Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
Weslie Negrón: Well, last June we had the chance to appear in the ‘Stimulus Swim’ mixtape curated by Adult Swim with other artists from around the world and different genres as well, that was really cool. We also have a Split album with our friends from Philly, “The Stone Eye”, which will be out in August 21st. Hopefully after this whole pandemic thing is over, we’ll be able to tour again.
How long has the band been together?
WN: The band started in 2016 with Jonathan (Lead Guitar), Omar (Rhythm Guitar), and I (Bass) where we just exploring new sounds and we got our first songs done. After a couple of lineup changes, Damaris (Vocals) and Danny (Drums) joined the band and we got to release our first EP in 2018.
What was your main motivation for starting or being in a band?
WN: I have always had some type of interest in music since a very early age. I started playing bass when I was 13 and from there my hunger to be able to perform with other people grew more and more and I was lucky enough to find people that had the same intentions. Fast-forwarding to 2016, when Moths started, the main reason I wanted to form this band is basically because I wanted to explore other musical realms. I was playing a lot of Death and Thrash Metal, but somehow that was not satisfying me enough, so I wanted to go through another direction and I’m able to do that now with this band.
What is your music background?
WN: Living in Puerto Rico you get exposed to a lot of Latin music. Salsa, Merengue, Bachata were some of the few of the genres that I grew up listening to. Of course, the growth and popularity of reggaeton was happening as I was growing up as well, but I was never really attracted to these genres. So, while looking for something different I discovered the “Nu-Metal” phase where I became fans of bands like Linkin Park, Korn, System of a Down, etc. and the rest is history.
What image do you think your music conveys?
WN: I don’t really think that our music conveys a particular image. I would like to think, though, that our music reflects an interesting perspective of all the different styles that we combine in our music. We like to explore and try new things and hopefully the audience can be able to resonate with what we’re doing and enjoy it.
What are your immediate music career goals? (Next 1 to 3 years.)
WN: With the whole COVID-19 pandemic happening right now is a little bit difficult to trace a specific plan for what we want for the future. But definitely release new music and tour are the priorities once this is all over.
What are your long-term career goals?
WN: Our goal is to be able to travel the world while we share our music with as many people as possible. I would like to think that will be possible some day and that we can be able to keep producing new music for all of our followers.
Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
WN: I honestly like both, both processes have their peculiar “magic” that makes it worth the while. The dynamic in the band when we write new songs is a very fun one. We all get together in the studio and just throw ideas that we’ve been working on at home and we just build from that, sometimes it gets pretty intense and crazy, and I believe that’s what brings that extra “flavor” into our compositions.
As far as playing live, there is nothing that compares to the energy of facing an audience and feel when they return that same energy to you. It’s something kinda hard to describe, but I would say that playing live is what keeps me, personally, motivated to keep playing and making music. I honestly can’t wait to go back to the stage.
What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
WN: We don’t really have a specific topic or theme that we speak about in our songs. Lyrics vary from life experiences, to fantasy stories, to a little bit of humor, it really depends on what Damaris’ focus is at the moment while she writes, but we like to vary within the topics and not stay in one specific theme.
Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road?
WN: I would say that the most unusual thing that has happened to us on tour is that we played in a Festival in DC last year that had about 8 bands. You know, those “one day – bunch of bands playing” kind of festival. It was really fun; we got to see and share the stage with a lot of cool bands. But this was at a Mexican restaurant that had two floors and in the second floor there was a “Quinceañera” happening and it was hilarious to see the contrast of the people that were going to the party upstairs and the people that were attending to the show downstairs. I remember watching some elderly people coming from the party and watching in awe what was happening with the bands and the moshpit and what not. It was very bizarre, but extremely fun.
What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
WN: I don’t think we’ve had any strange requests from anyone so far, people have behaved well towards us.
Were your parents supportive of your aspirations to play in a rock band?
