Australia! 
How do you think and know that this interview will help you in the music business? I would like to think this allows more people to find our music, exposure is like food to the starving musician! 
Do you have any role models or idols? Role models of mine include, Freddie Mercury, Dave Grohl, Barack Obama and Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson.
Is it easier to find inspiration from older bands, or bands that are more active today? I think its good to draw your inspiration from older bands but tweak your sound with ideas from your musical peers in those active today. The best music bridges the old and the new, but also manages to stay relevant. Then again, our interest isn’t primarily to be popular for the sake of popularity. We want to share our vision of music to as many people as possible, not just follow the trends.
What have been your biggest obstacles? Our biggest obstacles have definitely been building a following and organising shows. 
What advice would you give other bands or artists? I would say to other artists, if you aren’t setting yourself tangible goals and updating them weekly or monthly, you aren’t serious about growing. We’ve done it both ways, and theres nothing quite like an objective measure to tell you if you’re working hard enough.
How do you get psyched for a gig? I like to channel an alter ego of myself who is the coolest person in the world. I’m not him 95% of the time, but when I’m on stage, everyone better be looking at me and wishing they were me because that stage is mine! 
Do you have any new material? We will be releasing new material later this year, but you can find our most recent release “Dreamer” on Spotify. 
How can people reach you? People can reach us through most social media platforms as “Breaking Kebabs”. We’re also on iTunes, Spotify, Tidal etc. Any business enquiries can be made at Breakingkebabs@gmail.com
What are your plans for the future? This year we plan to grow our audience larger than ever before and publish our second release to widespread approval. 
Do you have something to add? It might only take 5 or 10 minutes of your time, but it means the world to musicians and artists to give their music attention. Anyway you can help us or anyone else in this industry is so invaluable. If you like our stuff, let us know about, let your friends know about it, and make sure you stay in our circles to hear when we release more!
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