Photos by Robin Ervolina
Aranda is a rock band made up of brothers Gabe and Dameon Aranda. They are from Oklahoma City, OK and have traveled and toured together for over a decade. We are here in Orlando tonight at the Beacham, October 20, 2015, talking with Gabe. We sang, we laughed, and we talked. Join us.
Shockwave: Shockwave Magazine here with Gabe Aranda of Aranda, all the way from Oklahoma City!
Gabe Aranda: Well hey, How are you? Yes here from OKC to Orlando. Where the weather is nice.
Are you having a good time?
GA: We’ve been here for a few days so yeah we are having a great time. We are kind of Disney freaks so we like to do the Disney thing sometimes when in town.
Are on you week two or three of the tour?
GA: No, this is our second week.
How long does the tour last?
GA: Until Nov. 15, so it’s a five week deal, you know, not insane.
For me and probably many fans out there, Not the Same is a piece of art. I thought it was beautiful.
GA: Aw, thank you. I wish everybody was like you.
There are a lot of people who are out there.
GA: Oh I know there are a lot of people who love it.
Is there a story behind the title track “Not the Same?”
GA: Well the title track is more of a reflection of who we are now as opposed to even who we were three or four years ago. I mean it really is about evolving and growing as people. It was written from an introspective, perspective – WOW – from our perspective.
Did you revisit any songs from the vault and say, you know this would be great on Not the Same?
GA: Uh let me think if any of those…
You know those songs that are sitting in the vault for two years or so?
GA: Well, believe it or not, I think… wait that’s not right. No honestly we cut more songs on this, like, we recorded more and cut more, so we have more to add to the vault. So someday were gonna have another album called The Vault.
So you’re going to do a new three cd compilation?
GA: Yeah were going to have to do that and just call it The Vault and put it out next week. Just press it. We gotta release these. Man this album is really tough (sarcastically), already have all the songs and they are recorded. This new one is called The Vault.(Laughs)
So, Wind-up records, you are no stranger to being on a label. Did they give you carte blanche or did you have to conform to what they said, we really need you to play this type of music?
GA: No, no definitely didn’t. In fact they have been super, super good to us as far as that goes. They told us to basically make the record you want to make. I think at some point they even wanted us to even get farther away from the rock stuff. They like some of the stuff we were doing on the album, like we have an acoustic song on there. We got some stuff that is almost pop in a lot of ways. And they were loving that, they were like write some more of this. We were like man we gotta write rock tracks, we love playing rock and roll music. We love our fans. So I think this album we expanded more. We kinda went back to what we did a little bit on our very first self-titled album with “Still in the Dark” on it, “Gravity” and “Testify.” These songs, that for anybody who hasn’t listened to them, we have some rock stuff on there, but borders gospel, you know what I mean. There are a lot of different textures.
Touch on that. Dameon is a pastor?
GA: Yes he is.
Do you consider yourselves to be a religious band?
GA: We are all Christians in the band. And even the guys that we end up hiring to play with us, usually we get those guys thru the church scene that we play on.
GA: Yes, Lifechurch. I think it’s like lifechurch.tv or something is how you get to it online. It’s a super, super great church, growing so fast nationwide. But Dameon is the music pastor at one of the campuses in Shawnee, OK. So basically he handles all the music and that side of the services and stuff. You can’t help but let that influence you artistically. I think any artist, if you are who you are, you can’t help but let that stuff come thru.
Positive songs with everyday vibes.
GA: So yeah, to answer your question, short answer, we’re Christians. I don’t think were a Christian band, you know. But we can’t help but be who we are, you know what I mean.
I know you both collaborate, but at any point is there one stronger, would you say I have this great song and he says I have a great riff?
GA: All the time that stuff happens, equally.
You can lie — he’s (Dameon) not here (jokingly laugh)
GA: Ah no, (laughing) ah ok, I think I’m a little better. No, but really it comes down to songs get written in so many different ways for us. Sometimes it starts with just a chorus in my head that has no music to it at all, and then I’ll get with him and create music to it. He’ll (Dameon) have a verse or vice versa, and say dude, I have this chorus, and what do you think about a verse on it. I mean I don’t know where to go with it. So for us there really is no rhyme or reason necessarily to the process, because people ask us about our writing process, but there are no rules to it. I mean if someone has a banging chorus… some people write lyrics, lyrics, lyrics and put songs to them. We tend to gravitate towards melodies first and then we write the story around the melody, so that’s a little different than what I think a lot of people do.
It’s funny, when this album 1st came out; I heard this one song and immediately thought I heard Wham influences. (I start singing)
GA: Oh “Knock the Lights Out.” Man I love that song!
