VQDM Interview with Tito from Saint Diablo
VQDM: Let us start by talking about the origin of your band name and who founded the band in the beginning?
Well there is what it means and then were it came from. If you're looking for the "origin" of the band name, it is from early in my youth.
I'm from Puerto Rico originally and moved with my parents to the states at a very young age. When I was like 6 or 8, my aunts and grandparents on the island (Puerto Rico) used to call me a Saint Diablo when I spent my summers with them.
Strangers in their hoods would say to my family members, "Oh he is like such a little angel... he looks like a little saint" for which my family would tell them..
.. "Yeah right! More like a Saint Diablo" and they would then proceed to tell them of how I was apparently sweet looking but very naughty.
I always thought it was funny and the name just stuck. Keep in mind this conversation was all in Spanish, it and the name was exotic, provocative, and bi-lingual.. like me. Haha lol.
Also these are the same people that raised me and called me "Tito" because that not my legal name either.
Later when I was in high school in Fredericksburg VA a small group of friends (that included my long time friend and guitarist Justin Adams) wanted to start a band. I suggested Saint Diablo and I think that the conversation was done with in seconds. We have been Saint Diablo from then on. Except we wrote it like "St. Diablo" and we later evolved it to "Saint Diablo" when it came time for trademarking it.
VQDM: Being an up and coming band that has had to fight every step of the way to get where you are today how do you feel social media has helped and hindered your growth?
It's a double edged sword. It connects you to many people within seconds all over other world at your figure tips... GREAT! But it stole the real-estate away from the whole music thing.
Regardless to how I feel about it - what is important to know is that it is here to stay and adapting your business's model to the future is essential for success. We embrace the positives as well as accept the challenges it places in our musical journey.
VQDM: There was a brand new video just released recently called Horns And Halos as well as your new album have you felt that the reaction from the fans and followers has been as impactful as you had hoped?
We believe so. We have gotten great reviews on both the CD and the video from all around the world. The fans I think have been digging it very much!
We choose to go with this particular song (DHH) as the 1st signal so that the name of the song would lead you to the band name and vise versa. It's a play on words and ideas so that when someone thinks of either the song or the name of the band - it's kind of the same thing.
VQDM: There was a different process to your production of this album according to your recent documentary what was your most memorable experience with doing it this way?
All of it. We approached the writing, pre production, recording, mixing, and shopping the CD like a mission handed down to us by a hire power. It's unlike anything we have ever done before so in many regards. We got our asses kicked but in the end it was well worth it. Tim Gilles got the best out of us at a difficult time in our lives and that has changed us as a band forever.
However if I had to pull out one memory that stood apart from many... I would say it was knowing we were recording in the building and studio that was once called Quantum Studios where hit makers like Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Helmet and many many more legendary artists recorded their 1st big hits. I remember sitting in the dark studio vocal booth waiting for a track to start and thinking to myself our songs are being birthed "here"... WOW.
VQDM: How do you feel about bringing in the cultural bridges with your music such as in the song Watch Me Kill?
I love bridging cultures with our music. There are concepts and words that dont exists in English that is found in other languages and vise versa. I mostly do this with English and Spanish. I look for these differences and try to exploit them in our songs. I feel we did that well in Watch Me Kill. That was the video and single for our 2012 release.
Also, when you blend cultures there are different sounds and tongue placements that make for a wide variety of things to do and say in each song. I enjoy finding all those things and using them to try and stand out.
VQDM: Touring is a big part of every band who is working hard to build their fan base and push an album release what are your plans for 2016?
Push the new CD doing as many tours as possible. Hopefully another video, and another round of tours. We hope to spend most of the year on the road pushing our new CD hard. We are out now with Seasons After and Everybody Panic! and in early 2016 we will be out again with a huge band from Sweden that is getting really hot right now. (Can't mention the name till proper announcements are made) but it's big! I can say that for now.
VQDM: You're currently on Eclipse Records and you seem to have a good team behind you, has this made a difference on your career compared to being an independent artist?
Night and day different. In a world on "no you're not good enough, hard enough, too hard, to light, not light enough, too loud, not loud enough, to metal, not metal enough ... so on and so on... in that world of "no" Eclipse Records and Chris Poland said "yes". And for that I am very grateful. It's made a huge difference then just staying independent.
VQDM: As you work through this journey in the music industry has there been a moment in your experiences that you wish you could have done differently?
I over analyze everything so that's hard to say. However I will say a lot of time wasted shopping our CD to folks who didn't care about our new project, our story, our history, or our potential and are just out to be a con-artist sharks that are in biz to rape bands.
Putting time and effort into people and relationships that turn out to be not worth it is always heart breaking. If I knew then what I know now, I would skip those fools if I had a chance to do it all over again.
VQDM: What is the most important factor for you as bandmates?
To make music that matters. To make art relevant to our field and beyond. It is also important we have fun communicating our messages. We love playing live and meeting new people. In our minds and point of view it is what we popped out of our mammas for.
VQDM: In this ever changing world with all the ups and downs of social media and the state of the world is in politically do you feel your music will stand the test of time?
Yes. People have been changing air pressure to make noise, to make songs, to express themselves and tell stories ever since we learned to scribble on cave walls and discovered fire. It will live on as long as we are here. The real question is "will there be a viable marketplace for music in the future"... for which I would say... I don't know. I hope so.
VQDM: Do you have any artists out there that you feel would impact you as musicians if you were to share the stage with their band?
I personally have played with most of the people I look up to or admire. I am fortunate to be able to say that. However there is still many folks I would love to play with.
VQDM: How do you feel about family and our youth of today being more and more involved with the music industry?
I think the more everyone knows about the industry and that are involved in the decisions the less cunning it would be.
VQDM: Do you think children should be more in tune with live experiences such as showcases or continue to be kept at home and only hear things pushed on the radio?
In my opinion it's never a good idea to sit back and let someone or something outside of you tell you what to listen to, or what to like or how to think. Let alone get used to such a system where you then don't know how to think or what to like unless you are told how to. No, I say get out there and go to as many shows as you can. Even go to shows you think you might not like. You might just be surprised what you like when you try it.
VQDM: Any words of wisdom to up and coming musicians looking to break free from their local boxes?
Don't give up on your dreams, work hard, don't do hard drugs, don't drink yourself silly every night, don't get and or spread s.t.d.'s, don't impregnate strangers, don't get arrested at a US borders, never pay full price for a buy on tour, and always wash your hands after you use the bathroom and before you eat.
Oh and you have to be good at music, math, and finances. And last but not least, emotionally mature enough to handle grown up relationships and situations.
VQDM: Shout outs for anyone or companies that have stood by your side throughout your challenges as a band?
Our friend Gonzo, Chris Poland and Eclipse Records, our wives and girlfriends, our parents, Tim Gilles, Dirt Bag Clothing, Hatewear Clothing, Jagermeister, and last but not least... we would like to thank Tore-Those (The under lord) passive aggressive turtle God of the underworld for without him we would not have pizza and weed :) lol haha
VQDM: Last but not least, what is your overall goal for this band?
To have our name on the timeline of rock and roll, to have our music pass the test of time, to make a lasting connection with millions of people. To make a living and beyond with our music, art, and shows, and to die in a eerie tragic airplane crash somewhere over the Caribbean in rout to a Grammy show where we were going to win the best metal band of the year 20somthing.