Our casual conversation with the upcoming band “Seldom” made us realize that they are not just another band that is into heavy metal/alternative rock. Mitch, Matt, Carlos, James and Bryan are passionate about their music and believe that every song can stand and tell a story of its own. “It all began in mid-2013 at Houston, TX”, they narrate their journey enthusiastically. “We wanted our songs to speak about us individually as well as a group”, they aspire and they feel that their songs have several musical, lyrical and emotional layer to create that over-whelming effect on their audience. They have already released their first studio album “Damaged” in September 2014 and are planning on a tour across the nation to promote it. They have also released 3 music videos on their well viewed VEVO channel. They believe in a “song for every mood” attitude, and their discography shows just that. Be it taking on an emotional roller-coaster with the moving “Over and over” to energizing “punk idols” or showing us their technical prowess with the bass-driven “Awoke to Darkness” to a hard hitting rock anthem “Cancer”; their variety in music amazes us. No wonder they have a huge fan-following and got their funding through their tremendous support in the Kickstarter. When asked about the future plans, they were quite excited about their upcoming EP “Black Mirror” which expresses technology’s role in our perceptions of individuality, identity, and reality. The band idolizes Deftones, Breaking Benjamin, Chevelle, Nothing More, My Chemical Romance and aspires to keep creating the unique and energetic live experience every single time. Read on to hear more from our interview with Seldom below, & we hope you enjoy!
Entertwine: How did the members of the band meet and begin writing music and performing together? Could you tell us a bit about each member’s musical background? What is the significance of the band’s name? Bryan Murillo (Drummer) and Carlos Hidalgo (Bassist) actually grew up as close friends and had been in bands together for around 10 years together prior to starting Seldom. When their last band unexpectedly ended, they considered sticking to just jam bands, but luckily decided to try to kick off a new band. They put an ad on Craigslist for a guitarist.
Matt Hernandez (Guitar) was originally a drummer for several local bands, but they also ended up not working out. He saw the ad and he clicked pretty quickly with Bryan and Carlos. In the matter of a month or so, they had written 6 songs together. The only thing missing now was vocals.
Mitch Atkinson (Vocals) was originally a bass player in Louisiana, but was having a tough time finding a good fit with other local bands in Houston. After losing out on a bass gig with another local band, he found an ad on craigslist with a few songs that he really dug. He tried out, and pretty quickly the original lineup formed in April of 2013. They played their first show at Scout Bar in Houston, TX on June 12th, 2013.
A little over a year later, James Litchfield (Guitar) was added to the lineup to help round out the sound. James had been working on a metal band project for a while prior to joining with the army, and he and Matt linked up via craigslist. James learned all of the songs prior his release from the Army, and jumped right in.
There’s no real significance to our name, except that with everything we do, from the music we record to our live shows, is intended to be different and unique. We work hard to ensure that each song has its own identity, that each show has its own characteristics and moments, and that each album has a different overall feel and theme. There’s always pressure to sound just like a certain artist or make each song sound just like your last big hit, and our goal is to never fall into that trap – to be something that we feel is seldom seen in this culture now.
What can you tell us about the music scene of your hometown, Houston, Texas? It’s a very vibrant and proud music scene. While Houston is a major hip-hop/rap community, there are plenty of rock scenes with something for everyone. We have up and coming metal acts, modern rock bands, alternative, “hipster” rock, EDM, whatever you’re craving. But specifically, you have a very supportive local artist scene, and you have a lot of establishments and promoters that are willing to back and support local artists. It’s a very positive scene in that regard, and everyone takes a lot of pride in their music and putting on amazing shows for their fans.
In two years the band has opened for P.O.D., Puddle of Mudd, Powerman 5000, Lacuna Coil, Flyleaf and Red, among others; what has the experience of sharing stages with established touring acts been like? Do you have any other exciting or interesting live performance stories from an event the band has been a part of? It’s unlike anything else in the world. It’s the best motivator in the world to me, because you get on that stage and you see all of those fans and it’s everything you want. The best is seeing the crowd respond positively to your music, especially when they likely don’t know you at all. But the coolest thing is when we get unsolicited feedback from some of the bands and they walk out with a CD. We respect and are fans of pretty much every band we’ve shared the stage with, and it’s such a big honor when that happens.
Aesthetically and sonically what does a live performance by Seldom look and sound like? The first word that comes to mind is energy. When we’re on stage, we’re moving around and there’s a lot of emotion that we think comes through as we’re playing. We’re also always trying new things at our shows to make them each unique in their own way, whether it’s lighting effects or just a new intro, or whatever. In terms of sound, we do our best to match the CD without it sounding like we’re just playing the CD. It’s raw and real in that regard. You’re going to feel that bass drum and rhythm throughout the set and the guitars and vocals just add that extra spice, emotion, and color to everything.