I love that song! I wish you all would play it live. It’s that song that’s going to cross you over to another type of station.
GA: I hope our fans like it and we would love to have that obviously. I think that anybody who knows our band to its core knows that those things are very a part of who we are. Sure we like to rock and we love to do it. We love the heavy rock fans, but we’ve got other textures that we are trying to explore as artists too.
You’re not a typical rock band. You have an amazing vocal, Dameon has an amazing vocal. Not yelling, not screaming. There is talent and energy you give. You gain a fan at every show because they see the stage performance you put out there and that’s what a lot of bands need to see.
GA: We’ve been doing it this way since we were kids. It’s always me and him. I’ve been in a band with my brother since I was 11, literally like in a BAND though, like a full band!
If you had one song that you could say is your claim to fame, what do you think it is?
GA: I mean it would be “Satisfied.” I think “Satisfied” connected the most with our fans. I mean, I think, we underestimated it. That was one of the last songs written for that Stop the World album.
Do you like still playing it?
GA: I love playing it still! I love seeing people’s reaction. I love even more than that, the stories that comes from it after. Like after when we are at merch talking to people and they come up us and say that song really spoke to me and sometimes it’s super bad, you know like I hate my wife and I send this to her in email form every couple of weeks just to remind her, I never want to see you satisfied. Oooh that hurts! But at the same time other people say it got me thru a time and it helped me vent what I was feeling and that’s helping me deal with it emotionally.
It’s what music does. It brings us together. It’s why we are standing here.
GA: Absolutely, it’s the ultimate emotional outlet.
So when you’re not touring, what’s a typical day in the life of besides Disney?
GA: Besides Disney there is no other life but tour. Ya if we’re not doing Disney then we are laying in a coma in a hotel room, I’m kidding. But after tour, oh gosh. I own a small business, flooring business. So for me when I go home, literally my hats change, you know. I’ve got 5 employees that work for me. We do tile and build showers and things like that. That keeps me busy when I’m home. I’ve always worked with my hands since I’m a little kid. So that gives that outlet and obviously a great supplemental income as well. You gotta figure out a way to make it work when you’re trying to be a successful musician. That doesn’t happen overnight and there is no guarantee that it will ever happen so I just always plan my life. I plan to succeed in everything I do. I know that nothing is guaranteed. So with my business it’s like I’ve tried to build that up to a place where if music didn’t pay me a dime, I would still be out here doing music because I’ll be getting money back home. Just like a lot of musicians.
You were once a young band. If you were to mentor a young band right now, what would you tell them to really do? What is the biggest step that would help them thru the beginning processes and mistakes not to make?
GA: For me I always tell young guys that come up and ask me, most of the bands that come up to me don’t have… here’s my advice – play with people that you like. Find guys that are a good hang because if you can’t be together long enough to even get good, then what’s the point. I’ve see so many bands that get together and they break up before they even do anything and it’s because of internal problems. So I think choose your band members wisely and base it more on friendship and mutual musical perspective you know and I think that’s such a good foundation, I mean obviously it’s an unfair advantage, I’m in a band with my brother you know what I mean.
“We Are the Enemy,” new single, released today.
GA: New single. Yes, we just got the news that it was the most added in the country in this first week. That’s never happened to us, so small victories for us mean so much still. We’ve been pushing for a long time to try and break thru to another level and for whatever reason it hasn’t happened for us, but we still maintain and stay busy and move forward with our music, so getting that is a good sign. I hope that it leads to the single doing well.
People need to get out there then, request it to local radio stations, satellite radio and listen to it. Buy the cd, download it, come out and see a live show.
GA: All of those things are only going to help us and yes, a live show for the full thing, you want to see us live!
It’s a way to make new fans.
GA: Absolutely, that’s why we love to do what we do.
We have time for one last question… guilty pleasure?
GA: Mine is probably boring, I mean the ones I can say! Chocolate, you know, for me that’s pretty boring but God I love chocolate. I don’t even know if it’s a guilty pleasure because I don’t feel guilty about it at all.
And Dameon – what would his guilty pleasure be?
GA: It’s probably some other food. (laughs) I don’t know like peanut butter.
He’s not even here to defend himself, celery. (laughs)
GA: Lettuce, Dameon’s guilty pleasure is lettuce. He likes to cover himself in lettuce and roll around with a big Caesar salad. (laughing)
Well Gabe thanks for taking time to talk with us at Shockwave magazine.
GA: You’re so welcome! (Sings Shockwavvvvve!)
Be sure to check out Aranda: