They've been jamming together without any aim for quite a long time until there was the feeling that made them excited to listen to their own music above all others. Right at that moment the band was born and, with the respect for all the people that made them who they are, the guys called themselves Under The Influence Of Giants
Aaron Dick Bruno
, Jamin John Wilcox
, David Amezcua
and Drew Stewart
are the new darlings of California, looking forward to get big in Europe. Even though there are only four members in the band, they claim they've got no musical limits. The music is so varied and have so many different sounds in a mix that not every five-piece would produce. On top of that they promise to force you to masturbate with blueberry jam! UG
got intrigued by the fact and there was no way we could miss an opportunity to try it out ourselves!
We caught Aaron before the band's show in Hyde Park in London one humid afternoon, right after he just got shaved and felt super clean, fresh and perfect! Read on to see how it all turned out!
UG: Today you're gonna play in Hyde Park Calling Festival in London. Are you excited about the event?
Yes, madam! We are excited every time we play in front of 30-something thousand people.
You're just about to finish your first European show. So many new places, you should be loosing tracks of countries you've been to and things you've done
Yeah, each country has something special about it that normally stands out to me and I can't pick one in particular that I liked more. Usually what you remember are those rare days off. When we were playing in Caribana festival in Switzerland, we had two days off after that and the promoter took us in his sail boat to the river Rhone that separates France with Switzerland. So we had a boat trip, went swimming and had a great summer afternoon that I would have never had in million years not being on tour. So that was a memorable experience!
Is the reception in England different than in USA?
In general people want to express themselves more at a concert in Europe. I don't know why that is, but it's refreshing to come out here and be a brand new band, play in front of a lot of people who see and hear you for the first time. It pretty much feels like the first date!
You're playing English kind of music. I bet there are people that think you're a band from UK
A lot of our influences are from England, mainly the Beatles, the Who, Led Zeppelin. So when we recorded our first self-titled album a lot of people and press in USA said we sound like a European or English record. We took that as a huge compliment!
So all that Beatles and Led Zeppelin - are they the giants you are under the influence of?
|"Alot of people and press in USA said we sound like a European or English record."|
It's not that obvious. We like a lot of philosophers, poets and writers - all different art forms. Those are the things that made us who we are - different ideas of sound, from hip-hop to jazz, pop to funk, that we grew up watching. All that ends up being the giants that we are under the influence of. My dad is one of the main giants in my own world. So we are trying to take a bit of everything and fit it into one record. Writing the songs for our debut album, we realized we could write it any style and still sound like one band! I'm really excited to hear what the next record even sounds like!
So you have no musical limits. If one day you decide you like heavy metal or rap, your music might be changed completely?
We would never go to such extreme to have a heavy metal song or rap song. But you may hear some certain riffs or attitudes borrowed from any genre. But even if we take influences from metal or punk, it wouldn't sound like that at all. It would sound more like rock-n-roll, Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath type of thing, mixed with more soulful music. When you listen to Helter Skelter by the Beatles, it's one of the first records where they ever used distorted guitar, but every time I listen to it, it blows my mind - the screaming in that song is so great! So you never know where you're gonna find your inspiration!
With such a big love to England and after visiting the country, do you wish you were born here instead of USA?
No, no chance! If was born in England, I wouldn't be who I am. People that I met in my life, my friends and love really mean a lot to me! Besides there's nowhere to surf out here in England! But I love the weather here! I'm sitting here in Hyde Park, it's cloudy and rainy, 72 degrees, compared to 90 back home, people are wearing sweat shirts, I find that awesome!
There's a common thing about food in the UK and I know you've been concerned about it.
First time I came here, I thought food was absolutely shit. Then the second time I got here, I realized what to get. You would want to get a kebab - some type of Indian food. Indian food here is like our Mexican food - it's really good, made by Indian people. So I almost destroyed my stomach, eating Indian food on this tour, but I just absolutely love it! I have no complains about the food any more, it just took me a couple trips to understand what the hell to eat and what not to.
You're often compared to Scissor Sisters. Do you know the guys?
No, but they've offered us a tour that we couldn't do because we were already committed to another tour and I was bummed out 'cause they are so cool. I don't think we really sound anything like them, but I think we have similar influences. We both do some kid of dancy thing, I sing falsetto and Jake Shears does too. But that's really the only comparison. When you listen to our latest records, you understand we couldn't sound any less similar. But I don't have anything against being compared to them, they are a great band. I'd rather be compared to Scissor Sisters than to Fall Out Boy!
What equipment do you use onstage?
|"I'm really excited to hear what the next record even sounds like!"|
We play a Korg Triton keyboard. We also use the sampler for the things that we personally did on the record in a studio and couldn't find a person to play it live for us and just recorded them. All of the band members sing, so there's always four mics. I also played some acoustic guitar on the record. But we're not endorsed by anything. We like such rare older gear that are hard to get an endorsement for. I like 1968 Fender guitars, they can't provide you with such instruments by endorsement! Our drummer plays Noble & Cooley and he got a deal for it. But we didn't get anything for free yet. We are just waiting to blow up out here!
How do you usually prepare yourself before going onstage? Do you have any kind of ritual?
I might have a drink or two. Here I'm traditional with Jack Daniels whiskey. But if we can't get it, I drink vodka. I don't often drink rum, even though I love the taste of it, but it makes me noxious! We also do some harmonizing and just start making fun of each other to get light-hearted to remind each other that it's just music and rock-n-roll!
When you started the band you spent a lot of time on MySpace. You still do?
Definitely! Every single day that we have an access to the internet! We personally oversee MySpace page and try to answer some letters. We for sure are always aware of anybody writing anything. It's really cool 'cause back in the days people had fan mail, you literally got mail in your mail box, open it up and be like Shit, I have to write this person back!
This was really inconvenient. Right now it's instant gratification and that's what is so great about being in a band nowadays!
Tomorrow is your last concert. What are the plans after?
We are going home and take about a month off, get ready to come back here. We're sick of touring the States right now. We're gonna do a few random shows here and there and we're doing a lot of writing, but mainly we're really focused and dedicated to breaking the new record which comes out next month. So hopefully it'll start charting and then we'll come back for our headlining tour or opening act for much bigger band. That's gonna be anywhere in between August all the way to November, I'm not exactly sure, we're just waiting to see how it goes.
You say you know how the record labels run and the red flags to look out for. So can you share with our readers? Give some advise to those that are just about to follow your steps?
Sure! I think when you're signing a record label deal, you definitely would want to sign with a record label that believes in you and doesn't want to change what you're doing. If you care about your art of course! Also it's important that if you're gonna sign with a major label, they need to assure you that they are into career building and not just looking to chase singles. Chasing singles is a very tricky science - you may have a hit song and everybody knows it's a hit song, but it doesn't mean it's gonna make it to the radios and be a hit. So it's important that they are willing to spend money and really dedicate themselves to breaking your band with touring, press, radio and all that stuff and not just focus on singles. Otherwise you're dead in the water if the single doesn't do well!