Voodoo Queen Digital Magazines Interview Nick Villarreal, Bassist for Sons Of Texas
VQDM: Thanks for taking the time to do this interview while on tour.
Hey, no problem! This is Nick, by the way. I play the bass guitar in the band!
VQDM: How did Sons Of Texas come to be?
Nick: Well we all grew up in the same music scene in the Rio Grande Valley, the southern-most region of south Texas along the Rio Grande river. In 2011 Jonny and Jes had an idea to start a heavy rock band with Texas blues influence and started recruiting members from bands in the local music scene who they felt were best suited for the project. After a couple years they parted ways with their drummer and bass player and asked my brother Mike and I to join ‘em. 9 months later we signed a record deal and we’ve been on the road ever since.
VQDM: What made you choose the path you are all on now, and have you always had the support there?
Nick: All of us started playing music when we were real young. It likely made us all who we are, individually, in various ways. It helped shape our personalities, helped us build character and develop our creativity as artists. Music was something we could find solace in during those turbulent adolescent years, and it just stuck after all these years. It’s almost like we didn’t choose this path; it chose us. As cheesy as it sounds, haha. And of course we’re lucky to have the support of all our families and friends back home. That’s our driving force. Nothing feels better than to make your friends and family proud.
VQDM: What has been your biggest challenge as a band?
Nick: Honestly the biggest challenge has been just trying to survive in the music industry. We genuinely love playing and writing music enough to the point where we’ll do whatever it takes to get us on stage or in the studio. Most of the time it takes being away from our families for months, living in a van, eating highway food, sleeping on floors, and waiting to use the bathroom.
VQDM: Is there anything that you would still like to learn or do?
Nick: Ya know what, there ain’t anything I WOULDN’T like to learn to do. Shit, I learned to do my taxes the other day *eye roll.* Growing up is so stupid - don’t do it.
VQDM: What do you find to be the biggest challenge in the creative process?
Nick: I think staying organized can be pretty challenging. The fun thing about our band here is that we collaborate. We all write and we all have ideas. It can get pretty messy when so many ideas are being thrown around during the creative process. We’ve gotten better at this thanks to our producer, Josh Wilbur, (NAMMMME DROPPPP) who’s worked with bands like Lamb Of God, Gorjia and Trivium. He’s taught us so much about writing, structuring songs, and getting us to listen to each other or compromise on certain things.
VQDM: With touring the states and overseas , what have you noticed is the biggest difference?
Nick: In the grand scheme there really ain’t much difference! We still show up to the venue, set up what we’ve got and give it our all for the fans who come out to the show. But of course you’ve got little things that kinda throw you off. For example: they drive on the wrong side of the road in the UK and it’s weird as hell, I’ll never get used to it.
We had a couple dates in Scandinavia with Seether and every country in this northern region of Europe uses a different currency. So the money we made in Norway is no good in its bordering country Sweden, the money we made in Sweden is no good in its bordering country Denmark, and the money we made in Denmark IS NO GOOD IN THE REST OF EUROPE. We had to find currency exchange kiosks everyday. It was soooo annoying. That’s like if Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana all used different currencies. Little things like that make it challenging, but I love a challenge, and I love learning. So it’s always fun, no matter how stressful it gets.
VQDM: We heard there is a comedian in the band :) Is there a lot of pranks on the road with all the touring you do?
Nick: Hahaha not so much pranks, but we tend to bust each other’s balls nonstop. It’s all in good fun, of course.
VQDM: Funniest mishap you could share with us that has happened on stage?
Nick: Oh man, there’s been several times where Mark calls out the wrong city on stage. He called Flint, MI “Detroit” one time, then he called Tulsa, OK “Oklahoma City,” and the crowd booed really loud and started chanting “TUL-SA, TUL-SA, TUL-SA.” It was hilarious. But you can’t blame the guy. Your body pumps you up with adrenaline when you’re about to step in front of 500+ people. Your nerves are raging and your heart starts pumping blood like crazy to prepare you for a “fight or flight” scenario in response to the stress. This makes it hard to recall little details like the city we’re in, lyrics to a song that’s new, etc. There’s tons of stress involved in performing. You gotta cut us some slack!