Could you tell us about the more recent dates the band has played in the Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma market? Are you looking to tour other parts of the country as well? For the first part of this year, we wanted to focus on a more regional tour, and the south is our home base. One of the cool things about touring is you get to see parts of the country that you otherwise might have skipped over – and when you focus on just a region, you can see more of it than if you’re just hitting big cities. We are looking to get to one or both coasts later this year with our EP release, so hopefully some news on that front soon.
What experiences and events influenced and inspired the writing and recording of “Damaged” (released September 2014)? Could you tell us a bit about each of the nine songs? The album in general is about all of the things, perceived or otherwise, that weigh us down or keep us from fully realizing our dreams or potential and that by recognizing our what makes us feel damaged, that we can move forward and be happy. These are typically things or thoughts that we can’t let go of for whatever reason that hold us back, and more often than not it’s self-inflicted. Sometimes it’s an important person in your life that has either let you down too many times (“Legacy”), or takes everything from you and then leaves you high and dry (“Cancer”), or when it feels like everyone is just waiting on you to fail (“Watch me Fall”). Other times it’s the thought that you’re just stuck and unable to move forward (“Over and Over”), that you don’t fit everyone’s ideal of what you should be (“Plastic Idols”), or the thought that you aren’t free until you have completely taken down whatever is holding you back (“Ozymandias”). Songs like “Awoke to Darkness”, “Damaged” and “Wasting Away” speak more to how you sometimes can feel trapped and isolated with these thoughts and feelings.
What does the band’s writing and recording process look and sound like? What musical instruments, equipment and programs were used to create and capture “Damaged”? Writing this album happened very organically. “Legacy” and “Plastic Idols” were both written in a single evening by just bouncing around ideas. Most of the songs are written this way, where someone comes in with an idea whether it’s a riff or a concept or a feel, and then we start to form the different parts. We’ll do a rough recording, take it home, and then keep finding ways of refining it. We recorded “Damaged” at Psychonaut Studios in Houston, TX and recorded in a similar fashion – we demoed the songs, recorded drums, and then just started adding guitars and ideas as they developed. It was a really awesome process that we think helps make the album sound more authentic. Of course, we also brought it some didgeridoos for “Legacy”, which is much harder to play than it looks!
What went into the making of the music video for ‘Plastic Idols’? What about the videos for ‘Cancer’ and ‘Legacy’? Who did you work with to make each video? For all three videos, we worked with Albert Gonzalez, a local film director here in Houston. We filmed at an abandoned silo that houses a bunch of old art cars among other things, but the site is so large we filmed in three distinct areas of the same location! For all of the videos, we played live over the recording, and it involved a lot of setting up and playing and multiple takes. We’d record the whole band from different angles, and then do individual shots. For “Legacy”, we had the added fun of having fire and smoke all over the place…Bryan had to be in every shot, so while the rest of us got a break, he had to keep playing with fire all around him. That video was also shot in the summer in Texas, so it was incredibly hot that day. Our favorite one for filming was “Plastic Idols” just because we had our fans and friends there to be in it, and it was more of a party/show atmosphere.
What activities and hobbies do the members of the band enjoy in their free time outside of music? Across the board, superhero movies are a big winner with the group, and everyone has their opinion on who is the best. Specifically, Bryan enjoys camping and riding his motorcycle, Carlos likes to play video games and look at cars/motorcycles, James also enjoys video games and is also attending classes, Matt is an avid sports fan (just about every sport), and Mitch likes bike-riding and mud runs (specifically Zombie-themed runs)
You are currently working on a new EP titled “Black Mirror”, correct? What can you tell us about this project? What else does the remainder of 2015 hold in store for Seldom and its members? Do you have any upcoming performances scheduled? “Black Mirror” is going to be a 5 song EP. We are trying to stay tight-lipped about it, but we’re also very excited about it so that’s been pretty difficult. What we will say about it is that it is a concept album, with the theme about how we allow technology in all of its forms to manipulate our perception of our own identity, change how we interact with others, and further blurs the lines between fantasy and reality. We have some pretty ambitious plans not just in the music, but with the accompanying release shows and videos – all of this expected later this year.
We are planning on some longer tours in different parts of the country to coincide with the release of “Black Mirror” and we will play a few random shows within the region here or there…but who knows, we’re sometimes known to pick up a bunch of shows in short notice, so we could be traveling sooner than expected!