Saint Of The Echo consists of a Puertorican Metalhead who started filtering his hard rock and metal roots through Electronic and Industrial music. He first learning to play both guitar and bass guitar by listening to bands like Metallica, Iron Maiden, Rush and Black Sabbath, to compose and produce music from the likes of Squarepusher, Aphex Twin and Nine Inch Nails. As a result of traveling through those two musical spectrums, he ends up emulating great Classical composers like Steve Jablonsky, Hans Zimmer and Boris Slavov. We asked Saint of the Echo a few questions about his musical upbringing and career below!
What led you to pursue a career in music? From what my mother told me, she knew I was gonna be a full time musician when she realized that my favorite toy as a toddler was her cooking hardware. My first ever drum kit was made of pots, pans and spoons. Also, she had this huge collection of records, most of them were latin music. Everything from Salsa, Merengue, Bolero, Latin Pop all the way to the Jackson 5, James Brown and Carlos Santana. So my house was kind of like a huge jukebox that played music every day. There’s also the very peculiar fact that there has been only 2 full time musicians in the family. The other musician before me was my Great Grandfather. And from what i’ve heard not only through my family but also through other people who knew him, he was known one of the best spanish guitar players in the country. So I guess music was already part of my DNA.”
What experiences or life events have shaped your music? The first one was when I joined my hometown’s school marching band when I was in Junior High. In order to join the band I had to take some music theory classes. At the end I had to take a final exam of everything that was taught on those classes. If I get to pass the exam I was in. So I did passed the final exam and got in. The director of the band asked me what instrument I would like to play. I told him the Trombone. He told me all the trombone spots were already taken and he needed someone to play the Tuba. And that I was the perfect guy for job since I was a “big bone, chubby” type of guy. I wasn’t very happy about the decision. But I was still happy that I get to play with the band. So I knew I was on the right track.
After playing the Tuba for about two years I realized I wasn’t gonna get too far with it. I didn’t want to end up lost in the back seat of a Concerto Orchestra. So I knew I had to try another mainstream type of instrument. That’s when the A-ha!! moment every single artist has in their life. At the end of one normal day at school, one of my friends who also played on the marching band as a saxophone player approached me and said. “Hey I got this new video concert from an amazing kick ass heavy metal band. Do you wanna come home and see it??”. I said “Sure what band is it?”. He told me the band was called Iron Maiden. I’ve heard about the band but never see them play.
So I went to his house, he puts the video on. The concert was called Live after Death. So my attention was already caught with the title. The band started playing on this huge Egyptian themed stage with this big monster figure at the back portrayed as the statue of a Pharaoh. I was already in awe of what I was seeing. But the real A-ha! moment took place when the band started to play a song called “The Trooper”. All of the sudden I see the fingers of the bass player’s right hand galloping through the strings about 300 miles an hour. My jaw dropped. My eyeballs almost fell off my eye sockets. And the first thing that came off my mouth (well actually the second thing after the inevitable What The ****!!) was “That’s it!! I wanna play bass guitar and I want to play like that guy!!”. That guy’s name is Steve Harris, bass player and founding member of Iron Maiden. Thanks to him I’m doing this interview.
So playing the Tuba was a blessing in disguise because the Tuba is the wind instrument version of the bass for the marching band. Also the pistons you press on the Tuba to play the notes , you have to press them with your right hand. And I’m left handed. So the Tuba not only gave me the ability to play the bass guitar right handed, it also strengthened my fingers to play as fast as Steve Harris.
Who or what influences you to write and perform? When people ask me this question, the best way I’ve found to answer it is that I listen to everything from The Blues of Buddy Guy and Albert King all the way to the Black and Death Metal of bands like Dimmu Borgir and Nile. Everything that is in between those two extremes is included. There are other elements outside of music that really inspires me as a composer. My love for video games is one. I think that’s where the inspiration to write Electronic and Industrial music comes from. I’ve been playing video games since the Atari Era. So those sounds and sound effects are forever stuck in my head. Another elements outside music that really inspires me are Philosophy and Spirituality. Not Spirituality as any type of religion but rather as the search for truth. Why are we chosen to live in this little blue dot in the galaxy, does being here has a purpose or not etc etc. That’s where the inspiration to write Classic/Cinematic music comes from. That type of music is sometimes bombastic, sometimes subtle, sometimes epic, sometimes emotional. Sometimes it’s all of those things. But that music will always be one thing. Big, as big as The Universe.
What are some of the most exciting live performances you’ve been a part of? I’m not sure in what capacity you want me to answer this question. Whether is me as a performer or me being part of the audience. If it is as a performer, I can tell you that 99.9% of the bands I’ve played with are cover bands. The original rock band circuit here in Puerto Rico never took off. The Clubs wanted us just to play what was on the radio. So the cover bands were the money makers. Always been that way. Have I experienced very exciting moments while playing cover songs?? Of course I had. I remember one night playing at a jam packed sports bar in the mid nineties where Grunge and Alternative music was still “The Thing”. We were playing all the big Grunge hits. Everything from Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Green Day etc. We would mix it with music from Latin Rock bands like Maná from Mexico, Enanitos Verdes and Miguel Mateos from Argentina. Those guys made it big in all Latin America. That night was eclectic to say the least. The whole club was singing along, jumping along. They even formed a Mosh Pit when we played Green Day. I’ll never forget it.
If you are asking me as me being part of the audience there are 3 concerts that stand out. Those 3 concerts are from bands that I’m a big fan and I got to see them for the very first time. Number one, 1992- Iron Maiden, Fear Of The Dark tour. First time I get to see my bass hero in person. Number two, 2008- Rush, Snakes and Arrows tour. Best overall show I’ve ever seen. The music, the lights, the special effects, everything was perfect. And number three, 2010- My favorite band of all time, Metallica, Death Magnetic tour. One of the best nights of my life in general. The whole concert was so intense that at one point I find myself gasping for air. I couldn’t keep up with the band. So there you have 2 answers just in case. you can choose the one that fits best for what you’re asking exactly.”
What is in store for you for the rest of 2015? I’m concentrating my efforts into the realm of Classical, Epic, Cinematic music. I’m working on three songs at the moment. One of them I think I can make a Techno-Trance remix of some sort but It’s all still in the works. My recently released song “The Invisible War” is already being considered to be part of a soundtrack for a “Super Hero” movie. That’s all I know for now. The song is available for streaming on both my Soundcloud page and my Youtube channel. Also I’m in conversations with a well experienced cinematic composer from Texas to do a collaboration. He already has a whole soundtrack for a video game in his resume. So I’m very excited and looking forward to work with him. So things are looking much brighter in the horizon this year. And I’m very excited about living in the moment and preparing for the near future.