VQDM: what is the biggest change in the industry that you have noticed in the last 10 years?
Nick: Well we’ve only been part of the industry for three years. But from what we’ve experienced in this short time is a proliferation of streaming services and a decrease of physical hard copies of records being sold. It’s gotten to the point where charts have to accommodate to the dominance of this new medium. It was all about units (albums) sold before. Now they’ve integrated streams and singles sold online. A certain amount of each counts as one unit sold. I think it’s like 1,500 streams = 1 unit sold, 12 singles sold = 1 unit sold. The RIAA was handin’ out platinum or gold records left n right to artists/bands 10-20 years ago when people lined out the door to buy a new record at their favorite record store. Not so much anymore. It’s really hurting record labels and radio stations, and in turn it hurts artists. It makes it harder for us to keep going. But as they say, “adapt or die.”
VQDM: Best advice ever given?
Nick: We’ve had the pleasure to tour with some remarkable musicians, artists and people. One of our first tours ever was with “Buckcherry.” It was an 8 week coast-to-coast tour , and 8 weeks of touring is no walk in the park. And did I mention it was one of our first tours ever?! The dudes in Buckcherry and their crew took way better care of us than they were responsible for. They knew we were a new band on the scene, and they were such an exemplary group of professionals for us to take after. They didn’t really have to give us any advice, they just showed us how to survive on the road, how to perform, how to be prompt, respectful, humble, and always ready to work. I’ll never forget that.
VQDM: If you hadn't been born in this century, when and where would you of like to have lived?
Nick: This is an awesome question. Ya know what? I think I’d wanna live through the 16th century peak of the renaissance era in Europe. I’d wanna see what this Shakespeare guy was all about. If I could survive the plague, of course.
VQDM: If you would describe your band members with a character from a movie/ cartoon who would they be?
Nick: Another awesome question! I think our personalities can parallel the Ninja Turtles. Jonny is the Michaelangelo of the group cuz he’s got the best jokes. We could be in the most serious predicament and Jonny would come in clutch with gnarly pun. Jes would be the Leonardo of the group cuz he’s mostly the face of the band in press situations and stuff. Fans recognize Jess from live videos and interviews. Maybe he’s good with a pair of katanas too, idk!? Mark is the Raphael of the group - quiet and reserved, highly emotional but loves the group and would do anything for us at the drop of a hat. And Mike and I are the Donatello of the group cuz we’re smarter than all these dudes. And purple is my favorite color.
VQDM: What is a song that you are currently obsessed with right now?
Nick: “Fame,” by David Bowie has a sick groove. I’ve been jammin’ it a lot and I might try to convince the guys to adapt an original rendition of it into our live set.
VQDM: What was the best film ever made?
‘Nick: The Shawshank Redemption,’ hands down. ‘The Green Mile’ is a close second. I’m a huge Stephen King fan. I also dig any Pixar movie ever made. I’ll cancel plans if any of these movies happen to be on TV at the time. Apologies in advance.
VQDM: What is a band that you are currently obsessed with right now?
Nick: Been jammin’ a lot of Bruno Mars lately. I dig anything with a sick beat and bass line. 24k Magic is a genius album. I mean, 6 Grammys. C’mon.
VQDM: What can we expect from Sons Of Texas in 2018?
Nick: Hopefully just a ton of touring! We’re coming to a city near you so keep up with all our social media outlets for tour dates and other cool stuff! Search “Sons Of Texas” on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook! We handle all these outlets ourselves so it’s a great way to get in direct contact with us.
VQDM Any Shout Outs?
Nick: Yeah, hi Mom! All our fans around the world who have supported us and come out to our shows. Thanks so much, it means more to us than you’ll ever know.
Sons Of Texas Website