WN: In my case not really, they always had their doubts due to the economics aspects of being a musician, but as I’ve grown older and they’ve noticed the different things I have accomplished (both individually and with the band) they have gotten a bit more at peace with the idea of me being in a band.
What are your favorite tracks to play live?
WN: We have a couple of tracks that we have not released yet and that will be part of our first Full length that I love to play, mostly because these songs were written with the current lineup and the energy and flow of the songs tend to be more cohesive than the “older” songs. Also our covers of King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man” and Black Sabbath’s “Hand of Doom” are always fun to play.
Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
WN: The first band that I ever saw on TV and I was extremely shocked with what I was watching was Linkin Park and their video of “Somewhere I Belong”, I was maybe 10 years old. They were the ones that injected the idea of me wanting to play music, whichever instrument necessary, but I felt the urge of “looking as cool” as they did. After many years and exposure to more music, bands like Metallica, Iron Maiden, etc. were very important to those formative years as well. Lately, bands like Opeth, Porcupine Tree, etc. are bands that I refer to myself when I like to have ideas of how a live show should be. These are institutions, you know, bands that have been perfecting their craft over the years and their mastery on how to control an audience and keep them engage is something that I would like to reciprocate in our live shows.
If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
WN: This is a very interesting question because the bands that I would love to tour with change from time to time. But consistent names are Opeth, Baroness, The Ocean Collective, Between the Buried and Me, bands in that realm.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
WN: The fact that after a Hurricane (Hurricane Maria 2017), Earthquakes, and a pandemic we’re still playing and motivated to release new music is something that I consider a great accomplishment. The fact that after all the weird things that have happened both here in Puerto Rico and in the World in general, we actually managed to record and soon to release new music is the greatest accomplishment we’ve had so far, in my opinion of course.
If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
WN: I like the Music Business industry as a whole, so probably something that involves music marketing or PR. If we speak about something that does not have to do with music, for some reason I’ve always had a fascination for being a mailman, something about that job is very interesting to me. Hopefully, maybe I can do both in my lifetime, who knows?
What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
WN: I currently use my DNA Amps DNS 210 cabinet, which is a great, small and compact cab that rages anywhere we play. My main axe is my RG Custom Basses Logos 19B Bass, which brings that tone and versatility that a band like Moths requires and a bunch of pedals to play around both live and in the studio.
What do you think of the current music scene?
WN: Though we’re still in the middle of the COVID-19 Pandemic, I believe that new ways and new tactics for bands to stay relevant and releasing content have come up in a variety of creative ways. It would be a matter of analyzing which can be used in the future once everything goes back to “normal”. I think that there is a lot of potential still to be able to keep moving the Industry towards the utilization of technological platforms that can be able to have music as accessible or even more to the people that want to consume it.
As far as the quality of music, I believe that there are bands that are out that are making amazing music that feels real and that a lot of people can resonate with. The quality of music and creative spaces that bands have been releasing lately is superb.
For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
WN: I don’t know, there could be easily many things as they can be none that people would be surprised. Maybe the fact that I haven’t seen a lot of potential movie “classics”? I’m trying to catch up, though, I got to see Fight Club for the first time last year.
If someone had never heard you before, how would you describe your sound?
WN: A mixture of Baroness, Mastodon, Queens of the Stone Age, a bit of Pink Floyd here and there. We’ve gotten so many mixed perspectives about our music that I’m not really sure how to describe it. I think the best way to put it is that we play Jetal (a mix between Jazz and Metal).
Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
WN: We have the split with our friends from The Stone Eye (Philadelphia) coming out on August 21st. In this split we will include a new, original track and the recording of our arrangement to Black Sabbath’s “Hand of Doom”. The Stone Eye will also have an original track and their cover of the American Folk classic tune “The Wayfaring Stranger”. Also, make sure that you check out first EP “MOTHS” which is available in all streaming services and in Bandcamp.
Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS Rock!
WN: Thank you for your time as well and for the interest!